Review: Luxury & Precision L3 – The IEM DAP

Disclaimer: The Luxury&Precision L3 was sent to me free of charge for the purpose of this review, it doesn’t need to be returned but goes in to the collection for future reference. Pictures in this article were taken from the Indiegogo page and our own media library.

L&P

Luxury&Precision still isn’t the world’s most famous DAP maker but they over a short time, and especially with the help of the sublime sounding L5PRO, have become very well known outside the Asian market. Their Indiegogo campaign for the new L3 – which we are looking at today – of course helped getting the L&P name out as well. In fact the campaign for the L3 was funded at 112% and L&P even raised $17,823 before launching the DAP.

There still isn’t a lot to be found on the company itself unless you speak Chinese. I don’t. The L&P website still is well, not in English. You would think that they after the success of the L5PRO would have translated their site or worked on improving their communication but they don’t seem to find that a priority.

Luckily we have guys like John and Daniel who serve as a communication bridge between the non-Chinese speakers and the L&P company. Thanks guys for the hard work.

L5PRO

The L5PRO wasn’t the first DAP L&P put on the market, it actually was/is a subsequent product from the L5 and LP5. Because of the success of the L5PRO, L&P decided to launch the L3 player. A lot of people had high hopes for the L3 but at the same time a lot of other people were worried. Let me explain.

LP L3 Front

If you have read our L&P L5 review you will remember that we had mixed feelings about it. The L5PRO’s build quality is one of the best and it sounds absolutely great but its firmware and user interface still have lots of room for improvement. I think a lot of users were upset with the L5PRO not “doing” swiping and kind of expected this and several other issues to be solved with the new L3.

L3

The L5PRO was a powerful DAP that could both handle sensitive monitors and harder to drive full sized headphones. The L3 however is designed specifically for use with sensitive IEMs and L&P by all means wanted to keep the completely black background free of noise just the L5PRO has. Because the L3 has a smaller area to work with, the circuits on the device are all on one side of the board. At  -115 dB testing with a 32 Ohm load, the distortion level is less than 0.0017%, providing a jet black background with even the most sensitive in ear monitors.

Armed with both a 3.5mm single ended and a 2.5mm balanced output, line out and SPDIF out options, the L3 has everything you need. The L3’s balanced output is done right and it is equipped with a dual DAC, dual OP amp true balanced architecture. The L3 also comes with a USB DAC plug, allowing you to double up on its functionality and plug into a PC to take over sound functions and improve audio quality. The L&P L3 goes for only $399 USD!

LP L3 DAC

The L3 and L5 Pro share many internal components while also maintaining the same digital circuit architecture. In L&P’s opinion, an important step of creating a high quality DAP is to separate the digital and analog signals cleanly. (Digital circuitry is very noisy, whereas analog circuitry is vulnerable to noise).

The DAC chips used in the L3 DAP are the Cirrus Logic CS4398, which are used in a whole lot of DAPs and desktop DACs. The double OPAmp used is the Crown 18120.

The rest of the Specs and Measurements and Build Quality can be found on Page 2, after the Click

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Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.

16 Comments

  • Reply July 12, 2016

    Barun C

    Nice review Lieven. Certainly looks like a good player. Lots of competition in that price bracket now with a lot of other Chinese manufacturers with or without the known background offering similar hardware and capability.

    The only player that stood out in the price bracket in the recent memory is the S.Korean trailblazer Cowon Plenue D. I got to use it for a day and I found it to be the most convenient player in terms of functionality & application in terms of a portable audio device or a DAP out today in the category of high-res support.

    I currently use the Questyle QP1R, and even though I consider it a superior player compared to the Pleneu D in terms of SQ, but in form factor it is currently 2nd to none (Subjectively), other manufacturers should follow the example of this player as size does really matter today as it has always has in the portable segment.

    • Reply July 12, 2016

      dale thorn

      Your 2nd to none comment is a bit ambiguous due to the ‘even though’ statement before it. Which player is second to none, and in which respect?

  • Reply July 12, 2016

    dale thorn

    So how many mw do you get at those voltage outputs at 35 ohms?

    • Reply July 12, 2016

      Lieven

      I think that info is somewhere in the Headfi thread, but this player doesn’t need big power

  • Reply July 13, 2016

    Barun C

    Aah. Sorry for the confusion. I mean the Cowon Plenue D has an advantage of form factor as it is very small compared to almost all the hi-rez capable players out now, coupled with the fact it has a responsive touch interface almost as good as a smartphone (Circa 2015) and better than the high end AK players (AK240, 100 II), which is a major plus and has a decent sound for the price with almost no hiss.

    I meant the size of the player and the touch interface responsiveness 2nd to none in the DAP market today.

  • Reply July 13, 2016

    Shellbearnoon

    Nice review as always. Are you going to do the review for the upcoming AK70 ? Looking forward to the comparison between these two as I heard the 70 didn’t sound that great for it’s price.

    • Reply July 13, 2016

      Lieven

      Not sure it will be me who has the L3, that will review the AK70

      • Reply July 13, 2016

        Shellbearnoon

        That’s a shame, no offense to any other reviewers but I always like your style the most. Thanks for the quick reply anyway.

        • Reply July 13, 2016

          Lieven

          Thank you. Let me see what I can do 🙂

  • Reply July 17, 2016

    Solid

    Is it a good idea to pair it with Mojo?? Or just the player itself will do??

    • Reply July 17, 2016

      Lieven

      Good question. For IEMs the L3 is dead quiter and sounds awesome. SO I’d just recommend using the Mojo if you don’t like the L3’s sound sig (I love it), or when you need to power harder to frive headphones

  • Reply November 18, 2016

    Eric

    I too had noise issues with my DX80, I bought it pretty much on your guys recommendation off the DX50/90 but the 80 was noisy with my SE535’s, nosier than my Macbook headphone jack which I found unacceptable, also when powering it on it made funny noises. I could also hear the hiss with other headphones, I asked on head-fi and other places and nobody else had this issue even with SE535’s so I figured mine must be defective but I had such a horrible experience with the retailer I just returned it and didn’t buy another, I’m thinking I might get the Sony Awz guy next.

    Another huge issue with the DX80 is the UI and touch screen, its so bad, borderline unusable and its hard to get artist names and album are correct, this is why so many people still use phones and iPods.

  • Reply November 18, 2016

    Eric

    And why are the corners so pointy on the DX80 OMG!, I do like the included case and screen protectors tho.

  • Reply May 22, 2017

    Matus

    Was there any relevant firmware update since this review was posted? Thank you.

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