Lotoo PAW S1 Portable USB DAC-Amp

General Information

Lotoo PAW S1 Portable USB DAC-Amp
SPECIFICATIONS
Supported Format:
PCM 32K-384KHz DSD64/DSD128

Weight: 27.10g

Size: 66mm*22mm*13mm

Max Output: 3.5mm:70mW/ch @32Ω

4.4mm:120mW/ch @32Ω

HP Port: 3.5mm Unbalanced

4.4mm Balanced

Freq. range: 3.5mm: 20-20KHz..+0/-0.017dB

4.4mm: 20-20KHz..+0/-0.016dB

USB Port: USB Type C

Noise Level: 3.5mm: -118dBu

4.4mm: -114dBu

Screen: OLED 128x32

THD+N.. Low gain: -106dB(0.0005%)

High gain: -108dB(0.0004%)

OS.. LTOS

S/N: 3.5mm: 123dB

4.4mm: 122dB

Firmware Update: Supported

The all-new peerless PAW S1, which inherits the same prestigious DAP architecture from the Lotoo PAW Lineup, aims to raise the bar again in the field of Portable USB DACs. Much more than a rocket in your pocket, the PAW S1 is the revolutionary game-changer that will ignite your Multi-Media Entertainment experience like never before!

Title: Beyond Comparison

Known for its top-of-the-line DAPs, Lotoo decided to add a DAC-Amp to its PAW Line-up to satisfy the needs of ultra-portable audio lovers. It goes way beyond the conventional boundaries of the performance a DAC is expected to have. At a fraction of a cost of its prestigious DAP siblings, what Lotoo introduces to the market is a pocket powerhouse built upon the same DNA as the rest of the PAW family line. The PAW S1 uses the same architecture Lotoo employs in its DAPs (namely PAW Gold Touch and PAW6000), so you can consider it to be an ultra-small DAP without storage.


Lotoo-PAW-S1-DAC-AMP-Balanced-4.4mm-3.5mm-Smartphone-Powered-EQ-AKM-Audiophile-Heaven-Review-15.jpg

Latest reviews

SHOOTINGTECHIE

100+ Head-Fier
Lotoo PAW S1- Built like a Tank and Reliable like a Tank round !!!
Pros: 1) Good Timbre
2) Thicker tonality
3) Good details
4) Great build quality
5) Good mids
6) Great EQ
7) Musical
Cons: 1) Upper mids might be little too energetic
2) Treble is somewhat less foreward than the rest of signature
3) Less power
4) Separation and not wide soundstaging.
LOTOO PAW S1

Lotoo
needs no introduction. They are well known now for their Lotoo paw 6000 dap and it has created waves in the audiophile community. But today, I get to try one of their cheaper offerings which has been making a name for itself in the industry- The LOTOO PAW S1.

DISCLAIMER- The LOTOO PAW S1 is provided by the courtesy of Conceptkart as part of review tour in INDIA. But this subjective review of mine are my own thoughts and I am not being paid anything to say positive or negative about this dongle. That said I want to thank Conceptkart for giving me an opportunity to hear it!!! You can find a link to buy them here

SPECIFICATIONS-

  • AKM AK4377
  • Supported Format: PCM 32K-384KHz DSD64/DSD128
  • Weight: 27.10g
  • Size: 6.6cm x 2.2cm x 1.3cm
  • Max Output: 3.5mm:70mW/Ch @32Ω; 4.4mm:120mW/Ch @32Ω
  • Freq. range: 3.5mm: 20-20KHz..+0/-0.017dB; 4.4mm: 20-20KHz..+0/-0.016dB
  • USB Port: USB Type C
  • Noise Level: 3.5mm: -118dBu; 4.4mm: -114dBu
  • Screen: OLED 128x32
  • THD+N. - Low gain: -106dB (0.0005%); High gain: -108dB (0.0004%)
  • S/N: 3.5mm: 123dB; 4.4mm: 122dB
  • PRICE-165$/ 11900 INR
UNBOXING EXPERIENCE-
I will let the photos do the talking-😁
LOTOO PAW S1.jpg

20211008_122945.jpg

20211008_123022.jpg

20211008_141240.jpg

BUILD AND SIZE-
The build is pretty dense. It’s an all-metal build with somewhat of a matte finish, might easily scratch. But the OLED screen is an awesome addition and makes it much better for the viewing angle. The screen goes off pretty fast but this is better for the long run if you know about burn in which plagues OLED screens. Size is pretty small and easily pocketable but its as long as BTR5.

