In this review we’re looking at the all new $1,199USD PAW 6000 from Lotoo. Does it convince us as much as the PAW Gold Touch did?
Disclaimer: The PAW 6000 was sent to us free of charge for this review, I only had to pay for importing it. Lotoo is not a site advertiser or in any way affiliated with Headfonia. Many thanks to Lotoo and MusicTeck for the generosity and opportunity!
Lotoo is not a new name to the audiophile community, as their previous products have already been popular.
Founded in 1999, Lotoo has focused primarily on professional audio recorders and has only tipped their toes into the audio player market 15 years after their start. They introduced the PAW Gold as their absolute reference player, and legend has it, that it was only made because the owner of the company was not satisfied with what the market had to offer.
The PAW Gold has quickly risen to become a wildly beloved product. It stood out from the market with its unique looks and software, which could be described as rudimentary. To this date, the PAW Gold is one of the top players in the field.
In 2015 Lotoo released the PAW 5000, a much cheaper DAP, that again proved popular. In late 2016 they have released the hyper compact PAW Pico, a DAP comparable to the iPod nano, as it featured no screen.
Lotoo has always shown good interest in keeping their products up to date by offering new firmware versions for their players throughout all the years. To me it’s also very positive that they kept the Paw Gold as their flagship, where other companies push new products in a two-year cycle, they have just slightly updated the original and kept going.
After four years, Lotoo has decided to give the crowd a new version of the PAW Gold. Updated with modern features and a new interface. However, the PAW Gold will still be available and has not reached EOL (End Of Life) status just yet.
About PAW 6000:
The PAW 6000 is Lotoo’s latest DAP and it’s supposed to be a smaller and more affordable version of their flagship. The PAW 6K comes equipped with an AKM AK4493EQ DAC chip and handles file formats up to 32bit 768kHz and native DSD256. It has no internal memory at all, so you have to use a micro SD card with it. I’m using a 256GB card without any issues.
It packs a 3.77” IPS LCD touch-screen and comes with Lotoo’s very own operating system. The PAW 6000 has shared headphone and line outputs for both 3.5 mm single ended and 4.4 mm Pentaconn balanced. You also get a Parametric Equalizer, although unlike their previous DAPs, the PAW 6000 does not have a hardware DSP built-in. So, it is a graphic PEQ this time.
Lotoo’s PAW 6000 does have WiFi on board, but there is no support for any streaming services. At the time of writing, the only purpose of WiFi is to update the firmware via OTA. There is no support for UpnP or DLNA either.
The PAW 6000 can be used as a USB DAC with your PC or mobile phone if it supports OTG. The USB C uses standard 3.1 for connection. Transferring files to and from the PAW 6000 is blazing fast, and I filled up my 256GB card in no time. The battery has a capacity of 5200mAh and should last you up to 16 hours according to Lotoo’s spec sheet. In my tests this value has been proven right, as I could easily hold a charge for about three days listening on my commute and occasionally for some hours at work.
Both headphone outputs have identical output power, which is set to 300mW into 32 Ohms load. You also get high and low gain modes, should you ever need some extra dB’s fired into your IEMs or headphones. 300mW might not be the strongest out there, but it easily is enough for portable headphones and any In Ear Monitor. Like the PAW Gold Touch, the PAW 6000 only supports a single language firmware. This means you should always be aware where you’re buying from. The installed language can easily be spotted on the outside of the box. If it says “PAW6000 (EN)” you’re good to go.
Where both outputs differ is in noise floor. The balanced output goes down to -120dB while the unbalanced is a tiny bit noisier at -118dB. With those values, even the most sensitive monitors should stay quiet. I have tested this with my Empire Ears Wraith and noticed no hissing in low gain, but there was very noticeable noise floor in high gain on both outputs.
Another feature of the PAW 6000 is its bi-directional Bluetooth 4.2 support. This means you can stream to and from the Lotoo. It supports high resolution LDAC, which goes up to 24bit/96kHz.
The unit measures 112 x 65 x 18 mm and puts 225g on the scale. The PAW 6000 sells for 1,199$ US MSRP and can be bought through their official retail channels.
Lotoo does not go for a highly luxurious presentation for the PAW 6000. The DAP comes in a simple and sturdy box. When you open it for the first time, you’ll see the PAW 6000 perfectly placed in there, ready to be used.
The PAW 6000 comes with an identical accessory set as the PAW Gold Touch, which I find very good. You get two hardened 9+ glass screen protectors for the front, a leather case and a cleaning cloth. There is also a USB C cable for charging and data transfer in the package. Of course, you also get a multi-lingual manual and a warranty card (in Chinese).
I immediately installed one of the glass screen protectors on my unit to make sure the screen doesn’t suffer any damages. The supplied leather case fits like a glove and is finished very well. On the bottom of the case you have a generous cut-out for the USB C port and micro SD card slot.
The build quality of the PAW 6000 is as expected very good. The unit is fully made of aircraft grade aluminum and feels very solid in hands. The 3.77” screen is seamlessly integrated in the body and on the top left corner you have Lotoo’s logo CNC’d into the metal. The PAW 6000 comes in a matte black finish with the only exceptions being the golden volume wheel and two golden rings around the headphone outputs. Below the volume wheel you also have a white LED which you can turn on or off. I really like this “breath” function, others don’t, but you don’t have to use it.
The back of the PAW 6000 is covered with glass. There is no protector for the back in the package, which leaves it open for scratches. On top of the unit you have both 4.4 mm and 3.5 mm outputs. These seemed a bit tight on my sample, but as time progressed, they got wider. The volume wheel has good tactile feedback and the PAW 6000 recognizes every step.
On the right-hand side you have four hardware control buttons. The top button is on/off, which also activates or deactivates the screen. It’s followed by next, play/pause and previous track. You can switch the next/previous buttons in the software, should you be accustomed to a different layout. The play/pause button is also slightly bigger than next/previous, so you can feel it out easier when pocket-navigating. On the bottom of the unit you have the micro SD card slot and the USB C port.
All in all, the unit feels very robust and handy. It easily fits my pockets and is a welcome change to the bulkier PAW Gold Touch on the move, which has served as my daily driver since I got it last year.