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Luxury & Precision L5 PRO 32bit Portable Lossless Music Player

Rating:
4/5,
  1. Brooko
    Luxury & Precision L5 Pro – Sonically Wonderful – But Still A Work In Progress
    Written by Brooko
    Published Jan 31, 2016
    3.5/5,
    Pros - Sound quality (fantastic), build quality, aesthetics (looks), navigation, USB DAC now working, touch screen
    Cons - UI has quirks and remains behind competition, USB DAC limited, no user configurable EQ, feature light
    L5Pro34.jpg
     


    The L5 Pro was provided to me gratis as a review sample.  I have made it clear to L&P that I still regard any product they send me as their sole property and available for return any time at their request. But I thank them for the ability to continue use of the L5 Pro – both for follow up comparisons and also for my own personal use.


     

    INTRODUCTION

    I’ve been reviewer on Head-Fi for some time now, and one of the distinct advantages I’ve had is being able to listen to, and compare, equipment that would normally be beyond my frugal budget. Last year I was lucky enough to be approached by Luxury and Precision (contacts arranged through Twister6 and John Yang), to listen to, and evaluate their TOTL DAP – the LP5.  This proved to be an absolute eye-opener for me as it was the first time that I realised portable gear (if designed well) could rival desktop set-ups.  It also proved to be the best sounding DAP I’ve heard (with full sized headphones).
     
    Fast forward a year and I’m now reviewing their L5 Pro DAP.  It’s a player I’ve actually had now for around 3 months, and I would have reviewed earlier, but I chose (with Mr Wan’s blessing) to wait until the firmware was a little more mature.
     
    The L5 Pro is available at Penon Audio for USD 809, and therefore sits between the LP5 Gold (USD 1090) and Fiio’s new X7 (USD 650).
     
    DISCLAIMER
     
    I was provided the Luxury & Precision L5 Pro as a review sample.  There is no financial incentive from L&P in writing this review.  I am in no way affiliated with L&P - and this review is my honest opinion of the L5 Pro.  I would like to thank Alex, John and Mr Wan for making this opportunity available.
     
    Additional disclaimer – the unit I have unfortunately arrived with a faulty volume pot. It is usable but does not rotate normally.  I have chosen to ignore this issue in the review, as the issue looks to be a one-off, and I know if this was a purchased unit, L&P would have immediately replaced it.
     
    ABOUT LUXURY & PRECISION
     
    Luxury & Precision is a Chinese based audio company headed by the main designer, Mr Wan, who previously created the Colorfly C4 and CK4, and more recently (as Luxury & Precision) the LP5 which I reviewed hereFrom what I have seen in L&P’s designs to date, they are uncompromising on using the best sonic components available, and very particular in creating striking aesthetic designs which are often a fusion between contemporary and traditional. 
     
    PREAMBLE - 'ABOUT ME'.
     
    (This is to give any readers a baseline for interpreting the review).
     
    I'm a 48 year old music lover.  I don't say audiophile – I just love my music.  Over the last couple of years, I have slowly changed from cheaper listening set-ups to my current set-up.  I vary my listening from portables (Fiio X5ii, X3ii, LP5 and iPhone 5S) to my desk-top's set-up (PC > USB > iFi iDSD).  I also use a portable set-up at work – either X5ii/X3ii > HP, or PC > E17K > HP.  My main full sized headphones at the time of writing are the Beyer T1, Sennheiser HD600, and AKG K553.  Most of my portable listening is done with IEMs, and lately it has mainly been with the Dunu DN-2000J, Jays q-Jays, Alclair Curve2 and Adel U6. A full list of the gear I have owned (past and present is listed in my Head-Fi profile).
     
    I have very eclectic music tastes listening to a variety from classical/opera and jazz, to grunge and general rock.   I listen to a lot of blues, jazz, folk music, classic rock, indie and alternative rock.  I am particularly fond of female vocals.  I generally tend toward cans that are relatively neutral/balanced, but I do have a fondness for clarity, and suspect I might have slight ‘treble-head’ preferences.  I am not treble sensitive (at all), and in the past have really enjoyed headphones like the K701, SR325i, and of course the T1 and DT880.
     
    I have extensively tested myself (ABX) and I find aac256 or higher to be completely transparent.  I do use exclusively redbook 16/44.1 if space is not an issue.  All of my music is legally purchased (mostly CD – the rest FLAC purchased on-line).
     
    I tend to be sceptical about audiophile ‘claims’, don’t generally believe in burn-in, have never heard a difference with different cables, and would rather test myself blind on perceived differences.  I am not a ‘golden eared listener’.  I suffer from mild tinnitus, and at 48, my hearing is less than perfect.
     
    My experience with DAPs in the past has ranged from the lower end all the way to what I would consider as high-end, and includes experience with most of Fiio’s line-up including the X7, the HSA Studio V3, and of course L&P’s own flagship LP5 Gold.
     
    WHAT I LOOK FOR IN A DAP
     
    I thought I’d list (before I start with the review) what I really look for in a new DAP.
    1. Clean, neutral signature – but with body (not thin)
    2. Good build quality
    3. Reasonable battery life
    4. Easy to use and practical interface
    5. Able to drive both low impedance and (within reason) higher impedance cans without additional amping.
    6. Value for money
    7. Enough storage to hold either my favourite albums in redbook, or my whole library in a reasonably high resolution lossy format (for me – aac256)
     
    So how did the L5 Pro fare? Does it meet its price point expectations, and would I buy it?
     
    This is a purely subjective review - my gear, my ears, and my experience.  Please take it all with a grain of salt - especially if it does not match your own experience.

    THE REVIEW

    For the sake of brevity, from this point onward, I’m going to simply call the Luxury & Precision L5 Pro the “L5 Pro” – as much for ease of typing than anything else.
     
    PACKAGING AND ACCESSORIES
     
    The L5 Pro arrived in a plain cardboard outer packing box, which (like the LP5 before it) gave no clues as to what lay inside. Opening the flap revealed a black sleeve, simply adorned with the words “Luxury & Precision”, over two more identically sized inner boxes.  The inner boxes are 94 x 185 x 31 mm, have a textured outer black layer and consist of a box and lid configuration.  Opening the first box I was presented with the L5 Pro in all its gorgeous glory safely nestled in a soft felt/velour on foam moulded cut-out.  Below the cut-out is a black envelope which contains the user manual (all in Chinese), a screen protector, and a warranty card.
     
    L5Pro01.jpg L5Pro02.jpg L5Pro03.jpg
    Sleeve with inner boxes
    Inner boxes
    Accessory box

     
    The second box has two separate smaller inner cases – labelled USB cable and leather case. The case is genuine tan suede leather, is perfectly formed for the LP5, and fits like a glove.  The cut-outs for button and ports are perfectly formed, fit precisely and provide easy access. The case feels really good in hand, looks wonderful, and above all provides very good protection – especially with the outer surface adding a 1-2mm buffer between the screen and any hard surface (if laid face down).
     
    L5Pro04.jpg L5Pro05.jpg L5Pro06.jpg
    Case and USB cable
    Rear of the leather case
    USB cable - gold connectors and ferrite choke

     

    The USB box houses a high quality USB cable with a ferrite choke and gold plated connectors on both ends.
     
    All throughout the first opening of boxes and discovery of their contents, the underlying feeling was indeed true to the company’s name – Luxury & Precision.  Everything you need is included – except perhaps a SPDIF cable. First impressions are that the presentation so far meets the price bracket expectation.
     