There are 3 buttons- Two for volume up and down and also circling through the menu ; one more for menu options change
20211008_123134.jpg

20211008_123509.jpg



ACCESSORIES-
  • USB C TO C CABLE
  • PAW S1 🤣
  • USB C TO LIGHTNING CABLE (I WAS SENT BUT YOU COULD BUY IT IF YOU OWN APPLE DEVICES)
  • USB C TO MALE USB ADAPTER FOR PC.
FUNCTIONALITY-
It’s pretty straight forward, plug it in to your Android phone, IPAD, iphone or PC and it just works. You need to provide exclusive access in ROON or tidal app on PC for it to work properly at the required bitrate and frequency. In android, I used UAPP with tidal access and it just worked flawlessly. In IPAD, just plug and play with apple music and in IPHONE, same as IPAD.

Now the best thing about this tiny little device, is the EQ. Some devices take EQ pretty nicely some don’t, but given your mood it’s the best way to change a sound signature. For nearly all the iems and HP’s I tried, all took EQ pretty nicely and the underlying nature of the dongle didn’t change much from device to device.
20211008_123100.jpg

POWAH-
Now the low gain isn’t pretty much powerful but the high gain is decent. The 4.4 pentaconn is much more powerful than the 3.5mm but the sound characteristics remains the same. There is slightly better energy and more background clearance overall. The overall powah is little less though.

NOTE- MY SOURCE IS- PAWS1🤣 and MANY IEMS and 1 HP.

SOUND SIGNATURE (P.S-This is subjective and may not match with yours :D)

BASS AND SUBBASS-


Ohh!!! I am really happy with this tiny little thing haha!!! This has great tonality with above average timbre which is really difficult to see at this price point🤩. The decay is slightly faster than natural but unless you haven’t tried something more organic, this will be your thing pretty much. The bass is not too tight but slightly more on the thicker and little loose side which I like, and feels more natural. The mid bass energy is pretty good and does deliver a punch and not at the cost of sub-bass. The bass dynamics are also pretty good and it doesn’t feel boring. More inter-notes separation and inter-instrumental separation with more texture is preferred, but for the price you getting this, I won’t consider this a con at all😋.

Sub-bass is awesome with good amounts of rumble. The rumble feeling is not too much exaggerated compared to the bass. The tonality is excellent and it is textured. The sub-bass is dynamic though with good coherency with the bass and mids. Does the bass and sub-bass provide atmospheric feeling? Nope, that’s something I felt lacking even when trying my clears.
20211008_123349.jpg

MIDS-

Mids are really good in this iem. They have great tonality and good dynamics overall. They have good microdetails and notes contrast is slightly lacking but still pretty good. The notes have slightly more musical feel to them due to good height that each notes reach overall in the soundstage. The decay is pretty good, more on the natural side lending a good deal of timbre and realism😍. The notes are on the balanced side with good beginnings but lack a little edge definition. The inter-notes separation is decent but inter-instrumental separation is much more excellent. Vocals, both male and female are pretty great. They are more foreward than the rest of the instruments in the mids. They have good extension overall and non-grainy at all. The tonal difference is pretty much better too. The transparency is above its pay grade for sure😁 but its excellent with reverbs coming at you pretty nicely. Upper mids- lower treble seems to have a little too much energy but not overly sharp though. Overall, a damn good experience. Did I forget something, yes, this thing felt more musical than any I have tried yet!
20211008_123458.jpg

