TempoTec V6 AKM DAP Review

V stands for variations. It’s TempoTec’s lineup for digital audio players. The V1 was the first model in 2019, it was a mini music player with Bluetooth support. The V6 is the second model but this time we have a full-fledged Android DAP in our hands. The TempoTec V6 will be announced on the Kickstarter platform later this month. And the early bird price will be under $300.

Update: The launch of the V6 on Kickstarter is September 5 and the price will be $269.

After the fire at AKM’s factory in 2020, in early 2022 AKM relaunched its new line of DACs. The AK4493SEQ DAC is a premium DAC that utilizes AKM’s VELVET SOUND™ technology. And the TempoTec V6 has a dual AK4493SEQ configuration on its core for digital-to-analog conversation.

The TempoTec V6 supports practically all lossless audio formats including DSD512 and MQA 16x. The customized Android system of the V6 makes the system optimized for audio, allowing bit-perfect music on music apps, local or streaming on Spotify, Tidal, Deezer, and YouTube Music, and even 24bit/96kHz hi-res music on Apple Music. V6 Also supports 192Khz Wireless audio standard with HiBy’s UAT technology.

Let’s take a look at the full specs of the V6 and start the review.

I would like to thank TempoTec for providing me with the review sample of V6 DAP.

  • 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 optimized OS, SRC bypass architecture makes music transfer efficient 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

What’s in the box (and Android menu walkthrough)

Impressions as a DAP

TempoTec V6 will cost under $300 when launched, let’s keep that in mind. Because the audio-related specs are close to some flagship models on the market. Take the output power for example, 330mW(@32 Ohm) for the 3.5mm and 610mW for the 4.4mm balanced output. Shanling recently launched a Quad AKM DAC DAP, 4 x AK4493SEQ DAC chips vs V6’s dual AK4493SEQ DACs. That model has 240mW@32Ω(3.5mm), and 720mW@32Ω(4.4mm) output power specs. There is a simple formula in the audio industry, the higher the power, the higher the price. Shanling’s model has a price tag of $900. Of course, it has a better CPU, RAM, screen, etc but are those specs really necessary for a device that’s purpose is to play digital audio files? No, they are not. Everybody knows Astell&Kern, I checked their website yesterday and looked at some $1000 and over models, for CPU they declared “Quad-Core” or “Octa-Core” (this means they probably use a non-Qualcomm CPU like Rockchip) and the amount of RAM can’t be seen anywhere on the specs. I’m sure they are not higher than 2GB either. They also use a heavily skinned Android version in which you never the version. iBasso also uses Rockchip CPUs and 2GB of RAM on their DX1xx models. Sorry I gave many examples but some readers must learn, that a Quad-Core CPU and 2GB of RAM are perfectly enough for a DAP. Higher specs will come with higher prices which won’t have any benefits in the end.

TempoTec V6 has dual LO (line out) ports, 3.5mm and 4.4mm, again a feature which you find on more expensive models, especially the balanced LO port. Line out means you bypass the AMP circuitry and connect the DAP in DAC-only mode to an external pre-AMP or AMP.

V6 connected to xDuoo MT-604 balanced Tube-AMP

I know some like to watch videos on their DAPs. TempoTec V6 is perfectly fluid with 720P (screen resolution) videos, streaming, or local files.

The output power from balanced output is sufficient to drive most headphones. And, it is also very silent with sensitive IEMs. So apart from its versatility regarding the software and overall usage, it is also a versatile device when it comes to pairing with different gear. It’s truly an all-in-one device that can serve many audiophiles well.

Sound

TempoTec V6 is a warm, very musical, analog, and natural-sounding player, as you would expect from an AKM-based audio source, but there is more.

The bass quality is especially noticeable from the first listen. The bass region has great detail and texture. It has a nicely controlled bass response but it gives its authority whenever the record calls for it. The mids are liquid and lush with great resolution and transparency. It gives you a great instrument timbre as well. The mid-range is slightly lifted and closer to the listener in a good way. The instrument realism is wonderful here and the mids are full sounding with a good body. The treble is a bit soft but it has good detail and articulation. It’s airy and flat. Are well extended and again superbly clean with good energy.

Another great thing about the TempoTec V6’s sound is the timbre and naturalness. Now, a lot of ESS DAC-based sources sound digital to my ears, especially when it comes to timbre. However, the V6 is one of the sweetest and most natural-sounding players to my ears. It’s just smooth and easy-going, without trying too hard to make you “wow” with its bass or treble. It presents you with a very rich and lush sound, and it does that with good dynamism.

The instrument separation is just amazing. This one is one of those players that perform excellently in terms of stereo imaging. Everything is separated very sharply and I did not expect to hear that from such a warm-sounding device. You can point out many instruments of a song from multiple directions. And it gets even better because it also has a great sound-stage performance. The stage is very wide and deep, together with excellent layering ability. V6 is a highly resolving player with great transparency.

The best parts however are the sound stage and separation. The stage is wide and deep with great perception and imaging. The background is black and thanks to that it has excellent separation, hence stereo imaging. So whilst being warm and organic, it still has a great technical performance. V6 presents you with a euphonic signature with great tonality. Prepare yourself for great tones of violin, piano, and guitar. The TempoTec V6 gives excellent timbre, and it does that with effortlessness.

Lastly, I would like to add that the V6 has excellent micro-resolving ability. The tiniest details in the recordings are presented effortlessly. Having a great background performance certainly helps in that regard.

Sum-Up

The TempoTec V6 is unbeatable in this price range with its design, specs, and audio performance. It’s one of those players that have a distinctive sound signature with unmistakable characteristics. This actually is a very special situation. Having a great technical performance together with a smooth and special delivery is not something you find often. That’s why I think the TempoTec V6 is a very special DAP.  

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