Review – Shanling M5S :


For the nit-pickerss and nerdy one here, I’m giving the specs and technical sheets . For all the other, you can just go to the next page to see how the amp performs.


The Shanling M5S got a set of two AKM AK4493EQ chips, a higher grade version of the classic AK4490EQ. If the key differences are the SNR and THD, there is also a few more advantages to get the AK4493EQ instead of the AK4490EQ.

  • the advertised SNR rises from 120dB to 123dB and the THD gets even lower by… -1dB.
  • Sampling rates support is extended to 8kHz-768kHz instead of 30kHz-768kHz
  • DSD input now support 22.4Mhz instead of 11.2Mhz
  • A new digital filter is available, Low-Dispersion Short Delay and à Dedicated LSI process i now available
  • Power consumption rises and is now 203mW instead of 145mW

An FPGA chipset, paired with two crystal oscillators from KDS allows the Shanling M5S to decodes every time of files. Up to 32Bit/784kHz, you can feed the DAP without any worry. Low pass filtering is left to two TI OPA1612 from Texas-instrument, one per channel. To complete the circuit, the headphone amplification is done by two ADI AD8797 op-amp, delivering up to 300mW @32ohms.


The WiFi is limited to 2.4ghz on the Shanling M3S which should not be an issue since the DAP isn’t made for Netflix or gaming. For Airplay and DLNA, this is more than enough, even if you send high bitrate files through our server.

  • Type : Digital Audio Player
- OS : Mtouch OS
  • DAC : 2x AK4493EQ
  • LPF : 2x Ti OPA1612
  • BUF : 2x ADI8797
  • Sample rate : PCM : 8Hz – 768kHz (8/16/24/32bits) native – DSD64/128/256
  • System clock : Full synchronization technology with FPGA processor and dual clock
  • Outputs : 3.5mm headphone out/line-out – 2.5mm balanced headphone output
- Input : USB Type-C
  • Screen : 3.2″ 320×480 IPS Screen from LG

  • Micro SD : SDHC / SDXC (single slot)
  • USB DAC : yes
  • WiFi : 2.4 GHz support
  • DLNA/Airplay
  • Bluetooth support : SBC, apt-X, LDAC
  • Duplex Bluetooth : player can emits and receive music
  • Battery : 3.8V 3400mAh Li-Polymer
  • Quick Charge : No
  • Battery life : 17h in single ended, 10h in balanced
  • Charging time : around 1h30
  • Size : 117mm*59mm*16mm
  • Weight : 178g (190g with the silicon sleeve)

3.5 mm Headphone out

  • Output power : 240mW @16ohm / 130mW @32ohm / 13mW @300ohm
  • SNR : 121 dB
  • Channel separation : 64dB @32ohms – 85dB@300ohms
  • Output impedance : 0.3 ohms
  • Distorsion : < 0.001%

2.5 mm Headphone out

  • Output power : 540mW @16ohm / 300mW@32ohm / 29mW@300ohm
  • SNR : 121 dB
  • Channel separation : 121dB
  • Output impedance : 0.3 ohms
  • Distorsion : < 0.001%

The review continues on Page four, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.

Review – Shanling M5S :
3.3 (66.21%) 29 vote[s]


A nerdy guy with a passion for audio and gadgets, he likes to combine his DAC and his swiss knife. Even after more than 10 years of experience, Nanotechnos still collects all gear he gets, even his first MPMAN MP3 player. He likes spreadsheets, technical specs and all this amazing(ly boring) numbers. But most of all, he loves music: electro, classical, dubstep, Debussy : the daily playlist.


    • Reply February 6, 2019

      Allen Feinberg

      I have been using the M5s since it was 1st available, about 3 months. I like its robust, slightly tube-like sound. One thing I have definitely noticed is the AK DACs seem to take a long time to fully burn in. I noticed it with the Shanling M1. After a year of using the M1 off and on (I had graduated to the M0 quickly), the M1 began to sound as good or better than the M0.

      Now I notice from week to week there is a constant improvement in the beautiful sound coming from the M5s. It seems to be aging like a fine wine! There is a HyBy R6 Pro available now with a SNR of 131db. I am done collecting these beautiful players and fully content with the M5s. Still, the R6 Pro looks pretty awesome. I own the HyBy R3 and it is a lot of fun to play with the MSEB sound tuning system. Two different sounds. I would call the AK sound more natural, and the Sabre sound more crystal clear. The AK sound, the natural or velvet sound is more musically satisfying, but I enjoy both equally. Can’t explain that!

      For me, Shanling hit it out of the park with the M5s, especially at the price they charge. I was looking for something to top off my collection and finally satisfy me musically. The players manufactured since around May of 2018 with the LDAC, aptX, aptX HD, most have OTA updates, they all seem to sound so much better than the players from just one year (2017) before. I really should gift many of my players from before, because I won’t listen to them. When I do, I end up packing them back up because they don’t sound like anything.

      • Reply February 6, 2019


        I’m still confuse whether to buy M5s or Hiby R6 Pro. In my country, it’s so difficult to have demo unit to have a hearing test 🙁

      • Reply April 25, 2019


        There is no scientific evidence to support the idea of “burn in” It is utter nonsense. Old analog components needed to warm up to come up to the proper operating temperature as that was where they were tuned to function correctly but that is not the case for anything digital. Even manufacturers of audio equipment have about sections calling burn in nonsense.

    • Reply February 6, 2019

      Pierre Blasco

      Little mistake, the Shanling M0 has an es9218p chip. Not 9018p.

    • Reply February 27, 2019


      Are you able to compare M5s to AK SR15 on SQ alone?

      I had the M5s for a few days. Its a very nice Player, but i would like something more musical and less neutral. Im coming from the Pono Player and most other DAPs are not engaging enough sounding for me.

      Is SR15 worth a try for me or do you have any other suggestion?

      • Reply February 28, 2019


        It’s different reviewers having these DAPS, so it’s difficult

    • Reply July 8, 2019

      Allen J. Feinberg

      This is strictly a hobby for me, and I apologize for not following up on this thread. It is now 07/08/19 and I continue to be thrilled with the performance of the M5s. I misspelled HiBy a few times in my initial blurb.

      I refer to the DAC chips generically and not necessarily by individual models. ESS vs Burr Brown vs AK etc. I have my own ideas about burn-in. I hear a difference over time, however, it can very well be my own ears “burning-in”, or growing accustomed to different equipment.

      The equalizer plays an intricate part in tuning the M5s. I find the EQ to be very sensitive and able to yield dramatic differences. I have the M5s tuned to sound like I am listening to a stereo juke box from the 60s with the sound cleaned up by digital technology. It sounds like the biggest, clearest sounding system I have ever heard. Doesn’t sound much better than this for me!

      I am interested in the Fiio M11 and also the Ibasso DX-220, but I can easily save my money because I am very pleased with the Shanling M5s.

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