I got the opportunity to play with a privately owned Lotoo PAW 5000 MK-II loaner unit for a few days now, and here are my quick, superficial impressions on its performances.
Balanced Ended port is I would say “reasonably clean“. Difficult of course to give an worded description of what I exactly mean. I’ll belp myself with comparisons. If Chord Mojo is at 9 on a 1-10 scale, Groove at 8.5, Hiby R5, Fiio BTR5, Fiio X3-III are hovering between 5 and 6, then LP5000 is at 8. The Single Ended port is perceivable poorer. I would not go above 7.5 as a score here.
More vulgarly if you want: auditioned as an upgrade from a normality made of devices like usual chifi low or midtier daps (Fiio, Hiby, etc), the effect is “wow, now THAT’s clean!”. Oppositely, put side-by-side with higher-tier devices like Chord Mojo or Apogee Groove LP5000 does not quite reach their level, not by much, but still it doesnt.
Soundstage arguably, and barred exceptions quite expectedly, follows the same path. If Groove is quite unbeatable on my score at 9.5/10 if not even 10/10, Mojo is tightly sitting on a 9, BTR5 or R5 are at 6, then again LP5000-2 is at 8 on BE, 7.5 on SE
The last bit of extension is missing at both ends, both on SE and BE output. Bass in particular is a bit less rolled off on BE vs SE; for treble the two outputs are audibly on par.
General tonality is warm-ish. Vocals and highmids are nothing less than superb, very well detailed and defined while not edgy – great.
- Nice battery life (> 10h)
- Superfast and slick linux-based system, with a unique but quite nice UI (once you get accustomed to it). Near-instant on/off. Totally fluid operations. Rock solid operations. Nice.
- Small screen, no touch controls
- Support for up to 384Khz / 32bit PCM & DSD256
- No wifi, therefore no streaming, no DLNA, not OTA upgrades
- BT limited to output on TWS drivers
- No USB DAC in/out
- Support for 1 x 2TB SD card
- 150mW @32 Ohm power
- Low / High gain switch available, couldnt devine the relevant figures though
- Disappointing output impedance (around 2 Ohm), could be raised to 40 Ohm via the DAMP switch. Lotoo seems to be eyeing much more to cans than IEMs here.
- “ATE” equaliser is a sorta sound shaper: 7 presets (Brighter, Sweet, Dental, etc) – Some are interesting.
- PEQ : 8 presets (Classic, Pop, Rock, Techno, etc), and most importantly 5 freely defined filters + a gain filter, saveable into 6 nameable custom schemes. Very nice.
- Nice and fancy realtime spectrum viewer
- Small, compact and relatively lightweight (110g)
A flash about pairings
- Fails miserably with E5000 (14 Ohm) or Penon Sphere (6 Ohm). Lotoo Paw 5000 MK-II relatively high output impedance is tragic here. Sphere mostly, but E5000 too, go perceivably bloaty in the bass when volume is raised, and the device simply got not enough power to fix the situation by putting an attenuator in between.
- Oppositely, non very-low-impedance drivers are biased with a competence which is unattained by lower-tier (though often more expensive) devices. Shuoer Tape in particular loses all of its sibilance and zingness and simply put it ceases to require EQing to even be audible (some EQing might still be wanted to optimise its signature vs my taste but that’s a totally different story of course).