Going up that laddeR!
PROS: discrete R-2R resistor array DAC, natural resolving tonality, optimized for sensitive and hard to drive earphones/headphones, high power BAL output, LDAC Bluetooth Rx, Balanced Line Out, solid build.
CONS: price, no touch screen, no custom EQ.
The product was provided to me free of charge for the review purpose in exchange for my honest opinion.
I’m sure many of you have noticed that some high-end DAPs start to feel dated even 6 months after the release. The reason is because manufacturers rely on the latest DACs, fastest processors, and different versions of Android OS and apps. And just like with your regular smartphone, these don’t last for too long until the next update. In many cases we don’t even need DAPs with the fastest Android OS performance or the latest AKM or ESS chips. But consumers with the “upgraditis” syndrome are always on a mission to get the latest and the greatest.
Though I received L&P P6 4 months ago, I have already featured it in many of my reviews and made a lot of posts in P6 thread on Head-fi, and now ready to share my full write up. 4 months later and P6 still feels like a fresh brand-new release to me, still relevant, and still innovative. Why? Because L&P took out variables which make this DAP age, there is no traditional DAC chip or Android OS. They even went as far as minimizing the design by eliminating a touch screen interface, focusing more on audio performance with less external interference.
I have tested and written in the past about L&P L3, L3 Pro, LP5, L5 Pro, and L6, and quite familiar with their design philosophy. But, will P6 be the right DAP for you? And, can it replace or complement your other DAPs? Let’s find out more in this review of Luxury & Precision P6 digital audio player with a fully discrete R-2R resistor ladder design.
Unboxing and Accessories.
The unboxing experience of P6 is similar to other L&P DAPs I reviewed in the past. P6 arrived in a medium size narrow black thin paper box with just a glossy black “Luxury & Precision” text on top. Out of the paper box, inside you’ll find a wooden box with a sliding cover and L&P carved logo, the same box as L6 arrived in which I reviewed a few years ago. L&P uses a real wooden box which reminds me of cigar boxes, not some cheap fake wood. It has a similar red wood finish L&P uses as a back panel in some of their DAPs. One little detail which always stands out here, when cover is closed two little magnets hold it from sliding down if tilted.
Inside was a foam insert with a cutout for P6, to hold it securely during shipping, and accessory boxes with a quality USB-C data/charging cable, user manual, and L&P branded blue cleaning cloth. Seems like the screen protector was already applied to P6 glass display and back panel. While this is a rather minimalistic set of stock accessories, looks like Musicteck in their listing of P6 includes a free L&P leather case.
It is actually a very nice quality textured leather case, fitting P6 like a glove. The DAP slides in from the top, exposing the top of the DAP fully open to access headphone jacks and power button. A generous cutout on the left and the right gives direct access to all the buttons, the opening for volume wheel is also perfect to use from the front or the back, and the bottom of the DAP is open with full access to micro SD card and USB-C port. Don’t know if yellow color will suite everybody, but I personally like it because it stands out from other DAPs.
When I first heard about P6 at CanJam NYC in Feb, L&P rep at MusicTeck table had fliers with pictures of the DAP which had a basic rectangular shape and over half a dozen of buttons on the front. It was a rather plain looking design and front buttons made it look old-school. But apparently, that was a picture of the early prototype, not the finished product. When I received P6, it looked totally different with a new unique modern design.
The overall dimensions of the device are 67.7 mm x 124mm (H) x 20mm (D), and the weight of 248g. It’s an average size DAP with a little bit of heft, but still very comfortable to hold in your hand. The top panel is all glass with a section allocated for 3.5” IPS display, NOT a touch screen. The chassis body are made of aerospace aluminum, the sides have angled facet edges, and the back of P6 is a glass panel. But what makes it stand out is an asymmetric design with a slotted panel on the right side which kind of reminds me of credit-card machine with a gap where you slide the card.
The design looks really cool, to the point where I didn’t want to place P6 in its leather case, though having the grip enhancement when inside the case would be highly advisable. On the right side you have a thin volume wheel with a diamond cut edge which is easy to access from the front and the back, and the panel on the right side serves as a guard. Below it you have small labeled Enter and Return navigation buttons with a nice tactile response, and you can see them going through the opening slit to the body of the DAP.
Left side has the same ALPS playback buttons (Play/Pause and Skip) with a nice tactile response as well. Everything is solid, nothing is rattling. At the bottom there is a spring-loaded micro SD card slot and USB-C port for charging, data transfer, and USB DAC input. At the top in the right corner, you have a power button with a typical short press to turn screen on/off and long press (3-4 seconds) to turn the power on/off. Also, at the top, you will find 4.4mm BAL output which you can select as Headphone Out or Line Out and 3.5mm SE output which you can select as Headphone Out, Line Out, or SPDIF in/out.