Shanling EC Mini Review

Shanling EC Mini

In this article we look at the Shanling EC Mini CD player and transportable DAC/AMP. The EC Mini is selling for $359 USD.


Disclaimer: The Shanling EC Mini was sent to us by Shanling directly, in exchange for our honest review. Shanling is not related to Headfonia in any way. 


Founded in 1988, Shanling has been developing Hi-Fi products for more than 30 years now. From high-end CD players to classy tube amps, the brand made a name thanks to great craftsmanship and top-of-the-line performance.

Shanling also developed a complete range of DAPs and IEMs, like the M6 and M6 Pro (21) that we previously reviewed, now topped by the Shanling M6 Ultra, the M7, and the almighty M9 Plus that Berkhan and Yagiz loved and praised, with good reasons.

In addition to all of that, the brand also has a full range of delightful portable DAC/AMPs today, like the Shanling H7H5, and H2 – three wonderful devices that we previously reviewed – or compact USB-sized DAC like the UA4 and UA1 Plus

In this review we take a detailed look at the EC Mini, a transportable, battery driven CD Player that also works as a DAC/AMP.

Shanling EC Mini


A cd player I hear you say? Isn’t that so 90s? It is, but it’s also the decade in which I was a teenager and it was a time where CD’s simply were new, offering good sound quality. I still have my full cd-collection and it never even crossed my mind to sell it or get rid of it. Even though I almost stream everything nowadays, I do still use CDs (and vinyl) when I feel like it. To do so I use a vintage Kenwood cd player from 1991 which is in my office.

When I saw the EC Mini announcement, I was delighted. A transportable cd player which you can use in your car and which is a full option DAC/AMP with a balanced output? It’s like a dream device for those still wanting to use CDs. It probably is a niche product, but it’s one that’s perfect for me.

EC Mini

The Shanling EC Mini basically is a compact all-in-one device with a cd-player. It is powered by a pair of 18650 batteries and it actually is Shanling’s first transportable CD Player. You can move the EC Mini around all you want and you can even take it out of the house as the batteries will provide you up to 25h with MicroSD card playback, and up to 7.5h with CD Playback. The shoulder strap and carrying case are sold separately.

The EC Mini can also easily be used inside your car, which probably no longer has a cd player. You can connect it directly to a stereo system over its RCA outputs or pair it with modern car systems over Bluetooth. And thanks to the dedicated In-Vehicle mode, EC Mini connected over USB cable can even detect when the car starts up, making for a smooth playback on your trips.

The EC Mini is built on the same Ingenic X1000 platform as Shanling’s MTouch portable players, running their dedicated system optimized for portable players, this time customized to a 2.33-inch touch screen sitting on the top.

Shanling EC Mini

The EC Mini is a very versatile unit:

– It allows local playback from MicroSD card and USB drives, with the touch screen allowing for full navigation through the music library right on the device. And Shanling’s SyncLink feature allows even for remote controlling directly from your phone or tablet.

– Bi-directional Bluetooth, for both receiving and transmitting functions. So this might be the first time when you can play your CDs straight into your Bluetooth headphones on-the-go. With the receiver function, EC Mini will turn into a Hi-Fi quality Bluetooth DAC/AMP for wireless playback from your phone. And if you want to play music over USB connection, EC Mini can serve as a classic USB DAC.

– USB input (based on the M3 Ultra), packing a pair of ESS ES9219 DACs, supported by a pair of Ricore RT6863 headphone amplifiers, for a fully balanced audio circuit and 4.4mm output, alongside the standard 3.5mm jack. Putting out up to 248 mW @ 32 Ohms over balanced out.

– USB output, allowing for a digital output directly to any standalone USB DAC, from small portable units to high-end USB DACs.

– A Phillips CD drive and Sanyo HD860 laser for accurate CD and MQA-CD reading. And to prevent any interruptions on a bumpy ride, EC Mini adds extra mechanical and electronic anti-vibration systems.

You get all of this for $359 USD only and you can get it from Shanling here, or from Shenzhen Audio here. You can find the EC Mini’s dedicated web page here.

Shanling EC Mini

EC Mini Specifications

Dimensions: 25 x 20.5 x 5.2 cm

Weight: 1.2 kg

System: Ingenic X1000 & Shanling MTouch OS

Controls: 2.33-Inch Touch screen & Hardware Buttons

CD System: Philips CD Drive & Sanyo HD860 Laser

DAC: 2x ESS ES9219

Amplifier: 2 Ricore RT6863 Headphone amplifier + LTA8092 Line-Out

Analog Outputs: 3.5mm, 4.4mm & RCA

Output Power: 240 mW@32 Ohm Balanced // 140 mW@32 Ohm Single-Ended // 2.1V Line-Out

Output Impedance: Less than 1 ohm

Bluetooth: Two-Way Bluetooth 5.0

Bluetooth Codec: Receiver LDAC, AAC, SBC // Transmitter LDAC, aptX, AAC, SBC

Local Playback: MicroSD card slot & USB-C Input for USB Drives, Hi-Res support up to 32/384 & DSD256

USB Input: USB-C connector for use as USB DAC

USB Output: USB-C Connector for use as a transport for external USB DACs

Battery: Two Built-in 18650 batteries, separate USB-C Charging Connector

Battery Life: Up to 25h with MicroSD card playback, up to 7.5h with CD Playback

Shanling EC Mini

Box & Accessories

There’s not really much to say here. The EC Mini comes in a nice but simple box without anything special accessory wise, except for a USB-C to USB-C cable and the manual. The protective case and shoulder strap are optional, but I do recommend getting them. The protective case is really nice and oozes quality. The strap I have never used as I have not taken the EC Mini on the go (yet).

So, it’s a basic package but all the important goodies are on the inside of the player, making it a versatile all-in-one device.

Layout, Design & Build Quality

The Shanling EC Mini measures only 25 x 20.5 x 5.2 cm and it weighs a mere 1.2 kg. It’s not small or light compared to portable cd players back in the days, but the EC Mini isn’t just a cd player of course.

On the top of the unit you find Shanling’s logo and a nice little 2.33 inch touch screen. In the beginning it is a bit weird to work with, but you do get used to it quickly. Next to the touch screen you also have the back and forward buttons. On the bottom and sides of the unit there’s nothing to be seen, except for the shoulder strap connectors should you be using the protective case.

Shanling EC Mini

On the front of the unit we from left to right see the 3.5mm and 4.4mm headphone output, the cd “tray”, the power button, the CD selection button, the play/pause button, the stop/eject button and the volume up/down button. On the back of the unit we find the Bluetooth sender/receiver, the in-vehicle selection switch, the charging port, the USB-C (bi-directional) port, the microSD slot and the RCA Output.

The Shanling EC Mini is nice built and it feels incredibly sturdy. This CD player will last you for years to come as long as you treat it nicely. Design-wise I also quite like the EC Mini. Sure the screen could have been a bit larger in size but I for the rest have nothing to complain about.

The article continues on the second page. Click here or use the jumps below.

Page 1: Shanling, Intro, EC Mini, Specifications, Box & Accessories, Layout & Design & Build Quality

Page 2: Usability, Sound, Conclusion, Summary

4.9/5 - (18 votes)

Lieven is living in Europe and he's the leader of the gang. He's running Headfonia as a side project next to his full time day job in Digital Marketing & Consultancy. He's a big fan of tube amps and custom inear monitors and has published hundreds of product reviews over the years.


  • Reply May 21, 2024

    jeroen wijnands

    How bad is the cd noise? Can i listen to classical music without it interfering?

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