TREBLE-

This is the fun part of this thing. The lower treble has a slightly more energy than upper treble or mid treble giving hi-hats a slightly brighter than required feeling, but it’s still not sharp and really good for the overall detailed presentation of this small dongle😁. But the upper treble is really good, there is great tonality and dynamics. There is some air in the wind instruments like trumpets and they do sound great. A little more inter-notes separation would be more preferred. The notes are well defined but lack edge definition but the beginnings of the notes with body are much more distinct. The transparency is great with good number of micro details. The treble though overall compared to mids lacks energy making it feel more mid focussed. The treble does come through though which is a great thing but it does feel a few points less powerful than mids🤔 But I still like this presentation as it took time and many changes of iems and headphones to be able to point it out haha, so pretty difficult to point it out.

HEADSTAGE, IMAGING, SEPARATION AND RESOLUTION-

Head stage is pretty good with lots of height and depth, but lacks in width. There is though some sonic headroom left still. There is not much layering going on but it still manages to keep instruments well separated. The inter-instrumental separation is much better overall and really pushing any other dongle at this price range, to have a run for its money. The imaging is okay, I didn’t expect much but its average but does a decent job. The resolution is good and it really works great with highly resolving iems/headphones.

PAIRINGS-
20211008_135305.jpg

PAW S1 and FOCAL Clear
Now the inherent sound quality of the PAW S1 does come through, with the upper mids providing more energy to the clears, but clear handles them pretty nicely. The clear is inherently much more separated so that is not big of a problem, but the added timbre and also musicality helps clear reach a further level altogether over using something like BTR5. The pairing is really good and I whole heartedly recommend it. EQ is also handled pretty nicely and the sweet EQ made more sense since the Clears have some spikes in the treble region which makes it difficult to handle sometimes.

NOTE- Gain- high and vol-45-50, makes it have good loudness in Skyfall-song.

PAW S1 and VE 7
The VE7 has a neutral and flat signature so adding a musical dongle is for the best. This theory stands true with this pairing, there is more dynamism and notes contrast added which makes it livelier. Timbre isn’t much more exaggerated but still lovely to listen to. This did also take the EQ well without any distortion.

NOTE- Gain- high and vol-15-20, makes it have good loudness in Skyfall-song.

PAW S1 and MEST Mk2
Now this pairing I thought would make more sense, since MEST MK2 has something of a tuning similar to FOCAL Clears with slightly MEST MK2 being on the analytical side. But unlike my expectations, this sounded okayish type. There was loss of vocal balance and control (it became too forward) and these sounded a little sharper in upper mids than needed. The dynamics and musicality were good but it became limited to certain genres only but there was added thickness and more timbre which made it more in line for instrumentals and solo vocals.

NOTE- Gain- high and vol-30-40, makes it have good loudness in Skyfall-song.

PAW S1 and SHOZY POLA
Now this pairing was much better than MEST MK2, the Pola loved the extra bass natural timbre and with the Pola’s accentuated atmospheric feeling, this made it much better. The forward vocals added makes the Pola’s midrange more forward and balanced, hence makes this more musical and beautiful to listen to. So worth the pairing for sure.

NOTE- Gain- High and vol- 45-55, makes it have good loudness in Skyfall- song.

PAW S1 and GRACE
Grace and Paw S1 pairing is pretty good. There is more musicality and notes height contrast added. The Grace surely does love some more timbre in bass from PAW S1 and its pretty good in that sense.

NOTE- Gain- High and vol- 20-35, makes it have good loudness in Skyfall- song.

PAW S1 and BLON 03
Blon 03 loves Paw S1, the added timbre and bass definition really helps. They have an increased musicality and they synergise well with each other. There is though slight midbass encroachment in some recordings probably a slightly wider soundstage will help blons again.