    L5Pro07.jpg L5Pro08.jpg L5Pro09.jpg
    L5 Pro in its case
    Paperwork - warranty manual & screen protector
    The gorgeous L5 Pro

     

    TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
     
    The table below lists most of the relevant specifications, and so that I can show comparison with the two other DAPs I have in this higher end bracket – I have also shown the X7 and LP5 specs.  I have chosen not to show output power measurements because (a) there are none shown on the L&P specs, and (b) it is simpler to show the associated volumes in the body of the review – admittedly from a more subjective standpoint.
     
     ​
    L&P L5 Pro
    L&P LP5
    Fiio X7
    Approx cost
    ~ USD 809
    ~ USD 1090
    ~ USD 650
    Dimensions
    ~ 123 x 63 x 17mm
    ~ 133 x 76 x 24mm
    ~ 130 x 64 x 17mm
    Weight
    217g
    200g
    210g
    Lossless file formats supported
    APE, FLAC, WAV, ALAC, AIFF, WV (but please read review)
    APE, FLAC, WAV, WMA, ALAC, DSF, DFF, AIFF, WV(WavPack)
    APE, FLAC, WAV, WMA, ALAC, DSF, DFF
    Lossy file formats supported
    MP3, aac, ogg vorbis, WMA WV (but please read review)
    MP3, aac, ogg vorbis
    MP3, aac, ogg vorbis
    Use as external DAC?
    Yes – limited to 44.1/16
    Yes – limited to 44.1/16
    No – but planned with fw
    Play time
    Up to 12 hours
    12 hours
    9 hours+
    DAC chip used
    AKM Verita 4490
    AK4414
    ES9018S
    Main amp chip
    1812A
    1812A
    OPA1612
    S/N (H/O)
    Not stated
    123 dB
    115 dB (A-Weight)
    THD+N (H/O)
    Not stated
    <0.0015%
    < 0.0015%
    Highest resolution
    768 kHz, 32 bits
    192 kHz, 32 bits
    384 kHz, 32 bits
    DSD/DSF/DFF support
    Yes – Native
    Yes – Native
    Yes – Native
    Impedance (H/O)
    Not stated
    Not stated
    < 0.5 ohm
    Line Out
    Yes, shared with digital out
    Yes – separate port
    Yes, shared with digital out
    Digital Out
    Yes – separate port, 3.5mm to coax
    Yes – coax port
    Yes – separate port, 3.5mm to coax (cable supplied)
    External storage
    1 x Micro sdxc up to 128Gb
    1 x Micro sdxc up to 128Gb
    1 x Micro sdxc up to 128Gb
    Internal memory
    32Gb
    64Gb
    32Gb
    Shell / Casing
    Aluminium magnesium alloy with rosewood back
    Aluminium-lithium alloy with rosewood back and sides
    6061 Aluminium alloy

     
    If at any stage I’m given further specifications, I will add them to the table – especially on performance, power and impedance.
     
    In addition – because the internals boast high quality parts, and Mr Wan has again spared no expense with the L5 Pro, I’ve also listed some of the main features and further specifications from their website / literature.  We’ll look at some of these in more depth in the review.
     
    Features:
    1. Display: 3.5-inch IPS display, resolution is 480 * 320, OGS type touch screen.
    2. Body and buttons Materials: 6 Series aluminium-magnesium alloy, CNC integrated molding process, anodized surface and sand blasting
    3. Physical buttons: Play /pause, forward / back, volume knob button, hold/lock button, two customisable function buttons (C1, C2)
    4. Five gain-modes to meet various earphones, ultra-low gain, low gain, medium gain, high gain, ultra-high gain. Better adapted to suit any impedance headphones
    5. L5‘s volume control way is encoder plus professional volume control chip CIRRUS CS3310.
     
    Further Specifications
    1. Master Control Chip: 1812C
    2. DAC Chip: AKM latest generation VERITA 4490 (DAC supports sampling rates 32BIT 768KHZ, DAC supports up to DSD256)
    3. USB support sampling rates up to 24 Bit/192Khz(to be supported later through firmware updates)
    4. Crystal Oscillator: 1PPM TCXO
    5. Op Amp: Precision
    6. Headphone Amp: 1812A double crown (means best performance selected out of 2/5 chips)
    7. Co-Processor: 1812M supports up 32BIT decoding and hardware solute various DSD format (DIFF, DSF,DAT and ISO format)
    8. Power Management Chip: 1812P
    9. Professional Volume Control Chip: CS3310
    10. PCB: 6 layer 3U dark gold matte black
    11. Inductance: sun lure closed electromagnetic inductance
    12. Filter Capacitor: ultra-low ESR MLCC Murata X7S 6.3V100UF
    13. Buttons: Alpine extra-long life buttons
    14. Built-in Memory: 32GB only, 24 bit dual channel flash memory optimized for sonic performance.
    15. Additional Memory Slot: Up to 128gb Micro-SD cards.
    16. Charging Voltage and Current: the charging voltage 5V, the charge current must be greater than 500mA, recommended more than 1.5A charging current, in order to obtain the fastest charge rate.
     
    BUILD
     
    What looks good to us is very subjective and will differ from person to person.  From my personal point of view, when I first saw the L5 Pro, my immediate thoughts were that it looked drop dead gorgeous. Even after 3 months, I still think it is one of the best looking DAPs I’ve had the pleasure to use.
     
    L5Pro10.jpg L5Pro11.jpg L5Pro12.jpg
    Side view
    Top of the L5 Pro
    Navigation / audio physical buttons

     

    The outer shell consists of solid single piece chassis of magnesium-aluminium alloy which has been precision CNC processed.  For finishing L&P have anodized and sand blasted the surface. What you are left with is a gorgeous gun-metal smooth and precise chassis which has a lot of straight edges and angles – but these are softened slightly by micro bevels on all the 90 degree angles. Where the LP5 is curves and luxury, and the X7 is smart and minimal, the L5 Pro projects both industrial reliability and also extreme precision.  I don’t know if that the look they were going for but I love it.
     
    The rear of the unit (the back plate) is dark rosewood, and anyone knowing Mr Wan’s heritage with the Colorfly and also LP5 will recognise this as a particular trademark of his designs (the use of wood).  Rather than feeling awkward or out of place – it actually goes quite nicely.  The L&P logos are nicely carved/imprinted into the Rosewood surface.  And for those not liking this aspect of the design – it disappears when you use the cover.
     
    The front of the unit is mainly taken up with the large 3.5 inch, 480 x 320 res IPS touch screen. The screen is very easy to read indoors, and even outdoors in direct sunlight I had no real issues with the controls (it washes out a little, but still legible). The software has 5 brightness settings so you can adjust to suit.
     
    L5Pro13.jpg L5Pro14.jpg L5Pro35.jpg
    Bottom - all ports and sockets
    Rosewood ear plate
    L5 Pro inside it's leather case

     

    The right hand side has 3 buttons which control play/pause, and track advance/reverse as well as scrubbing (by holding the buttons whilst playing).  The play/pause button doubles as an on/off switch. The top has 3 buttons on an angled section on the front face – two of which are user programmable whilst the third turns the screen on and off and can also lock the controls.  All of the buttons give good tactile feedback and are very easy to locate.
     
