Shanling EM5 Review

Comparison with Tradutto + FA-22

Since I don’t have an all in one desktop competitor like this,  I’ll share my impressions with a comparison to my Earmen Tradutto + Flux FA-22 system that I have.

The desktop system sounds fuller with a more immersive presentation. The bass has better texture and resolution, and bass hits are more decisive and focused. Mid-range sounds fuller and treble is sharper overall. There’s better layering as well.

The EM5, despite having everything in one single chassis, performs well against this setup, which proves that it’s more than capable. Of course, it doesn’t have that kind of layering and bass performance, but it holds its own with good resolution, separation, detail and timbre. When you think about the Tradutto and FA-22 combo costs you USD 1548$, you can in fact get the EM5 for more flexibility and more space on your table. You won’t get the ultimate performance, but you’ll sure like what you’re going to hear.

Shanling EM5

Conclusion

Shanling released a very different device to the market and it seems they want to expand their portfolio in terms of all in one desktop systems after the M30. If you like to have a dedicated bedroom or workroom music setup, you can get the EM5 for the best versatility. Since you don’t need any external device to play music, you’ll like what you get from this all-in-one solution.

I wish it had a battery as well, that would’ve made a perfect device for anywhere in the house, but it’s still great as it is. I’m quite impressed with the EM5, and I believe if Shanling can fix the small software bugs, and if they can improve the ergonomics, they might have a great opportunity in this market for desktop solutions.

Don’t miss our M9 DAP review which will come around soon.

Page 1: Intro, About the Device, Design & Build

Page 2: User Experience, Possible Improvements.

Page 3: Sound Quality

4.3/5 - (59 votes)

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A keen audiophile and hobby photographer, Berkhan is after absolute perfection. Whether it is a full-frame camera or a custom in-ear, his standpoint persists the same. He tries to keep his photography enthusiasm at the same level as audio. Sometimes photography wins, sometimes his love for music takes over and he puts that camera aside. Simplistic expressions of sound in his reviews are the way to go for him. He enjoys a fine single malt along with his favorite Jazz recordings.

9 Comments

  • Reply January 13, 2022

    Andy

    “The desktop system sounds fuller with a more immersive presentation.”
    Do you think it is more because of Tradutto or Flux?

  • Reply January 13, 2022

    Berkhan

    Flux

  • Reply January 13, 2022

    Andy

    Ok, that was my guess too.

  • Reply January 14, 2022

    B3Nz

    This is a very intriguing product. Thank you for the review!

  • Reply January 15, 2022

    Claudio

    Shanling made a good sounding products but the built quality is poor and the after sales didn’t exists!!! I had the m8 and m6 pro 21 with issues (returned both). The m6 pro 21 has a factory issue (annoying hiss) and the guys from shanling didn’t wants to replace for a a new one. They insist in the policies of the chinese market that is not possible do that. Really frustrating!!! Some chinesse brand are not serious. Be aware!!!!

  • Reply January 15, 2022

    Andy

    It definitely is. I’m wondering if SD card would be preferred to USB storage as a local music library.
    What makes me think is software

  • Reply January 18, 2022

    john

    “The desktop system sounds fuller with a more immersive presentation.”

    Would Flux + Shanling EM5 (instead of Tradutto) achieve the same ?

  • Reply January 18, 2022

    Karl

    It’s a shame their is no photo of the rear

  • Reply January 19, 2022

    Ben Bayle

    Lots of pics here: https://hifigo.com/products/shanling-em5 also some good conversation here: https://www.head-fi.org/threads/new-shanling-streamers-em5-ea5.957735/page-20

    Sounds like there might be some XLR issues that are being sorted currently. The product is still very intriguing.

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