NOTE- Gain- High and vol- 18-25, makes it have good loudness in Skyfall- song.
20211008_140441.jpg

COMPARISON-
SPARROW-

Better layering
Better separation
Bigger stage width and depth
Better air
More energetic
Better timber
More powerful

PAW S1-
More organic
Smoother in treble
More musical
Better Built
EQ is lovely

QUDELIX 5K-
Wider stage
Slightly more details
Slightly leaner tonality
Better texture

PAW S1-
Thicker tonality
Slightly better timbre
Better musically
Better solid build
20211008_123406.jpg

SUMMARY-
All in all, this little device is a great addition and given it has no battery (Qudelix 5K ahmm!!! 😉) And is smoother than sparrow, will be better overall for longer listening session. But if you have a demanding HP or iem, I would recommend the sparrow over this. But I somehow love this too since its cheaper than sparrow and nearly similar in pricing to Qudelix 5K, so depends on your needs now, whether you want BT and take a risk on battery of the Qudelix or you want a better built dongle, with a hit on your phone’s battery life. Still, I would recommend this since it’s a good dongle overall.
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Ace Bee

Ace Bee

1000+ Head-Fier
Lotoo Paw S1: Whoa! Blew my mind!!
Pros: Boosts Musicality
Expansive sound
Independent Volume Control
Impressive Eq settings
Cons: Weight is slightly on higher side
Introduction:
Lotoo needs no introduction. So not gonna spend any time on that. PAW S1 has been their entry in to the dongle DAC-AMP world, which is quite crowded at the moment. I cannot tell that I have used a lot of dongles - just a few. But PAW S1 has gained quite a fan base around it. I have always been curious as to how good it actually is, so when the chance to review came my way, I didn't hesitate a bit.

Specifications:
Supported Format:
PCM 32K-384KHz DSD64/DSD128
Weight: 27.10g
Size: 66mm*22mm*13mm
Max Output: 3.5mm:70mW/ch @32Ω
4.4mm:120mW/ch @32Ω
HP Port: 3.5mm Unbalanced
4.4mm Balanced
Freq. range: 3.5mm: 20-20KHz..+0/-0.017dB
4.4mm: 20-20KHz..+0/-0.016dB
USB Port: USB Type C
Noise Level: 3.5mm: -118dBu
4.4mm: -114dBu
Screen: OLED 128x32
THD+N.. Low gain: -106dB(0.0005%)
High gain: -108dB(0.0004%)
S/N: 3.5mm: 123dB
4.4mm: 122dB

Build and features:
Before going to the sound, I would like to touch a bit on the build quality. A solid metal housing, the build seems fairly sturdy. However, it comes with substantial weight as well. The small screen to show necessary information is pretty handy. Switches, although small, isn't easy to miss, and the tactile feeling is pretty good as well.

The independent volume control is indeed a much wanted feature for me, which I have not seen in any other dongles till date. The various eq settings are mighty impressive as well and alters the sound signature substantially, however, I preferred the stock sound of the Paw S1, which was the most impressive one to my ears.

1633084023632.jpeg


Sound:
Whoa! It totally blew my mind at the very first listen! I paired my Tansio Mirai Land with it. Land already has a very refined sound, which got enhanced even more out of Paw S1. To put it simply, Paw S1 provides a beautifully refined sound, each note acquires a refinement where it sounds crisp and well defined without becoming overly sharp and shouty. It does not emphasise any part of the spectrum, rather enhance all of them equally. In particularly, it enhances the musicality of the sound substantially so that the final sound output gets quite immersive.
However, do not make the wrong assumption that by enhancing musicality it is smoothening the notes and compromising separation. Paw S1 enhances separation along with musicality. Stage enhances as a result, and the projection extends well behind the head.
With TSMR Land, when I A/B-ed the Paw S1 with Shanling M3X, I was stumped - to say the least. In blind test - it would have been quite, and I mean, QUITE difficult for me to distinguish one source from the other. I believe that speaks volumes about the performance of PAW S1. Do I regret buying the M3X then? Absolutely not - it has its own perk, but the Paw S1 is indeed a brilliant dongle DAC-AMP that can punch well ahead of its price range - can confirm that.

1633084057914.jpeg


Conclusion:
As already elaborated above, I freaking love the Lotoo Paw S1. This small powerhouse gives such a brilliantly musical as well as expansive sound that it literally took my breath away. I know I have mentioned one con - the weight, in the con, but honestly, it is such a slight issue before all of its impressive features - I could not help but give it a 5-star rating. It deserves it.
  • Like
Reactions: H T T and szore
szore
szore
Love the passion in this review!

