A Touch of class runs in the family!
PROS: neutral natural tonality, Lotoo optimized OS with 2sec boot up, duplex Bluetooth, Parametric EQ II, solid build quality, SE and BAL Line out, high level of config in Settings.
CONS: no internal storage, WiFi only for fw updates.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
Manufacturer website: Lotoo. Available for sale from MusicTeck.
It has been almost 2 years since I covered Lotoo Touch (LPGT), and it became my reference source which I use in most of my reviews. Today, many DAPs become obsolete within 4-6 months, replaced by newer updated versions with beefier spec. But the relevance of LPGT hasn’t faded away yet, thanks to its super-fast proprietary OS which doesn’t rely on Android and its build like-a-tank design with lots of pro features.
It is clear that Lotoo put a lot of thought into LPGT to guarantee its longevity, and instead of releasing the new updated version, they decided to follow their own footsteps from the days of the original LPG. Back then, LPG got PAW5000 (PAW5k) as a sidekick, a cutdown budget friendly version with a similar functionality. This time, the cutdown version got reincarnated as PAW6000 (PAW6k), except to call it a cutdown will be an insult.
Of course, you can’t release a budget friendly version of a flagship without cutting some corners, but you also will be surprised to find out how much PAW6k inherited from its big brother. Here is more about it!
Unboxing and Accessories.
Unboxing experience of PAW6k was nearly identical to LPGT. While there was no golden sleeve box cover, PAW6k cover sleeve was black with a golden outline of the DAP. With a sleeve off, the rest was the same as Touch, a giftbox quality storage box with a foam cutout under the cover to keep DAP secure during transport, and accessories organized in separate boxes underneath.
Inside you will find all the essentials with a manual, a pair of tempered glass screen protectors (one included as a spare), a cleaning cloth, and a premium USB/USB-C braided cable. The premium leather case was also included.
This leather case fits PAW6k like a glove, enhancing the grip, and protecting from scratches and minor drops. I actually found it to be an improvement over the Touch case. With a large opening at the bottom, the micro-SD card and USB-C charging/data port are now fully open and you no longer have to remove the case to replace the card. Also, the case covers the playback and power buttons on the right side with an easy to feel indented outline/shape around the controls. The top of the case is open, giving full access to Headphone/LO ports and the golden volume wheel. And the actual material had a better-quality leather which felt more premium in comparison to Touch’s softer leather feel.
It was a big step for Lotoo to transform their original non-touch LPG into a touch-screen version. While the PAW6k overall design looks like a slimmer version of LPGT with a thinner volume wheel, the rest of the exterior remained very similar. Relative to Touch, the size of PAW6k is a little smaller, measuring 112mm x 65mm x 18mm (vs 119x69x21) and the weight is down to 224g (vs 310). You still have the same 3.77” IPS Retina LCD touch screen (with 800×480 resolution), and the volume wheel above it in upper right corner with a secure guard around it.
The golden wheel is a signature of PAW design, but PAW6k has a slimmer version which doesn’t protrude outside of rectangular DAP outline like it is LPGT. And just like in the original (LPG and LPGT), you can configure its direction to change volume either clockwise or counter-clockwise. The level of configuration and customization in PAW6k is identical to LPGT, and you can still configure to double tap the screen to wake it up (love this feature!).
Bottom of PAW6k hosts micro-SD card, held inside with a spring-loaded mechanism. There is no internal storage, and that’s all you get, though capacity of flash memory has been going up while price is dropping down. Next to it is USB-C port for charging of the DAP, data transfer, and USB DAC connection.
Nothing is on the left side, and the right side has 4 round metal buttons with their functionality etched on the surface. 3 playback control buttons (play/pause and skip) are grouped a little closer while a power button (also used for screen on/off) is a little further away. Unlike LPGT, play button here doesn’t have a bump identification (for a blind id), assuming Lotoo realized that PAW6k users will have the case on anyway. Buttons have a nice tactile response, with or without a case.
