USB DAC/amp (dongles)

Discussion in 'IEMs and Portable Gear' started by Stuff Jones, May 17, 2021.

  1. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    I'm intrigued by the Cayin R2R dongle.

    Can anyone comment on what other Cayin products sound like so I might have an idea of the tuning, FR balance, tonality, etc?

    I'm skeptical about how it's possible to make an R2R DAC so small, but if it is possible and sounds good it would be a nice solution for me. Except that my iPod touch runs out of batteries when just powering iems straight out of the headphone jack in a very short time so this would make it even worse.
     
  2. EagleWings

    EagleWings Friend

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    Cayin voices most of their portable products on the warm-ish/natural-ish side of things. Whether they also pull off good transparency, resolution and dynamics along with that warmth, will depend on the product though. Cayin N8’s tube mode was shit. But its SS mode was very good. But the real highlight was using it as a DAC in my desktop system. It had a warm, punchy sound with plenty of micro dynamics and texture/nuances, but with a smooth treble that would just let me listen to music for hours together. To this day, I am still searching for a DAC with such qualities.

    But a more relevant info for this scenario would be; they have an R2R module for their N6ii DAP, which is tuned to be on the warmer/natural side, with great timbre. I haven’t been able to get a read on how it does macro and micro dynamics.

    The problem with most of these dongles though is, the limited power they are supplied with. I have heard people say that the dongles really open up on a USB hub.
     
  3. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    My problem is I really hate the android version of the Tidal app which I’m forced to use on a DAP. It’s just missing one feature from the iOS app but it makes a huge difference in usability.

    the iOS app has a knob on the right side of the artist’s list that you can grab and quick scroll through your list of artists instead of swiping endlessly.

    [​IMG]

    I really struggle using the M6 Pro 21 DAP without this knob. It takes soooo long to get through my library.

    anyways so I’m interested in a solution that uses my iPod as a source. Really iFI should have an awesome DAC/AMP for iems but it’s all geared toward full sized headphones.
     
  4. Cellist88

    Cellist88 Friend

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    You can look at questyle m12 for something quiet....its a dongle that doesn't have much power, but can be good for iems, though I don't know where the sound quality lands. I really didn't like their qp1r.....so YMMV.
     
  5. econaut

    econaut Facebook Friend

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    I've got one for a few days now. I am not the best in hearing and describing differences in sound, so take everything I say concerning sound with a ton of salt. But I can say a few other things that might be of interest.

    The only dongle DAC I have is the Dragonfly Cobalt. I like the sound, although it's one or three steps down from my WM1A that I sold, because I want an easy solution: Dongle DAC instead of DAP. But now I want balanced output again, so I ordered the PAW S2 (thanks to @Tchoupitoulas for mentioning it in the advice thread).

    To me there's actually no big difference in sound between the DFC and the S2 using SE out. But I only have the Cascade and the Kato here right now. SXC8 balanced cable incoming in one or two weeks. Listening was done with a Oneplus 8 Pro, flac files and UAPP.

    The S2 has more clarity and the treble is more present. Bass quality is better on the S2. I need to do more critical listening with acoustic music that I normally don't listen to a lot. When I got the Cobalt and the Red I still had my Andromedas and the difference between the Red and the Cobalt was striking. So maybe I don't have the right earphones anymore or the difference between the Cobalt and the S2 ist not as big.

    The S2 is designed for right handers (something only a left handed person notices).

    I have no EMI noise issues that the S1 is supposed to have from what I read.

    The USB cable is very thin and has an odd behavior. There's only one direction on each end that works. At first I thought I got a unit that was DOA until I managed to plug the cable in correctly. I have no clue why that is with USB type C. In comparison to the dragontail the Lotoo USB cables look and feel cheap. Also makes me wonder if these are sturdy enough for several years of mobile use.

    EDIT: I just found out that this is called an upstream-facing port (UFP), so yes, the USB cable is directional, but it's not mentioned in the manual.

    The 3.5mm output wiggles when you plug in or out.

    I was surprised that the volume control inside UAPP does not work anymore. One has to use the volume buttons on the S2. That's kind of awkward for me with the right hand, but the volume steps are smaller than in UAPP/Android, so that's a good thing.

    Firmware update was done in less than a minute. The easiest and fastest firmware update I have ever done.

    If you have any questions I'll be glad to help :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2021
  6. Stuff Jones

    Stuff Jones Friend

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    The Cayin RU6 actually sounds like a proper R2R DAC based setup. It's got that R2R texture, more realistic sense of space and lack of grain. From memory, it's not as dynamic, detailed and bassy as the BF2, but not quite as soft and ethereal as as the Drop Airest R2R DAC either. To me its a no brainer if you're looking for a dongle with a natural/organic/analog sound and have neutralish IEMs. It's not as detailed as say the LP W2, but it's also not as digital/strident sounding either.

