The Shanling M2x is a revised edition of the original M2s pocket digital media player that includes Wifi, TIDAL and Touch controls to call however a couple of enhancements. It is priced at $219.
Disclaimer: The Shanling M2x despatched to us is a sample in change for our trustworthy opinion. We thank the staff at Shanling for giving us this opportunity.
To read extra about Shanling products we have now reviewed on Headfonics click here.
Being virtually as new to Shanling as I am to Headfonics itself I’m hella stunned by the M2X and in probably the most wonderful of the way. It’s virtually as if Shanling trawl numerous articles of mine, gathering up main critiques, and making use of every to make a near-perfect DAP.
Positive, I don’t understand the branding however then again, I’m not Chinese language. What I do perceive is ergonomic design, clean UIs, hardware controls, sound high quality, ‘yadda yadda yadda’. And in the M2X, Shanling nails most of that.
The M2X’s obtained a single DACs, in AK4490EN flavor. It does LDAC, balanced output, and has a fantastic and superbly contrasty display.
It’s as properly finished as any hi-end DAP out there, but in some methods, easier to make use of. Nothing flexes, and little to nothing feels misplaced. Naturally, it helps just about each file sort that exists and even does a fair however not good job of gapless playback.
The M2X is as nicely made as anything I’ve tried. Its glass is properly fixed, its buttons properly laid, and its edges and seams are Lexus-precise. Even the thing I actually dislike – the weather-sealed MicroSD card door – is nicely aligned. However, until you’ve received nine-inch nails or a paper clip, it’s also unimaginable to open.
Part of that’s because it’s so small and chintzy. Sony did the same thing within the ZX300 however made it straightforward for a daily man to open. Shanling‘s card flap is a poor design that may wrack up scars from those customers that should resort to paper clips and knives to prise it open. It ought to never have made it previous probably the most rudimentary uncover/design part.
All the things else, from display placement to glass installation and form and curvature of corners, is superb.
At its worth point, the M2X’s display is superb. Colors are wealthy, vibrant, and consider angles are good. Decision of 320×480 is sweet enough to point out album paintings with respectable detail. Next to a Cowon Plenue D2, or Onkyo DPS1, it’s A+.
It additionally takes up sufficient real estate and is broad enough that touch-based gestures aren’t easily confused. This stands in direct distinction to FiiO’s M6, whose gestures are exhausting to repeat because the display is so cramped.
The M2X arrays things nigh on good. Pointing down are monitor ahead and play features. Reverse points up. Volume ramps larger with a twist up. With ordered lists and software-driven hardware design, such inconsistencies may be inevitable. It’s annoying, nevertheless it’s additionally now par for the course.
The quantity wheel doubles as an ON/OFF change. It sits on the identical axis because the play/pause button, however fortunately, it never gets in the best way. I’ve by no means by accident pressed it whilst using the monitoring buttons. It’s because the thumb naturally falls larger up on the physique. Distinction this to the iPhone 6, whose long physique forces the thumb to additionally nudge the ON/OFF button when partaking quantity. Yes, the M2X is more thoughtfully designed than a Prepare dinner-era Apple iPhone.
Better but, the quantity wheel returns interactive graphical suggestions solely on the prime of the display, and may’t easily be by chance commandeered by a swipe. Yes, you’ll be able to management volume by way of the software, nevertheless it first requires you to thumb the quantity scale earlier than the M2X modifications to a quantity display. Eat your heart out, Astell & Kern.
A miracle of all miracles, every output is arrayed along the underside aspect. Why is this awesome? Nicely, you possibly can cost the M2X and take heed to it right from within the pocket and still have things ready to rock and roll if you pull out of the pocket. No have to flip it around, catch cables on nearby things, or unbalance your audio system.
The one hitch is once you need to cost it or use the M2X as a USB DAC, you find yourself making two loops fairly connecting the M2X between earphones and a cable in a single line. That stated, the M2X is a DAP first, USB DAC second. It works completely properly as a DAC, nevertheless it’s a far better DAC and Shangling have put within the additional work to make sure that as a DAP it feels great in each the hand and the pocket
While the M2X’s touch targets aren’t giant, they aren’t additionally jammed up towards one another. As such, the touch UI is usually straightforward to get used to, even if your fingers are toe-fat. And, in contrast to the Plenue D2, textual content and graphical parts don’t shear when gestures pull up or down on lists.
Unfortunately, it will get a bit jittery when scrolling, catching here and there and typically skipping albums, songs, and more. It’s an enormous improvement over the sluggish, heavy D2 and DPS1 interfaces, nevertheless it’s nowhere close to as natural as an iPhone or iPod contact.
Tucked away are shortcuts for Hello-Res music, Tidal, Current Songs, All Songs, Album, Artist, My Favourites, Folders, Playback, Composer, Playlist, Frequent, Just lately Added, and System, all organized on pages.
