TempoTec Variations V6

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UI & Usage

Everyday carry

On a day-to-day basis, the Tempotec is quite pleasant to use, especially compared to the iBasso DX320 I previously reviewed, which looks like a behemoth head-to-head.

If a bit thick, the Variations V6 displays a conservative footprint and should fit anybody’s trousers pocket. Measurement? 116mm x 68mm x 17mm so approximately 15% smaller than a FiiO M11 Plus or a Shanling M6 Pro 21, and 30% less than the DX320, even with the cover on.

The buttons fall right in place, the volume wheel gives a good grip and honestly, the UI feels quite snappy for a device embarking a CPU this old – more about that later. It’s not a small player by all means, but in my opinion, this is a good balance in terms of size and usability.

Deep sleep works perfectly, the screen, if not wondrous, looks pretty good even under the sunlight, and thanks to HiBy Music, the player as a whole gives the same experience as equally or even costlier options.  

Best of all, the Variations V6 natively comes with Google Play store, instead of APKPure, which means that installing/uninstalling the app feels much more natural – and avoids lots of bugs, for obvious reasons.

So far, so good!

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HiBy Player

Unlike FiiO, Shanling, or iBasso, TempoTec didn’t develop its own third-party player and decided to rely on HiBy Music, one of the most popular players out there. In fact, as a pure player, this makes the Variations V6 a sure choice, even with Android 8.1 in use, instead of the 9th, 10th or 11th version of Android OS.

Library scans are blazing fast, UI is equally fast, and with MSEB settings + plug-ins support, you can tweak your sound to your liking. In fact, there are COUNTLESS settings like:

  • Overall Temperature: Cool / Warm
  • Bass extension: Light / Deep
  • Bass Texture: Fast / Thumpy
  • Note thickness: Crisp / Thick
  • Voice: Recessed / Forward 
  • Female overtones: Detoxed / Intoxicating (WTF)
  • Sibilance LF: Soft / Crisp
  • Sibilance HF: Soft / Crisp
  • Impulse response: Slow / Fast
  • Air: Soft / Crisp

Moreover, you can even choose the stepping of your slider, ranging from fine-tuning (+/-20) to Excessive (+/-100), that last mod tends to be way too aggressive, so personally, I’d not advise using it.

Finally, HiBy offers two more options that could be helpful for some of you:

  • Tidal on-board, which means that you won’t have to use a separate app to access your Tidal account, in addition to filling up your music library
  • App mirroring, meaning that you can completely control the Variations V6 from your smartphone if both are connected to the same WiFi network

All good!

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USB-C and SD Card

All audiophile players use a USB-C connector nowadays and the TempoTec Variations V6 makes no exception. The transfer rates are good, and transferring big chunks of music didn’t take much time, even if the DX320 remains the top god here, thanks to a USB 3.1 port. 

As usual, the USB-C port works dual-way and you can either connect the player to a computer, to transfer your files or use the Variations V6 as a USB-DAC, or connect the DAP to a USB-DAC and use it as a digital transport.

Tempotec only offers 16Gb of internal memory with its player and relies on a micro-SD card for memory expansion. In Europe, and more specifically in France (where I live) this is good news as any device embarking more than 16Gb or storage gets heavily taxed – sometimes up to ⅓ of the DAP retail price!

Every type and size are supported, from micro-SDHC to micro-SDXC up to 2Tb. Also, I can’t stress enough about how many fake and counterfeit micro-SD cards are selling out there now, so check twice before you get one.

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Battery Life and Charging

Battery life was one of the nicest surprises with the TempoTec Variations V6. With a 4500 mAh and a lower-end CPU, the player achieved some impressive numbers, outperforming the official values displayed by the brand.

From a 100% battery, using exclusively Apple Music and Spotify, through the 4.4mm Pentaconn output, I managed to get a comfortable 15h of playback – almost 3h hours more than what the brand promised! Strangely, sticking to local files with HiBy music – the native player – didn’t make any difference in terms of battery life. At best, I’d say that you could win 15 minutes, so no real improvements!

Last but not least, the player doesn’t seem to support USB-PD charging (or at least, I didn’t manage to make it work) but if you get a fast 20W charger (9V/1.5Ah) you can shorten the charging time by half an hour. On the other hand, charging through a classic USB port remains painfully long.

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Wifi and Bluetooth

Like every modern player, the Variations V6 comes with full Bluetooth compatibility: LDAC, UAT,  AAC, APTX HD, APTX, and bidirectional support to send music to your headphone or get it from your smartphone. A nice option if you use a TWS or simply want to use the DAP as a Bluetooth receiver on your audio system.

On the WiFi side, if the Variations V6 doesn’t support 2×2 MIMO, the player still embeds a dual-band chipset, compatible with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, a minimum in 2022. And, if the CPU isn’t on-par with the one found in the likes of the iBasso DX320 or FiiO M17, the TempoTec worked quite well when I downloaded apps and tracks through the Google Play Store.

I tried all the streaming apps I use on my iPhone, and everything went well, from Qobuz, to Spotify or even Amazon Music. And for those who ask, yes Apple Music works, which is more than surprising for a player this affordable.

 Overall, a nice experience through and through.

Time for specs!

The review continues on Page Three, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.

4.2/5 - (162 votes)

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A nerdy guy with a passion for audio and gadgets, he likes to combine his DAC and his swiss knife. Even after more than 10 years of experience, Nanotechnos still collects all gear he gets, even his first MPMAN MP3 player. He likes spreadsheets, technical specs and all this amazing(ly boring) numbers. But most of all, he loves music: electro, classical, dubstep, Debussy : the daily playlist.

1 Comment

  • Reply September 20, 2022

    Mozphet

    Considering the Kickstarter price of $279, how stupid would one have to be to not order this device?

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