Review: Luxury & Precision L3PRO DAP – Mmmmusic

Disclaimer: The Luxury & Precision L3Pro was sent to us free of charge in exchange for our honest opinion. It doesn’t need to be returned to L&P. All the official reviewers also received a wooded business card holder and a wooden ”page marker” . I kind of lost them though and have no clue where they are.

L&P

It’s not the first time we feature the Chinese Luxury & Precision on Headfonia.com and we have looked at their L5PRO and L3 before. L&P still is a bit of a mystery company on this side of the world and their Chinese only website doesn’t really help in that regard. Luxury & Precision isn’t as famous as Enrico Pallazzo, that’s for sure.

Only very recently they have launched their twitter, Instagram and Facebook account and I’m sure that will help making the brand more accessible all over the world.

If you’ve never heard of the LX DAP series you might have heard of the C4 ColorFly. That in fact was made by the same designer that is now working for the Luxury & Precision Brand. Of all the L&P DAPs we looked at the sound quality was sublime and I don’t expect anything different from the L3PRO. The thing L&P struggles with most is the user friendliness/User Interface and even after several DAPs, this still is an issue. Keep reading.

Luxury & Precision L3PRO (4)

L3PRO

After the L3 was launched, L&P is now back with a PRO version of their starter DAP. The Chinese page for the L3PRO can be found here. Lucky for us there is the great Penon Audio website that makes it easier for us to understand what the L3PRO is all about.

In general the L5 and L3 models are specifically made for use with IEMs while the PRO-models should be able to power full sized headphones more easily than the non-pro models. The L3PRO uses the same DAC and amplifier module the L3 does (see specs). Like the other L&P DAPs, the L3PRO comes delivered in a very nice box which holds the DAP, the leather case and a USB-cable. Accessory-wise the L3PRO doesn’t impress, but do you really need anything else with a DAP?

Build Quality, Design & Lay-out

The L&P DAPS are always beautiful and well-built with top quality materials and it’s no different this time round. The L3PRO has a perfectly finished grey casing with a gorgeous rosewood background (like the L5PRO). Of course that isn’t visible when you’re using the leather case. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Luxury & Precision has the prettiest high quality leather cases on the market. The original L3 also has one of those leather cases but the back is in carbon and the aluminum is lighter. They L3’s are the exact same size and both have a 3.5 inch touch screen (resolution 480×320).

The finish of the aluminum is as good as it gets, the design is very pretty – it looks the same as their other DAPs – and it is easy to work with. The only points of improvement I can mention are the sharp edges around the top volume button. They’re an issue with all the L&P DAPs but it shows most on this latest L3PRO. The DAP lay-out and buttons are identical to the L3 and L5PRO but L&P chose to engrave the functions again on the buttons as they did with the L5PRO. The L3 didn’t have that and it simply looks more luxurious with the engraved buttons. The volume wheel, case and the buttons do seem to be of a higher quality

Luxury & Precision L3PRO (2)

On the top left we still have three buttons of which the two on the left can be set by the user. The third button is the lock screen button (short push or long push). Right next to that we find the same style volume wheel. The L3PRO’s volume wheel is smooth but you feel and hear the different clicks when setting the volume level. The L3PRO has a lot of steps so you can set the volume very precisely. On the right side of the player we still have the play/pause, forward and rewind buttons. The MicroSD card slot now is still on the right side of the player. On the bottom of the player you from right to left find the USB-connector, the LO/SPDIF out, the 2.5mm balanced and the 3.5mm single ended output. There’s nothing to be found on the left side of the player. On the front the Luxury & Precision name is still missing (compared to the L5PRO).

The player weighs around 160gr and it measures only 60 * 114 * 15.2 mm making it easy to transport and friendly to stack amps to. The L3PRO goes for between $519 – $549 depending on the shop.

Versatility

The L3PRO isn’t only a portable music player but it can also work as a USB-DAC for your laptop and your iPhone/Android phone (not tested). The L3PRO has both a singled ended 3.5mm output as well as the typical 2.5mm balanced output. It can be connected to another DAC by using the digital 3.5mm output over coax and you can hook it up to an external amplifier by using the 3.5mm Line-Out (fixed output volume).

Memory & Battery

The L3PRO has an internal 32GB memory (L3 = 16gb) and it has one MicroSD slot. The L3PRO is guaranteed to work with cards up to 128GB but they have to be FAT32 formatted in order for them to be accessed. It does seem like there is a 6000 file limit on the LP3 but that might be related to just the review sample only (I can’t confirm this). The L3PRO comes with a 0.9.0.0 firmware installed that was modified for the reviewers in some way: the screen displays “Test sample not for sale” when booting or shutting down the player and I can’t manage to upgrade to a more recent FW. The L3PRO loads and shuts down extremely fast while the media library update isn’t the fastest on the market. But it isn’t as slow as iBasso’s in example.

Luxury & Precision L3PRO (3)

I’ve never complained about the L&P battery life before and I won’t start now. I have never run out of juice before I expected it and getting around 10h of play time with the screen turned off shouldn’t be an issue.

Tech Stuff

The L3PRO and L3 are both fully balanced DAPS (input and output): the left and right channel DAC chip is separated, and even DAC digital inputs are separated. L3PRO uses a dual CS4398 DAC with a dual SOLO op amp and dual 1812A double crown. The L3 manages sampling rates up to 32 Bit/768 kHz and supports up to DSD256. USB Sampling rates go up to 24 Bit/192kHz.

