Review: Lotoo PAW Gold Touch – The Professional

Lotoo PAW Gold Touch

Pairings:

The neutral signature of the PGT makes it an easy to pair audio player, I would though recommend staying away from brighter sounding gear, as that can result in an unpleasant pairing, but of course you can always EQ the treble down.

Something the original PAW Gold suffered from, was electrical hiss. Some sensitive monitors would pick up a lot of background noise from it. Lotoo has realized this issue and has worked on it with the Touch, which has a much quieter noise floor.

There is almost zero hiss with the PAW Gold Touch now, the only one that’s able to pick up some very faint noise is the Empire Ears Zeus XIV.

Lotoo PAW Gold Touch

Lotoo PAW Gold Touch

In Ear Monitors

Of course, the PAW Gold Touch has no issue driving any of my custom or universal IEMs. No DAP has an issue with these, but I find that not every DAP can handle hybrid monitors to their potential. The PGT does a better job at that than others. Let’s look at some portable pairings.

Empire Ears – Legend X (2DD/5BA)

Having the dual dynamic drivers of the Legend X under control is no easy task, but the PAW Gold Touch succeeds. Bass is tightly bound with excellent punch and resolution. It goes down impressively low into the sub-bass regions with nice rumble and texture.

The sound stage is wide and deep, with a wonderfully organized orchestra. Mids are mildly warm, thick and rich. Musicians appear in good distance in front of you, yet they don’t come across as too far away. The resolution is high and the precision is very good.

Treble is fast, energetic and glowing. The highs of the Legend X blend very well into the neutral treble of the Touch.

Lotoo PAW Gold Touch

Lotoo PAW Gold Touch

64 Audio – Tia Trió (1DD/2BA)

The Trió is one of two 64 Audio IEMs that use absolutely no tubes and dampers, but rather works with room acoustics and chambers to get the sound to your eardrums. It’s an easier to handle hybrid than the Legend X, but still likes to be paired with a little power.

The Lotoo has no problem with the Trió. Bass is fast, dynamic and impactful. Trió packs a punch similar to the A12t, but has a softer and more airy sound in it.

Midrange is transparent, slightly warm and smooth. It has good body and weight, vocals are a touch warm and dense, but still have good air in them to not sound closed in.

Treble is energetic as we know it from other Tia loaded monitors of 64 Audio. There is excellent extension and highs pack a good sparkle. The treble of the Trió still is slightly forward, but not as much as the one found in the Fourté, which I do not recommend with the Touch, unless EQ’d.

The sound stage stretches well in width and depth. Layering is world class and the same is valid for imaging. The stereo image here is truly fantastic.

Lotoo PAW Gold Touch

Lotoo PAW Gold Touch

JH Audio – Layla (12BA)

Jerry Harvey’s flagship CIEM is one of those monitors I tend to come back to for personal listening. It presents music with emotions and love and makes listening a real joy again.

With the PAW Gold Touch I can absolutely kick back and just enjoy my favorite tracks when paired with Layla. Bass has good definition, reaches very deep and builds a wonderful foundation for the rest of the frequencies to build on. It’s fast, dynamic and energetic with impressive control.

Mids are full, with great body and texture. Vocals are emotionally convincing, where you can feel the pain and happiness singers want to tell with their songs. It’s just beautiful. The richness of the midrange is something unique to the JH monitor.

Treble is just faintly laid back, but has decent sparkle and energy. It’s not a very forward tuning, but it still transports good detail and air.

Layla has wonderful resolution and texture, with an imaging that couldn’t be better. Layering as well as separation is well done.

Lotoo PAW Gold Touch

Lotoo PAW Gold Touch

Full sized headphones

With 500mW per channel into 32 Ohms the Touch delivers quite some juice for the power-hungry headphones. Though I wouldn’t expect it to drive cans like the HE-6…

I haven’t come across a single DAP that handles my full-sized headphones really well. Sure, they do get loud enough, but that doesn’t mean they’re driven to their potential. The Lotoo again has proven that a DAP can cope with the needs of big cans.

