Review: Luxury & Precision L3PRO DAP – Mmmmusic

User interface & user friendliness

Basically the user interface and the user friendliness is exactly the same as the L3’s. The touch swiping unfortunately is still on the agenda and it hasn’t been implemented yet. I advise to read the L&P L3 review first before continuing. Here’s a part of what we wrote about the L3:

This is where it starts to get tricky. The L&P players weren’t built upon an existing Android platform but everything is developed in-house. The L5PRO player sounded great but has, and still has, a lot of issues. That’s also the exact reason why the L5PRO review was titled “Sound First”.

You would think that L&P would have listened to their customers before launching another new DAP but for several reasons this hasn’t really happened. A whole lot of functions that everyone considers as basic functions still aren’t available and a whole lot of people are disappointed because of this. L&P keeps saying they’re coming (like the swiping in example) but we still haven’t seen any development in those areas.  Some of the issues the L3(PRO) is still coping with are the lack of swiping, playlist generation, file type support, the lack of a user settable EQ, alphabetic ordering and the 6000 file limit. Something I also don’t like is that during shuffle play, the player doesn’t remember the previously played song. A lot of players have that “problem” but even more just keep the playlist in their memory so that if you accidentally skip a song, you can just go back to it without any hassle.

Anyway, swiping should come to the L3(PRO) and we all look forward to that. For the rest the User Interface of the new L3PRO is almost exactly the same as the L3’s UI. That means, no Tidal, Qobuz, Youtube or any installation of apps. The in-house developed FW doesn’t allow it. Using the L3PRO is a piece of cake though, it’s straightforward but there’s no swiping and browsing to an artist starting with the letter “M” can result in having to push the next button an awful lot of times. And yes, that is annoying. Another thing I noticed is that when the L3PRO is being used as USB-DAC (plug&play), the volume level doesn’t show on the screen. Besides that the L3PRO is easy and fast to use as it’s very basic. It just misses some core features imho.

Luxury & Precision L3PRO (1)

It’s clear that L&P still needs to work on the UI if they want to keep up with the other DAPs on the market. We know by now that sound goes first for L&P, but for a lot of audiophiles, that just isn’t enough (blame Apple, Fiio, Cayin, AK, etc)? If you care just about the sound, the L&P DAPS take away a lot of prizes though; they absolutely nailed that part. On the other hand I do tend to “find” more and more people that only care about sound and they love their L&P’s. Some even find the L&P DAPs to sound even better than the Astell&Kern DAPs. So maybe there’s a change in mentality going on.


The L3PRO isn’t very different from the regular L3 and I think they just share a different OPAMP. As a result there’s no surprise that the sound signature and quality is better but it is fairly close to the earlier released L3. Don’t expect a night and day difference though.

If there’s anything you can count on with L&P it’s the completely black background and lack of hiss, both with the regular 3.5 as the 2.5mm output. Even with the most sensitive gear you get a perfectly clear sound. L&P is famous for delivering high sound quality and they prove it once again with the L3PRO. The L3PRO – again – has the right mix of body, detail and musicality. The L3 is clean and clear and has a good resolution and layering overall. Even more so than the L3. The L3PRO sounds even richer in the mids and it has a more dynamic feel to it in general. It also seems like the L3PRO is more precise and has better attach/speed. The treble section to me is a little more extended this time round, and the delivery of the vocals is livelier and a little less laid back.

The treble section still is little less bodied than the bass and mid-section but I do feel the treble section is somewhat more extended and present in the new version. From bass to highs I’d call this a pretty linear sounding DAP though. The L3PRO doesn’t really emphasize bass, mids or treble but it displays it smooth and effortlessly with a hint to the lusher and warmer side without losing any of the detail and without going too far away from a neutral delivery.

Luxury & Precision L3PRO (12)

Layering (love it!) and spaciousness from the single ended output simply are very good and the balanced output manages to improve it even more. The sound stage width is good and so is the depth, but it isn’t as good as the highest end players like the AK380. At the same time I never had feeling of it being too small or narrow or intimate.

If you like a musical yet detailed/rich sound with a smoother and slightly warmer delivery, it simply doesn’t get any better. I actually know several people who swear by L&P instead of going the AK(70/300) route and I fully understand that reasoning. L&P fully nails the sound part and if you don’t care about the UI and things like TIDAL and only listen to MP3/FLAC, there sound wise hardly is anything better for the price. L&P won’t give you an analytical sound signature though, so if that’s your thing, look elsewhere.


The L3PRO can be bought for about $519 to $549USD while its little brother, the L3,  can be had for only $315USD at the moment. (It was $399 when we reviewed it). That makes the L3 update $200USD more expensive and in return you get better quality materials and better sound. The differences between the L3 and the L3PRO aren’t huge but the L3PRO does have the edge over the L3. If you’re just reading this part, do read the previous section as the full L3 vs L3PRO comparison is in there.

Luxury & Precision L3PRO (11)

The L5PRO still sets you back $799 but it does have an even better sound quality with better detail, spaciousness, separation, depth and precision. The L3 and L3PRO have a smoother delivery than the L5PRO as well, making them warmer sounding than the L5PRO. Compared to higher end players like the AK380, the L3PRO misses out on depth, width and layering but there’s no shame or surprise in that. Same goes for precision, level of detail and clarity but the AK380 is like 6 times as expensive.

Even more on “Sound” on Page 3, after the CLICK

4.5/5 - (20 votes)

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.


  • Reply January 19, 2017

    Clinton DIXON

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

    • Reply January 19, 2017


      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


    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


      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


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

    Thanks a lot

  • Reply July 31, 2017


    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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