The top of the DAP, besides already mentioned volume wheel which also has optional “breathing light” underneath, also has 3.5mm single ended and 4.4mm balanced outputs with a flexible dual configuration of either Headphone output or Line Out. As HO, you can set the gain to high/low and have independent L/R balanced adjustment of either of the ports. As Line Out, you can set the output to a few fixed voltage settings or variable output to control it with a volume wheel.
Overall, PAW6k feels as solid as LPGT with a similar aircraft aluminum alloy chassis and Corning Gorilla Glass (std 5) display with anti-fingerprint and DLC coating. The one noticeable difference is that LPGT has a metal back panel while PAW6k is glass. Aesthetically, it really doesn’t make a difference since many will be keeping this slippery DAP in a case. Functionally, perhaps a glass back will allow placement of some internal antennas.
Under the hood.
Obviously, Lotoo had to cut some corners so that PAW6k wouldn’t overshadow the flagship LPGT. So, in the heart of PAW6k you will find the AKM AK4493 DAC (down from AK4497 in Touch), and there is no AKM AK4137EQ up-sampling chip or ADI BF70x DSP. While up-sampling on the fly was a cool feature, I end up turning it off on LPGT to extend battery life. Also, according to Lotoo design team, the functionality of DSP in Touch was for DSD512 support and dual PLL clocks. The PEQ and ATE effects were running on the main Freescale iMX6 processor with everything optimized around Lotoo’s own OS with a super-fast boot up time.
PAW6k, just like LPGT, supports all the popular lossy and lossless formats up to and including DFF, DSF, ISO, FLAC, APE, WAV, AAC, ALAC, MP3, WMA, M4A, and OGG, with PCM sampling rates 32kHz-768kHz. It also supports DSD64, DSD128, and DSD256 with corresponding sampling rates of 2.8MHz, 5.6MHz, and 11.2MHz. I didn’t notice any lag or glitches when switching between different file formats or during Gapless playback (which usually buffers ahead), thanks to its multi-processor architecture which handles multiple tasks in parallel.
Regarding the internal design, Lotoo mentioned about the implementation of TI OPA1622 SoundPlus opamps, though more details were not provided. And similar to LPGT, both ports have the same output power, except PAW6k is rated to 300mW (down from 500mW), and I confirmed the output volume level to be the same when switching between SE and BAL headphone ports. Each of these ports can be selected as Line Out as well, to drive external amplifier in either Single Ended or fully Balanced connection.
USB DAC is supported without a problem when you connect PAW6k to computer or smartphone. You also have 2-way Bluetooth (BT4.2) support, though BT DAC doesn’t support LDAC yet, but you can pair it with LDAC enabled headphones. But in general, duplex BT will allow you to either pair up with wireless headphones and speakers or to connect PAW6k as a wireless Receiver to your Smartphone or Tablet/Laptop to stream audio.
No need to worry about proprietary charger like in LPG. You are charging from USB-C port and PAW6k 5200 mAh battery should yield a playback time of up to 16hrs. Of course, that is an ideal case with display off and at average volume level. There also a nice feature of when connecting USB DAC to either select “computer” so you charge the battery or USB DAC Phone, so you don’t drain your phone battery.
WiFi interface (b/g/n) is available, but only implemented for over-the-air (OTA) download and update of the firmware which I verified to work without a problem.
Page 2 – GUI (Interface, Playback, Settings, and Features).
Page 3 – Sound Analysis, and Comparison.
Page 4 – Pair up, Wired/wireless connections, and Conclusion.
34 thoughts on “Lotoo PAW 6000”
Regarding the Prelude DTR1 how will you compare it ?
Difference in functionality aside, dtr1 is a brighter tuned dap, more like a reference LPGT. Paw6k is warmer.
How does it compare to ibasso dx 160?
Functionality difference aside, Dx160 is brighter and more revealing, especially in treble.
Hello. How LP6k compare to Dx160 in technicalities? Soundstage, layering, detail retrieval? As I understand from your post tonality wise it is similar with noticeable difference in treble area? Functionality aside, of course…
Tonality is definitely a big difference, thus my reference to treble which makes dx160 brighter up top. And with that brightness I hear more air between the layers which helps with layering and separation (nod to dx160). But that will also depend on pair synergy. If you have brighter tuned iems, I would not use them with dx160, it will only make them sound thinner. Soundstage is also wider in dx160. Retrieval of details is simllar. Another thing to note, if you are using external amp, paw6k has a cleaner line out, great pair up with Cayin C9.
