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Following you can find all the reviews of Shanling M2X,including the article review and video review.
-Tidal support – For never-ending streaming of music (ONLINE mode only)
– USB Bluetooth transmitter – For high quality wireless sound from any computer
– Advanced USB output – For use with any external USB DAC, now including compatibility with DLNA, Airplay and Bluetooth receiver modes
-MTouch 2.0 system
– Bluetooth 4.2, two-way connection
– LDAC, AAC, apt-X, SBC support
– 2.5 mm balanced and 3.5 mm single-ended output
– USB DAC function
– DLNA & Airplay support
– OTA upgrades
– 3.2 inch touch screen
– Single micro SD card slot
Design & Build Quality
I can only write good things regarding the Shanling M2X design. The brand shrunk the M5S and got rid of the awkward lower section on the front panel. The screen size is the same but for me, that made a huge difference in term of design. The player is made of a CNC milled aluminium case, smoothly polished, anodized and tinted, sandwiched between two plates of curved glass. If you ever had an iPhone X/XS in the hand, you get the idea : amazingly smooth touch and gorgeous design.
This time, Shanling shipped us the M2X with a neat leatherette case, but hat is only for reviewers. It is for sale separately though, and you should get one. It’s a smart move, even if the player looks astounding without it, it’s best to keep it covered. This is one of those player you would feel very sorry to drop, such as the SR15 or the SP1000m from Astell&Kern.
Quality/price ratio is very high. There is no gap or flaws on any part of the player, the M2X is a true jewel in this regard. Of course, if you’ve already read our picture Sunday of the Shanling, that’s no surprise to you.
(Image Credit: Headfonia)
The layout is almost identical to the Shanling M5S we reviewed before.
Even if the M2X embeds a touchscreen, Shanling kept the multi-function scroll-wheel. Provided by ALPS, it’s clickable and rotative, allowing you to rise or lower the volume and turn on/off the player. The scroll wheel is made of the same metal and colour than the main body, again a seamless design.
I tested the Shanling M2X with various products, including the following: LZ A6, Toneking T88K, KZ AS06, Fearless Audio S6 RUI and Massdrop x Sennheiser HD 6XX. I did not use any attenuator. Source files were stored on a 200 GB SanDisk microSD card and were mostly made of FLAC files in standard resolution.
I pleasantly noticed that the Shanling M2X has no background hiss whatsoever. Even using highly sensitive earphones, there is no trace of background noise. The M2X is therefore usable with theoretically any headphones without requiring any attenuator.
(Image Credit: soundphilereview )
On the other hand, the good amount of power it outputs is enough for it to be able to drive full-size headphones without much effort and without requiring an external amplifier, though it can only do so much and volume can be limited with higher-impedance headphones. The HD 6XX I tried offered plenty of volume, though, so I guess it will do for most people (unless they want to blow their eardrums, that’s it).
The Shanling M2X has very clean output and no apparent colouration, so it comes out as a source ideal to drive practically every headphone on the market. It is really dynamic, in the sense that it separates low-volume sounds from high-volume sounds very well, transitioning from one state to the other quickly and doing a great job at portraying both at the same time. It’s also fast, as it sounds more immediate and impactful than other sources. Music really sounds lively and vivid when played on the M2X. I write all this even though I usually refrain from making such comments on solid-state players as most sound just the same, but I could hear the difference clearly from other sources such as the xDuoo XD-05 or the iFi nano iDSD BL.
I could not hear any difference in sound when using the balanced output, save for the additional power that allows the M2X to drive higher-impedance headphones.
Design and build quality.
I have been a big fan of the design of the M0, which I thought was really well thought out and implemented.
The M2X has the same sleek type of design with a few notable changes. The screen is now a 3.2 inch touch screen and the overall size has grown to 98 x 60 x 16 mm, which is very similar to my Astell & Kern AK70 (Mk I) be it a little thicker. I find this size very good for portable use and it feels perfect when I hold it in my hand either with the case or without.
The right side still has only the volume button that doubles as on/off for both the screen (single push) and the device (hold). On the left side is the micro-SD card slot, which supports up to 2TB cards that is the only memory you will have (no on-board memory). On the same side the M2X also offers three physical buttons for playback control. On the bottom the USB port and 3.5mm headphone out have been joined by a 2.5mm balanced out.
The build quality I find really good and the way I usually measure that is by how much I feel the need to use a case.
Shanling of course sent along a case and it is very nice, fits snugly and does not impede use except for the fact that the hole for the balanced out is not big enough to accommodate the plugs from my balanced cables by Effect Audio and PlusSound, two of the more popular brands of aftermarket cables.
