UI & Usage
Shanling Mtouch 2.0 OS
Let’s start with the good points. The player starts up fast. If you don’t want to use the deep sleep function and prefer the classic turn on/off, the M5S should please you. The UI is snappy and even the file scan can be done in the blink of the eye, all good points. The menus are easy to understand, pictograms are simple but that’s how they should be.
My main concern comes from the screen itself : the resolution is too low ! Everything looks a bit blurry or pixelated, even the boot up logo looks like a gif… This might be one of the reason why everything runs smoothly, but still, for me that’s a real deal-breaker. To be blunt, the resolution is as bad as the case is nice.
Last but not least, the translations can be a bit off, I think/hope this can/will be fixed with a software update. Updates that can be done through OTA now, but you’ll need to have a micro-SD card inserted, since the Shanling M2X doesn’t have any internal memory.
- Update library : choose if the player automatically searches for new songs or not. You can also manually scan the library
- Wireless settings: here you can change the settings of the Wifi and Bluetooth connection. There are various modes available, DNLA/Airplay and Bluetooth Quality
- Brightness : couldn’t be more explicit
- Idle : this parameter can help you to get a better battery life for your Shanling DAP. You can either activate the deep sleep mode, automatic power-off, etc…
- USB Mode : two modes available here, USB for data transfers or DAC for music playback
- Clock : setup the time displayed on the M2X, no date
- Buttons lock : if you want your player buttons not to do anything when the screen is off, this is where you can get it right. You can lock the scroll-wheel, the buttons or both at the same time
- DSP Output Mode : DOP or D2P, two options
- USB audio output : choose between fixed volume or variable volume, personally I always prefer fixed volume
- Output options : this setting allows you to get the M2X in line-out instead of classic phone-out
- Theme : three theme available, one colourful and two bleak
- Language : change the display language
- About the M2X : displays all the information about your player (firmware / used-free space / serial number)
- Factory settings : as it says
- System update : you can either update the M2X through an SD-Card or through OTA directly, i chose the latter
USB-C and SD Card
All the Shanling players use the future-proof USB-C connector and the Shanling M2X make no exception. Transfer rate are better than before and I’m pretty sure that’s thanks to the new software update, so maybe the M2X could also charge music faster.
The DAP doesn’t have any accessible internal storage and relies solely on micro-SD cards. Every type and size are supported, from SDHC to SDXC up to 2TB, even if they are not available yet.
A great update is the advanced USB output compatibility. The Shanling M2X can work as a receiver in DNLA and AirPlay mode (or bluetooth) a great addition if you need a wireless source.
Airplay / DNLA / Tidal
Big news, the Shanling M2X now supports Tidal streaming. No Spotify, Qobuz or Deezer yet, but I hope this will come soon. Unfortunately, it’s a basic version of Tidal :
- no settings available
- no offline mode
- Hifi subscription mandatory
Fortunately, the player supports DNLA and Airplay (no HiBy). Once connected to your local hotspot, you can easily play music from every sources, to your DAP. I mostly used the Airplay function as my iPhone and iPad always hang around me. It’s flawless with the album cover displayed on the M2X screen and all the playback controls are left to the source.
DNLA works the same way, you just have to select the DAP in the list of receivers, depending of the app/source you use, click it : et voila !
Battery Life and Charging
The Shanling M2X is smaller than before, rated at 2500mAh. The brand announced up to 10h of continuous playback in single-ended and 7h in balanced, approximately 30% more play time in single-ended mode.
After a few weeks, I was pleasantly surprised by how well the M2X behaved. Even in WiFi or Bluetooth mode, I successfully achieved to reach the 10h Shanling announced. Balanced mode ? That’s another story and even with the Bluetooth and WiFi cut-off, I was stuck to 5h…
If battery life is one of your main concern, you should stick to single-ended. Charging isn’t especially slow but it’s not super fast either, once the battery was depleted it took 1h to charge. Good news.
The deep sleep function works perfectly fine and if you just listen during your work commute, one charge could last one full week. It’s even better than before in my opinion.
Shanling was one of the first brands to add dual-way Bluetooth on its DAPs. This mode allows the listener to connect a digital source to the player all wireless. Compared to DNLA and Airplay, this option trades quality (due to the limited bandwidth) for versatility : almost everything has Bluetooth now.
Compatible with apt-X, AAC/SBC and LDAC, the Shanling M2X is still lacking apt-X HD support. Also, if LDAC and AAC get bidirectional support, apt-X can only send music to a headphone/speakers, no reception. If your source supports LDAC, no worries, if not you’ll be stuck in AAC or SBC.
Apart from that, it works perfectly well and it’s a great option if your smartphone doesn’t have a headphone output anymore. Compared to Airplay/DNLA, you get controls directly on the player but lose album covers, your call.
On a day to day basis, the Shanling M2X is much more pleasant to use than the M5S. It’s still a bit thick for sure, but it’s easier to fit in a pocket, be it a trouser or a jacket. My only real concern comes from the scroll-wheel which I ended up pressing, each time I brought it out of my pocket.
The Shanling M2X weighs 147g, so you lose 30g in the mix. It’s as wide and thick as the M5S (60mm x 16mm) but shorter (98mm). The case adds up roughly 1cm overall, so not a big deal in my opinion.
The review continues on Page four, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.