    It sounds better from more power i.e. laptop over phone. I've occasionally heard some static, and the sound is (intentionally) paused briefly when changing volume, but by and large the functionality has so far been good.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2021
  7. limesoft

    limesoft Friend

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    I'e been using the Cayin RU6 for few days. I had bit of an issue with etched treble during the burn in time, but it seems to have settled a little now . I can echo was @Stuff Jones said - it has a nice R2R flavor to it, sounding distinctly different vs my d/s dacs in a more relaxed natural manner - it's fuzzy with nice 3D and width, and coherence. It's still a dongle though don't expect it to blow your socks off completely.. but overall I'd say it's a good achievement. I wish it was a little cleaner/delicate sounding, but it's good for a dongle. It would have blown my socks off if it had dsp eq like the Qudelix, but no chance...
     
  8. Woland

    Woland Friend

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    On Android, you can access Tidal inside other apps and have a different interface. Bubble UPNP app lets you scroll through Tidal artists to your hearts delight. USB Audio Player app has even better looking scrolling, but I couldn't find the artists tab. It might be there but I haven't used it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 13, 2021
  9. Claud

    Claud Living the ORFAS dream

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    My RU6 arrived yesterday. My research of this dongle found a poster that said it continues to improve with break in thru 200 hours based on his experience.
     
  10. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    I could use bubbleUPNP to play Tidal locally to the DAP's headphone outs? That would be a game changer. I could access Tidal and Qobuz and BubbleUPNP is somehow faster at loading artists than both Tidal and Qoboz native apps.

    If this is true I may have made a mistake ordering the RU6
     
  11. limesoft

    limesoft Friend

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    If you don't have an R2R dac already, i'm inclined to say you haven't made a mistake with the RU6. No other DAP/dongle I have sounds like it. You can also dongle it out of an Android device and use it same way you'd use a DAP with BubbleUPNP etc

    I also use it with my Woo WA8 amp and HD800S - it's the only dac that I have that doesn't have me reaching for the EQ with these phones.. that includes chord qutest, rme adi 2, Fiio m11 pro, earmer sparrow, etc etc I guess it somehow doesn't excite their treble peak like the others, no idea how it manages that, I wouldn't say it's warmpoo, just somehow controlled and not ringing up there, perhaps it's because it has a certain density and depth in the mids..
     
  12. rhythmdevils

    rhythmdevils MOT: rhythmdevils audio

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    I've got a Yggdrasil so I'm covered with R2R DACs haha. oh well.
     
  13. limesoft

    limesoft Friend

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    Haha yeah i'd say you're covered there, for desktop duties.. but can you take it with you on the bus for some R2R goodness? or to the bathroom dangling out of your ipad?

    I'm still going through the honeymoon period, but so far i dig it..
     
  14. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    The bus drivers get so annoyed when I ask to plug my Yggdrasil in to their power for listening on the go though.
     
  15. Woland

    Woland Friend

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    Yup. I would try USB Audio Player first. It is designed to work well with built-in hi-res hardware so may give better results. In my experience, it worked so much better that I uninstalled Tidal's own app.
     
  16. limesoft

    limesoft Friend

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    How are you finding the RU6?

    I'm really enjoying mine running out of ifi iusb micro (with dual usb for clean usb power) - the iusb make a massive improvement; i enjoy it more than all my other RME/Chords sources with IEMs. It's a bit startling seeing a tiny dongle produce such a nice vinyl like, wide and warm sound - and so different sounding to my d\s sources that I can't be bothered to compare.

    I think some careful pairing is required as it does seem to be quite mid forward.

    I've been gushing about it on headfi, I decided to come here and gush about it some more...
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2021
  17. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I also got an RU6, mainly out of curiosity to see what could be done with R2R tech in such a small format. I agree that it is warm and engaging. It’s got a mid-bass bump to my ears, which I’m fine with. It does feel perhaps a bit rolled off at the ends of the FR. It’s more fun than reference, but it has musicality and engagement in spades. It’s fantastic for non-critical listening as it’s smooth and makes me not care about the be-all end-all of technicalities. I’m glad I waited for this instead of getting a D/S dongle, as while this is less reference I find it retains enough of that R2R presence to feel just right. I’m curious to see if Cayin follows this up with a mid-priced R2R DAP, because right now it’s $250 for the dongle or over $1k for the high end DAP and R2R module and there’s got to be some middle ground Cayin can forge there.
     
  18. nishan99

    nishan99 Friend

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    How about a dedicated R2R DAC?.

    We need more options for R2R dacs below $1000 aside from Schiit and Denafrips. The former will not do business with my people and the latter seems not to my preference. I basically need an ESS-like dac without the fake highs and compressed stage.
     
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  19. Merrick

    Merrick A lidless ear

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    I would absolutely check out a ~$500-$600 R2R DAC from Cayin, especially if it offered a good NOS mode.
     
  20. Senorx12562

    Senorx12562 Case of the mondays

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    I'm curious who your "people" are with whom schiit will not do business(?).
     

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