Specifications

  • Model: L3 PRO
  • Screen Size: 3 5 inches
  • Screen resolution: 480×320 OGS full lamination capacitive screen
  • Master: 1812C
  • DAC chip: left and right channels for each one Cirrus Logic flagship professional D / A chip CS4398
  • Crystal jitter: less than l picosecond low phase noise crystal oscillator
  • Op amp: SOLO
  • Amp: 1812A Double Crown
  • Co-processor: 1812M
  • Power management chip: 1812P
  • Filter capacitor: from Murata companies such as ESR MLCC
  • Button: side button, the top button is ALPS long life button
  • Built-in storage 32GBFLASH
  • Extended Capacity: 128GB TF card support (32G need to be formatted for the FAT32 file system)
  • Life time: about 10 hours single-ended output, balanced output about 8 hours
  • Charging standard: DC input voltage range 4 8 – 5.2V. The maximum output current of the power adapter is recommended 1.5A and above adapter
  • Body; aluminum alloys. CNC integrated molding process, anodized surface thin blast treatment, the rear cover of rosewood, 6 layer immersion gold PCB
  • Output interface: 3.5mm Single-ended earphone output interface, 2.5mm balanced headphone jack, 3.5 mm line out / SPDIF output interface. USB Data / Charging / USB DAC interfaces
  • Weight: 386gr
  • Dimensions: 60 * 114 * 15.2 mm

Luxury & Precision L3PRO (5)

It continues on Page 2 after the Jump below or the click HERE

Review: Luxury & Precision L3PRO DAP – Mmmmusic
4.4 (88.57%) 14 vote[s]

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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.

7 Comments

  • Reply January 19, 2017

    Clinton DIXON

    Do you plan to review the Fiio x5iii in the future?

    • Reply January 19, 2017

      Lieven

      of course, I’m listening to it now

  • Reply January 19, 2017

    Clinton DIXON

    Jolly good! I’ll look out for your review 🙂

  • Reply January 20, 2017

    richard

    Hi Lieven
    I own a DX50 and I’m thinking about upgrading, to drive mainly a DT1770 and a Fidelio X2
    How would you rank the L3Pro vs DX50, is it a real upgrade in terms of SQ ?
    And what about the L3Pro vs DX90, is it the same SQ level ?

    Do you think the L3Pro is the best in his price segment ?

    Thanks a lot

    • Reply January 20, 2017

      Lieven

      Are you absolutely sure sound is all you care about and that you don’t want or need a user friendly player that swipes etc?

      If yes -> L3 that’s in promotion

  • Reply January 22, 2017

    Richard

    OK, but actually I got the deal for the QP1R Questyle at 599€ 😉

    Thanks a lot

  • Reply July 31, 2017

    Simon

    I first came across L&P when I went to a store for a listen on Calyx M, which was my then upgrade I had in mind, from a Sony SX1000 I was using as a transition when I finally phased out my Walkman X(probably turned out to be the most neutral Walkman Sony’s ever made?), but was deeply disappointed by then-flagship ZX1’s sound and had to take a risk seeking out non-Sony options. Turns out the Calyx M was meh(basically on par with the SX1000 which was less than 1/3 the price), Fiio X7 was worse, and the L5Pro was the closest to what I had in mind, though it sounded harsh to me.
    I walked out without a purchase, but months later when I came back, the only new viable option in stock (and available for sampling) was the L3, which I wasn’t really betting on, since I wasn’t expecting a cheaper model of the same manufacturer to sound better. But I tried it out anyway, and I was wrong, I was surprised, and I double-checked and AB’ed many times, but the L3 really did sound better.
    After a third trip to the store I took it home, and shortly after that I discovered that L&P was doing this upgrade campaign where you could upgrade(it was actually a swap as I later discovered) an L3 to the new, though totally untested, L3Pro, for slightly over $100. Since I wasn’t entirely happy with the L3 either, I took my chances and got the upgrade(swap, since I discovered that a small dent on my L3’s chassis magically disappeared after the supposed upgrade of internals). Lucky for me this time L3Pro really does sound better than L3(as opposed to L5Pro’s performance), and the difference is clearly noticeable.
    What’s more interesting is that I discovered with my specific pair of CIEMs(which is a jumble from 3 recycled TF10 drivers and 3 new drivers added by UM) and the cable I’m using(I don’t even have backups I could compare it with right now), L3Pro sounds best, and IMO literally perfect, when I plug directly into its LO instead of the PO and still use the volume knob to control volume. While I would use somewhere around 30(I think, I don’t even remember since it’s been so long since I last used the PO port) with the PO port, the LO port needs 40-45 for optimal volume, it’s also slightly dangerous since every time you plug into LO the volume is automatically set to max, good thing LO max isn’t anywhere near as loud as PO max. Obviously the LO port isn’t meant to be used this way, but volume control with the LO port makes this possible. What I feel this gets me is lighter, but properly reined-in, tighter bass that doesn’t threaten to…”overflow” from its place in the soundstage, slightly more forthcoming mids, extra detail across the spectrum, better imaging, and a more vibrant sound owing mostly to the better defined treble. This trick is worth a try to anybody else planning on pairing CIEMs with the L3Pro who hasn’t discovered it yet.
    It doesn’t work at all with my Z1000 though as the LO doesn’t come close to effectively driving it, but then I don’t feel that the PO properly drives it either. I would always pair my 2Stepdance with my Z1000.
    Oh, on a side note, the single issue about the firmware I feel most needs fixing, is lack of a delete function. Every time I need to delete something I’d need to take note of it somewhere and go back to my computer to delete it, this is what I miss most coming from the SX1000. Other than that, there’s lack of swiping, lack of search, the file order issue, a serious font problem with Japanese lyrics, and problems with adding album covers, the spectrum meter lags enough to be totally useless, but those…considering the sound quality and price, I’m willing to overlook those, but really I want delete.

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