Cayin surprised me by having one of the most eye-catching stands on the ground floor, standing big and bold in the middle of the room. Their main attraction was their array of DAPs you could try but they also showed off their desktop headphone systems and presented their speaker amps for eye candy, they do look lovely!
Josh chatting with Cayin’s Andy Kong
Our first port of call was to get a feel for their latest DAP, the I5. It supposedly houses similar circuitry to the N5 we were big fans of but addresses all of its problems, namely noise floor and UI. Noise floor reduction does come at the cost of the balanced output and the UI has had a ridiculous overhaul, now featuring a touchscreen and a heavily customised android! The customisation is done by HiBy music and from having a quick navigation of the device it was one of the smoothest operating and professional graphic user interfaces I have come across. I didn’t actually get a listen but will be getting a sample for a full review as soon as it is released. It should be priced at around £320. Oh, and how lovely does it look in that leather case.
We also tried their iHA-6 and iDAC-6 combo and Josh stated how he found there was a signature similarity in the sound of Cayins N6 and this stack, which is little lean but very detailed and clear. In a noisy environment where it is hard to get a real understanding of sound with open headphones, their desktop stack didn’t seem a perfect match for the Sennheiser HD800 but I would love to try it with an Audeze or HiFiMAN. I think both units will run for around $1000. I also tried their tube amp (HA1-A) with some T1s and that was a very smooth and effortless sound.
The last thing I want to mention is that we came across some amazing and brand new IEMs on this booth. To show off their N5, N6 and I5 DAPs they were using a range of IEMs (UM, JVC and Sony) and headphones (Meze). Now I quickly clocked the UM universal IEMs and initially just thought they were Maestros as they looked just like my pair but I thought I would go and check. I then realised they were labelled Martian, now I have never heard of them and I have heard of EVERY IEM! What were these 4 bored creation? I asked Andy and the two pairs they had were the only ones in the world, straight out of UMs labs just before the show. They featured two dynamic and two BA driver and sounded godlike. They were extremely neutral with insane dynamics, details and soundstage. Josh and I were blown away by them and I have since spoken to Unique Melody about them to say I liked them. They were happy with my feedback and say hopefully it will be priced competitively, I said if under $1000 then great and apparently I will be very happy with the price then, let’s see what that means!