    Also at the top right is the analogue volume pot.  I won’t go into great detail about this because unfortunately mine arrived with a fault.  While it does change the volume, it’s not smooth on my unit, and takes more turns to adjust one point of volume.  I’ve taken no marks off in the review for this – as any reviewer knows, these things can sometimes happen – and no-one so far has mentioned similar issues. Other than that the pot tracks from 0-60, and measured with my SPL meter each click appears to change the level by around 1-1.5 dB.  This is only approx. – because above 30 dB seemed to be +1.5 and below about 28/60 the changes were almost exactly 1.0 dB.  I don’t know at this stage if that is by design, or if it is my faulty pot.  Either way – the volume is fine enough that you’ll be able to find your ideal listening level.
     
    At the bottom of the unit are the inputs and outputs and include a 3.5mm headphone out, 3.5mm line-out/coaxial out, USB port (for charging, data transfer, and to use the USB DAC mode) and a single micro SD storage card.
    The plug sockets are very firm, precise, and when plugged to the appropriate jacks feel very solid.  The coaxial out seems to require a 4 pole connector – or at least the Fiio one works well with the L5 Pro.
     
    In summary, I’m very impressed with the build quality (with the exception of my faulty volume pot). So once again high marks – the L5 Pro again meets its price expectation point.
     
    UI (USER INTERFACE) / USABILITY / FEATURES
     
    Please note that this is with the current released firmware 1.0.0.6.
     
    The first comment I’d make with the L5 Pro is that the UI is a huge improvement over the UI on the L&P5.  The inclusion of the touch screen makes navigation a lot easier, and if some of the quirks were ironed out, and features added, it could be on par with its price point. So in this next section, we’ll summarise the features that are there, and then we’ll look at what needs work or is missing altogether.
     
    L5Pro15.jpg L5Pro16.jpg L5Pro17.jpg
    Main explorer screen
    All songs screen
    Artist screen

     

    The other thing to note at this stage is that whilst the screen is touch enabled, there is no swiping at this stage, so scrolling is push button to the next/previous screen.  This takes a while to get used to. While scrolling in any of the explorer or menu screens, you can use the physical previous / next buttons to go up or down, and holding these buttons will scroll (to an extent).
     
    At the very top is a status bar which shows whether you are playing or paused, the current volume, the battery status, and there is also icons which show up if you have SPDIF enabled or have the L5 Pro charging. The status bar is visible from all screens.
     
    L5Pro18.jpg L5Pro19.jpg L5Pro20.jpg
    Album screen
    Artist with multiple albums - and nothing in order
    Now playing screen

     

    When first switching the L5 Pro on, you are greeted with a main menu which gives access to folder, song, artist or album browsing. At the top is a back arrow.  On the right is touch button to access settings, and next to it is one to go to the now playing screen. The main body of the screen shows choices available depending on the browsing mode you choose – folder, song, artist or album.
     
    Folder mode brings up either internal or external and behaves like any other folder mode. At this stage I’ve split my artists into groups by letter, and also split them across internal and external storage. Song mode lists all songs in the library (via the tag/scanned data system) – and everything is listed in alpha numeric order – with all artists/albums mixed together. I’ve only got a third of my total library on the L5 Pro (2425 tracks) but there is no search function, no swiping, so I’d have to potentially push my way through 200+ pages of songs to find a particular track in this mode (which makes it essentially useless) – however it is good if you want to shuffle your entire library. Artist mode lists artists in alphabetic order (much easier), but then tracks are listed again in alpha numeric order – so if you have multiple albums, they are all jumbled together. Album listing at least shows complete albums – and in order – but again if you have a large collection then you’ll need to get used to scrolling several pages to get where you need to.
     
    L5Pro21.jpg L5Pro22.jpg L5Pro23.jpg
    Close up of info in now playing screen
    My folder structure - note the order (another quirk)
    Settings screen

     

    To cap it all off, scanning the library is not consistent, which often results in some formats not scanning, and some scanning incompletely. An example – I have 3 albums by We Came As Strangers.  In track mode all the tracks are listed, and they all play. In Album mode, all details are listed and they all play.  In artist mode, not all the tracks are shown (some albums just show the first track of each album), and the files don’t always show – bringing errors onto the screen.  Yet in folder mode (the easiest navigation method), all tracks, artists and albums are there and easy to find, and all play with no errors.
     
    The easiest way to use the L5 Pro is to use folder mode for most operations and song mode for entire library shuffle.
     
    L5Pro24.jpg L5Pro25.jpg L5Pro26.jpg
    Play sequence settings
    EQ screen - jazz EQ is handy (adds upper mid emphasis)
    Audio output options

     

    The play screen is a lot more straight forward, and shows album art, the gain mode being used, the bit depth and sample rate, whether EQ is engaged, as long as your tags are recognised - the title and artist, but strangely not the album name. Then you have track time, total time, a position indicator, and play/pause, previous and next on screen buttons (you could also use the side tactile buttons). The previous / next buttons can also be used to scrub forward and backward.  Pretty easy to operate and straight-forward.  What would make it better would be to make the gain and EQ on screen indicators selectable – so that they would take you to the appropriate settings screen.  Something to think about perhaps?
     
    L5Pro27.jpg L5Pro28.jpg L5Pro29.jpg
    Gain screen
    Filter screen
    Advanced Settings

     

    In the settings screens, you have the choice of:
    1. Play mode (the usual repeat, sequential, repeat all, or shuffle)
    2. Equaliser (only presets – rock, pop, classic, bass and jazz)
    3. Visualisations – select either ID3 (tagged) or lyrics (I didn’t test this).
    4. Audio Output Settings (gain, SPDIF, DOP over SPDIF, digital filters, output phase)
    5. Update the media library
    6. Advanced – which has sub-menus for:
      1. Display (screen brightness and light timer)
      2. Language selection
      3. Auto shutdown settings
      4. A sleep timer
      5. Key settings (including programming the two user configurable buttons)
      6. USB mode (DAC or MSC/storage mode)
      7. Default settings (reset everything to default)
      8. System info
     
    L5Pro30.jpg L5Pro31.jpg L5Pro32.jpg
    Languages
    Screen settings
    Key bindings - handy!

     

    Rather than go through everything in extreme detail, I’ll explain a couple of features further, and list some of the bugs.
     
    User configurable buttons
    By far the coolest feature – you can choose the default action of two of the top buttons – and the choices are pretty good and include things like the gain, or digital filter, or the play mode.  It’s a pity that EQ wasn’t one of the choices.  But it is a nice feature, and I have one currently mapped to the explorer screen and one to the now playing screen.
     
    Gain
    There are 5 gain settings – Ultra-Low, Low, Med, High and Ultra-high. I measured the different settings with an SPL meter and 1 kHz test tone, and they translate to (using a set of Oriveti primary IEMs – at 11 ohm and 107 dB/ mW sensitivity):
     ​
    Ultra-low
    Low
    Med
    High
    Ultra-high
    dB reading
    72.3
    78.3
    81.3
    84.3
    85.8
    delta vs prev
    0
    +6.0
    +3.0
    +3.0
    +1.5
    total delta
    0
    +6.0
    +9.0
    +12.0
    +13.5

     
    Digital Filters
    You have the choice of 3 digital filters – fast attenuation, slow attenuation and super-slow attenuation. I tried each with quite a few different tracks, and couldn’t really tell the difference – this may just mean my ears are less sensitive to the attenuation range.  The good news is that the filters are also able to be set before you use DAC mode, so I switched to the DAC, enabled the filters and measured the fast and super-slow. I graphed them so you can see the effect, and when I saw the level of drop-off for both filters, I immediately rechecked using my E17K (which I’ve also shown) – it’s the flat green line.  So the default roll-off with the L5 Pro appears to start around 4-5kHz no matter which filter you use, and roll down by about 5dB at ~ 15kHz and continue rolling steeper after that.
     
