Review: Luxury & Precision L3PRO DAP – Mmmmusic

The Cayin i5 I reviewed a couple of weeks ago has the advantage that it is an Android based player that allows the installation of 3rd party apps like Tidal, Qobuz and Youtube. The i5 sells for about $499 and that makes it a direct competitor of the L3PRO. The L3PRO is no competition for what user-friendliness and customization is concerned but the pure sound quality of the L3PRO is of a higher level. The i5’s sound is compacter and more bold and the L3PRO has better layering and presents the sound in an easier way. Of course it also has the 2.5mm balanced output, something I really would like to have seen in the i5.

Fiio’s X5iii that was just released is selling for only $399 and like the Cayin i5 (and Fiio X7) it is a fully Android based, modifiable DAP that’s a pleasure to work with. Up to now the X5iii in its latest configuration hasn’t convinced me yet though. Sure the player is versatile, easy to use and has an awesome design but sound wise I personally still prefer the X5ii as it sounds livelier. Just looking at SQ, the L3PRO is far out of reach for the X5iii. Hifiman’s back to basics Supermini DAP is selling for $399 as well and the sound is more or less at the same level of that of the Fiio X5iii. UI-wise however this really is back to basics and while that does have its advantages, I do miss a lot of the normal/modern features such as a search function, easy browsing, settings, etc. Besides on sound, the L3PRO also has it beat on user friendliness and it surely is surprising to see it beat another DAP in this category.

Luxury & Precision L3PRO (10)

DAC and Source

I love using the L&P DAPs as a source for my Chord Mojo and Hugo. Not only do they visually score but the coaxial output of the L&P DAPs is really good. At the same time I find both the Mojo and Hugo to sound best when fed via Coax so that’s a double win.  I especially like pairing them with the Hugo as the DAP can easily be put away in its jacket. The result is a desktop quality sound for on the go.

When using the L3PRO as a USB-DAC, the CS4398 chip delivers a detailed, easy to like sound with no obvious extremities. Good detail, good precision and all that in a musical way. It might not be the most popular DAC on the market right now but in this configuration it simply works well.

Luxury & Precision L3PRO (6)


The L3PRO effortlessly drives all sorts of ear- and headphones and I except for the RHA CL1 didn’t really find one that doesn’t sound good straight out of the SE or balanced output. The sensitive 8-driver Jomo Audio Samba (Best ciem of 2016) is dead silent from the L3PRO’s outputs and sings like never before. Detail, musicality, good bass, precision, it’s all there. To get the same volume on the Radius hp-twf41 as on the Samba you have to turn up the volume quite a bit but the L3PRO still has a lot of power left. You again get a detailed, musical sound with a top quality bass, gorgeous mids and lively treble. This Radius is quickly becoming one of my favorite universal IEMs and the L3PRO just makes it sound so good. The hp-twf41 has a reference level sound, it’s that good. The hybrid Fidue A91 on the L3PRO’s balanced output sounds musical with a little bigger bass but that’s how we know the Sirius. The darker sound signature is still very obvious and while I can live with it I can understand if some would find this pairing a little too much on the dark side. The much harder to drive RHA CL1 (single ended cable) is driveable from the L3PRO but the result isn’t the best wit a thinner sound, weird bass and little mids. This IEM really needs a lot of power.

Luxury & Precision L3PRO (9)

The new AudioQuest NightOwl is the surprise of 2017 so far and compared to the NightHawk its clarity is of the charts. The L3PRO makes it sound like it well sounds: clear, detailed, spacious and musical. The “veil” and very airy sound from the Hawk has gone and the sound quality is just of a higher – audiophile – level. Review soon. The Sennheiser HD650 isn’t the easiest to drive headphone and I don’t really feel the L3PRO can handle it. It doesn’t sound full bodied but rather thin and very light with a lot of detail. Some might prefer the HD650 in this way but I don’t really do. The Beyerdynamic Amiron Home on the other hand sounds spacious, full bodied and musical with great bass and excellent treble. I really like the Amiron straight from the L3PRO.



  • Top quality sound
  • Very good build quality and beautiful design
  • USB & Android/iPhone DAC
  • Great Line-Out (coax)
  • 5mm balanced output


  • Several issues with the User Interface/Firmware (no swiping – sound first)
  • DAC Volume not visible
  • No 3rd party Apps


The L3PRO for $519USD is a really good deal with an honest price/quality ratio (especially focusing on sound). The discounted L3, at $315, is an absolute steal however! Iv’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. As soon as L&P gets the UI “up to date” to those of their competitor’s, they will blow everyone away.

Luxury & Precision L3PRO (8)

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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