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Tempotec Variation V6 Review

Updated: Nov 5

Tempotec Variation V6 Review




Intro

Tempotec is no stranger to the audiophile community, they released a slew of great products with high price performance ratio. I personally have reviewed several of their products and liked them a lot. The E44, Sonata HD-V, this time the Variation V6, which I am also fond of to be honest. V6 will be released on kickstarter campaign 5th of September and the early bird price will be very very attractive! Be sure to keep an eye on it! I will share the link at the end of this review.

The price will be roughly 400$ after the campaign. From what I understand from the rep, the super early bird price will be 269$ and it comes with a case and a memory card, a very very good deal if you ask me.


Specification

Snapdragon 425 Quad-core CPU, 2GB RAM, 16GB storage

4.2″ 720p touch screen

DAC chip

2 x AK4493SEQ with VELVETSOUND™ technology

Pyramid DAC Circuit

2 x AK4493SEQ + 2x OPA1612 + 4 x OPA1688 fully symmetrical pyramid digital-to-analog conversion circuit.

Output power

330mW@32Ω/3.5mm

610mW@32Ω/4.4mm

Multiple output ports

4.4BAL.PO & 3.5PO for headphones

4.4BAL.LO & 3.5LO for speakers (LO: Line out)

Type-c port for charging & USB DAC & Coaxial output

SNR: 124dB; DNR: 124dB; THD+N:-111dB

Crosstalk: 84dB/32Ω/3.5mm,116dB/32Ω/4.4mm

Open Android OS: Android 8.1 with Google Playstore

Deeply optimised OS, SRC bypass architecture makes music transfer efficiently at low latency. V6 is bit-perfect system-wide in the kernel driver, you can use any music app to play bit-perfect.

Support for 3rd party APPs

Music source: Micro SD, USB DAC In, Bluetooth, AirPlay.

High-resolution music support

MQA 16X

DSD64~DSD512

PCM 16Bit/44.1kHz~32Bit/768kHz

4500mAh battery provides more than 12 hours of continuous playing time

QC3.0 fast charging, around 2 hours to full charge

Two-Way Bluetooth

Supports Bluetooth Audio Decoding Protocol: LDAC(96Khz), AAC, UAT(192Khz), APTX, APTX-HD, SBC

Dimensions: 117mm x 70mm x 17mm, 200g





Headphones/IEMs used

  • Hifiman HE400S

  • Final Audio Sonorous 4

  • Grado SR325X

  • Truthear Zero

  • Dunu Vulkan

  • Letshuoer D13

  • Dunu Titan S


General Features

  • 3.5 and 4.4 dedicated lineout port, i have tested the lineout port and the volume is not maxed out when you connect the cable to the lineout port. My understanding is that lineout is bypassing the internal amp and using the DAC only. The volume is also adjustable and it is not fixed at 100%, a very nifty feature providing some headroom. I have also checked with Tempotec’s rep and the reason behind that is that the DAP will also feature screen mirroring feature (this feature is not available on my review sample and will be made available via future firmware update according to the rep) and this allows the user to adjust the volume on the DAP itself rather than having it fixed and maxed out.

  • The ability to use V6 as a dac/amp when it is connected to PC or smartphone. Plug and play, no driver required (i tested on my Macbook but i’m not sure if a driver is required on Windows)

  • The ability to use V6 as a bluetooth receiver and it also supports various high res bluetooth codecs

  • User experience on the user interface is very good, it is fluid and i did not encounter any hiccups when navigating through the operating system, although the specs of V6 might put you off a little, but being a DAP, it is completely fine and more than enough unless you are trying to game off the DAP or even heavy multitasking, but it’s a DAP guys!

  • Google service pre-installed and you are able to install 3rd party apps into the V6, i have installed the Tidal, Apple Music and it works flawlessly and it is able to by the default SRC and you are able to see that via the top bar where it will show the bit depth

  • Although having a fairly low specification 2GB of Ram and 16GB of storage, don’t be fooled by the specs on paper, because they are actually quite decent functioning as a DAP, of course if you were to compare it with today’s android smartphone, they are lacking a lot behind in terms of specifications, but this is a DAP isn’t it? I have been using this for at least 3 weeks on a daily basis and I did not encounter any hiccups along the way. Despite leaving it to stream music over the night, the DAP doesn’t really heat it that much, just slightly warm but definitely not hot (like DX160 kind of hot if you have used that before)

  • The screen offers just enough resolution although coming in at 720p, but then again, some compromise has to be done to bring the price down isn’t it?




