GUI – Interface and Playback screen.
In less than 3 seconds after pressing the power button on PAW6k, you are greeted with the Main interface screen where you will find shortcuts to Play list, Songs, Artists, Album list, Folders, and Settings at the top, and currently playing song with transport touch controls below it. Songs, Artists, Albums sorts your file according to the selection, while Playlists shows favorites, recent playlists, and all songs. In Albums you have two views, as a list or large artwork thumbs. Folders let you browse by file folders on your micro-SD card. Tapping on the currently playing song brings you to Playback screen, and you can always get back to the Main screen by swiping the screen up.
The swiping up has a cool visual animation effect of the screen shrinking up as you drag your finger across until it disappears, and you are back to the Main interface screen. When you swipe down notification bar, you have access to a few essential shortcuts, such as Playback mode, Enable/disable Bluetooth, Volume hold/lock, and separate selection of 3.5mm and 4.4mm headphone output Gain. You will also find song search at the top, and brightness control bar at the bottom of the expanded notification bar screen.
The Playback screen is very straight forward with embedded artwork occupying top half (if one is available, if not, there is a default artwork) and multiple views underneath which you can access by swiping to view artwork, detailed song info, lyrics (if embedded), and Spectrum Analyzer bars view, just like in LPG/LPGT. There is a shortcut in the upper right corner to delete the song or to add to playlist and another shortcut to view songs in the Currently playing list.
Below the artwork screen, you will see a transport control scroll bar, and underneath of it a playback control buttons, including playback mode on the left and EFX on the right. EFX brings up PMEQ (Parametric EQ II) and ATE (Acoustic Timbre Embellisher) presets and custom PMEQ presets, identical to the ones found in LPGT and original LPG. Also, in the PMEQ list you can find the custom Parametric EQ presets.
In my opinion, Parametric EQ (PMEQ) allows a very precise and accurate sound-shaping control. While I don’t use EQ on regular daily basis, I do rely on it when it comes to providing fine-tuning feedback to IEM manufacturers. With a large touch screen and visual interface, PMEQ tuning experience is night’n’day compared to original LPG, and you can easily select from a drop-down menu a filter type, F0 center frequency, gain in decimal increments, and Q width of the band while watching the adjustment on the graph above. My only wish here is to be able to drag the peak on the graph itself to adjust the gain from a touch screen.
GUI – Settings and Features.
When it comes to Settings, PAW6k just like LPGT has more options than I have ever seen in any other DAP. The main Settings menu is split into Basic Settings (covering Play, Output, and Player settings), Sound Settings (covering Hardware decode, EQ, ATE, and Filter settings), Bluetooth (which also covers BT DAC), micro-SD card management (with available space, files, and format menu), PAW6k Info and Model (covering device/model info, software, hardware, wireless version), On-line Update (for WiFi OTA update), and other legal info and Factory Reset to get back to Defaults.
When you go into Play settings, you will find available Play modes (loop, shuffle, single repeat, and sequence) all of which can also be selected in Playback screen, Sleep timer, show lyrics, and File switching effect where you find Fade Out and Gapless setting (gapless tested to work perfectly).
Output setting has a detailed control of each 3.5mm and 4.4mm ports where you adjust the L/R balance, select output type (headphone or line out), select output gain (in headphone mode), and select if you want Line Out volume to be fixed or adjustable. You can also adjust Bluetooth volume setting, DSD gain compensation, and VU Meter setting. Here, you are in control of every single config detail.
Player setting gives you more control of LPGT hardware where you can enable/disable Breathe light (underneath volume wheel, if you want to save battery), Double-click to wake up the DAP by tapping on the screen when it’s off, locking keys, selecting Volume key direction (clockwise, counter-clockwise), Power management with auto power-off and screen off, and Language selection.
PCM and DSD Filter selection gives you even more controls of the sound. Under PCM filters you have access to select one of 6 different filters associated with AKM4493 DAC, and you can also select Low Pass Filter under DSD filters.