    DACfastatten.png DACfastvssuperslowatten.png DACL5ProvsE17K.png
    DAC frequency response
    Super slow vs fast attenuation
    Also measuring E17K to check measuring equipment

     

    I’d love it if you could turn the filters off altogether and see if it also measured dead flat without them engaged, but it appears one must be engaged at all times.  The one thing I will say is that despite the curve (or maybe because of it), the L5 Pro still sounds wonderful.
     
    Play formats
    L&P actually state the formats that are supported, but also state that “part of supported format need worked with the later upgrade software”.  From my testing, that is a pretty accurate statement. APE, MP3, and ALAC all played perfectly and tags were recognised (apart from the odd glitch). AIFF wasn’t recognised and would not play.  AAC256 was recognised as far as tags go – but wouldn’t play. FLAC and DSD played perfectly, but wouldn’t recognise artist or album tags for me.  My tagging is meticulous, and the same tags are recognised by practically all other players I have. And to go further, the ALAC files I used were transcoded from the FLAC files, so the tagging was identical – it just wasn’t recognised by the player in FLAC format. YMMV – but in this area L&P needs some serious work on consistency.
     
    Outputs
    I tested both the SPDIF out and line-out with my iDSD as DAC/amp and also simply as an amp – and the combo worked as expected, with no errors or glitches. But when it came to trying DOP mode, I simply couldn’t get a signal to play on the iDSD at all.  If anyone can on their unit – please let me know how you enabled it.  For me it doesn’t work.
     
    DAC mode
    With the latest software update L&P enabled the DA mode with the L5 Pro. Using it is simply a matter of switching the USB to this mode in settings, and plugging into the USB port of your computer or laptop.  At this stage, the OS (Windows 10) loads a generic driver, and you are limited to 16/44.1 (redbook).  But it does work perfectly without having to load any custom driver. To my ears (subjectively), the L5 Pro in this mode still sounds really good – smooth, organic, rich. More on this shortly.
     
    Missing Features
    For a DAP in this price range, we’ve listed some of the features it has, and some of the glitches, so maybe we should also highlight some of the things the L5 Pro is missing.
    1. There is no gapless
    2. There is no folder play-through (I find this very frustrating)
    3. There is no playlist support
    4. The preset EQs aren’t bad, but there is no user customisable EQ option
     
    Closing Thoughts on GUI / Features
    First up – L&P should be congratulated on the progress they’ve made with the L5 Pro.  The GUI is easy to use, reasonably intuitive, and if you’re prepared to accept some glitches and missing basic features, it is a lot better to navigate than some of the other DAPs out there.  But while they are improvements, and I believe L&P are working hard to improve further (I hope the fw updates keep coming), at the price point they have pitched the LP5 Pro we as users should expect better.  If I had to give a stand along mark for the GUI – it would be a 5/10 at best.  It has great potential though.
     
    POWER
    The L5 Pro’s power output settings aren’t listed, so I decided to try some real world tests. Firstly – it handles all my IEMs with consummate ease – even the very sensitive Oriveti Primacy and DUNU DN2000J.  So finesse is a strong point, and the ability to drop the gain low is a real plus. So the real test was going to be performance with harder to drive headphones.
     
    With my HD600s, the L5Pro set on high gain, and the volume at 43/60, the HD600 was at a very listenable average dB level of 70-75 dB with peaks at 80-85 dB. If I cranked it all the way to 60/60, I was well into the 90-100 dB range. But more than that, the HD600s sounded as good as out of my iDSD, and perhaps even better (that’s how close it is).  At no time did they sound under-driven, flabby, or peaky.  In fact, the HD600 with the L5 Pro is a subjectively excellent pairing IMHO.
     
    Switching to the 600 ohm Beyer T1 and once again I was impressed by the pairing with the L5Pro.  I did need an extra couple of clicks (45/60) to get similar SPL levels, but once again the dynamics were very good.  In direct comparison with the super powerful iDSD I’m not noticing any shortfalls in presentation. So far with the L5 Pro, I’ve had no need to even think about using an add-on amp.  For my headphones, there simply is no need.
     
    BATTERY
     
    From fully charged, I connected my HD600, set the output impedance to high, selected a redbook FLAC album, and set it to repeat.  The volume used was normal listening volume (43/60). Uninterrupted, with the screen mostly off, gave me just a little over 10 hours play. Repeating the test on low gain with my Adel U6 (32/60), and this increased to just under 11.5 hours. Charging time varied depending on the walwart I was using, but typically 3.5 hours would get a full charge from empty.
     
    COMPARISONS/SOUND
     
    So now to the crunch, and also to the most subjective part of the review.  How does the L5 Pro sound to me after the last 3 months with it? The following is a generalisation only – because obviously each headphone you pair sounds different, but over time it is possible to sum these in your own thoughts and describe a general signature.
     
    If I was to summarise it, I would say that the L5 Pro sounds slightly warm, rich and full bodied, with very good detail, but without having this accentuated or spot-lit. It doesn’t mask anything or have anything even close to a metallic or brittle edge.  Instead you get a beautifully smooth yet clear and detailed presentation.
     
    The background seems to be very black, and this helps with a sense of imaging, instrument separation (some call this layering) and the ability to let a headphone and recording’s sound stage interpretation shine through.  Playing Amber Rubarth’s binaural track Tundra whilst at the same time testing Sennheiser’s HD630 VB was brilliant, but the HD600 was where the L5 Pro really shone with a sense of spaciousness. The two are just magic together.
     
    L5 Pro and IEMs
    I’ve tried the L5 Pro with a variety of IEMs, and IMO it has better sonics with the IEMs I tried (U6, Alclair Curve2, DUNU 2000J, Jays q-Jays) than the more expensive LP5 did.
     
    The brighter IEMs like the 2000J were absolutely excellent, but it was a warmer, fuller, lusher presentation than I would normally expect from the 2000J.  This was actually a really nice change, and one that really appealed to me.  The q-Jays were also similar, and I was worried that they would be a little too smooth – but although the presentation was slightly different to what I was used to on other DAPs, again it was a presentation that was absolutely fatigue free and easy to listen to for hours.  The Alclair Curve 2 and Adel U6 were both a little darker, and it was when I was playing around with the preset EQ settings discovered that the Jazz setting (for my tastes) was perfect with both IEMs.  In fact my personal favourite IEM pairing overall with the L5 Pro would be the Adel U6 on the Jazz EQ setting.  The dynamics, bass slam, and glorious presentation of vocals were simply sublime.
    Directly comparing the LP5 and L5 Pro with IEMs and I have to admit I’m enjoying the L5 Pro a little more. It’s hard to describe, but I’d say the L5 Pro is a little more dynamic, and surprisingly it also sounds a little smoother and more organic with the IEM’s I’ve tried.
     
    Comparing with Fiio’s X7 and this time it is absolutely dependent on the IEM and if I’m using EQ or not. Both DAPs are incredibly clean, clear, and utterly enjoyable to listen to. For uneq’d sound in a direct comparison, I prefer the 2000J with the L5Pro, and the others with the X7 – but in reality all are really close overall, and it’s simply coming down to preference.
     
