Shanling M6 Pro 21 Review

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Design & Build Quality

Casing

“Same player shoot again”

Like the M6 21 before, the Shanling M6 Pro 21 enjoys the very same case as before. And that’s a good thing.

A case made of one solid block of aluminum, CNC-milled, brushed and anodized, magnified by the two glasses, front and back. The front glass follows the edges of the player, bonded to ensure a seamless experience, and the back panel is made of frosted glass, only pierced by two windows, displaying the Shanling and Hi-Res Audio logos. It’s a minor divergence with major sensations, especially when you hold the player in your hand.

Shanling M6 Pro

Shanling M6 Pro

It feels very Apple-esque : each detail has been carefully designed. The curved glasses, hidden screws, smooth touch from touch to bottom, it’s – again – one of the best experiences you can get and that makes a huge difference on a daily basis.

There is no gap or flaw on any part of the player, the M6 Pro 21 feels premium, thanks to its hefty weight and, obviously, the gorgeous design. Even if the player looks astounding without the case, I’d prefer to keep it covered… if I had the case. Luckily, I still have the previous M6 Pro one, which fits the new one like a glove.

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Layout

The Shanling M6 Pro 21 gets the exact same layout as previously seen on the M6 Pro

The multi-function scroll wheel, slightly recessed into the case to avoid any accidental clicks, is provided by ALPS. It can move back and forth, and remains clickable, allowing you to raise or lower the volume, and turn on/off the player. One more time, the wheel doesn’t match the body color and was given a vibrant golden tone.

On the left side, you have the usual three buttons, for playback control: play/pause, next song, previous song. Once again, build quality is absolutely flawless, and compared to the first time I had a Shanling DAP in the hand (back in 2015 now) the difference is absolutely baffling… in a good way.

You also have the mandatory micro-SD port, sealed with a rubber plug to avoid dust and particle penetration. It’s so much easier to use than the sim-tray usually found in a modern player, and if like me, you have to change your SD-card frequently, it makes big difference over time.

Shanling M6 Pro

Shanling M6 Pro

All the outputs/inputs are found on the bottom side of the M6 Pro 21:

  • an USB Type-C port that supports a dual-way connection, allowing you to link the Shanling to a computer and use it as a DAC/Amp, or to a DAP to make it the source.
  • 1x single-ended 3.5mm TRS headphone output to connect your usual headphones
  • 1x balanced 2.5mm TRRS headphone output for your IEMs
  • 1x balanced 4.4mm Pentaconn headphone output, for every modern headphone/IEMS 

Screen

Once again, I have nothing to say but good things about the Shanling M6 Pro 21 screen.

A vivid, sharp 4.7” 720×1280 IPS screen combined with a full Android experience, that behaves like a smartphone 90% of the time. Responsiveness is top-notch, the contrast looks very good, and if maximum brightness remains a bit dim, for regular people, this won’t be an issue, especially if you’re still stuck at home.

The screen/size ratio isn’t as good as the one found on the iBasso DX300, but I think that won’t be an issue in this price range. This is still a very good screen, and the M6 Pro 21 should satisfy even the pickiest of the picky ones.

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Everyday carry

On a day-to-day basis, the Shanling M6 Pro 21 is very pleasant to use, even if a bit too big sometimes.

It’s a bit thick and even if it’s not as long as my iPhone, the thickness can be an issue when you put it in your pocket. Add the case and this can be even more problematic, especially when it’s getting hot like summer, and you don’t wear a jacket… Apart from that, there is no real drawback.

The scroll wheel remains a pleasure to use, it’s accurate and allows you to finely tune the listening volume. Add direct access buttons, for playback control, and you’ll never have to worry about anything, even in blind mode, when it’s deep in your pocket.

Number? The Shanling M6 Pro 21 weighs slightly more (241g) for the exact same dimensions displayed by the classic M6 21 (133,5mm x 71mm x 17.5mm).

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

Page 1: About the brand

Page 3: UI & Usage

Page 4: Specifications

Page 5: Sound performances

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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.

7 Comments

  • Reply June 28, 2021

    Claudio

    Hi

    Thanks for your reviews. You should check the specs related to the power output because there are diferent in this version:

    “Amplifier circuit now using OPA2211, up to 760 [email protected] ( Original OPA1662 and 600mw)”

    Bye

  • Reply June 28, 2021

    James McCook

    Great review!

  • Reply July 5, 2021

    Howard

    Please describe what you mean by “dry”. I read that and I thing parched desert land, tongue stuck to the roof of my mouth and sterile sounding. I don’t think that’s what you mean so if you need more words to articulate what you mean by dry, please use them….. 🙏😎

    • Reply July 6, 2021

      Howard Olsen

      Your links at the bottom of each page P1, P2, P3, etc …. all link back to the original M6 21 Review althogh this is the M6 Pro 21 Review. The only links that are correct are the “Click here” links.

  • Reply July 16, 2021

    Howard Olsen

    Quote: Power output is rated at 12mW / 48mW / 200mW @32ohms (L/M/H) in single-ended mode, and triple up to 36mW / 143mW / [email protected] in balanced mode. So, again, I’d strongly suggest that you use the Shanling M6 Pro 21 with balanced headphones.

    Again, you’re not just using the pictures of of the M6 21, you’re quote the specs of the M6 Pro

    Correction:
    SE [email protected] ohm: [email protected] gain, [email protected] gain, [email protected] gain.
    Bal [email protected] ohm: [email protected] gain, [email protected] High gain, [email protected] gain

    There is just so much wrong with this review I have to wonder if you even listened to it. I bought it. It runs circles around the Lotoo PAW series. It’s musical, technical with exceptional deail retrieval and plenty of weight to the notes. You really should give it a listen, I think you’ll be impressed.

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