Disclaimer: Luxury & Precision sent me the L5Pro free of charge for the purpose of this review. A limited number of other reviewers worldwide were selected to review this new DAP. Several of the pictures were taken from Head-fi and the company’s website, except the ones with the HFN mark.
Who is Luxury&Precision?
Luxury & Precision is a Chinese company that is led by the designer who previously worked at Colorfly and designed C4 & CK4. I had the opportunity to listen to the unique Colorfly C4 during Canjam 2014 and it was better than I expected it to be. The C4 for me was also one of the first wood using DAPs and it impressed me enough to remember how it sounded. The L5Pro isn’t the first DAP L&P have put on the market and this model actually is a subsequent product from the L5 and LP5. The differences between the L5 and the L5Pro are discussed in detail on Head-Fi by John, just copy-pasting them here wouldn’t be fair so do check out the Head-fi thread should you wonder about this.
Honestly I didn’t know of this Chinese company until Paul informed me of this new DAP. Paul got me introduced to John and in the end I was selected as a reviewer. John is very active on Head-fi and he’s kind of our contact person and middleman for everything L5pro related. He’s a nice guy and he’s the one giving L&P our feedback on the firmware and such.
There’s not a lot to be found on the company itself unless you speak Chinese. I don’t. The L&P website is also well, not in English.
Digital Audio Players.
The audio, and then more specifically the DAP (Digital Audio Player) market, is out of control. Established and new companies are putting new DAPs on the market every day it seems and it is extremely hard to keep track of what’s happening. Everyone wants a piece of the pie and DAPs can be found in all forms, sizes and in all price ranges. With the increasing number of DAPs out there it is hard to get noticed and so your DAP has to be special. Native DSD playback and a fancy design alone don’t cut it anymore. If you compare DAPs from 5 years ago to current DAPs you’ll see there’s a huge difference in their sound and build quality. Back then a lot of people were still using iPods (like me) combined with a DAC/AMP combo like Cypherlabs’ double stack.
Everyone used to talk about portable amps but nowadays people talk DAPs and everyone seems to have gotten bored of carrying a double or triple stack on the go. DAPs nowadays have to do it all: they need to have enough power to drive up to 14 BA driver monitors and orthodynamics like the Audeze LCD and the Hifiman HE-series. Every DAP needs to have a few GB of internal and external storage and it needs to be expendable, preferably with a (micro)SD card, or two. Each DAP needs to be easy to use and of course it needs to sound incredibly good with everything you throw at it.
DAPs are out there for everyone and you can find high resolution players in all price ranges from 50$ to over $3000USD, there’s no limit. New, better and improved are keywords and we haven’t seen the end yet.
L&P’s L5PRO costs just over $800 USD which puts it in-between the mid-fi and high-fi players. But don’t be fooled, the L5Pro clearly wants to play with the big boys.
With a company name like “Precision & Detail” you kind of make people expect a lot. I did exactly that and L&P delivered. The first time you look at the pictures of the L5Pro they immediately remind you of the Astell&Kern players. And it just might even look better. Stunning DAP, very photogenic.
While Nathan clearly isn’t the biggest fan of how the AK players look, I kind of like them. They just scream quality and that’s exactly how the L5Pro makes me feel as well. The L5Pro is made out of superb materials (aluminum-magnesium alloy, CNC integrated molding process, anodized surface and sand blasting), has a unique design and uses top quality components. It’s almost as good as the AKs, if not just as good. Of course you love or hate the design but I personally think it’s quite unique. On top of that it’s incredibly easy to use but more on that later.
I usually don’t care much about the box a unit comes in but I have to admit that the double box the L5Pro came in is extremely nice (design & materials). The L5Pro isn’t the smallest of players and measures about 123mm x 63mm x 17mm which makes it just small enough to put in the back pocket of your pants or inside your jacket. The L5Pro’s aluminum-magnesium body is so fine and its design is very attractive. When you turn around the player you see the gorgeous rosewood back of the L5Pro (like the real LCD wood) and yes, you immediately fall in love. The wood just looks qualitative and classy and has the logo and the company name engraved in it. The L5pro comes with a fine, luxurious soft leather case in which the player fits tightly. I think all (high-end) players should come with a leather case (are you reading Fiio?) but at the same time the leather case hides how pretty the aluminum body and wooden back look. You can’t have everything I guess. Nathan might complain the L5Pro has a couple of sharp edges but when it’s inside its leather case this is only noticeable on the very top.
It goes on after the click