Xduoo X3II VS Shanling M0 ( 2019 English Version)

xDuoo X3 II and Shanling M0 are two portable audio players both aim at an affordable price range.

X3 II Price $119, while M0 is $109. Despite the difference in price and appearance, there are still other things you might expect at first glance, right?

Package

In terms of the size of the packaging, they look almost the same.

xDuoo is closed in an outer carton with a green-graphite, while Shanling has a white-colored cap on the top, on which there are multi-colored stripes, which gives him a cheerful, youthful look and certainly more eye-catching.

Of course, in both cases on the front of the packaging there are graphics presenting the players, and the specification at the back. Interestingly, xDuoo practically does not boast of the name of the model, because we find it only in the upper left corner on the back of the cardboard, while Shanling exposes it in front and the largest silver-plated font.

When we look at the player in the set, it’s rather difficult to determine which DAP is more expensive.

Xduoo X3 II 

Shanling M0

What’s inside in X3II Box ?

  • Two spare protective screen films,
  • USB cable for communication with a computer,
  • Jack-jack connection cable if we want to connect the external amplifier to X3 II
  • A set of sticky silicone feet, so that the mentioned amplifier does not scratch the housing,
  • Two plugs for mini-jack sockets,
  • Instruction manual and warranty card.
xduoo x3 ii package

However, in the case of Shanling, M0 is a bit less rich, because in the box apart from the player we only can find:

  • USB cable
  • Instruction manual and warranty card

However, in the case of Shanling, M0 is a bit less rich, because in the box apart from the player we only can find:

  • USB cable
  • Instruction manual and warranty card
shanling M0 package

It is surprising that there is no protective film on the screen, which is very vulnerable to damage.

Design an Build

The construction of the xDuoo X3 II is very similar to what the company has previously presented in the X20 model, i.e. we have a rectangular metal housing measuring 102.5 × 51.5 × 14.9 mm, in which the front most of the front covers the screen.

In fact, it has large frames, so its actual size has been limited to 2.4 inches. Below it is a block of control buttons, and on the left side there is a switch, volume control and a memory card slot. The USB-C, line-out and headphone jack 3.5mm, which can be found at the bottom of the player. Such a layout is really well thought out, the keys are easily accessible and arranged in such a way that we can use the X3 II in a non-visual way.

xduoo X3 ii player
xduoo X3 ii player
xduoo X3 ii player
xduoo X3 ii player

Shanling M0 is a completely different construction philosophy.

First of all, with dimensions of 40x45x13.5mm is a much smaller device, the front of which is just 1/3 of that of xDuoo.

Although the glass in the front is rounded at the corners, the screen does not fill it completely, just as in the case of the X3 II, we have clear frames here, although they are smaller than the competitor. The actual size of the display is a square with a diagonal of 1.54 inches.

Another big difference is the control, which in the main part of Shanling is based on a touch screen, apart from which we find only the volume control, transferred to the right side in the form of a circle. It has another property, namely the button responsible for turning on the player, blanking the screen and one additional function in case of its quick double-click, which we can assign to it in the options: previous song, next song, play / pause or turn off the double.

In addition, on the left side you will find a memory card slot, which is hidden behind the end cap, and a USB-C and headphone socket are located on the bottom of the player.

shanling M0 music player
shanling M0 music player
shanling M0 music player
shanling M0 music player

Screens in both players are at a similar level, both in terms of readability in the sun and the clarity of the information shown they present themselves correctly, but also stand out the resolution and color saturation from popular smartphones or high-end players, such as Opus # 1S or HiBy R3. Nevertheless, to navigate in the options and preview of the songs being played, this quality is quite enough.

Software

The software installed on the compared models is almost identical, even though on xDuoo we find a system prepared by HiBy Music, while Shanling offers its own solution called MTouch OS.

