TempoTec Variations V6

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Specifications

Android 8.1 + Qualcomm Snapdragon 425

Yes, you read that right, in 2022 this is an outgoing player packing 2018 specs! In fact, this Qualcomm chip was first announced in February 2016, before its commercial availability later that year.

Good news, for a portable player, even more, so an audiophile player this is more than enough. You get a 64bit Quad-Core CPU, with up to 1.4Ghz and an Adreno 308 GPU, quite sufficient for music apps like Spotify, Qobuz, or Tidal. But, the real advantage of this SOC –  apart from its FOB Price – is its low power consumption, perfect for a DAP whose sole goal remains music playback.

What you miss though, are the modern refinements such as USB 3.0, USB-PD, or QuickCharge 3.0 and things like Bluetooth 5.0, the 425 being stuck with a 4.1 chip. So nothing truly essential, but if you own a modern wireless headphone, you might feel a bit disappointed.

Even more surprising, is the use of Android 8.1, an antique version of the OS for today’s standards. But, to my surprise, every third-party app I downloaded, worked flawlessly with TempoTec’s player, even Qobuz which is notoriously known for its strange behavior. 

Finally, the brand uses SRC bypass, meaning that Android should not alter the sound in any way, thanks to full software isolation between the OS, and the sound section – spoiler, it works VERY well!

A nice surprise!

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Dual AKM AK4493SEQ + FPGA

The TempoTec uses two sets of AK4493SEQ DAC provided by AKM, the well-known semiconductor company that unfortunately took fire a few years ago. Thankfully, the company managed to get back on its feet recently, relaunching its whole range of DAC and chips. Hurray! 

It’s a chip encountered in many other players or DAC, like the A&K SE180 Futura with the SEM4 module, for good reasons: 

  • VELVETSOUND™ technology, achieving industry’s leading level low distortion characteristics
  • 125dB SNR in Large amplitude mode
  • High-rate playback; PCM 768kHz, DSD512
  • PCM/DSD automatic switching function

So not the top of the line but basically equally good with the ESS or Cirrus-Logic counterpart.

In parallel, the Variations V6 also uses its own in-house FPGA-Master chip, working as the brain of the audio circuit. This audio system controller receives the data from the CPU, synchronizes and generates all audio clocks at the same time, then sends it to the dual DAC in I²S, or DSD.

Thanks to that, the DAC also supports ultra-high-resolution files, up to 32bit-768kHz in PCM, DSD up to DSD512, and full MQA decoding with MQA 16x, instead of the usual MQA 8X. In the real world, this means that the player is able to offer bit-perfect playback, with any kind of file, in every situation.

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Bundle

Inside the box

The TempoTec Variations V6 bundle is dire, but that was to be expected. In the box you get :

  • the TempoTec Variations V6
  • an USB-C cable
  • some glass protection
  • a quick-start manual
  • a faux-leather case

The case is a nice gesture and compared to my SE180 which forced me to purchase the case separately, this makes a real difference in terms of q/p ratio. Again, this isn’t an impressive bundle by any means, but for $399, I won’t complain!

For the nit-pickers and nerdy ones here, I’m giving the specs and technical sheets. For all the others, you can just go to the next page to see how the DAP performs.

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Full specs

  • Type: Digital Audio Player
  • Model: TempoTec Variations V6
  • OS: Android 8.1
  • CPU: Qualcomm 425
  • RAM: 2Gb
  • Storage: 16Gb + micro-SD
  • DAC: 2x AKM AK4493SE
  • Amp: 2x OPA1612 + 4x OPA1688
  • Sample rate: PCM : 8Hz – 768kHz (8/16/24/32bits) native – DSD64/128/256/512 – MQA 16x
  • System clock: Full synchronization technology with High-Precision Active Crystal Oscillator + FPGA Master
  • Outputs: 3.5mm headphone out + 3.5mm line-out / 4.4mm Pentaconn balanced headphone output + 4.4mm Pentaconn Balanced line-out 
  • Input: USB Type-C
  • Screen: 4.2″ 1280×800 IPS Screen 
  • Micro SD: SDHC / SDXC (single slot)
  • USB DAC: yes
  • WiFi: 2.4 GHz / 5 GHz support (2X2 MIMO)
  • DNLA + APK support
  • Bluetooth support:  SBC, aptX, LDAC, AAC – BT5.0
  • Duplex Bluetooth: the player can emit and receive music
  • Battery: 4500mAh 
  • Quick Charge: yes (QC 3.0)
  • Battery life: 15h in single-ended, 12h in balanced
  • Charging time: around 2h00
  • Size: 116mm x 68mm x 17mm
  • Weight: 310g 
  • Price: $399

Headphone out

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

4.3/5 - (163 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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