Do I understand correctly that the overall sound level is the same compared to the hiby r6 pro?
Relative to U18t, it is. I have a lot of IEMs and some headphones. It is very time consuming to go through many comparisons using different headphones and earphones, as you can imagine. And for sure, some my yield a bigger difference in sound due to a difference in pair up synergy with one dap vs the other.
compared to the Fiio M15? Which is better?
only heard M15 for 5min, on the go 2 months ago before they issued their big fw update. So, have no idea about the comparison or if sound tuning was updated. Back then (2months ago), M15 sounded like a warm source with slightly rolled off treble response. But honestly, I can’t offer an accurate comparison unless I have two things side by side and spend some time with each.
Excuse me if this has been asked before. Of the high/mid end 4.4mm DAPS available, which of these do you suppose has:
– Better detail retrieval, instrument separation, and general resolve.
– More linear and natural sounding, though not sterile. I like a lot of top end, brightish.
– More sophisticated PEQ.
– Better build quality.
My choice is between PAW6000; Cayin N6ii; Plenue L; and maybe even the Ibasso DX160. I already have the WM1A but would like something with a slightly different flavour. I lean toward the AKM chip.
BTW: off topic, I received the ROMI Audio BX-2 – excellent amp, really like it. Keen to hear your review.
Well, I think PAW6k, N6ii, and PL will git those description, and you did a good job narrowing it down. What it will come down to if figuring out which of these DAPs will have other “extras” you want. PAW6k has a unique PEQ (not easy to use, but it’s unique), very flexible configuration of 3.5mm/4.4mm headphone and line outputs, dual Bluetooth. N6ii is a fast android DAP (build on Hiby R6 pro digital platform) which a very unique modular design of not just replacing amps but the whole dac/amp infrastructure, and of course access to any app you can download from Google play store. PL is a beautifully crafted DAP with audio only playback, no streaming or BT, but it has a very powerful JetEffect dsp effects, probably among the best if you are into tweaking the sound with eq and effects. All 3 will sound good and natural, but each one offers its own special awesomesause 🙂
Thank you, this is very helpful. Streaming is not important to me at all and I prefer a closed system over Android, so probably the N6ii wouldn’t suit me. The PAW6K and PL look like contenders. I wish the PL2 MKii had a 4.4mm instead of 2.5mm output, as that would have also been ideal. 2.5mm isn’t the end of the world, but all of my cables are either 4.4mm or 3.5mm and I’m not keen on adaptors.
you mean P2 mkii? PL has 4.4mm HO output.
Yes, sorry. P2 MKii. They’re name branding needs re-marketing. This one – http://www.cowonglobal.com/product_wide/PLENUE2/product_page_6.php
It would be ideal, because I love the AKM chip, but the 2.5mm connection…. They’re more expensive in the EU sadly. Cheaper to have it imported from the US.
“Their name”….exhaustion typo.
I ended up getting the Paw6000 and am very happy with it. Love the transparency and neutrality. Now I’m wondering about the Gold Touch. Is the upgrade worth it at the expense of battery life? I understand the difference in sound and technical performance is not vast? Thanks.
Sky’s the limit 😉 LPGT is technically superior, but if you read my paw6k review, it’s not for everybody. I use LPGT all the time because I need to analyze the sound in my reviews. For others, they might prefer a lighter paw6k with its smoother tonality.
Thanks. I like your description of the Touch as being more revealing and analytical, – detail retrieval, imaging, and separation are key for me – though I’m not sure I’d want to sacrifice the sub-bass emphasis and battery life in the Paw6000….
Did you use the PMEQ to adjust the frequency of the headphones (like AutoEQ) when you compared them?