Xduoo X3 II 

xduoo x3 ii player software
xduoo x3 ii player software
xduoo x3 ii player software

Shanling M0

shanling M0 software
shanling M0 software
shanling M0 software
shanling M0 software
In terms of convenience, xDuoo is definitely better. Not only that physical buttons offer more control over the music than the touch screen, which especially makes itself felt when the player rests in your pocket, but in addition, the system itself responds more quickly to our commands.Shanling, however, should be praised for the precisely working touch and a number of facilities to improve the work on this type of screen, such as the already mentioned two circles or moving to the main screen by holding your finger on the display.As I have already mentioned, they function almost the same in a functional way. They allow you to play after catalogs and after tags, broken down by records, artists, genres, favorites, recently played and playlists. In M0, there is one additional item on the tags, which will appeal mainly to classical music fans, namely music playing according to composers.

In addition, both players have a USB DAC function, replay gain, gain control, channel balance, folder transitions, DAC filters, etc. They differ mainly in the following features: xDuoo has a car mode, i.e. runs on power and turns off after it is cut , Shanling has a clock (how often overlooked these days). In X3 II the line output is realized through a dedicated socket, with the option of volume control, in M0 it is offered by setting the maximum volume at the headphone output to a rigid level.

xDuoo supports bluetooth version 4.0 and aptX codec, media control on the source and additionally HiBy Link, or player support from the phone, while Shanling has BT version 4.1 and a better LDAC codec, there is no HiBy Link or bluetooth playback control, so to change the song, we have to reach for the phone or tablet anyway.

The approach to sound correction was also solved differently. In xDuoo there is a 10-band equalizer with the possibility to choose ready presets, while in Shanling it is a set of pre-assigned settings (blues, rock, etc.) and a longer list of DAC filters than the competitor.

For some people, the important information will be that the X3 II supports the use of remote controls at the headphones, but this applies only to pauses and changes of songs, while support for volume control. In turn for M0 pilots are invisible.

An interesting thing about the X3 II is that the HiBy system has already been used in the higher model: X20. Here, however, it was additionally improved in terms of service, because the menu moves up and down according to the assigned buttons, and not like a clock pointer, which in the case of X20 was sometimes very confusing.

If we look at the output power, the advantage of xDuoo is powerful: 210mW @ 32Ω compared to 80mW @ 32Ohm from Shanling makes a really big difference. The decibel should be enough in both players, but with demanding headphones you can hear the difference in the control of the transducer.

This of course reflects on the working time, because X3 II works on a single charge of 12-13 hours, while Shanling can withstand up to 15. The downside of high power xDuoo is still the noise noticeable on high-powered headphones, which excludes quiet listening to them. Fortunately, most portable headphones will be completely negligible.

The last element, apart from the sound, is the USB DAC function, which is offered by both players. They work without the need for manual drivers, however, in the case of Shanling, the delay of sound in relation to the image when watching movies or playing can reach even a few seconds, which completely excludes the use of it in anything but listening to music.

On the other hand, the delay is virtually unnoticeable with xDuoo, so it can be used as a sound card for a computer on a daily basis.

Sound

One can often find the statements that the systems from Asahi Kasei Microdevices, in the case of xDuoo X3 II is AK4490, are more musical than those provided by ESS Technology, i.e. Saber ES9218P from Shanling M0, which are focused on quite clinical and raw transfer. However, the heroes of today’s review show the layout application counts, not the specification from the specification.

Low

In xDuoo, as their first X3, the bass is tuned to a more technical message, which makes the bottom look thinner, focused rather on the neutral than neutral sound. This allows you to extract more detail from the music, and the slightly underlined sub-bass pleasantly massages your ears.

In Shanling, low tones are more noticeable due to the greater saturation of sounds, especially on medium and high bass. It gives a pleasantly warm and massive sound, but the whole thing is under great control and does not try to darken the music or dominate the other bands.

Both players offer a high quality level here, they do not get lost and are easy to read, although the differences between them are easily perceptible.

