Lotoo Paw Gold Touch

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Sound impressions

The original LPG was a unique player in all kind of regards; not only due to its form factor, screen size and UI, but especially its excellent sound – at least in the opinion of its fans, myself including. Lotoo presented the LPG as a ‘reference’ player designed for professionals in the audio industry, but it was quickly adopted and adored by the audiophile community. Be that as it may, I never viewed the LPG as reference; its sound signature was pretty far from flat. In fact, I would argue that that’s exactly what made it so exciting.

Personally, I would describe the LPG’s signature as a pronounced ‘W-shape’. Down low, it had a little boost in the sub-bass region, which granted a certain authority to its bass region. But its most characteristic features were the forwardness of its (lower) midrange and mid-treble peak. The LPG’s lower to center midrange was particularly forward, which provided a significant amount of body and density to vocals. In addition, it resulted in a particularly deep rather than wide stage. As a result of the mid-treble peak in turn, its overall sound resonated with great clarity, while a pronounced touch of sparkle gave it an exciting touch. This gave the LPG two special features: it worked especially well for iems that were either lean or warm.

The reason for going into detail about the original LPG, is to describe where the LPGT is coming from, to where it ended. To summarize the LPG, I would have liked to use the word ‘combustious’: an explosive concoction where a lot of energy seems to be compressed into a compact form factor. But much to my dismay, such a word does not exist – yet. But in the cumbustiousness of the LPG equally lied its weakness. The LPG was a bit of an unpolished diamond for sensitive listeners due its treble presentation, while its separation was not as effortless as the premium A&K players or Sony WM1Z. With the new LPGT, Lotoo seems to deliver on its original promise: this is a true reference player in optima forma.

Lotoo’s intention for the LPGT shines through from the initial moment of listen: a linear signature that provides minimal coloration in tone, and an especially smooth treble reproduction. Down low, the LPGT seems to have sacrificed a little bit of the LPG’s sub-bass rumble for a neutral bass presentation that neither under- or overemphasizes the IEM’s natural bass inclination. In other words, the LPGT will output a nice sense of impact with bass-heavy IEMs as the Legend-X, but will not necessarily give an additional boost to lighter IEMs as the NT6. Of note is that the quality of bass is relatively high. In terms of speed, definition and separation of bass lines, the LPGT performs more than adequately. In addition, the tone of the mid-bass is relatively neutral, rather than warm.

Accordingly, the midrange itself is not particularly warm. The lack of brightness seems to implicate a sense of warmth, although this really isn’t the case. The midrange is especially smooth, but simply lacks any form of coloration. This doesn’t mean it sounds sterile by any means, for there is an overall sense of accuracy in its instrument tone, as well as naturalness in its vocal presentation. Similarly, the upper midrange allows for a lively reproduction of acoustic guitars and synthetic melodies, while retaining a smooth character. The primary difference with the LPG however lies in the forwardness of the midrange. Where the LPG put vocals in the spotlight by adding a significant amount of body and density, the LPGT’s midrange remains very linear. It sounds neither lean nor forward, but proposes a balanced solution that remains close to the IEM’s signature.

The overall smoothness of the LPGT’s presentation can be traced back to its treble: the second area where the LPGT diverges most clearly from its predecessor. One of the charms of the LPG was that it could shine: it had a delightfully crisp touch of sparkle that really brought the treble to life. That is, for those that didn’t have any problems with it. The downside however was that it could be a little too much for our treble-sensitive friends. I remember back when Zeus-XIV was launched two of my closest associates, who both used the LPG, were complaining about Zeus’ top-end; but I maintained the LPG’s treble was just as much the culprit as Zeus’ 12 KHz peak. Lotoo ‘fixed’ this issue with the LPGT; it will tolerate a bit of sparkle, but there’s a clear sense of maturity in the way it is presented. It’s a well-defined and detailed treble, but the emphasis is centered on control and quality, rather than brightness.

Finally, the LPGT delivers a technical performance that matches its price tag. For when looking at its resolution and transparency, the LPGT doesn’t make any concessions to its premier competitors; the WM1Z and SP1000. In terms of staging, the LPGT is competitive, though not extraordinary. That is, its overall dimensions have improved when compared to the LPG, especially in width, although I might give the slightest edge to the WM1Z and SP1000. Even so, its imaging for instance is more precise than that of the SP1000 Cu, as is the stability of its background blackness. Especially in balanced mode, the LPGT constructs a precisely demarcated, three-dimensional stage with a relatively effortless separation. So even if the A&K might have a slightly larger stage, the LPGT’s is greater in quality. As a sidenote, I have been listening mostly in balanced mode. The difference with its single end is not as great as with the WM1Z for instance, although it does provide a slightly larger stage.

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About Author

Nic is currently in pursuit of a PhD degree in social neuropsychology, while trying not to get too distracted by this hobby. In pursuit of theoretical knowledge by day, and audiophile excellence at night. Luckily for him, both activities are not mutually exclusive which helps to lighten the workload. Always on the go, Nic's enthusiasm for hi-fi is focused on all chains of the portable system: iems, cables and daps.

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