Under the hood.
In the heart of L6 you will find the same flagship AKM 32bit DAC AK4414 as it was used in their original LP5 DAP. I was very impressed with LP5 sound when I reviewed that DAP and was happy they reincarnated its signature into a more pocket friendly L6 design. When you look at the other part of L6 spec, it has EXCELS-O and EXCELS-A as its OpAmp and headphone amp, but I never heard of these brands and can’t find by searching. I don’t know if those are real part names or made-up names to keep the design spec secret, but it also doesn’t matter to me because I prefer to treat every DAP as a black box and evaluate it based on its performance rather than components.
There is a team of experienced hardware designers (who used to work for ColorFly) behind Luxury & Precision name, led by Mr. Wan, and their focus and priorities are always on the sound quality first. So, they selected the best low resistance large current metal alloy inductors, silver military tantalum caps, and long-life series ALPS buttons and volume wheel. The only thing a little puzzling here is the design of headphone amplifier section and the resulting output impedance where 3.5mm SE is 2Vrms output with 2.2ohms impedance, and 2.5mm BAL is 4Vrms output with 4.4ohms impedance. Without a doubt, it has a powerful output, designed to handle 8-600ohms headphones, especially from BAL output for high impedance demanding cans. But for multi-BAs and hybrids, even a single ended 2.2ohm output could be a borderline high. I will go over all this in my Sound Analysis section, but in general, this is a powerful DAP which can output 200mW @16ohm (SE) and 550mW @16ohm (BAL).
The internal storage is 32GB ECC FLASH, would have been better to have at least double of that in a flagship DAP, but you also have micro SD card expansion. The lithium battery capacity is 3000mAh which should give you about 11hrs of playback with a screen off at a normal listening volume level. Playing high res files will decrease the battery life performance since it requires more processing power. And it supports majority of popular lossless and lossy file formats, such as APE, AAC, ALAC, FLAC, WAV, MP3, WMA, DFF, DSF, AIFF, and SACD-ISO. The only thing I found here was a little delay when switching songs between different bit depth (16bit vs 24bit).
One hardware related issue which never got addressed from the previous designs is a lack of headphone output relay to determine when headphone is plugged in and unplugged. Often when you unplug the headphones, L6 continues to play. The same as you can hit Play when nothing is plugged in and it will start a playback. This is something you have to be aware of, so you don’t drain a battery by mistake.
The user interface of L6 is very similar to L5Pro and L3/L3Pro, having nearly the same minimalistic design. I don’t think a fancy GUI is L&P top priority. As I mentioned already, L&P finally implemented the vertical up/down touch swiping which makes scrolling through a long list of songs or settings to be a breeze. But I still would have loved to see a horizontal scrolling in the Playback window to fast forward/back through the track.
The interface is split into 3 main tabs. File Browser is where you search and select songs by Directory, All Music, Artist, Album, My Playlist, as well as Update of media library. Under Directory listing, you can long press any song with an option to add it to playlist or to delete it. Under All Music listing, long press gives you an option to add the song to playlist. Under My Playlist, you can long press individual songs to remove from the list.
In addition to File Browser, the other 2 tabs are Now Playing screen and Settings screen. In Now Playing the top half of the screen shows the song artwork if one is embedded, and shows the gain setting, file bit depth and sampling rate, song/artist name, playback progress bar, and touch controls for Play/Pause and Skip. You can only tap playback touch controls and can’t swipe to fast forward/back through a song.
Settings has Play Mode (with Repeat, Sequence, Repeat All, and Shuffle), Equalizer (only 5 presets and no band adjustment), Visualization (to either display ID3 tag or Lyrics), Audio output setting, and Advanced setting.
In Audio output you have Gain (high, low), Digital filter setup (fast, slow), Output phase setting (0deg, 180deg), DSD decoder setting (native or DSD to PCM), DoP SPDIF (off, on), and SPDIF (off, on). When SPDIF is off, LO is enabled from a shared output at the top of the DAP. In Advanced settings you have Display settings (with light time and brightness level selection), Language, Audio shutdown timer, Sleep timer, Lock setting, USB connection mode (MSC or USB Audio for DAC), USB audio delay (short or long), USB power supply (usb power or self power so it doesn’t drain smartphone when connected through USB OTG DAC), Default setting reset, and System info.
Also, at the top in Notification bar you will find play/pause icon, play mode icon, volume level, and battery status icon.