    If I introduce L5 Pros Jazz EQ setting with my slightly darker IEMs, then the L5 Pro nudges slightly ahead.
     
    L5Pro39.jpg L5Pro38.jpg
    Great with IEMS and
    also full sized headphones

     
    L5 Pro and Full Sized Cans
     
    You’ve already read my thoughts on pairing with both the HD600 and T1, so I won’t go over old ground.  Where the L5 Pro skips ahead of the LP5 with IEMs, the tables are reversed with full sized cans for me. The additional power and expansiveness of the LP5 is utterly engaging for me – especially with the HD600. The L5 Pro is still wonderful, and easily outclasses the X7 with its IEM module in this contest (more organic, smooth, spacious and detailed), but still falls short of the LP5.  Those who’ve heard the LP5 Gold will know what I mean.  It’s like having a full sized hi-fi system in your pocket.
     
    L5Pro36.jpg L5Pro37.jpg
    Fiio X7, L&P L5 Pro and L&P LP5
    Fiio X7, L&P L5 Pro and L&P LP5

    VALUE & CONCLUSION

    Remember way earlier in the review when I listed what I would look for in a high end DAP?  Well here we are at the end of the review and it’s time to see how the L&P L5 Pro performed.
     
    If we look first at the build quality and aesthetics, the L5 Pro gets extremely high marks.  For me it is really a beautiful and robust design, and the materials used are definitely high end.
     
    The practical features like storage and battery life are also what I would expect given the overall output power, and it definitely has enough storage for my uses. If I was to need more storage, I think we’d need to do something a little more about the GUI and navigation anyway. Storage and battery life may not be exceptional, but they are adequate given the competition.
     
    The sonics and power are exemplary and the real strength of the L5 Pro – delivering a rich, organic sonic experience, but with plenty of detail. It’s a sound you can fall in love with easily. And the power delivery is perfect for those looking for a standalone DAP to drive both IEMs and full sized cans.
     
    Which leaves us with the UI, and the features (or lack of them) – and this ultimately is the L5 Pro’s Achilles heel. Whilst the UI is relatively easy to navigate, it is slightly cumbersome, and the need to rely on workarounds for missing or incomplete features (I had to rebuild my library in ALAC to use tagging properly).  The good news is that improving this experience can be delivered via firmware updates, and L&P seem to be reasonably active in trying to improve the user experience.
     
    So that leaves the questions – is it worth $800 of your hard earned money, and how does it rate overall.  If you’re comparing to some of the more boutique player in the +1K range, then I’d suggest that it’s likely the L5 Pro will more than hold its own sonically, but $800 also puts the L5 Pro squarely against the X7 in this price bracket.  Assuming Fiio’s add-on amps might add another $100 - $150 max to the price of the X7, and all of a sudden you have a real battle on your hands.
     
    At the moment I’d personally take the cheaper and far easier to use and more fully featured X7, although if L&P continue to update the L5 Pro over the coming year, the two DAPs might end up sharing the crown in this price sector.
     
    But based on current performance – I’d rate the L5 Pro close to perfect on sound, power, build, and looks, but merely average on current UI and bugs.  70% or 3.5 stars from me.  If you’re willing to forgive it’s currently eccentricities though, I would still recommend the L5 Pro on sonic performance alone.
     
    FINAL THANKS
     
    Thanks for sticking with me through another long review. I would once again like to pass my thanks to Alex (Twister6) for recommending me as a reviewer to L&P, John Yang for facilitating the review unit, and Mr Wan for creating such an incredible sounding player.
    L5Pro33.jpg
    1. View previous replies...
    2. jinxy245
      Another great review, thanks! I will eventually upgrade my Fiio X3 (1gen) but I have to decide what price bracket I'm willing to shoot for (the Cayin & Shanling offerings seem to offer good bang for buck). The L&P seem to be a real contender in this price bracket.
       
      on a separate note, I noticed you referenced the Adel U6, which I am VERY curious about...would a review be in the works?
       
      Thanks again!
      jinxy245, Feb 6, 2016
    3. Brooko
      @zeissiez - thanks. I'd agree that the L5 Pro sounds a bit more organic, think that might be the filter used. Both definitely have their strengths, and both are very good value for the money.
      @Podster - thanks Pod.  Yep - she really gets into her classical.  Mozart lover - although I tend to favour Tchaikovsky and Beethoven.  Gifting her my K701 was an easy choice!
      @NPWS - unfortunately I haven't heard the Onkyo
      @jinxy245 - thanks.  Just waiting for manual Adel modules to arrive (should be here next week), then I can complete the U6 review.
      Brooko, Feb 6, 2016
    4. jinxy245
      Awesome...I'm looking forward to it! I'm really intrigued by the Adel concept.
      Cheers!
      jinxy245, Feb 6, 2016
  2. cleg
    Luxury in everything
    Written by cleg
    Published Oct 21, 2015
    4.5/5,
    Pros - built quality, sound, controls, screen, leather case, battery life
    Cons - software need more work
    1MainPic.jpg

    So, I've decided to add my 5 cents about Luxury&Precision's new DAP L5 Pro. First of all, I would like to Thank Luxury & Precision for providing me with a review sample in exchange for my honest opinion.

    I will skip almost everything related to package, accessories set and interface. twister6 made a perfect review, describing all those stuff, and I'm not sure that I can add something there. So, to be short, package is excellent, leather case is outstanding, L5 Pro exterior is perfect, but software need some work to do.

    3Case.jpg

    I especially like well-thought UX of this player, it's controls are intuitive, and placed in correct positions for optimal control. Two custom buttons is an absolutely brilliant idea.

    So, I'll go directly to most interesting part, sound. For sound evaluation I've used following headphones:

    • HiFiMan Re600
    • ZMF Omni
    • Oppo PM-3
    • Dunu DN-2000J and Titan 1
    • Lear LHF-AE1d
    • Ambient Acoustics AM10

    For test purposes I've used lots of different music, but this time I've paid my tribute to ukrainian musicians. Just a few tracks.


    L5 Pro definitely have it's own "house sound", overall signature I'd call a little bit smoothed with a small hint of pleasant velvet darkness. I've auditioned lots of DAPs, but L5 Pro was able to surprise me few times.

    Bass is really a best part for my ears, it's really the best bass presentation I've heard, it's definitely good for portable device: fast, deep, full of energy and have a good resolution. Small accent on this part of spectrum deliciously highlight lower notes of all those bassy instruments, giving them more body and realism. Bassheads can select right headphones, and got those beloved scull vibrations, those who like more moderate bass, can enjoy L5 Pro's lows details and authority.

    Mids are also good, nowadays, almost everyone can do a good mids. L5 Pro isn't an exception. Mids also have great resolution, spaciousness, emotions and details, everything that we like in mid frequencies. This DAP smoothes mids a little bit, I think it's more a "feature" then a "bug", but this smoothness hides some micro details. In exchange, you'll get amazing effect of solid musical performance, it's magnitude. In some sense, L5 Pro is an impressionist, it tries to give you emotions, not photorealism.

    5Lowerscreen.jpg

    Scene hade a really good depth, player greatly separates foreground and background sounds. Scene width is somewhere between average an wide. Instruments separation is really good, they preserve their nature. Also, L5 Pro is great in 3D effects, common for electronic music and some prog-rock recordings.

