Review: Luxury & Precision L5PRO – Sound First

Disclaimer: Luxury & Precision sent me the L5Pro free of charge for the purpose of this review. A limited number of other reviewers worldwide were selected to review this new DAP. Several of the pictures were taken from Head-fi and the company’s website, except the ones with the HFN mark.

 Who is Luxury&Precision?

Luxury & Precision is a Chinese company that is led by the designer who previously worked at Colorfly and designed C4 & CK4. I had the opportunity to listen to the unique Colorfly C4 during Canjam 2014 and it was better than I expected it to be. The C4 for me was also one of the first wood using DAPs and it impressed me enough to remember how it sounded. The L5Pro isn’t the first DAP L&P have put on the market and this model actually is a subsequent product from the L5 and LP5. The differences between the L5 and the L5Pro are discussed in detail on Head-Fi by John, just copy-pasting them here wouldn’t be fair so do check out the Head-fi thread should you wonder about this.

Honestly I didn’t know of this Chinese company until Paul informed me of this new DAP. Paul got me introduced to John and in the end I was selected as a reviewer. John is very active on Head-fi and he’s kind of our contact person and middleman for everything L5pro related. He’s a nice guy and he’s the one giving L&P our feedback on the firmware and such.

There’s not a lot to be found on the company itself unless you speak Chinese. I don’t. The L&P website is also well, not in English.

Digital Audio Players.

The audio, and then more specifically the DAP (Digital Audio Player) market, is out of control. Established and new companies are putting new DAPs on the market every day it seems and it is extremely hard to keep track of what’s happening. Everyone wants a piece of the pie and DAPs can be found in all forms, sizes and in all price ranges. With the increasing number of DAPs out there it is hard to get noticed and so your DAP has to be special. Native DSD playback and a fancy design alone don’t cut it anymore. If you compare DAPs from 5 years ago to current DAPs you’ll see there’s a huge difference in their sound and build quality. Back then a lot of people were still using iPods (like me) combined with a DAC/AMP combo like Cypherlabs’ double stack.

Everyone used to talk about portable amps but nowadays people talk DAPs and everyone seems to have gotten bored of carrying a double or triple stack on the go. DAPs nowadays have to do it all: they need to have enough power to drive up to 14 BA driver monitors and orthodynamics like the Audeze LCD and the Hifiman HE-series. Every DAP needs to have a few GB of internal and external storage and it needs to be expendable, preferably with a (micro)SD card, or two.  Each DAP needs to be easy to use and of course it needs to sound incredibly good with everything you throw at it.

DAPs are out there for everyone and you can find high resolution players in all price ranges from 50$ to over $3000USD, there’s no limit. New, better and improved are keywords and we haven’t seen the end yet.

L&P’s L5PRO costs just over $800 USD which puts it in-between the mid-fi and high-fi players. But don’t be fooled, the L5Pro clearly wants to play with the big boys.

The L5PRO

Design

With a company name like “Precision & Detail” you kind of make people expect a lot. I did exactly that and L&P delivered. The first time you look at the pictures of the L5Pro they immediately remind you of the Astell&Kern players. And it just might even look better. Stunning DAP, very photogenic.

While Nathan clearly isn’t the biggest fan of how the AK players look, I kind of like them. They just scream quality and that’s exactly how the L5Pro makes me feel as well. The L5Pro is made out of superb materials (aluminum-magnesium alloy, CNC integrated molding process, anodized surface and sand blasting), has a unique design and uses top quality components. It’s almost as good as the AKs, if not just as good. Of course you love or hate the design but I personally think it’s quite unique. On top of that it’s incredibly easy to use but more on that later.

I usually don’t care much about the box a unit comes in but I have to admit that the double box the L5Pro came in is extremely nice (design & materials). The L5Pro isn’t the smallest of players and measures about  123mm x 63mm x 17mm which makes it just small enough to put in the back pocket of your pants or inside your jacket. The L5Pro’s aluminum-magnesium body is so fine and its design is very attractive. When you turn around the player you see the gorgeous rosewood back of the L5Pro (like the real LCD wood) and yes, you immediately fall in love. The wood just looks qualitative and classy and has the logo and the company name engraved in it. The L5pro comes with a fine, luxurious soft leather case in which the player fits tightly. I think all (high-end) players should come with a leather case (are you reading Fiio?) but at the same time the leather case hides how pretty the aluminum body and wooden back look. You can’t have everything I guess.  Nathan might complain the L5Pro has a couple of sharp edges but when it’s inside its leather case this is only noticeable on the very top.

It goes on 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.

12 Comments

  • Reply December 10, 2015

    Brooko

    Nice review Lieven – and I share your sentiments. L&P have an absolute winner if they can just unlock the missing features and polish the UI. A truly great sounding DAP.

    • Reply December 10, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Thank you Paul. I just don’t get why they want to get the USB DAC functionality before the basic stuff. But yes, a great sounding player

  • Reply December 10, 2015

    digitldlnkwnt

    Nice review L! I think overall most of these Chinese companies are learning the early lessons of Apple – hardware is nice but software makes it run. I don’t care if this thing pours honey mixed with nectar covered in ambrosia into my ears if the software sucks it’s not worth it. I think we are at the point now where companies need to pay closer attention to their UI prior to release. Five years ago i would be more understanding given that the hardware alone justified the purchase even if the software UI was a bit flaky. Now, I buy DUAL ESS chips or equivalent in a 450.00 player WITH a good UI. No gapless playback in 800.00 DAP in 2015? Really? Or a shuffle that can’t really shuffle? Hell even my iPod shuffle shuffles better than that and it’s 10 years old! Sorry L&P but if you want my 800.00 dollars you have to better than that.

    • Reply December 11, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Thanks. I do hope they keep improving the FW/UI cause it really does sound good

  • Reply December 13, 2015

    Rich

    Great write up Lieven! You mentioned the L5PRO is analog sounding. How does it compare to the Calyx M which to my ears is more analog sounding? The M really pairs nicely with higher end IEMs like the Sennheiser ie800 so I’m assuming the L5PRO would too.

    • Reply December 13, 2015

      Headfonia_L.

      Thank you. The Calyx M is kind of in between the L5Pro and the X7. Try before you buy is always the smartest option 🙂

  • Reply January 17, 2016

    Splutje

    “I’m still waiting for the new iBasso DX80 to arrive and I’ll update this part when it finally arrives.

    Did you receive the DX80 already and made any comparisons to the L&P?

    • Reply January 17, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      My first DX80 was faulty and the second one hasn’t arrived yet. But it’s clear the L5pro is a level up form the DX80

  • Reply January 20, 2016

    Pascual Villaseca

    Little question.
    If we only take sound quality as a parameter.
    Which would you think is the winner between the Fiio X7 and the L&P L5Pro?

    • Reply January 20, 2016

      Headfonia_L.

      It depends on what you’ll be using it with. The X7 for now with AM1 is only really good for IEMs. The L5PRo does everything really well.

      that being said the X7 has a wider sound stage and more layering

  • Reply February 9, 2016

    Coll. IEm

    anyone have both hm901 and L5pro ..

    compare to each other ,which one has bigger and meaty sound

  • Reply March 14, 2016

    Alex Ignatiev

    Hi! Could You help me a little? Going to change my sony nwz-a15 for something better(around 1000$). At the same time I have VorzAMP Pure II +. Thinking of L&P L5Pro( but someone said VorzAMP Pure II +doesn’t imrove L&P L5Pro much) So maybe I should take Fiio X7 or something else to my VorzAMP Pure II +? Thanks in advance.(also going to buy DUNU DN-2000J )

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