Mid

Medium tones are a continuation of the bass sound philosophy.

xDuoo presents them in a brighter and at the same time slightly distant from the listener, setting us for a more critical listening, while in Shanling the midrange is closer and warmer, more focusing on musicality and engagement. However, stands on the X3 II side, which slightly outweighs the M0 in terms of the sounding of instruments, offering more depth in individual sounds and perceptible changes in tone. The competitor is easier to pick up, gently charming with color, which makes the music take on more weight and energy.

Similarly, the vocals fall out – in Shanling they are more intimate, directed to the listener, while xDuoo sets them further, additionally slightly brightening them, though not to the extent that can excite unnecessary sibilants.

In both players the singing is clear and clear and close to its natural sound, tilting slightly towards a raw analysis or warm intimacy, depending on our choice.

Treble

The treble is fully in line with the style of playing the lower bands.

In X3 II, we have stronger, more dynamic sounds with a distinct radiance, M0 offers a softer sound, slightly recoiled and never overbearing. The first player performs better in listening to classical music, folk or jazz, where the instruments operating in this area become more engaging, but also demanding both in relation to the listener and the quality of the recordings.

In turn, the second DAP gives a sense of security that we will not be attacked by the mountain even with poor realizations and we will be able to relax with music.

Nevertheless, despite these differences, both musicians offer quite a natural sound, without excessive aggression or darkness, the violin or the triangle are transmitted in a lively and energetic way, and the percussion plates have a pleasant overtone without the sometimes encountered sanding.

The scene is a bit wider in xDuoo, although today’s heroes are not very prominent stage players, simply offering the correct level, while its depth is comparable to Shanling.

However, the way of presenting space is different, because X3 II creates a sense of more precise holography, more specifically placing the instruments in relation to the listener and separating them from each other quite clearly. M0, on the other hand, looks more like a small chamber concert, where the whole has a larger layer of intimacy, the instruments are closer to each other, wrapping the listener with sounds.

In terms of detail, xDuoo is the winner, giving a clearer insight into the recordings and transferring more microdetals. Shanling, in accordance with his tuning, focuses more on musicality than analysis and only at critical auditions reveals minor deficiencies in detail.

When we choose headphones for one of these players, it is worth to follow the opposites – a more clear, analytical xDuoo X3 II pair with warmer and musical headphones, while a milder Shanling M0 clash with something brighter, more accentuating details, so we can get very universal sets.

There are some exceptions to this, however, because xDuoo turned out to be a great match with Campfire Audio Jupiter, while Shanling creates a great synergy with Aune E1, while overvoltage between the players the music loses its naturalness, becoming too sharp (M0 with Jupiters) or with overly accented higher bass (X3 II from E1).

Fortunately, both DAPs are so securely tuned that they usually work with everything we hook them up, and the meaning of the sound obtained.

Summary

Both xDuoo X3 II and Shanling M0 are another step in the development of portable players. Both are well-built, with a well-thought-out design, they sound great at their price point and have sophisticated operating systems.

Until now, Chinese DAPs, especially in this budget, were too often markedly underdeveloped in some respect, which meant they were mainly intended for curious searchers.

However, X3 II and M0 can be recommended to anyone, depending on preferences: whether we prefer a small entertainment Shanling, or rather a larger and strong xDuoo with an analytical jam. Up to $119, it’s hard for a better choice.

The advantages of xDuoo X3 II

  • Convenient operation with physical buttons
  • Solid performance
  • Rich and analytical sound with a balanced character
  • Stable software
  • High power output
  • Great value for money

Disadvantages of xDuoo X3 II

  • Noise at the headphone output
  • Average scene
  • Slightly outdated bluetooth protocol

The advantages of Shanling M0

  • Solid performance
  • Pleasant, slightly warmed sound with high dynamics and good tonal balance
  • Stable software
  • Bluetooth version 4.1 and LDAC codec support
  • Well-controlled control despite the lack of buttons and a tiny screen
  • Great value for money

Disadvantages of Shanling M0

  • Less detail and naturalness compared to a competitor
  • High sound delays when using M0 as USB DAC
  • Average scene

Note: This article was translated from Spanish, if you would like to read the original language, please click the following link. 

xDuoo X3 II vs Shanling M0
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