Should you swipe proper a number of occasions and also you’ll reveal an add/remove item panel to tidy or complicate your house display to your liking. Swipe up from the underside to return to the home display. Swipe down from the highest to interact wireless, brightness, system preferences, lock, and achieve settings. It’s a simple UI to get used to and is properly arranged.
The playback display sports a large play/pause button in the backside center and to both aspect, tracking ahead and back. Playback mode is a small button above the scribbling slider. That slider, which sits above the trackback button works properly enough but is just too close to the tracking and play/pause buttons, making it a bit too straightforward to by accident interact playback controls. Its suggestions can also be laggy.
I’ve been using 200GB Sandisk playing cards with the M2X. Every works flawlessly. Shanling says on the package deal that playing cards of as much as 512GB however I’m assured that cards as much as 2TB will do the trick. The M2X scans relatively quick, cataloging 150GB of music in a handful of minutes
Officially, the M2X is sweet for as much as 10 hours. I get about that when enjoying FLAC-level information. 10 hours is okay however let’s be trustworthy: it’s far and away from being prime of the game. However neither is the DP-S1’s 15-20 hours. Even the Plenue D2’s 35-50 hours is a great distance from the Plenue D’s 50-80 hours. And, my MD models usually get 15-30 hours, lossy or lossless.
So, for a single-DAC DAP as thick and chunky because the M2X is, as much as 10 hours is okay.
Equipment and Packaging
There’s not plenty of stuff in the M2X box, however what’s there’s logically and clearly laid out. The high-density protecting foam is completely minimize and nicely lifts out to reveal literature, and sports activities finger-divots or pull tapes which assist to raise out the DAP or cable.
There’s additionally a USB-C cable tucked away in there. So, that’s M2X, case, literature, and nothing else. It’s virtually all you’ll want. For those who don’t spend money on the pleather case Shanling makes for it, use an iPod sock. The M2X is pretty; there’s no have to scar it up.
It’s type of a shame that the M2X is restricted to Bluetooth four,2. Aside from that it does Wi-Fi and is suitable with aptX and LDAC BT codecs. Connection high quality to Bluetooth units like AirPods is respectable but several years behind a great smartphone. I rise up to 11 meters distance with AirPods, which, by means of comparability to an iPhone SE (which gets up to 30 meters line of sight) is poor, however it works.
This is better than some DAPs from the previous few years but isn’t near leading edge or seamless. I’ve also discovered that preliminary and subsequent connections aren’t as speedy or reliable via the M2X as they’re via a smartphone. I’m unsure if Bluetooth 5.zero would assist. Connection quality is probably limited by the interaction between and high quality of the M2X’s antenna and metallic case installation.
Evidently, you can do Tidal with it, but as I don’t subscribe, I’ll depart that right here. Suffice it to say that the M2X wireless expertise is sweet however not nice.
Definitely, as compared with the Cowon Plenue D2 and Onkyo DP-S1, the M2X is a dream. Scrolling is sweet. Getting again to the house display, settings, playback display, and sound adjustment screens is a breeze.
Favouriting a file may be accomplished by means of the playback display. Delete, EQ, and playlist functionalities are just a click away. Need to change play mode? Just click on the loop or the file drop-down record icon above left of the elapsed playback meter on the bottom left. Straightforward peasy.
Okay, some contact targets are small. The worst offender is the track tracking slider. I can’t use it with my thumb, so I’ve to vary my grip and holding hand to pinky-finger nudge the play position inside a track forward or again. In fact, even smartphones have hassle right here, although not as a lot. If par for the course consists of such missteps, the M2X simply surpasses par for a DAP and is likely one of the easiest to use I’ve ever tried.
I dislike the icons on the home display. Why is the artist a microphone? Why do all songs icons look a lot like a word icon inside an archery target? Or is it a rewind icon? The good news is which you could customise the home display, eradicating or including performance and streamlining the participant. All the time, the presently enjoying display floats on the backside of the house display, and in case you really need to get jiggy with sound, you possibly can update channel stability, low cross filter shape and power, EQ, achieve, and more.
GUI appears don’t favor the M2X but basic quality and reliability of interface do. Shanling has achieved a lot of the Lord’s work. Far more must be carried out. Regardless of the case, the M2X is clearly superior to the DP-S1 and extra surprisingly, the brand new Plenue D2, each of that are sluggish as molasses and to varying degrees, sport abstruse software program.
The Shanling M2X plays back a great deal of totally different information and natively native decodes DSD. When it nails gapless, it nails it. But even when gapless is about, intermittent or sudden gaps actually bugger up reside albums, messing up sure studio performances, and no matter it is that Tiesto did with In Search of Sunrise. I’ve observed that the majority gaps show up most often in compressed file albums.
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