Posted on 29th March, 2019


Cayin extends their range of legendary N8 players by offering the N8 Brass Black, a new version of the N8 that includes all the fabulous N8 technology in a new chassis.  

The Cayin N8 Brass Black is the perfect companion for anyone wanting to try and replicate their home system on-the-go.

Cayin N8 Brass Black

Cayin surprised the world with the original N8's numerous technological innovations.  

On top of the fully balanced circuit of the 4.4mm connector, you can choose between the incredible vacuum tube or solid-state output from the 3.5mm headphone socket. Yup, the N8 was also the first portable DAP in the world to feature vacuum tube amplification.  The 5-stage amplification circuit behind the timbre selection feature is another significant achievement in portable audio.

Additionally, the newly introduced High Impedance High Output Mode, I2S digital output, and dual (balanced and single-ended) line out are unique features that cover different aspects and applications of the N8 DAP's incredible functionalities. Featuring 128GB of built-in storage plus a MicroSD card slot means that you can carry a vast collection of your favourite music with you.

Cayin N8 Brass Black

If something is missing in your collection, then the N8 can use SBC or high-quality LDAC transmission to send music from your smartphone directly to the flagship player.

The original N8 is wrapped in a Stainless Steel chassis and has a brushed natural colour finish, but when Cayin wanted to introduce a “black” version, they decided to go for brass instead.  To take advantage of the improved thermal conductivity characteristics of brass they needed to resolve a long list of surface treatment problems beforehand. The first thing to do was to revise the tooling and CNC process; a process that's costly but relatively straight-forward from a technical point of view.

After about six months of R&D, the result is a CNC milled piece of solid brass, brushed and then sandblasted. Finally, it's Teflon spray coated at no lower than 220℃. Not only was this the only solution but, when executed correctly, it delivers the most exquisite texture and detail. Also, the hardened surface offers excellent wear-resistance, anti-oxidation and anti-corrosive protection.

Comparison between the original N8 and N8 Brass Black

Cayin N8 Brass Black

Heat Management

Cayin has attached Panasonic PGS (Pyrolytic Graphic Sheet) to components that create a lot of heat and directs this energy to the Stainless steel body. In other words, the chassis works as a heatsink and lowers the operation temperature of N8.

Since brass is a much better thermal conductor than stainless steel, using the same heat management technique with the Brass Black N8, the heat energy dissipates more efficiently.  In fact, the player reaches stable operating temperature more quickly, and the surface temperature is circa 2℃ lower than the stainless steel version


The Brass Black version is about 5g weightier than the stainless steel version; however, you will probably not notice the difference unless you hold both units side-by-side.

Sound Signature

Both Stainless Steel and Brass Black version employ precisely the same circuit design and components; the only differences are chassis material and the coating technique. The standard version of N8 is 304 stainless steel, and it contains a small amount of chromium and nickel. It is austenite steel and is slightly responsive to magnetic fields. Brass, on the other hand, is non-magnetic but it possesses relatively good electrical conductivity when compared to Stainless steel.  These physical characteristics will introduce minor differences in audio performance because the stainless steel chassis will offer better anti-interference (especially to high frequency) while the brass chassis will improve the efficiency of the grounding system due to its edge in conductivity.

Price and Availability

To maintain consistency on the Teflon spray finishing and to fulfil the minimum order requirement, Cayin will produce the N8 Brass Black in one lot only. The upshot is that N8 Brass Black will be produced in a limited edition and have allocated 300 units for the International market.  

Since the N8 Brass Black takes longer to produce (extra surface treatment and coating process) and has a lower yield-rate, the retail price has been adjusted to reflect this.  

The UK suggested retail price is £2,899 (with Dignis protective case bundled) and will be available by early April 2019.  

The N8 Brass Black will debut at CanJam Singapore (30-31 March 2019). You will be able to purchase the N8 Brass Black in the UK through Audio Conceirge.


Jay Garrett's avatar

Jay Garrett

StereoNET UK’s Editor and Bass playing gadget junkie. He’s captained the good ship GadgetyNews for over a decade, making low jargon high tech a very handy thing. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.

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Posted in: Hi-Fi Headphones
Tags: cayin