That means that you get an easy to listen to, very musical sound, with an airy presentation that makes everything realistic and natural sounding. On top of that you get the high detail levels, layering, depth and width combined with that. You get the best of both worlds and unless you specifically prefer the tuning of either the Sony or the AK, it really can’t get any better than this sound-wise. The L6 gives you everything there is in the music without it ever being too much and it at the same time lets you dream away because of its spot-on airiness and musicality. Dare I say this is the ultimate DAP for music lovers that don’t want to miss out on anything? Yes, I do.
Bass is important in the L6, just like it is in the Sony WM1Z, maybe even more. You get a full bodied bass with a really good impact. It’s not really close to neutral but it’s musical, yet tight and detailed. You get bass that goes really deep and which shows excellent layering. It might not be as precise as the AK SP1000’s bass but it’s softer and very pleasing. Bass and mids have a softer, smoother and even warmer touch to it but it never is too much, it in fact is just right to get that ultimate musical yet rich and precise sound signature.
The mids shares the same characteristics of the bass section and they perfectly flow up from the bass. There’s no real focus on lower or upper mids and they’re quite balanced overall. So you get the same warmer, smoother, yet rich and dynamic, very natural sounding mids. The mids have good depth and width and come with good layering. Again, the way the L6 “does” the mids is like the perfect marriage of the SP1000 and WM1Z.
The L6 for me is really jaw-dropping in the treble section. It’s on point and focused and it comes with great detail and extension. Treble is energetic and clear but always musical and it perfectly fits in with those excellent bass and mids.
All-in-all you get a coherent top level sound with bass, mids and treble that just work very well together.
DAC & Line-Out
I like using the L6 as a USB DAC as well and it’s a very nice backup to have in case you end up somewhere without a dedicated DAC. I don’t often tend to use a DAP as DAC but sound-wise the L6 did positively surprise me, and it has more than enough power to drive the Sennheiser HD660S as well, so that’s a nice extra.
The downside atm is that the DAC functionality is still limited to 96 kHz/ 16bit, and as I said, the screen blacks out (no bitrate info) and you can’t see a volume level. As a backup DAC , I can live with that however.
If you read my other L&P reviews then you know I like using them as a source only using the coaxial output to the Hugo (2). To me the Hugo and Mojo sound best when fed through the Coaxial input, and the L6’s coaxial output sounds great. You get a full bodied, rich sound with a natural presentation. Bass is lighter compared to the L6’s outputs and the mids are thinner too. It’s a more neutral signature that is tight and precise but still with a musical touch to it.
The entry level L3 is a bit more veiled in the mids where the L6 is more clear and clean sounding. This is especially audible with the vocals. The L6 also has more detail, sounds more natural and it has a more open and spacious presentation, resulting in an even more natural sound. The mids in the L3 don’t have the presence and body they have in the L6. To me the L3 still sounds good, but of all the L&P DAPs, this is the least impressive sounding one.
The L3PRO is better sounding than the L3 but compared to the L6 it is a bit more aggressive in its presentation and it’s not as spacious and wide sounding as the L6 is. The L6 sounds more natural and realistic and offers more richness compared to the L3PRO. Sound-wise however, the L3PRO – for its price – is an absolute killer. The L6 has it beat in technicalities.
The L5PRO sound-wise is closest to the L6, but it is noisier and doesn’t sound as clean (noisier background). Space and sound stage-wise the L5PRO is closest to the L6 but the L6 still is better performing with richer sound, better separation and a wider sound stage. The L6 sounds more forward in the vocals and has more body in the mids section compared to the L5PRO. The L5Pro’s bass also is lighter and has less impact.
With all the L&P DAPs you can nicely hear how they improve when listening to different models, but the nice thing is that all the L&P DAPs sound really good and they in general have a natural, smooth flow in combination with sparkling treble.
To me the L6 sound-wise is right up there with the best of the best, the SP1000 and WM1Z. In case you missed the comparison to these DAPs, you can find them in the “Positioning & Reference” chapter.
On the NEXT PAGE of the review you’ll find out haw well the L6 performs with a series of ear- and headphones