Shanling M1 – “Perfect”ly small

Video review here

buy it here

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INTRODUCTION

Recently I reviewed the Fiio x1, the entry level DAP. Now I’ve got my hands on the Shanling m1. Have you ever heard the term, don’t judge things by its size? Despite its minimalistic design and extremely small size, if you are coming from an entry level DAP like the Fiio x1 or a cell phone, I can confirm that this is an upgrade.

ABOUT SHANLING

Shanling Began as a developer of audio products in 1988 and produced their first Hi-Fi stereo power amplifier. In 1990 an audio equipment factory within Jieyang Television University was founded, preliminarily defining Shanling’s direction of development. In 1996 Shanling moved to Shenzhen and was renamed Shanling Electronic Co., Ltd. With effective management and scientific cultivation to the employees, Shanling managed to produce devices with ideal high quality. Through internal integration and equipment upgrade, Shanling has become one of the several enterprises in China that was capable of independent developing and manufacturing high-end audio products.

Shanling has a wide range of product line – SACD/CD player, high fidelity solid-state and vacuum tube amplifier, advanced mini music center, tuner, audio/video amplifier, etc. Besides, being a DVD, SACD, CD licensee,

 Shanling is also qualified for adopting many patented technologies such as Microsoft HDCD, Dolby Digital, DTS, etc. Currently Shanling has established close partnership with many leading high-end suppliers and became one of the most reputable manufacturers of the industry.

DISCLAIMER

This unit was lent to me for review purposes by Shanling. As usual my reviews contain no bias.

SPECS

Dimensions: 60mm x 50mm x 12.8mm

Weight: 60g

Display: 2.35″ TFT (360×400)

DSD: Supported, converted to PCM by software

Bluetooth Version: 4.0 and APT-X

D/A Chip: AK4452

USB: Type-C

Headphone Amp Chip: MAX97220

Gain: 2 levels

Supported formats: APE, FLAC, ALAC, WMA, AAC, OGG, MP3, WAV, AIFF, DSF, DFF

Sampling rate: 44.1-192 kHz

Outputs: 3.5mm Heaphone Out

Power: 35mW @ 32Ω

FR: 20Hz to 20kHz (-0.5dB)

Distortion: 0.006% (A-weighting, 500mV output)

S/N: > 105dB (A-weighting)

Dynamic Range: > 105dB

Output Z: 0.1Ω

Stereo Seperation: >70dB (1 kHz)

Jitter: 30ps (Typ)

Reference Clock Jitter: 200 femtoseconds

Card Slot: 1 TF (up to 200GB)

Battery: 950mAH, 9-10 hours playback, 3-4 hours of charging time

OS: Windows XP, 7, 8, 10 (32/64 bit), Mac OS X 10.7 or above

 BUILD QUALITY / FUNCTIONS

Build quality: M1 is made out of plastic so the Fiio x1 wins here with its aluminum body BUT because Shanling m1 is very small, it has many different cases from leather to arm bands, so there is not much to worry about in terms of breaking the product.

EQ functionality: just like the Fiio x1, it has the EQ functionality, which definitely a plus at this price point

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Standby mode: on standby mode, the device only uses the dac/amp when used to listen to music to save battery. It lasts 8 days on standby mode !

Line output: The DAC inside the Shanling M1 can be used externally by going to settings and turning the function to “DAC” mode.

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Micro SD card slot: supports up to 256 GB SD card, which is more than enough to go crazy with all your high-quality music files.

Gain control: It also has gain control, low gain for sensitive IEMs and high gain for more power demanding headphones

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Controls Buttons: extremely easy side buttons for back, last song, next song (from top to bottom in order).

The scroll button: Feels more solid than the rubberized one on the fiio x 1. And you can push on the scroll button for enter or play/pause which is much more convent than the fiio x1’s huge center button.

Bluetooth: Also has 4.0 Bluetooth !

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PRACTIALLY

This player wins the award for practically if anything because of how small it is and how well the buttons were positioned for easy control in your pocket. Not to mention, having the variety of cases for sale (not included with the dap) for extra protection or activities/ workouts.

NEGATIVES / THINGS TO IMPROVE ON

The battery life can be short for some people that forget to charge their device overnight. Also, Shanling m1 does not have the strongest amplification to power “demanding headphones.” But again, from such a small DAP at this price range, you would be getting these for practically and great sound “on the go,” not to drive the most power hungry headphones commonly used on desktops.

SOUND QUALITY

I auditioned many different IEMS/headphones across over 100s of different test tracks in lossless flac files. (some include, noble x / LZ A4 / IE80 / HD598cs / m40x / re400 / he400i / hd650 ETC)

Shanling M1 is very similar to Fiio x1 in sound signature but not in quality. Shanling M1 also has that overall warm sounding signature while extending to the highs much more clearly than the Fiio x1. The M1 also provides more clarity in the vocals and cleans up all details through excellent separations. Overall, whereas I would call the Fiio x1 a power monster, Shanling m1 was more of a mature higher end DAP in comparison.

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