    Highs of L5 Pro are tuned to balance smoothness of mids. Player makes small accent on treble, but without being to harsh (at least to my taste). This DAP is pretty OK even with bright Dunu Dn-2000J (again, to my taste, I've seen another opinions). Treble is really good detailed, all cymbals and other high-freq instruments sounds great, treble have nice extension, giving sound all necessary air and light. But please note, if you are treble-sensitive, better audition DAP before buying.

    7Upsidedown.jpg

    Few comparisons with other DAPs I've heard (please note, that it is very subjective thing, which relies more on personal tastes).

    Fiio X5-2 Of course, Fiio is much more simpler DAP, it cost more then 2 times less, and he can't show L5 Pro's resolution and tight lows. They are simply from different leagues sound-wise. But I must admit that feature-wise Fiio is better, they just have more mature firmware.

    11AgainDunus.jpg

    QLS QA-360 To my ears, QLS have more straightforward presentation, it doesn't try to play in it's own way, his strong part is analytical sounding. If we'll imagine, that L5 is a luxury car, than 360 is an offroad 4x4.

    Cayin N6 Both DAPs makes an emphasis on overall musical and smoothed presentation, but L5 Pro went a little bit further in this. N6 is not so energetic on low frequencies, so it sounds a bit colder then L5 (relatively, of course).

    12RearDunu.jpg

    HUM Pervasion I'd call it L5 Pro younger brother, it have similar approach to sound, with accent on bass and musical mids, but overall presentation is not as refined as L5 ones.

    Small first impressions video.

  3. twister6
    Audio Luxury with a Wooden Touch!
    Written by twister6
    Published Oct 14, 2015
    4.0/5,
    Pros - high quality build, touch screen and hardware controls, 11+ hrs battery life, very impressive sound quality.
    Cons - still needs a bit of fw work, usb dac is not enabled yet, touch swipe and EQ is still work in progress.

    Before I begin with my review, I would like to Thank Luxury & Precision for providing me with a review sample in exchange for my honest opinion.
     
    Manufacturer website: http://luxuryprecision.net
     
    Currently, L5 Pro is available for purchase from Penon Audio.

     
    While so many audiophiles and regular audio enthusiasts are familiar with ColorFly DAPs and their popular C4 model with a "warm" wooden back, not too many are aware that ColorFly team is responsible for another exclusive line of luxury DAPs, appropriately named as Luxury & Precision.  In the past I had an opportunity to review their LP5 Gold and found it to stand out from the crowd with a sound tuning at the top of the food chain (relative to everything I heard prior to that review).  But one of the things where it felt short was a rather primitive user interface.  I actually felt a bit frustrated knowing how many other DAPs out there have a slicker design with a more polished interface and nowhere near the sound quality and the power of LP5.  At that point my wishful thinking got the best of me imagining what Luxury & Precision could do to improve their DAP experience, but not in my wildest dreams did I envision that L&P will take it up to a whole new level and actually challenge the almighty A&K.
     
    While a lot of us, myself including, can question the value of A&K DAPs, there is no denial they have a very solid design and one heck of interface with very intuitive touch and hardware controls.  What Luxury & Precision managed to achieve with L5Pro is to take the best of their sound design and to scale it up to a new hardware level with both touch and physical controls while still retaining their signature "wood" details.  Actually L&P had an intermediate L5 release, teasing everybody with a new footprint and touch screen ergonomics (though no wood details), but L5Pro is the one which embraced all the final improved design changes including a new capacitive touch screen and a signature wooden back panel.  Here is more about Luxury & Precision new L5Pro flagship.
     
    It became almost mandatory for mid-fi and summit-fi DAPs to be packaged in a premium box, so I wasn't expecting anything less from L&P but they still managed to surprise me.  Arrived packaged in a black matte sleeve with a glossy black "Luxury & Precision" elegant print, inside you will find two equal dimension premium boxes with a black textured finish.  One box was similarly labeled with a glossy black "Luxury & Precision" print and contained L5Pro inside of a velvet covered foam cutout and an envelope with screen protector and manual.  The other box had a glossy black "Accessories" label and contained one small box with a glossy "USB Cable" print and another bigger box with a glossy "Leather Case" print.  I was very impressed with such attention to packaging details, and it definitely made my unboxing experience more enjoyable.
     
    Unboxing.
     
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    luxuryprecision_l5pro-25_zpsk8vgphn3.jpg
     
    I already mentioned about accessories while following each individual packaging box and its label printed on the top.  In more details, you will find a high quality usb to micro-usb cable with RFI filtering ferrite choke, a bit of an over-kill in my opinion.  The envelope had a manual, sadly in Chinese only, and a screen protector.  Obviously, I would have loved to see instructions in both Chinese and English and to include a spare screen protector in case if you mess one up.  No other cable was included and with an exception of a leather case, that was it for accessories.
     
    Though typically a DAP doesn't require too many accessories, considering premium packaging and its flagship status, I would have loved to see maybe a LO interconnect cable with wooden connectors or something like a gift pen with wooden housing and a capacitive tip for L5Pro touch screen.  Any accessory to capture the "wooden" essence of L&P design would have been welcome.  Maybe L&P can consider that in a future?
     
    Accessories.
     
    luxuryprecision_l5pro-26_zpswvti6rii.jpg luxuryprecision_l5pro-27_zpssrref6jh.jpg
    luxuryprecision_l5pro-28_zps8xb960nx.jpg
     
    Similar to A&K, L&P includes a premium form fitted leather case with L5Pro.  The case is made out of what appears to be soft suede cowhide leather (tan color).  The back of the case has a neat stitching, the right side (for control buttons) and the bottom have precise port cutouts, and the front with a big display cutout opening has a sturdy reinforcement around the edges and at the top.  At first I was a bit surprised they didn't use a traditional black leather, but later realized how great it compliments the design with a nice contrast that makes it stand out from all of my other DAPs (most of which use silicone gray or black cases).  Plus, this leather case has a unique finish like in moccasin shoes where even if you leave a mark, you can brush it off in the opposite direction to make it disappear.  The only thing I found slightly inconvenient was related to L5Pro power button which is actually Play/Pause on the right side, and while sliding the case in or out you brush against it which powers up/down the DAP.  It's not the end of the world unless if you frequently exchange your micro-SD cards (that port is covered at the bottom and requires case to be removed).  I can also imagine a lot of people won't even use the case because L5Pro looks and feels awesome without it.
     
    Leather case.
     
    luxuryprecision_l5pro-14_zpspgzl5l6f.jpg luxuryprecision_l5pro-12_zps0u0sllni.jpg
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    When it comes to a design, it's hard to ignore the fact it was probably inspired by A&K DAPs, though I wouldn't call it a copycat but rather L&P own interpretation of it.  L5Pro has a solid aluminum-magnesium alloy construction which utilizes CNC integrated molding process with anodized surface and sand blasted finish.  This process is applied both to the metal frame and all 6 buttons which have corresponding functionality etched on their surface.  L5Pro feels SOLID and PREMIUM in your hand; there is no other way to describe it.  Even with a wooden veneer panel on the back (most likely covering a metal back) and a large 3.5" touch screen on the front (completely flush with a surface), frame is 100% flex free.  All the buttons have a round shape, slightly raised off the surface, with a nice tactile response when pressed, and nearly undetected rattle (just a slight bit).  Volume pot has a matching finish with a nice resistance and a slight click action when turned which gives you a good level of control.
     
