Cayin iHA-6 Fully Balanced Headphone Amplifier

I’ve been using my Cayin iHA-6 since March 2019. I have it paired with an RME ADI-2 DAC. The overall build is fantastic, it’s very heavy and beautiful. The sound of the relays clicking when you press the buttons inspires confidence. It feels very quality.

I primarily use the 4 pin balanced stereo XLR out, but do use 1/4" (low) out on some occasions. My impressions so far, is that pairing it with the right set of cans is crucial. For example, it is wonderful with my Audio Technica ADX5000, HD650’s, but to my ears doesn’t play as well with my Audeze LCD-X. I find that the bass extension, as well as some of the upper midrange detail is better when plugging LCD-X’s directly into the onboard amp on the RME. My suspicion is that this is due to a higher than average output impedance on the Cayin. That being said, SendyAudio Aiva’s sound fantastic as Modhouse Argons and others. The tone of the amp is clean, and slightly warm. On low gain setting there is never audible noise with any cans that I use, and low gain is enough to drive 95% of what’s out there. High gain on the other hand is a different story. I would only advise for very hard to drive cans, as I have trouble making it past 35% volume with anything i’ve tried (in balanced mode). The high current setting is useful for planars. It does something to do the sound for sure. I’ve used it with dynamic cans on and off, tends to warm them up but I leave off generally.

Overall I’m very happy that I purchased this amp. It’s a fantastic option for anyone wanting a high quality, very versatile amp to drive higher end, balanced, or hard to drive cans. It’s capable of delivering some serious authority, and looking fantastic doing it.



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I’ve been looking at getting one of these as a possible replacement for my CMA400i, but I haven’t been able to find one used for a decent price. Have to see if one pops up when I get my unit back from repair and sell it. Do you have any experience with the iDAC-6?

Why would you use the 1/4" output on the Cayin when you have a perfectly good ADI-2 DAC to take care your 1/4" needs?

I also own a ADI-2 DAC but running the Monolith 788 (stand alone) for my balanced needs.

I rarely do. Generally for 1/4" I just use the RME. But I like to expirement, so I put all my plugs in all the holes to see how everything sounds. It’s healthy.

I have the same amp but I noticed crosstalk from the source playing through RCA inputs even when balanced XLR input is selected / playing. I am able to hear this more pronounced with high gain turned on. Also, on RCA inputs, the volume does not go completely silent even when the volume pot/knob is turned completely off. I can still hear the music faintly even on low gain.

Has anyone else faced a similar issue?

UPDATE (May 23) - I received the following clarifications from Cayin on this issue:

  1. Volume pot we are using is Mechanical volume pot. It is not digital and therefore it will not be dead silence when you turned the volume down. You can hear faint sound out of it.

  2. Crosstalk is also normal. RCA and XLR selection is next to each other on the rear part of the AMP and controlled by relay.

Looks like these are common to IHA-6 amps but rarely noticed or spoken about. Hope this is helpful for anyone thinking about getting these Amps.

Apart from these minor issues, IHA-6 is solid.

The old idac6 is not very good and it gets really hot. But the new one just came out, hope they could solve some problem with that.

Interesting, did not know they made a new revision. I’ll probably start with the iHA-6 and pick up the dac if one pops up used

Here is a link to the new DAC revision and specs found on Cayin’s German Reseller website:

https://cayin.com/produkt/idac-6/

I was unable to find any other information.

Honestly looks like they combined the iDac-6 and iDAP-6 into one unit… interesting

I agree. Apparently, they have incorporated some of the design cues (especially internals) also from their new flagship dac Cayin CS-100:

https://cayin.com/produkt/cayin-cs-100dac/

I too have the ADI-2 / IHA-6 combo… Actually, I just got the Cayin yesterday… Just waiting for my new Abyss 1266 CC headphones to arrive next week.

I’m curious about your settings on the ADI-2 such as auto reference, reference level, loudness, etc. The manual for the Cayin is very vague in defining the input sensitivity of the amp at 620mV.

I’d like to be able to set the volume knob on the IHA-6… AND control the output volume via the ADI-2… But I am not certain that this is the best way to go about things…

The ADI-2 manual says… With Hi-Fi the setting +7 dBu (equals +4.78 dBV or 1.73 V RMS) is recommended. But the IHA-6’s Input Sensitivity is 620mV… So I’m not sure that + 7 dBu is the best set up either…

I look forward to hearing your feedback.

Thanks

I am currently selling my iHA-6 if you are still looking for one. Let me know if you are interested. Pics: https://imgur.com/gallery/4YhIwZC

It’s tempting, but I just took delivery of a Cavalli LC V1 so I’ll have to pass. GLWS! Unless my Questyle magically comes back from service and I sell it. I never recommend anything questyle, terrible customer service and my unit has been there for 2 months…

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