Sound

Upon first listen, they sounded very musical and a little analog-ish to my ears. I would say they are quite uncolored and very very enjoyable. Good dynamics and lush sounding.

What impressed me is the imaging and the soundstage that this DAP is reproducing, it exceeded my expectations and I'm really impressed by it.


The V6 exhibits a clean and balanced bass response, and doesn't sound boosted to my ears. Bass has got decent resolution and body to it, never thin sounding and to my ears, they are reproduced in a fairly accurate manner. Sub bass has got good extension but that also depends on the ability of your IEM to reproduce it as accurately as possible, mid bass has a good body and impact to it. Listening to some bass heavy songs with Truthear Zero, the bass coming from V6 rendered to Truthear Zero is nothing but amazing, like having a subwoofer on your ear, most of all, it is clean sounding. In some complex song such as Slipknot’s People = Shit, it exhibited excellent control over the bass region


Midrange on the V6 is very smooth and transparent to my ears. The lower to upper mids transition is done fairly well and there isn't any harshness at all. Vocals for both male and female has got a good body to it. Timbre sounds natural and organic to my ears.


Treble on the V6 is smooth and non fatiguing, doesn’t sound boosted to my ears. Decent detail retrieval capability, at the same time it doesn’t present itself as being too analytical.It exhibited quite an airy atmosphere on live recording tracks such as Toto’s Africa Live and it is very enjoyable. While lacking a little crunch from the usual ESS dac, AKM’s dac in the V6 is able to present the treble in a smooth and non piercing way while still retaining the details although lacking a little extension, but i like how they sound as they seem to sound more musical to my ears.

One thing i noticed throughout my period of usage is that, the higher you crank the volume up, the music was added with a certain dimension to it and i’m not sure if it is the right word to use, but it seem to sound more musical as you crank the volume up, it’s just so addictive to listen to. (But of course, please listen responsibly and take care of your hearing health!)

Soundstaging and imaging is where I find the V6 is lacking a little. This is not to say that the soundstage rendering is bad, but it offers a rather average height,depth and width, nothing spectacular or crazy like very out of your head kind, just slightly. Imaging is good but not spectacular, compared to DX160, V6’s soundstaging and imaging capability is slightly lacking, but if we were to look at the price of both, i believe it’s fair and V6 is doing very good for the price.

Comparison (iBasso DX160)

  • In terms of device size, both DX160 and V6 is more or less similar

  • User experience and fluidity is something that DX160 failed badly at, in my experience during my time with the device, it was so choppy and and opening any streaming apps like apple music or tidal takes a little while, not to mention it does heat up a lot in when you are streaming, even just playing offline files, it was the worst user experience that i have ever had from a DAP

  • In terms of sound, DX160 sounds a little more energetic with bigger soundstage, a little boosted bass on the DX160 to my ears but other than that, they are quite on par

  • Battery life of V6 is also better compared to DX160 and it doesn’t heat up throughout the time i am using it (just a little bit warm but not to the point where it is hot like DX160)

  • DX160 is also prone to the Wifi/Bluetooth noise while V6 is not affected by it at all



Final Thoughts

After using the device for approximately 3 weeks, it is safe to say that I like it a lot and there won’t be any issue in recommending it to anyone who is looking for a DAP with streaming capability that won’t break their bank. Again, by just looking at the specification itself, many will think that it will perform very bad due to the ram and storage size allocated to it, i can confirm that after 3 weeks of using it, the performance is very good, of course, don’t expect the DAP to play android games on it just because it’s running an android OS and you will be fine, as for multitasking, this is a DAP, the sole purpose of a DAP is to play music and nothing more i believe, you are not going to be opening 10-20 tabs in google chrome or running several background applications on the V6, anything more is a bonus in my opinion, and V6 does a good job at it being a DAP. Great sounding unit and solid performance, the only concern that i have will be the firmware update/support after the launch, but given the price, i can probably look past that.


*Tempotec V6 is sent over by tempotec in exchange for this review and i received no monetary compensation nor i am in anyway influenced by them to produce this review. All thoughts are of my own.


Head over to the campaign site to be the first to snag the unit when it is available. Take note that this is a kickstarter campaign and it is not a ready stock unit.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/166046126/tempotec-variations-v6-dsd512-android-hifi-music-player









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