Cayin R01 Module
Our Price | $779
There seems to be no stopping Cayin Audio from breaking new ground. The N6II family cumulates in its crowning glory – R01, a discrete R2R ladder DAC built of 96 individual, precise resistors. It's hailed by Headfonics as "easily the most likable and natural-sounding motherboard".
The modern formula for natural detail, soundstage and imaging free from the nasties of normal digital playback, the resurgence of discrete R2R ladder architectures comes as little surprise for listeners tired of hearing fatigue. It's only natural that Cayin, the premier pioneers in Head-Fi, would adopt the technology for portable use.
And adopting it meant doing it thoroughly, with no shortcuts. Regular PCM and DSD audio data is oversampled to a high 24-bit, 768Khz stream by R01's FPGA, that is then fed on to a true 24-bit resolution resistor ladder DAC.
By building with the exact 96 resistors necessary to operate at the resolution – nothing more, nothing less – Cayin keep individual tolerances extremely precise. Any minute mismatch error remaining gets scrubbed out as random noise beyond the audible band thanks to its oversampled operation.
R01 is a true labour – literally – of love that is cost, parts and time intensive. In the spirit of the N6II it's a module that is undisputedly high performance. Despite the use of oversampling, Cayin eschew the chance to attenuate signal digitally.
You'll instead find a PGA2311 analog volume control in charge and maintaining the resolution of R01's resistor ladder the proper way. A signal-to-noise ratio of 115dB in a discrete DAC, built in-house from the ground up, is testament of the design's know-how. Twister6 reports that R01 sounds exactly like what we expect from typical R2R architecture.