    The size of L5Pro is about 123mm x 63mm x 17mm, and it feels not too heavy but still with a nice heft of about 200 grams.  It definitely has a very good ergonomics and comfortable fitment, making access to touch screen and playback control buttons comfortable with one hand.  The right side has 3 transport buttons, Play/Pause, Skip/Fast Forward, and Skip/Rewind Back.  The buttons are accessible to control playback when screen is off and also when you are in the main "now playing" screen.  When you are in Setup or browsing files, the forward/back buttons double as hardware navigation buttons to go up or down the list and play button is used to select/enter.  This comes very handy when you are scrolling through a long list of songs since touch swipe scrolling hasn't been implemented yet, and you either use up/down touch buttons or use these hardware buttons which I found to be faster.
     
    The top of the DAP has volume pot in the right corner, accessible from the front and the back, with a guard piece over the corner and the top to protect from accidental bumps when in your pocket, and with a nice textured surface enhancing the grip.  To the left of it you have 3 buttons along a beveled corner edge, a rather cool design element.  One button is to lock a screen and the other two are C1/C2 custom shortcut buttons.  Yes, you have two custom buttons which you can use to assign shortcuts for a quick access to various DAP functions (brilliant!!!).  The bottom of the DAP has 3.5mm gold plated Headphone Output (finally, don’t have to deal with 1/4” adapter), 3.5mm shared Line Out and coaxial digital SPDIF outputs, micro-usb charging port (fast charging up to 2A) which also doubles as USB DAC input (in a future firmware update, but NOT enabled yet), and micro-SD card expansion (up to 128GB) in addition to L5Pro internal 32GB flash memory.  There is nothing on the left side, and I already discussed about the back graced with a wooden veneer featuring a carved L&P logo at the top and "Luxury & Precision Classic" etched toward the bottom.  Also worth mentioning on the front underneath a display there is Luxury & Precision name etched into the metal.
     
    Design details.
     
    luxuryprecision_l5pro-15_zpsokpy6zyr.jpg luxuryprecision_l5pro-16_zpsa1x8tjiu.jpg
    luxuryprecision_l5pro-17_zpsskvsxk5o.jpg luxuryprecision_l5pro-18_zpsdltqse6o.jpg
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    From the hardware perspective there is no question about it - you are dealing with a pure class premium product.  But how does it translate into the interface (GUI)?  Looks could be deceiving, and I've seen it firsthand when reviewed LP5 Gold.  To power up L5Pro you have to press and hold Play/Pause button and within 3 seconds DAP boots up and ready to go.  Interface is not too complicated and has a rather logical partitioning.  Touch interface is very responsive and fast, but touch-swiping hasn't been implemented yet.  Thus in the main play screen you have to use either touch transport buttons or hardware buttons since you can't fast forward by swiping the playback progress bar.  The same with Setting menu or Song list menu, you have up/down touch buttons at the bottom or can use hardware buttons for a faster navigation.
     
    The GUI interface is split into 3 main categories: File Explorer, Playback Screen, and Settings Menu.  File Explore gives you different ways to view songs: by Directory (with a list of sub-directory folders and files in the root path), All Music (listing all the files alphabetically), Artist (listing by artist in alphabetical order), and Album (list by album based off the file tag).  My favorite way to browse songs is by Directory, though in that view mode everything is sorted by date (when files were copied over) rather than alphabetical order, and I hope they will fix it in the next firmware update.  In the playback screen you have an area dedicated to display album art, a gain setting, a sampling rate, EQ preset name, a song and an artist name, playback progress bar with a current time position and a total time, song number within current directly, and playback buttons.  On every screen you also have a visible status bar at the top showing play/pause status in the upper left corner, volume level in the middle, and battery icon in the upper right corner.  My only wish here is to be able to see battery percentage next to the icon so there is no guessing.
     
    System setting menu was filled with a lot of config and customization options, and I was actually happy to see something different considering I got used to similar looking FiiO and Cayin menu choices.  In Play Mode you have 4 choices with Repeat, Sequence, Repeat all, and Shuffle.  In Equalizer you have a choice of Normal setting and 5 presets (Rock, Pop, Classic, Bass, and Jazz).  Though I’m not a fan of presets, these were actually very useful to assist you with some sound shaping.  There is no custom EQ adjustment, and I hope it will be implemented in future updates.  Visualization has an option for ID3 tag or Lyrics display.  Audio Output setting has its own sub-menu with PA Gain (five gain settings with Ultra Low, Low, Medium, High, and Ultra High), SPDIF on/off (which should enable/disable LO/SPDIF), DoP SPDIF on/off, Digital filter setup (Fast vs Slow attenuation), and Output phase setting of either 0 or 180 degrees.  Update Media Library re-scans content of internal 32GB memory and micro-SD cards to update file list.
     
    The last selection in System setting is Advanced which has Display setting where you can adjust Light time and Brightness level, select a Language, Configure auto-shutdown, set Sleep timer, configure Key Setting (which also includes C1/C2 setting), restore to Default setting, and display a detailed System Info which also includes used and total capacity of internal and external memory.  Without a doubt, my favorite config setting is C1/C2 short cut keys assignment.  You get 10 parameters to choose from where you can pick one for each of these short cut keys.  For example, I selected “Now playing” for C1 and “Explorer” for C2.  Now, regardless of which screen I’m in, pressing C1 takes me to the main playback screen and C2 takes me to a file browser.  Another shortcut assigned I found useful was Gain setting where I could cycle through 5 gain setting by pressing the assigned shortcut button.  Later I decided to use only Low Gain which is optimal for all of my IEMs and full size, and doesn’t drain battery as much.
     
    GUI.
     
    luxuryprecision_l5pro-01_zpsgexucb1y.jpg luxuryprecision_l5pro-03_zpsbyp6lrha.jpg
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    Before I will go into sound analysis, I do want to bring up a few spec parameters.  Just like with LP5 Gold, Luxury & Precision doesn’t spare any expenses and goes for the latest top components in their design.  Everything from AKM latest generation VERITA 4490 DAC (which can support up to 32bit 768kHz sampling rate, and up to DSD256 format), to a quality headphone amp (1812A double crown), power management (1812P), volume control (CS3310), 32GB Micron dual channel Flash memory, and even brand name discrete capacitors and inductors.  Supported formats cover everything from DSD lossless (DSF, DIFF, ISO) to PCM lossless (FLAC, WAV, AIFF, APE, ALAC), and the usual compressed lossless (MP3, AAC, WMA, and OGG).
     
    Display is 3.5” IPS with 480x320 resolution which is not super sharp when it comes to album cover art or text, but it’s not pixilated either.  Taking into account this is OGS type touch screen and considering large real estate of the display area where everything is out in the open, clear, and easy to read – I was satisfied with screen usability.  Also, as I mentioned before, having hardware controls is a huge plus where you don’t have to keep your screen on most of the time.  Volume adjustment has a very easy rotary access without a need to push any up/down buttons, and you can play/pause and skip forward and back using hardware transport buttons on the side without even looking at the DAP.  I actually found the arrangement of Play/Pause followed by Skip buttons to be more logical than in AK120ii where Play/Pause is in the middle between skip buttons.  One of the benefits in keeping the screen off is to be able to extend battery life where in Low Gain I got up to 11 hours of playback.  I’m sure in Ultra Low you can extend it even further since L&P spec promises up to 12hrs of battery life, but I found Low gain to be just perfect for all of my IEMs and efficient full size headphones.
     
    luxuryprecision_l5pro-29_zpsuhloga6l.jpg
     
    Sound Analysis.
     
