Our CanJam NYC 2023 coverage can be found here and the early reports from EIC Ian White, and Editor At-Large, Chris Boylan, is that the show might be the best consumer A/V show they have attended in years. Not only has the attendance this weekend in NYC been record breaking, but the diversity of the attendees has to be a huge wake-up call to the audio industry. Head-Fi has succeeded where High-End Audio has failed.
We’ve covered CanJam for a number of years, and whilst the pandemic put a pause on things for almost two years — the enthusiasm being exhibited by the vendors and attendees was palpable this weekend.
EIC Ian White described the crowd as the “most diverse he has ever interacted with in over 24 years of covering consumer A/V and that it was uplifting to meet so many young Asian, Indian, Hispanic, African-American, and female Muslim attendees in Hijabs at a high-end audio show.”
High-end audio has a future. Things are changing.
“The diversity of the crowd is the real story,” reported EIC Ian White in his nighty wrap-up of the show to the eCoustics team.
There were some really interesting new product introductions, including the new Cayin N7 DAP.
With the crush of the crowd, it’s easy to miss things at CanJam, especially things that don’t immediately scream “Hey, I’m different, look at me”. One such product at this year’s CanJam NYC 2023 was Cayin’s new N7 DAP.
Don’t let the model designation fool you; the N7 slots between the N6ii and N8ii price wise, but it isn’t an offshoot of either existing product.
Instead, the N7 is something entirely new, not just for Cayin but for the portable DAP market. The N7 is a 1-bit DSD discrete DAC designed from the ground up to handle DSD.
Instead of the typical Delta-Sigma chip based DAPs, the N7 uses a resistor network to handle DSD decoding. Add to this the dual clock chips included to sync the resistor array to a correct reference sample and it is one of the most accurate decoders ever put in a portable package. The N7 is currently the only 1-bit DAP on the market that can natively decode DSD128 and DSD256.
This doesn’t mean that PCM files and MQA are not supported either, as the N7 supports PCM up to 768k and full 16x MQA unfolding. This is possible because most Delta-Sigma DACs first convert PCM and MQA to a data stream (aka DSD) and then to analog. The Cayin N7 simply separates the two functions so PCM and MQA are converted to DSD and then fed to the resistor network DAC.
While the DAC itself is the biggest news story because it represents a first in portable sources, the N7’s buzzword is likely to be “Discrete” as you won’t find any SoC components used here.
The headphone amplifiers are comprised of junction gate field-effect transistors (JFET) differential input stages with Bipolar Junction transistors (BJT) used for voltage amplification at the output stage.
The N7 offers fully balanced, fully differential output and is capable of delivering up to 500mW of power with a THD+N of 0.004%. Add to this an output impedance of 0.6 ohms single-ended or 1.2 ohms balanced and the N7 should have no trouble powering most headphones.
The amplifier uses a push-pull design based on dual NPN+PNP bipolar transistors which allows for class A operation with lower power consumption and better heat management.
The N7 also offers user selectable class A and class AB amplification which further allows users to tailor the sound to their music and headphone.
Even the low-pass filter nestled between the DAC and amp is a fully discrete design utilizing bipolar junction transistors to provide a closed-loop gain, negative feedback circuit.
While the signal path is entirely new, the user interface components will be familiar to those who have used a Cayin N6 or N8 series product as the N7 uses the same Android OS and Cayin applications on top of it.
In the N7, the processing duties are handled by a Snapdragon 665 processor with 4 GB of RAM. There is 64 GB of internal storage and a Micro SD card slot that supports up to 1TB of additional storage.
The 5-inch display takes up almost the entirety of the front panel with a large volume knob at top and control buttons down the right hand side of the unit.
The N7 supports both 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi as well as bidirectional Bluetooth 5.0 with support for UAT, LDAC, AAC, and SBC protocols for both transmit and receive.
This allows users to stream either to/from the DAP.
Add to that both USB and HDMI (i2s) outputs and the N7 is ready for just about any imaginable use case.
All this new technology doesn’t come without a price tag and the N7 will go on-sale during CanJam NYC with a suggested retail of $1999 USD.
MusicTeck has inventory but expect this DAP to sell-out really quickly in Q1 2023.
Where to buy: $1,999 at MusicTeck