Pre-Holiday Review: N6IIT01 Player and YB04 Armature Headphones – Hi-Fi from South China

The new 2020 is near. According to Pult.ru internal sales statistics, portable audio devices rank first among New Year’s purchases. Headphones, players and other mobile speakers account for (on average) 40–50% of December purchases at Pult.ru. Therefore, I decided that before the holidays I would specifically publish reviews on wearable audio gadgets. This post will be the first. Under the cut, consider a player and headphones created by the young brand Zhuhai Spark. Due to the fact that the brand has recently been on the Russian market, I will write a few words about the history of this Chinese company.

About Zhuhai Spark

The question about the brand, which may have appeared among readers, is logical. Chinese manufacturers of audio electronics in Russia are often associated with a “dubious quality know-how”. Moreover, the situation has long changed. The culture of production is growing in China, in the southern provinces it is not inferior to the South Korean industrial giants, while the cost of labor is lower, and, accordingly, the price of the final product.

Zhuhai Spark was founded in 1993, and the company’s factory opened in Guangdong Province in southern China. For the first 20 years, the company developed stationary home electronics under the brand name Cayin, which is in demand in the domestic market of China, in Russia and even in the EU. The popularity of portable audio equipment interested the management of the company, and part of the production base was reoriented to mobile sound-reproducing equipment. Product quality and affordable price have made Zhuhai Spark a manufacturer of portable turntables and in-ear headphones popular in the homeland and outside of China.

Player N6mkIIT01

The player Zhuhai Spark N6IIT01 is a representative of the Cayin line, which immediately follows the flagship “eight”. Music lovers following the latest in the Chinese audio market are familiar with the first-generation Cayin line, with a distinctive round display. The first generation players were created on the basis of a pair of PCM1792A DAC chips. The new generation also uses this proven converter, but advanced modifications made using the ES9038PRO and AK4497EQ are also available.

DAC

I will describe in detail the characteristics of the PCM1792A DAC, as the most budgetary among the following:

  • 24-bit resolution
  • Dynamic range:
  • – 132 dB (9 Vrms, mono)
  • – 129 dB (4.5 V rms stereo)
  • – 127 dB (2 Vrms, stereo)
  • THD + N: 0.0004%
  • Differential current output: 7.8 mA p.p.
  • 8 × Digital Oversampling Digital Filter
  • Attenuation in the delay band: –130 dB
  • Bandwidth ripple: ± 0.00001 dB
  • Sampling frequency: 10 kHz – 200 kHz
  • Works with 16-, 20- and 24-bit audio
  • Works with PCM formats
  • DSD format interface available
  • Optional interface to external digital filter or DSP available

According to Texas Industries, the PCM1792A chip is equipped with TI's advanced segmented DAC architecture to improve dynamic performance and reduce clock jitter.

Enhanced options with other DACs exceed the above specifications.

Modification N6iiT01 ES9038PRO (32-bit, 8-channel converter is positioned by the ESS manufacturer as the flagship of the PRO series), for example, provides a dynamic range of 140 dB. The AK4497EQ is interesting in that it reproduces the DSD 515 with a sampling frequency of 22.4 MHz.

I’m so detailed in describing the characteristics of DACs because the recent study by Yuki Fukuda and Shunsuke Ishimitsu from Hiroshima City University using double-blind testing proved that a person (subjects under the age of 22 years old participated in the study) can differentiate where Hirez, and where is CDDA, i.e. to distinguish hearing signals recorded with different sampling frequencies.

Design, design, equipment

The player comes in solidly made packaging made of cardboard. The standard equipment includes a USB cable, an adapter for balanced connection of headphones (XLR) and a black leather case, decorated with red stitching. The body of the device is massive, 2.3 cm thick and weighing 300 g.

At the same time, it feels like the device easily and conveniently lies in the hand, ergonomics are thought out to the smallest detail.

Technical properties

The player was equipped with a polymer lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 5900 mAh. Thanks to the capacious battery, the continuous operation of the device in playback mode is 24 hours. The display is an IPS-matrix with a diagonal of 4.2 inches and a resolution of 768×1280. The screen displays colors correctly and works smoothly.

The device works using the Android 8.1 Oreo OS, which is customized for use with the player and comes with pre-installed Cayin and HiBy players. Both did not leave a negative impression, they worked without delays and errors. The player’s software prevents quantization artifacts from occurring and directly transfers the digital stream to the DAC, bypassing the built-in OS clock frequency conversion.

The PGA2311 resistive matrix is ​​responsible for volume control, and two pairs of OPA1622 operational amplifiers with an output power of <1 Watt with a load of 32 Ohms are responsible for amplification.

Interfaces and memory

The player uses 3 types of digital interfaces (I2S, USB, SPDIF). Analog path interfaces – two pairs of headphone outputs and line outputs (unbalanced trs 3.5 mm and balanced XLR are used). Wireless interfaces for transmitting Wi-Fi and Bluetooth information are supported. For Bluetooth, the SBC, aptX, LDAC codecs are available.
The built-in memory of the player is 64 GB, the slot for an external microSD card supports up to 512 GB.

Subjective impressions

The player is easy to control, intuitively clear what to do. The case is comfortable in the hand, pleasantly heavy. If necessary, with such a body, you can easily strike the old woman with a percent-raiser on the head (cross out) to defend herself in the case of a robbery. The sound is neutral clean, audiophiles call it so "transparent."

Reinforcing headphones YB04

As a pair for the described player, both the manufacturer and I highly recommend the in-channel monitors YB04.

Design

Reinforcing headphones YB04 built in a two-way scheme. The design uses Sonion dual woofers and Knowles dual tweeters, which have established themselves as drivers with sufficient fidelity for HI-Res and flat frequency response.

The case is made of aluminum, which reduces weight and has a positive effect on ergonomics. In a multicore braided cable, combined (copper and silver) conductors and transparent polymer insulation are used.

Kit

The device comes with:

  • Case for headphones;
  • A set of ear pads in various sizes.

Subjective impressions

Lightweight and ergonomic, evenly sounding, with crisp, articulated treble, bright mid and moderately deep bass. Rare in-ear headphones with a full-fledged scene and allowing to localize phantom sound sources. Ergonomics allows you to wear without taking off 3-4 hours, without experiencing discomfort.

Other specifications

frequency range: 18 – 40 kHz;
resistance: 30 ohms;
sensitivity: 113 dB.

Impression of sharing YB04 and N6IIT01

I listened to the player and headphones as a kit, and the first thing you notice is synergy. It is sometimes difficult to choose components, even products of famous brands are sometimes difficult to compatible. In this case, there are no problems. It seems that the headphones were created as one device with a player, which is likely, given their origin. The level of intrinsic noise is practically zero. A blind comparison with a headphone model 4 times more expensive than YB04 did not reveal any differences.

Subjective testing conditions:

  • Material: requiem in D minor V.A. Mozart, in an authentic interpretation of the State Moscow Chapel under the direction of Almazov, recorded in the Polotsk Sophia Cathedral.
  • File: FLAC
  • Source: SACD

conclusions

In my opinion, it is difficult to find an analogue in the ratio “price – quality”. If desired, flaws can be found, but it will take a lot of time. I suppose that a couple is the choice of music lovers who are not ready to spend a fortune on sound, but who aspire to high end quality.

Our traditional advertising:
Our catalog contains the headphones and player described in the article, and here you can easily find speakers, headphones, amplifiers, soundbars and other useful devices. The assortment includes warm lamps, vinyl and other joys for lovers of technoarchaics. We did not forget about cold transistors and completely frosty digital devices.

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