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Shanling ME500 Hybrid Earphone Review

"The Shanling ME500 are for those who crave clarity and detail, with snappy transients and a fairly neutral tone."

Shanling ME500

Aesthetics and Build Quality:

The ME500 are shiny, very shiny at that with a polished housing and tempered glass faceplates. They stand out and are not the most low-key IEM’s out there, but they do look great in person and feel substantial too. The cable is a made of SPC OFC and lokos great, overall the ME500 do stand out but in a good way.

Build quality is superb, the brass housings have good weight to them and are very well finished. The cable feels strong and have good strain relief all round, the MMCX connectors are nice and tight and I cannot find any issues with the build of the ME500.

Comfort and Isolation:

The ME500’s are pretty small but slightly heavy, luckily once you find the right tips they fit snug in your ear and stay securely fitted during use. The comfort is great and they can be worn for long periods of time.

 

Isolation is really good, perfect for commuting and daily use. The vent for the dynamic driver doesn’t seem to affect the isolation on the ME500 much.

Sound:

Bass: The ME500’s bass is tight yet articulate with great transient response. They have tuned the dynamic driver to fit with the snappier response of the BA drivers. This is a controlled and taught response down low, but one that digs down into the sub-bass when required. I have found these to play best with slightly slower instrumental tracks where they fill out nicely. Even though they have the speed to keep up with quick and busy tracks, they sometimes sound a little too flat. The ME500 is not for those who crave warmth and body, they are for those looking for clarity and control.

 

Midrange: Here is where the clarity shines through with great openness and an airy presentation. Both male and female vocals sound excellent without any major dips or peaks, there is plenty of energy and detail retrieval is superb. The midrange is well layered and the upper midrange doesn’t suffer from sibilance issues. I really like the presentation of female vocals on the ME500, they just sound very natural and effortless. Electric guitars have really power and energy yet the layering means nothing becomes congested. The tonality is a little on the cooler side, but the midrange is never recessed.

 

Treble: These will appeal to treble heads a bit; the overall sound is borderline bright and the highs can become a little overwhelming on certain tracks. They are present in full force, luckily the midrange and bass prevent them from sounding too thin. During slower tracks that are well recorded the ME500’s present an airy and incredibly detailed top end, but put on anything a bit heavier that isn’t as well mastered and they can become a little too hot, bordering on harsh. So play them good quality recordings and you’ll be greeted with an incredible upper end response, but anything that is recorded a little hot could be troublesome without EQ.

 

Soundstaging is excellent, a nice wide stage with pinpoint accuracy, great separation and layering all creates a very holographic presentation.

Conclusion:

The ME500 are very transparent and energetic with a snappy sound that has great control. However, they are also ruthless and will not hold back when you play some poorly mastered music. The top end can be borderline harsh however foam tips and EQ are very handy if you find them a little overenthusiastic up top. Or you could pair them with a cable like the Effect Audio Ares II+ to bring out a little more body.

 

Sound:  3/5

Comfort: 4/5

Build: 5/5

Value: 3.5/5

 

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