    From the moment I started to listen to L5Pro, I became addicted to its sound.  At first I got an impression that a sound signature was a bit warm because I'm so used to FiiO X5ii and Cayin N6 sounds.  But after going back to AK120ii, QA360, and LP5 Gold and comparing it to L5Pro, I realized that other DAPs with brighter signature were just thinner (especially in lower mids) and not as rich in tonality.  L5Pro has a very dynamic highly resolving smooth sound with analog full body quality, tuned more toward the neutral-warmish signature.  It has a rather nice soundstage expansion with a noticeable above the average width and depth, and an excellent layering and separation of instruments and vocals.  Overall it has a great low end extension with an articulate bass impact, detailed organic mids with a full body lower mids, and well defined extended treble.  The background is black, and with a choice of 5 gain settings you can control hissing level of the most sensitive IEMs.
     
    Sound analysis of a DAP is always a tricky business because it’s a relative comparison to others while evaluating in conjunction with a signature of your headphones and their pair-up synergy.  So here is a brief rundown of some of the headphones I tested with L5Pro, including Volume setting value.  Please note I only used Low Gain.
     
    EL-8C (v49) - wide spacious sound, excellent low end impact with a fast punch and a great extension, smooth detailed mids, extended well defined treble.  L5P drives these planar magnetic drivers with authority.  No upper frequency harshness or metallic sheen.
     
    R70x (v55) - smooth organic spacious sound, drives these 470 ohm open back cans with authority.  Low end is tight, well controlled and very articulate, with a surprising slam.  Smooth detailed neutral mids and the same goes for treble.  Overall, these headphones neutral balanced signature is well preserved and even enhanced with a more articulate low end impact.
     
    PM-3 (v49) - warm detailed smooth sound without a need to switch to high gain like I had to do it with other DAPs (and amps) in order to drive these to full potential.  Not the best layering and separation, and some mid-bass bleed, but that is more typical of PM-3 performance.  Overall, I don’t think it was the best pair up, where PM-3 needs a brighter source.
     
    VE ZEN (v52) - excellent detailed sound driving these 320 ohm earbuds, with a deep low end slam, wide soundstage, smooth detailed mids, and clear extended treble with a great definition.
     
    Ei.xx (v39) - smooth detailed sound with a massive bass slam, absolutely no hissing (considering how much these CIEMs hiss with other sources), great soundstage expansion, clear smooth detailed mids, and clear well defined treble.  I was actually very pleased with this pair up.
     
    W60 (v43) - lush organic sound with a deep sub-bass extension and impressive mid-bass punch, mids are full bodied, warm and smooth, not super detailed, treble is smooth and detailed, zero hiss.  Sound is very spacious. Not sure if it was the best pair up since mids lost a bit of details, but low end improvement was impressive.
     
    UMPro 50 (v41) - aggressive balanced sound with an excellent low end slam, great sub-bass extension, fast mid-bass punch, and full body detailed mids, also a decent treble extension.  Soundstage width actually approached W60 level.
     
    UE600 (v39) - zero hiss, clear bright sound with a nice tight low end and bright detailed upper mids/treble.  I typically like to use these IEM for my hiss test, and L5P passed with flying colors.
     
    DN2000J (v42) - very minimum hiss, nice tight low end, mids were a bit peaky, while treble was crisp and with great extension.  Surprisingly, this wasn’t the best pair up due to some upper frequency harshness.
     
     
    I'm sure for some people DAP comparison will be more valuable than a sound analysis.  By doing such relative comparison you factor out headphones sound sig and can concentrate more on the actual differences.
     
    DAP physical comparison (L5Pro, LP5, AK120ii, X5ii, N6, N5, QA360, AP100).
     
    luxuryprecision_l5pro-30_zpsgopn5crq.jpg luxuryprecision_l5pro-31_zpsscbunlhj.jpg
    luxuryprecision_l5pro-32_zpsd5rgpyru.jpg
     
    L5P vs LP5: LP5 has a touch wider staging and overall LP5 sound has a little more punch.  LP5 has a touch sharper sound, and overall tonality sounds a bit more digital in comparison, while L5P has a very similar sound quality and retrieval of details while being a little more analog and slightly less aggressive.  Overall, L5P sound is more organic and with smoother characteristic, while LP5 is a little sharper and more digital in comparison.
     
    L5P vs N6: N6 is slightly brighter and thinner, with a similar soundstage expansion, similar retrieval of details, though L5P sound is richer, with fuller body, more organic timbre, similar articulate low end, slightly more organic and thicker mids (L5P), and the treble (L5P) has a touch less sparkle and airiness.
     
    L5P vs AK120ii: AK has a slightly narrower staging, but sound tonality is very similar with their smooth detailed signature.  At the same time, I found AK120ii sound to be a touch slower, and also L5P has more power to drive demanding headphones.
     
    L5P vs QA360: similar soundstage expansion, L5P has a tighter sound and slightly better dynamics and overall sharper definition.  Here I can definitely hear L5P having a slight edge over QA360, but we are not talking about night’n’day difference.
     
    While I found a bit more differences comparing L5Pro to N6, with AK120ii and QA360 the gap was a lot narrower, and it could all come down to a preference of a footprint size, design ergonomics, and interface implementation if you are choosing between these three DAPs.  Also, I found that N5, X5ii, and AP100 with their mid-fi performance were on a different level in terms of sound quality.  These DAPs definitely represent an excellent price/performance ratio and some might prefer their brighter and thinner signature, but they don’t reach the same level of dynamic performance (especially in terms of layering and separation) or have the same full body organic sound (if that’s your cup of tea).
     
    Conclusion.
     
    In the conclusion of my LP5 Gold review, I made an analogy with a high performance stripped down muscle car describing that DAP.  With L5Pro, your muscle car now got some style to show off both its inner and outer beauty.  Every single detail of this design screams Luxury, and it’s not just an eye-candy but also a cool audio gadget with a great user interface and a very impressive audio performance.  It’s still a work in progress since L&P needs to address sorting issue (you have to sort folders and songs alphabetically, not by date), and I would like to see touch-swipe implemented for a smoother screen navigation.  Perhaps being able to customize EQ would be great for those who want to fine tune synergy with their headphones, or add capability to tag songs for a playlist of favorite tunes, and hopefully USB DAC will be enabled soon.  But if you take L5Pro as is now and consider its truly luxurious build quality, very practical touch and hardware controls, 32GB of on board memory and 128GB micro-sd expansion, 11+ hrs battery life (on DAP with 3.5” screen!!!), a detailed smooth dynamic layered sound, and a very competitive pricing – L&P L5Pro is one heck of a contender to challenge a lot of summit-fi DAPs!
      Brooko, cleg, vlenbo and 10 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. twister6
      @RochRx7 : it could be hit'n'miss.  I love it with ES60 but not so much with W60, etc.  One thing for sure, at the current moment this is my favorite DAP... though X7 is incoming :wink:
      twister6, Oct 15, 2015
    3. ASpencer
      Superior review, thorough and precise.  I could almost hear the sound based on the vivid descriptions.
      ASpencer, Oct 20, 2015
    4. PinkyPowers
      Looks like an amazing DAP. There are things about its interface I like more than my AK120ii. Fortunately for my wallet, this review also rejuvenated my admiration for the Astell & Kern.

      That wood paneling, though... *drools*
      PinkyPowers, Oct 31, 2015