This newcomer’s blingy style may not be to everyone’s taste
This newcomer’s blingy style may not be to everyone’s taste, but its file flexibilities look certain to impress


TYPE:24-bit/192kHz & DSD-capable Digital Audio Player
DIMENSIONS:(WxHxD) 60 x 104 x 25mm


l Quoted battery
life: 11 hours
l SDHC & SDXC slot(2TB max)
l Native DSD file support (2.8MHz& 5.6MHz)

KS Distribution

TELEPHONE 01903 768910


hifiheadphones.; lotoo.c

Like many things in the world of hi-fi, the digital audio player market has models at a variety of price points offering different performance levels and flexibilities. One look at the PAW Gold from Lotoo (pronounced low-to) and you can see that it is firmly aimed at the high-end market. It may be new to the UK, but Lotoo has an established professional-audio background and is best known as a supplier of audio workstations and broadcast automation systems. Taking its first steps into the domestic hi-res audio player arena, the PAW Gold makes a striking debut. The chunky full-metal casing is machined from a solid brick of what the maker calls aircraft-grade duralumin and the volume and navigation control is accentuated with 24k gold elements. Love or loath its blingy looks, the tough-looking PAW Gold is clearly built for a life on the road. The scratch-resistant 1.8in OLED screen displays comprehensive menus that are a little utilitarian in their layout and functionality, and lack the touchscreen slickness of the Acoustic Research or Astell&Kern models. However, they offer indepth fine tuning, including extensive sound and filter adjustment as well as useful personalisation settings like volume control direction – showing off the Lotoo’s considerable flexibilities – see Pro Background, right. Storage is via an SD card slot with support for SDHC and SDXC cards and the PAW Gold claims futureproof support for 2TB-capacity cards as and when they become available. Battery power is recharged by mains wall wart only, and you’ll need to invest in an additional US-to-UK 3-pin adaptor as this isn’t supplied. A USB 3.0 micro-B port gives drag-and-drop file transfers from a computer, while a Burr-Brown PCM1792 DAC chip handles PCM sample rates up to 384kHz as well as DSD at 2.8 and 5.6MHz. A headphone driver supports a wide range of cans, and there’s a sensitivity adjustment switch on top of the unit. Sound quality Gapless playback isn’t supported, meaning that Pink Floyd or live recordings fans will dislike the tiny pause that happens as the Lotoo moves between tracks. It’s a momentary interruption in an otherwise glitch-free performance, but annoying all the same. This will hopefully be rectified in future firmware upgrades. Sticking with Pink Floyd’s The Division Bell the Lotoo makes it easy to appreciate the album’s dark and moody atmosphere and well-crafted soundstage. High-frequency details sparkle and seem to float within the sonic picture. Vocals are superbly rendered too, and switching to Hotel California by the Eagles I am aware for the first time of the tiniest amount of reverb on the lead vocal. This encourages me to listen out for more subtle details on a recording that I thought I knew well, in the hope of hearing additional nuances for the very first time


Bejing-based Infomedia is the high-tech company behind the Lotoo and has been developing, manufacturing and marketing broadcast equipment, automation and production systems in the radio and television industry for over 10 years. Although new to hi-fi circles, the Lotoo brand already has a range of portable recorders with built-in stereo microphones under its belt, but this is its first foray into the high-resolution audio player market. The Lotoo’s pro roots are evident in the comprehensive system menus and audio options available with studio-based ATE (Acoustic Timbre Embellisher), which is a type of processing more usually associated with digital mastering, as well as preset and user-set EQ options. Audio format support covers DSD, FLAC, ALAC, WAV, AAC, MP3, WMA, OGG, M4A, CUE, APE and WavePack music files.

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