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Shanling M2s Digital Audio Player Review

"The Shanling M2s is a highly capable, small footprint, high resolution DAP that is feature packed and has superb sonic abilities, do not look further for a sub £300 player."
Shanling M2s

Shanling M2s DAP Review

The Shanling M2s is a highly capable, small footprint, high resolution DAP that is feature packed and has superb sonic abilities, do not look further for a sub £200 player.

Pros:

  • Excellent value for money
  • Feature packed
  • Power

Cons:

  • 4.8 Ohm output impedance

Shanling M2s

Aesthetics, Accessories and User Interface

The Shanling M2s is a great looking player, it is small, sleek and easily slips into your pocket. The front is glass, the edges are aluminium and the back is plastic, you have a volume wheel on the side, a back button underneath. On the other side you have playback buttons (skip track and play/pause) and the MicroSD card slot, on the bottom you have the USB C port for charging and also file transfer, and the headphone jack next to it. The power button on the top also works to unlock the screen, overall the look and feel of this player is excellent.

The M2s comes with a USB cable, Card ready and 4 screen protectors, all you need is a microSD card with music on. Available separately is a leather case, and you can also purchase extra screen protectors.

The user interface is easy to get around, you have plenty of settings and then when in your music you can either browse by Artist, Album, Genre, Playlist, Favourites or display all tracks. The wheel acts as the scrolling mechanism, and click inwards on the wheel to select. The playing screen displays the album artwork, with the format below and the track name and artist.

This player has some added functions, you can set the headphone out as a line-out for use with a hifi system for example, or portable amp. And also it can be used as an external USB DAC for your computer. The USB C port can feed a digital signal to an external DAC too, it has high and low gain settings, EQ, Bluetooth (AptX) and more. All this for under £200, but none of that matters if it doesn't sound good.

Shanling M2s

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Sound

The Shanling M2s does not disappoint in the sound department, you would have thought with all those features they may have forgotten about the sound. But they have not, the M2s comes across as a very clean and balanced player, with plenty of power and authority. There is no part of the sound that stands out in particular, it just gets out of the way and lets you enjoy your music. From sensitive in-ear monitors, to full size headphones, this player can handle most easy to medium hard to drive headphones with ease.

Ok so what's the catch? Well more expensive players do have the upper hand in build quality and features most of the time (This has lots, but no balanced output). But also high end players are more resolving of the finer detail in music.

Now for on the go use, the extra detail from high end players is not needed, and the M2s is truly excellent for the price, it is balanced with maybe a hint of warmth to the sound, never fatiguing but also not altering the sound of your headphones to a huge extent. It has good dynamics, but a slightly limited soundstage, this is nitpicking however.

Conclusion

The M2s is a perfect partner for your daily commute, or exercise routine, it is also the perfect transport for the audiophiles out there. Hook it up to an external DAC and you have an excellent rig. But on it's own it really doesn't disappoint with a clear, balanced if not slightly smooth sound that works with all sorts of headphones.

Shanling M2s

About Shaun Gostelow

Shaun is co-founder of hifiheadphones.co.uk and spends most of his time dealing with the business side of running the store, but still loves listening to music with headphones just the same as ever.
Follow Shaun on Google+
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