05.vishal

New Head-Fier
Looking for a Budget DAP? Go for Lotoo PAW S1 instead.
Pros: 1. Natural Tonality.
2. Absolutely no Distortion.
3. Organic Timbre.
4. Lush Vocals.
5. Ample power on high gain.
6. Several EQ modes are present on the device itself
Cons: Are you kidding? None!
It goes without any saying that Lotoo is already a well-established name in its Audience group: “Audiophiles”. And after giving us gems like Lotoo Paw Gold and Lotoo Paw Gold Touch, they decided to do something for the normal guy: a USB DAC/AMP that is within reach of every one: The Paw S1 which uses the famed AK4377 DAC chip alongside with an independent OPA1622 chip.

Disclaimer:

Lotoo Paw S1 was provided to me as a part of the review tour by ConceptKart. You can buy the same by clicking here. The following review is an honest representation of my thoughts.

Unboxing and In-Box Contents:

The Box is small enough given that we are talking about a USB-C-based DAC/AMP. The following were the contents:

  • User Guide
  • Warranty details
  • Stickers, and firmware instructions
  • A USB Type-C to Type-C connector cable
  • A USB Type-C to USB type-A connector
  • A Lightning cable

Design Language:

The design language is simple yet elegant. There is a tiny OLED display smack at the front of the DAC with Two navigation Keys and one function key present on the right side. One 3.5mm SE and one 4.4mm Balanced port present at the bottom and one USB-C port present at the top.

photo_2021-09-21_12-03-40.jpg


The Display helps you navigate through several features like switching between gain modes or selecting an EQ. It also shows the active Bitrate, the present gain mode, and the volume level.

Source:

I have solely used my Samsung Galaxy S10 for this review

MQA:

Paw S1 also unfolds MQA on Tidal, if that is your thing. I personally prefer my local library.

photo_2021-09-21_12-03-43.jpg


Sound:

Lows:


Since the Paw S1’s overall signature is Natural, the bass is natural as well. The decay is good, the amount is excellent and the quality will satisfy you. Needless to say, you can toggle between different presets of EQ on Paw S1 and get the sound that you like the most.

Mids:

The Warmth of the AK chip is present and yet there is no coloration at all. The timbre is natural and the stage expands as well.

Highs:

Again, no coloration. The Highs extend just perfectly. No peaks observed…no brightness seen. The Paw S1 does everything so efficiently that you have to own one to experience it.

photo_2021-09-21_12-03-37.jpg


Pairing:

Lotoo Paw S1 + Kinera Norn:


Kinera Norn is an excellent IEM. The Paw S1 helps elevate the experience a lot. The stage becomes wider, the bass becomes nice (both quality-wise and quantity-wise) and the highs becomes even more pronounced without becoming fatiguing.


Lotoo Paw S1 + KZ ZAS:

ZAS is an underrated IEM. It does everything that one needs without causing a hole in the pocket. Paw S1 adds more zest to the overall performance. The stage becomes wider and higher, the bass becomes punchier and the treble goes further.


Lotoo Paw S1 + HD58X:

I use a Bravo Ocean amp to drive HD58X, so was very skeptical, how Paw S1 will drive this 150ohms HP. But my worries were cast aside when I paired them with Paw S1. The HP was driven although I had to pump the volume to 95 percent at high gain. But the result was sufficient. The sound was not muffled and the stage was good enough for a casual listening session.

Power drain:

I have a Samsung USB-C DAC amp that I use with my S10. That draws a very negligent amount of power. Compared to this...Paw S1 drains the battery faster…but what you get in return is a far more sophisticated sound with ample features for everyone.

photo_2021-09-21_12-03-41.jpg


Conclusion:

If you are looking for cheap DAP, then don’t for it. Go for Paw S1. You will get the ease of access, ease of using it with Tidal, Qobuz, and your local library. I will do the same.

Comments

There are no comments to display.
Top