Meze – Empyrean

The Empyrean is not a very difficult to drive headphone, but it still scales up with desktop amplifiers. The PAW Gold Touch isn’t one of them, but it handles the Meze very well. Definitely the best out of any of my DAPs.

You’ll get a spacious and open sounding combination, with heaps of emotions and details. The Empyrean is a headphone I can fully enjoy with any genre.

Bass is well defined and controlled, has great resolution and body. The entire sound is filled with blood and emotion, giving a nicely organic presentation. Instruments and vocals are well formed and precisely separated.

Especially layering and imaging is spot on with the PGT and the Empyrean. It’s a wonderful combination that makes me just forget time. It however is equally exciting, as it delivers details with fine accuracy.

Midrange is natural and has top quality timbre. Upper mids are rich and seductive. Treble has good energy and extends superbly wide.

Lotoo PAW Gold Touch

Lotoo PAW Gold Touch

Sennheiser – HD800S

The HD800S has an impedance of 300 Ohms and that makes it a little more difficult to drive properly. Though it’s not an overly hard to drive headphone, it still isn’t exactly portable.

Hooked up to the Lotoo, you will get a spacious sound with a big stage. Bass is light and a bit laid back, it’s missing out a bit on body and punch. The Sennheiser to me clearly benefits from a good tube amplifier, as it needs some blood in its lower midrange and bass.

Mids are very precise and thin, especially in comparison to something full and emotional like the Empyrean. Midrange is clean and emotional.

Treble is forward and bright, though it still is manageable, some sounds are on the edge of sibilance. If you’re a treble sensitive person, this might not be your pairing.

Technical parameters are excellent though. The resolution is wonderful, imaging and layering of the Sennheiser are definitely best achieved out of any DAP. The background is pitch black with absolutely no noise going on.

Find comparisons to other high end DAPs on the last page.

Review: Lotoo PAW Gold Touch – The Professional
5 (100%) 10 votes

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A daytime code monkey with a passion for audio and his kids, Linus tends to look at gear with a technical approach, trying to understand why certain things sound the way they do. When there is no music around, Linus goes the extra mile and annoys the hell out of his colleagues with low level beatboxing.

    7 Comments

    • Reply February 28, 2019

      Berkhan

      Great one!!

    • Reply March 10, 2019

      Steve

      Hi Linus,

      This is looking good. Any comparison between SP1000M and Plenue L?

      I currently own the former but I am also interested in PGT and the latter. I do mainly listen to pop songs and would like vocals to be a bit closer.
      It looks like PGT has a more reference sound while PL is great in smoothness and warmth. PGT should also drive my 64 N8 better than SPKM, although SPKM is doing well in transparency and emotional expression.

      Great review, thanks!

      • Reply March 10, 2019

        Linus

        Hi Steve,
        many thanks for your comment.

        The Plenue L performs really well on the balanced output, which is more neutral than the single ended. Compared to the SP1000M it’s a bit fuller and less bright up top. I find the M to be a bit too active in its treble, which can sometimes be a bit too much with brighter IEMs like the Fourté in example. With gear that could use a treble push it’s excellent, something like the EE Phantom for example.

        The N8 I find best on the PAW Gold Touch. You’re right about emotions on the M, that it does really well. The Lotoo might miss that in comparison, but it lets you build your own signature with the PEQ. 🙂

        Cheers

        • Reply March 12, 2019

          Steve

          Interesting to learn. I’ll definitely try to listen to the PGT and PL when possible.

          Thanks for the comment.

    • Reply March 10, 2019

      Lacas

      Great review.
      Please review also the Enigma Acoustics / Lotoo Dharma D200 IEM ;
      Thanks
      Lacas

      • Reply March 10, 2019

        Linus

        Hi Lacas,
        thanks a lot, much appreciated.
        Currently there are no plans for the D200 IEM. If that changes, I’ll let you know.
        Cheers

    • Reply March 19, 2019

      Nic Chan

      Hated Chinese manufacture… just can’t stand their design and UI.

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