Lotoo PAW S2 Portable Decoding Amp Review: Full Evolution

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Lotoo PAW S2

Last year Lotoo went on to launch their second generation product – Lotoo PAW S2. Compared with the Lotoo PAW S1, there has also been some improvement in price. After the announcement of the Lotoo PAW S2, the price of $280 also allows it to continue to rank in the first echelon of small tail products in China at least in terms of price.

It’s been a while since I received this Lotoo PAW S2. As a long-time user of Lotoo PAW S1, I still like Lotoo PAW S2 very much. Its progress is not only in price, even compared to the price, although it has risen a lot, it is still considered reasonable for the improvement of the product angle.


Small change but more refined and convenient appearance (Design & Accessories)

In terms of the overall design, you can still tell at a glance that it is a Lotoo S series small tail product. Compared with the Lotoo PAW S1, the Lotoo PAW S2 has not changed significantly. It still has a sleek appearance, a small screen, and the interface is still 3.5mm single-ended interface + 4.4mm balanced interface + type-C interface. But this time the Lotoo PAW S2 uses two different amplifier circuits to work independently in the design of the two headphone jacks, the 3.5mm single-ended jack and the 4.4mm balanced jack, which is similar to the design of the Lotoo flagship player PAW GOLD TOUCH.

Lotoo PAW S2 Lotoo PAW S2

In terms of accessories, the Lotoo PAW S2 adds a small back clip, which users can easily use as a “wire control”. The corresponding button of the fuselage is also added, and a pause/play button is added in the middle of the volume +/- buttons, and the same operation logic as the previous mobile phone wire control is maintained. You can also perform previous/next song operations. The user experience is greatly improved, so in the online control scenario, the user may need to add a long cable to use it on the chest.

Lotoo PAW S2 Lotoo PAW S2

The convenience of other functions has not changed much, and there are still rich sound effects to choose from. There are two kinds of high/low gain that can be adjusted to correspond to different headphones. The screen is still the same size, and the appearance style remains the same, but in fact, some changes have taken place in the craftsmanship of the shell, and the graininess is more delicate than that of the Lotoo PAW S1. After about a week of use, the overall power consumption of this small tail is relatively low. For the power consumption problem that many users worry about, the Lotoo PAW S2 is a relatively “power-saving” product in the current industry.


Reference sources and headphones

In terms of reference equipment, as a small tail, our reference source is mainly a mobile phone. The iPhone uses Apple Music as the audio source, the Android phone uses the USB Audio Player Pro as the playback audio source, and the streaming media uses Qobuz as the audio source.

Lotoo PAW S2

In terms of choosing headphones, earbuds mainly refer to the QDC VX that I am most familiar with, while the commonly used Sennheiser HD25 is used for headphones. The two reference headphones use mostly 4.4mm balanced drivers, with 3.5mm single-ended drivers some of the time. After all, as a small tail with a balanced interface, the balanced interface is more representative of its sound style.

Lotoo PAW S2

In terms of gain, the QDC VX uses a low-gain drive, and the Sennheiser HD25 uses a high-gain drive.


The overall improvement of the sense of hearing and hard power

Compared with the first-generation product Lotoo PAW S1, although the price increase of Lotoo PAW S2 is not small, the actual sound performance has also made a huge improvement compared to the first-generation product. We don’t use this comparison to describe it, after all, probably not everyone has used the Lotoo PAW S1 and was impressed with its sound.

Lotoo PAW S2

The first and most obvious feature is the detailed performance of the sound and the overall transparency. For the current small tail market, the PAW S2 is among the best in the industry in terms of sound resolution, overall transparency, and what audiophiles like to call “background black.” The performance of the Lotoo PAW S2 in these areas is completely comparable to that of many entry-level players, and may even be better than some entry-level players.

Lotoo PAW S2

In addition, in terms of low frequency performance, it inherits the low frequency performance that Lotoo has always been more restrained. The quantity is moderate but the extension and elasticity are not bad. It’s also good for pop and classical music. Although it feels lack of some sense of surround, but the overall performance is still very balanced sound style.

As far as the audition experience is concerned, the 4.4mm interface and the 3.5mm interface maintain basically the same sense of hearing, and there is no major change in sound style due to the difference in driving methods. The low frequency of the 3.5mm interface will be slightly less than that of the 4.4mm balanced driver, and other aspects have not changed much, which is more like a style difference. In addition, at the gain level, the change of high and low gain is not large, but it is also considered the “tradition” of Lotoo. I still recommend listening with low gain most of the time, and the overall sound performance will be slightly better.

Overall, Lotoo PAW S2 is closer to the consistent sound style of Lotoo in our impression, with better details, more transparent sound performance, more appropriate quality and excellent mid-low frequency texture and quantity. If you like Lotoo’s consistent sound performance on the player, then PAW S2 must be the most suitable answer for you.


Conclusion:

Although $280 is not cheap for a small tail, I am more willing to admit that the Lotoo PAW S2 is now more worthy of its price in its respective price range. It is also the leader in overall sound performance among Chinese small tail products, especially if you are a user who likes Lotoo style or cares about basic quality performance, then Lotoo PAW S2 must be an excellent choice. And the overall design of the wire control idea also makes it more convenient to use.


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