(Image Credit: Twister 6 Review)
However, I have had no qualms about using the M2X without the case, which for instance is something I never liked doing with my AK70. The AK70 for some reason did not inspire the confidence I have with the M2X and that could simply be psychological, as the AK70 is very well built (mine has the dents and scrapes to prove it), but I tend to attribute it to the way the M2X is designed.
The edges are nicely rounded, seams feel very smooth and it gives the impression of solidity. I still would not recommend dropping it from a roof or tossing it from a running start, but I feel it can take the type of light bumps that would occur with regular use and without babying it. It does look very nice though, so I would not be surprised if some people baby the M2X just to keep it in that pristine condition.
I said with the M0 that I thought it was an award winning-level of industrial design, and the M2X is very similar. It is a minimalist design, yet fully functional, and my only point of criticism would be that the on/off function of the volume dial is too sensitive.
It is too easily pushed and responds quickly, meaning that I often accidentally turn it on while, say, removing it from its case, or turn on the screen while it is in my pocket. It seems to happen less with the M2X than the M0, but that could also be simply down to size because the M0 is so small it is very hard not to accidentally touch the dial.
In the case of the M2X there is no risk though of the player accidentally turning off though, as it asks for confirmation after the off button is held for a few seconds. Still, I have had a few times where the M2X screen came on in my pocket and suddenly tracks started changing causing general confusion and mayhem in my brain.
Certainly, in comparison with the Cowon Plenue D2 and Onkyo DP-S1, the M2X is a dream. Scrolling is good. Getting back to the home screen, settings, playback screen, and sound adjustment screens is a breeze.
Favouriting a file can be done through the playback screen. Delete, EQ, and playlist functionalities are just a click away. Want to change play mode? Just click the loop or the file drop-down list icon above left of the elapsed playback meter on the bottom left. Easy peasy.
Okay, some touch targets are small. The worst offender is the song tracking slider. I can’t use it with my thumb, so I have to change my grip and holding hand to pinky-finger nudge the play position within a song forward or back. Of course, even smartphones have trouble here, though not as much. If par for the course includes such missteps, the M2X easily surpasses par for a DAP and is one of the easiest to use I’ve ever tried.
I dislike the icons on the home screen. Why is the artist a microphone? Why do all songs icons look so much like a note icon inside an archery target? Or is it a rewind icon? The good news is that you can customize the home screen, removing or adding functionality and streamlining the player. Always, the currently playing screen floats at the bottom of the home screen, and if you really want to get jiggy with sound, you can update channel balance, low pass filter shape and strength, EQ, gain, and more.
GUI looks don’t favor the M2X but general quality and reliability of interface do. Shanling has done much of the Lord’s work. Much more needs to be done. Whatever the case, the M2X is clearly superior to the DP-S1 and more surprisingly, the brand new Plenue D2, both of which are slow as molasses and to varying degrees, sport abstruse software.
At some point Shanling have decided to create their own firmware that won’t be based on any other company’s work. This should make people who hate Android for some reason happy and disappoint those who love streaming.
However, the latter have been taken care of, since the device has WiFi and self-built Tidal client that of course cannot save files to offline. As in the case with Hiby R3 it is functionally limited, has no offline mode and is not very convenient.
Just look at the keyboard that reminds of phones from the middle 00s. I have had plenty of time to think about the person who decided to to design such input while I have been entering my login credentials (yes, they are long). After this quest you can actually use Tidal, but for me it is not appealing without offline.
Unlike its smaller brother, the M2X supports WiFi in addition to Bluetooth. On the latest firmware (v2.3 at the time of review), this enables Tidal support in addition to convenient OTA updates, Airplay and WiFi file transfers that are significantly faster than Bluetooth.
In terms of Bluetooth connectivity, the M2X supports both BT transmitter and receiver functionality, it also supports a wide variety of codecs including AAC, LDAC and Apt-X. The latest update also enables USB BT Transmitter functionality whereby the player can be connected to a PC as a USB DAC then stream to a pair of Bluetooth headphones or speakers utilising the wider codec support to provide greater fidelity than the PC itself.
(Image Credit: everydaylistening)
Via the USB-C port, the M2X can also function as a USB DAC and power external DACs. It had no issue connecting to a powered DAC/AMP such as the Q5, nor powering the Cozoy Takt Pro which has no internal battery.
An internal 2400mah cell offers 10.5hrs of playback through single-ended output or 7.5hrs through the balanced output in addition to 39 days of standby.
In real-world usage, these figures were very attainable at the lower volumes I prefer to listen at and, of course, standby is heavily affected by Bluetooth and Wifi. If both are left on, it will drain after a handful of days even when not in use.