I never use EQ even during the regular listening because I want to hear the original sound of earphones/headphones I’m listening to. The same when reviewing, why would I want to change the sound which not going to represent the original tuning of headphones? It would be highly misleading if I’m describing a “great bass” after boosting it with EQ 😉
This is when I get confused. When I listen to the Lotoo with my ATH-AWKT it sounds like a cheap flat DAP (even worse than my PC). Only after applying these settings to the EQ it sounds good: https://github.com/jaakkopasanen/AutoEq/tree/master/results/crinacle/gras_43ag-7_harman_over-ear_2018/Audio-Technica%20ATH-AWKT
Did you experience something like that? Or is my Lotoo defective?
Does it make sense to buy Paw 6000 alongside Sony WM1A?
I think a lot, but I don’t want to spend money unnecessarily.
I don’t know how WM1A sounds to compare the sound performance, but one thing to keep in mind wm1a is underpowered and it doesn’t have analog Line Out. So, if you need more power and use external amplifier, PAW6k might make sense. Otherwise it will come down to a difference in sound.
Hi Twister, many thanks for your excellent reviews, always helpful thanks to a very “landed on earth” vocabulary!!!
In past times you’ve highly praised the wm1z for it’s natural, analog sound that makes it unique. Reading your review something is evoking me this feeling. ¿Would you say that this Lotoo has something of this magic sauce without the Wm1z’s warmth, with a more neutral tuning?
Is the lotoo paw 6000 one of these rare unicorns that don’t sound digital at all or that doesn’t exist out of the Sony world? (or maybe others that i don’t know, someone told me about sr25 having it, i’ll be glad to hear recommendations)
that wm1z review was 4 years ago, Sony is asleep at the wheel and way overdue for flagship refresh 🙂 The rare unicorn award in the DAP world with a super natural sound goes to L&P P6 Pro with its all discrete R-2R DAC. But Paw6k is also great at a fraction of the price. Just keep in mind, PAW6k is more appropriate for IEMs, rather than demanding headphones.
just go get paw6k.. im using wm1a and zx507 before, im selling both then i get lp6k and never turn back and never regret. its OS interface so fast and sound got a bit lot data to my experience ..the peq, is ohsem, work for bluetooth,headphone out and even usb out! the good for sony is stable bluetooth connection even far away and wm1a battery life that 36hr playback. the PEQ on LP6K is sooo usefull.. difficult for 1st time user(Ull get use to it later). the best part u can make so much custom PEQ, I make it for each of my earphone and headphone(im not sure how much u can make custom PEQ, so far i made 5 custom peq, for my each iem and hp)… the best part, it can drive my audeze lcd-xc easily, even beyer t1 and hifiman he-1000.
Thank you very much for your fast answer!
Paw6k, second hand, is the limit to my economy. If it’s the champion of natural sound at this price then it’ll be the chosen one.
My most demanding headphones are Audeze LCD2 Classic. With my zx300 they are dead. I don’t expect the Lotoo to move them at full potential, but at least in a more vivid way…
You would definitely need an external amp with the PAW6K to drive the LCD2C. The PAW6K has way more output than the woefully powered SONY daps, but definitely falls short in terms of planar headphones. I’d recommend either the BX2 Plus or the Cayin C9.
Yes, i assume that portable daps with some basic features i need (not too big, very good battery, bluetooth…) won’t provide the LCD2 with the juice they need. The amps that you recommend me are far away from my budget anyway. For the moment i’ll keep connecting the Audezes to my stationary amp and after finding a good replacement for my zx300 (and recovering economically from te effort) i’ll see what can i find.
Thanks for your answer, drnostoi!
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I owned all three of them. The PAW6K has a fuller mid range and better vertical soundstage, while the WM1A has a more horizontal soundstage and more flat. They are both quite neutral and noticably better than the ZX300 in terms of the sound quality. ZX300 is the most pocket friendly.
Does PAW 6k make good combination with UM Mest Mark II? I gravitate towards rich, organic, lush sound signature rather than cold, resolving or analytical sound.
I am confused between PAW 6k and Sony Nw-wIma.
Which one should I buy?
I have discovered the first big disadvantage, there is no option “play through folder”!
So you can not set the player to play automatically the next folder, I miss this badly on this player.
Is there possibility to report this somewhere to the Lotoo developer?
I think it has been reported before. This is an older product, don’t think they have any plans to add new features, and all the previously reported bugs have been addressed.