Today I would like to welcome "The Vagrant Audiophile" as a guest reviewer and thank him for allowing us to publish one of his wonderfully detailed reviews on our blog.
Disclaimer: The device was purchased for private use at the regular price. All opinions expressed are his own and remain unaltered.
Unboxing & First Impressions
Very nice unboxing, classy yet understated, doesn't look overdone or cheap.
The size, shape and weight of the DAP are excellent, as is the screen, the included case, the screen protector and the Cable - a real premiere. It's also the first time I've found a claim like "anti-fingerprint coating" to be accurate. The button layout is excellent, as is the ability to customize the previous/next buttons and volume wheel. There is also an option to wake up the DAP with a double tap - very nice.
The boot time and overall operation is very fast, as is the loading time of the microSD card, which is actually real-time. The PAW 6000 was already up to date, which is nice. As for the interface, apart from the impossibility to search for genres (which is frankly absurd), it's very easy to use and I liked that I could customize some of the colors of the interface.
One of the reasons it's so fast is that the operating system searches for file names. This quickly became a problem for me as I buy my music from Qobuz and the filenames are: Disc#_Track#_Artist_Album_Title.
It's a minor thing, but I didn't like it while browsing. The main problem was that the operating system listed the titles as follows: 1, 10, 11, 12, ... 2, 3, 4, 5 ... you get the point.
Fortunately, this was quickly fixed by renaming my entire library with mp3Tag - I included the renaming string I used in the footnotes (**).
Also the battery life lived up to the ad after a few days and I don't have bluetooth or Wifi used.
All of the following recordings used the PAW 6000 with the Super Slow Roll-off Filter.
The PAW 6000 is a musical DAP. First and foremost, however, it is a transparent DAP. Its peculiarity is that it combines both musicality and technical qualities. However, it is not a warm DAP.
Therefore, pairing is of particular importance as it brings out the character of your IEMs and headphones much more than most other DAPs.
Apart from that, the ATE- Presets - which Deezel has described better than anyone here - a quick and very well implemented solution that saves you the usual thousands of dollars spent on another DAP that just has that extra touch of blah blah blah - does that sound familiar?
In alphabetical order starting with IEMs and ending with headphones
64 Audio U6t (MX module, stock cable, SpinFit attachments, LG) - Sounds very similar to the Cayin RU6 in NOS, albeit a little less warm and dynamic with less pronounced mids - something that the ATE preset "Dental" can partially tone down and bring more warmth.
64 Audio U6t (M15- module, standard cable, SpinFit attachments, LG) - Brings out more bass and warmth. Compared to the MX module, this module is more musical and warmer.The balance and transparency of the PAW 6000 complements well the intimacy the U6t creates with the M15 module - my favorite "standard" pairing here
7Hz Timeless (KB EAR 8 Core Single Crystal Copper UPOCC balanced cable, Final E tips, HG) - Same results as with the 64 Audio U6t (MX module).
Campfire Audio Solaris 2020 (standard cable, silicone tips, LG) - Best pairing I've heard with the Solaris 2020, although after a brief wow factor the Solaris still sound a little lopsided, especially compared to the U6t which has an overall more coherent, natural tonality.
Drop + JVC HA-FWX1 (Standard Cable, Final E Tips, HG) - A dark and lush IEM, the PAW 6000 makes the most of it with its musicality and engineering, along with the Final E Tips this IEM.
Audeze LCD-2 Classic (PlusSound Copper balanced cable, HG) - Same conclusions as the Drop + JVC HA-FWX1. The PAW 6000 effortlessly provided the Audeze LCD-2 Classic with some headroom to conserve it.
Grado RS2e with G-Cush pads (HG) - Same results as with the 64 Audio U6t (MX module), although the ATE preset "Dental" didn't solve everything in this case.
All of the following comparisons were made with the 64 Audio U6t (MX module) and the PAW 6000 with the Super Slow Roll-off filter.
Cayin RU6 (NOS) - The RU6 has slightly more pronounced mids, is more dynamic and warmer. The result is an overall more organic soundstage.
FiiO M11 Plus LTD (Super slow Roll-off Filter) - The M11 Plus LTD is smoother, warmer, with a more intimate presentation and a tighter soundstage .
Looking back at the goals mentioned in Part I, what are my conclusions?
As a dedicated DAP with a local library, the PAW 6000 is much more practical than the FiiO M11 Plus LTD and technically better what in sounds better in some cases. That said, pairing with the PAW 6000 is more difficult if you like something warm - although the ATE "Dental" preset can change things up quickly and easily. In NOS it comes very close to the sound of the Cayin RU6, but again the aforementioned preset can be of great help if you like something warmer.
The bottom line is that the PAW 6000 is the perfect DAP for anyone who Look for warm IEMs or headphones that are neither too transparent nor too technical - unless you like a transparent sound. Regardless, the PAW 6000 will bring out the true character of your IEMs and headphones, and might be an all-rounder for some thanks to its ATE presets.