A lot of people have been asking me to compare the L5pro to Fiio’s brand new X7, which I’ve been listening to for a few weeks already. The X7 will cost you $650USD (L5Pro: $809) so they are more or less both in the same “category”. The main differences are that the X7 is Android based (you can do a whole lot more than just listen to music) and that the X7 works with specific amplification modules. The new X7 comes supplied with an IEM module and it doesn’t work that good with harder to drive full sized headphones. And that’s exactly where the L5Pro shines: it can do it all.
Looking at the FW and UI, the L5pro is no match for the superb X7. While L&P still has some work on the L5Pro, Fiio’s X7 is way more advanced. I’m not saying it’s flawless but at least it has all the basics working perfectly. Sound wise, taking into account IEMs only, there’s quite a difference between both players as well. The L5Pro is analog sounding and the X7, well it isn’t. The X7 is more airy and more layered and if the L5Pro reminds me of the Picollo, the X7 reminds me of the Alo RX amp. They compare just the same. We’ll have to keep testing all Fiio’s amp modules to really compare both these DAPs, but that for the moment isn’t possible yet.
To me the AK120II and AK240’s sound signature is comparable but different at the same time. On a very quick listen and a bad recording the differences might not show up immediately but when you take your time and play a higher bitrate album, you clearly notice the differences. The AKs still have more extension, sound more airy, go deeper and present more layering throughout. Detail wise the AKs have better microdetail which is especially noticeable in the vocals. The L5Pro is a lot more powerful and it has more body in bass and mids. The user interface of both the AKs is sublime and they even have OTA updates while L&P still have a lot of work to do. Of all the DAPs in my collection though, the L5Pro is the one coming closest to the AK’s for now. We’ll see how the X7 does with the different amplification models.
Fiio’s X5II for the moment is selling for only $348USD on Amazon and that is a superb price for this player. Compared to the X5, the L5pro has the more advanced and user friendlier interface but it’s also double the X5SG’s price. The X5SG doesn’t even have a touch screen however and that for a lot of people is deal breaker. Sound wise the X5SG is really sublime, especially for its price. Like the Fiio X7, the latest X5II sounds more airy and has better layering. The L5Pro sounds more analog and it has a blacker background and a wider soundstage. The X5SG’s bass has more impact (and goes deeper) while the treble isn’t as extended, precise and clear as on the L5Pro. The X5SG is great value for money but the X7 has it beat on all fronts.
I’m still waiting for the new iBasso DX80 to arrive and I’ll update this part when it finally arrives. I however don’t expect it to be close in sound quality; the DX90 on the latest firmware (or on the Lurker one) certainly doesn’t come close.
The Luxury & Precision L5Pro looks beautiful and sounds superb. It has a full bodied analog sound with good detail, gorgeous clarity and a whole lot of power to even drive those full sized headphones in your collection. If it wasn’t for the FW/UI still being a work in progress, this DAP would score big, certainly with the $800USD price tag. For now however it is an awesome sounding DAP that one day, once everything has been sorted out, will play with the big boys. On the other hand, if you don’t care about the things that are still missing and just care about good sound, you really don’t have to look further. This is the one you want.
I have used the L5Pro a lot and I still continue to do so, even with the X7 and the AKs in my collection. The X7 clearly is a competitor of the L5Pro but its sound signature is very different. I love how both the X7 and the L5Pro sound but when I am using easy to drive in ear monitors, I for now keep going back to my favorite AK120II. The L5Pro gets all the airtime when I use full sized headphones without an extra amplifier. I really hope L&P gets everything on their to-do list checked off quickly as it will make the L5pro a very versatile and top quality player. The potential is there, now it’s up to L&P.
The L5pro can be bought via and goes for $809USD. Even without the perfect UI, the L5pro offers superb sound for “little” money. If L&P can keep this price and sort everything out, they have a winner in their hand. They’re almost there.