Cayin Audio’s N6II nails what it means to be a multi-DAC music player

Happy birthday to the DAP that gave us options without compromises. Cayin Audio's N6 II modular music maker turns one after quickly becoming Head-Fi's sweet spot. 

Its first anniversary arrives sweetly. The world's first multi-DAC music player did the unthinkable upon its release in June 2019. Building entirely different audio circuits – DAC and amp – into user-swapped 'motherboards' would change the DAP entirely, and the DAP game along with it.

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AKM or ESS? Yes. Everyone’s keeping up with the #Kardashians. But the truth is Cayin's N6II is so fashionable changing its clothes (cards), it’s moved to the front of the @headfi runway. You’ll have your pick of five different kinds of sound profiles amidst four different amp card releases. But what you’ll never have to pick is superficiality or fads over N6II’s smarts. Modularly, a proper analog volume control. Low global negative feedback. Huge current delivery. Low internal gain. Power on tap. Those are very serious engineering essentials, a real back-to-basics boot camp nailed in sending your listening out of this world into space. The hottest new models may be sexy, but never underestimate a good manufacturer. Brains or brawn or beauty? Yes.

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One year later, N6 II brings its fourth to the floor, the E02. Love and own one board, or all four, either way Cayin deliver on their promise of unlimited possibilities. It was an industry acknowledgement that not everyone's ears are the same.

When one DAP – we call it a platform – can morph into five sounds and counting to fit virtually anyone's tastes, then the N6 II is a literal fan favourite. If audio is a partly a numbers game and quantity has a quality of its own, then Cayin's collective is prevailing.

Q: What DAC chip does N6 II have?
A: What DAC chip do you want?

Well, it's both alphabets and numbers, that ensures N6 II is set up that much better for success. You could say it's gone on to make an impact – even inspiring copies of the concept from fellow manufacturers.

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Step on Cayin's Wheel of Fortune – buy a vowel ‘E’, and ‘02’ is thrown in for E02. It’s really not random. N6II's not about being the best anymore; it's about freedom to choose. There’s been ‘A’, there’s been ‘E’. Pick one, or two, and the ‘IOU’ returned from @headfi’s most innovative music player could be numbers '0-9', if alphabets aren’t so much your thing. That spells out for unlimited user choice, not confined by models; only modules. So, let's attempt to quantify what @cayin_audio_global's N6II brings your audiophile life. E = E02, the theory of relatively carrying every kind of sound in a single player and the letters 'FOMO' you'll banish. It's time to feel really smart – or happy. We don't know, we're not asking you to choose when you don't have to.

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That's evidence enough Cayin nailed it stumbling upon a want and turning it into a need. The idea was fundamental, the execution more crucial. Importantly, N6 II never lost sight of what it takes to be a good music player.

A strong flagship claim is made with any motherboard attached. When some drain its 5,900mAh battery in a little over seven hours, that's a spec you pay attention to. Big battery draw is a surefire sign that components are being pampered and lavished with proper power supply – the lifeblood of serious, enthusiast audio.

That and N6 II gets around pretty conveniently same, with Google Play, full Android services and the offline Tidal, Spotify and Xiami storage that comes with it. What a literal complete package from this music player. As birthdays go, this is a very happy one.