The Cayin N3Pro possesses a rich, dynamic tone, melding strong, weighty notes with clarity and detail. Its inherent warmth comforts the sharp edges of a powerful soundscape. Indeed, the N3Pro is a well-balanced device.
Treble notes extend freely, conveying space and the minute articulations of every background disturbance. The highs are not thin or steel-like, either. They are more substantial, with a honeyed quality. The mids are even more substantial, possessing a dense, authoritative presence and a profound sense of realism. With the right monitors, the transparency of the gear can take your breath away. Finally, the bass does not disappoint. This DAP has right tuning and amperage and achieve significant low-end performance. With the right headphones, the Cayin N3Pro can be a basshead rockbox, or a tighter, more reference piece of kit. Whichever direction you lean, it will put a smile on your face, for Cayin manages its business well.
The iBasso DX160 ($399, Review HERE) is strong competition indeed. They both wield exquisite clarity and detail, with outstanding soundstage. The N3Pro, however, has the slightly larger stage, particularly in depth, and a warmer tonality. The DX160 feels a little more pristine and shiny, though I would never call it bright. It perhaps comes off more neutral, while the N3Pro achieves a more natural presentation. In terms of amperage, they both have significant power, to drive just about any headphone well. You really can’t go wrong with either.
Cayin’s upper-mid-tier player, the N6ii with the E02 Module ($1,319, Review HERE) is not only a step up in price, but performance. Moving between these three, the N6ii strikes you with its realism and effortless dimensionality. In comparison, the lesser devices feel as if they are TRYING to sound natural, whereas the N6ii simply IS. Tonality is closer to the N3Pro, yet there is a refinement and depth to the render which puts this player on a pedestal above the others.