UI & Usage
Android 7.1 + Shanling Music App
If the M2X and M5S used a specific OS (Mtouch 2.0), the Shanling M6 lets you enjoy the full Android experience.
Sure, Android 7.1 Nougat is a bit older than you’d expect in 2020, but thanks to that, you can install almost any app you like. If the previous models only support Tidal, the M6 unlocks Spotify, Qobuz, Deezer and all the others.
Boot up is slower than before, but that’s still way faster than Astell&Kern players and on-par with iBasso. Then, the experience is pretty seamless and thanks to the new Qualcomm CPU, everything feels butter smooth.
The new Shanling Music App is a good improvement too. It’s snappy and fast, displays the right amount of settings and as a stock player, put you at ease right away. The odd thing, because every Chinese player has one, comes from the gestures.
Now that Shanling ditched the bottom buttons, you have to swipe from right to left to go back. It’s not super intuitive at first, but once you’ve got it, it feels almost… natural ? Swiping from top to bottom unveils the quick-access menu, where you can chose to :
- switch on/off the WiFi
- same for the Bluetooth
- activate the line-out function or use the phone-out
- enable the high-gain level, or the low-gain
- enable the Air Play playback function
Audio Setting menu
- Select output : phone out (PO) / Line-out (LO)
- Lowpass filter : Sharp Roll-Off / Slow Roll-Off / Short delay Sharp Roll-Off / Short delay Slow Roll-Off / Super Slow Roll-Off
- Gain : Low / High // Low for your IEM and sensitive headphones, High for the demanding one
- Balance : Left -10-0 / Right -10-0 // if you have an auditive deficiency, this might help
- Boot Volume : if you want your player to boot up at a specific volume level
- Max Volume : for your satefy, cap the volume
- Wireless playback quality : you can choose between LDAC (Adaptative/Standard/Sound quality first/Connection First) or aptX(HD) and SBC, depending of your headphone
- AirPlay : with AirPlay playback, you can stream your music wirelessly from any iDevice, like a smartphone or a Mac
USB-C and SD Card
All the Shanling players use the future-proof USB-C connector and the Shanling M6 make no exception. Transfer rate are great and the DAP supports Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0.
The M6 offers 32Gb of internal memory and rely on micro-SD cards for any additional storage. Every type and size are supported, from SDHC to SDXC up to 2TB, even if they are not available yet.
Again, the USB-C port supports two-way transfers and so, the Shanling M6 can be used as a DAC on a computer, or a source once paired with a DAC.
Airplay / DNLA / Tidal
Big news, the Shanling M6 supports all major streaming providers !
You can download your favorites app through APK Pure, or the Google Play Store. The latter auto-install as soon as you connect the player to a WiFi connection. Then, all you have to do is sign-in with your google account, and download the apps you need.
The Shanling Music app supports DNLA servers. All you have to do is click on “Upnp servers” and scan for a nearby connection. I never had any issues and was more than surprised by the steady connection. 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 M6 screen and all the playback control is left to the source.
Very nice !
Battery Life and Charging
The Shanling M6 battery is rated at 4000mAh,
Continuous playback was announced up to 12h in single-ended mode, 9h in balanced mode. Those were conservative values as I outperformed them, by a small margin, and reached 11h in balanced mode with my IEM.
Strangely, once you enable Bluetooth playback, the battery rapidly plummeted. I never could get more than 6h once I paired a Bluetooth headphone to the Shanling M6. This must be a software issue, so I hope Shanling will fix it on their next firmware update.
If the M2X was not super quick to charge, the M6 enjoys Qualcomm Fast Charge V3, so expect half the time when charging with the adequate charger.
The deep sleep function works perfectly fine and if you just listen during your work commute, one charge could last one full week. I
Shanling was one of the first brand to add dual-way Bluetooth on its DAP. This mode allows the listener to connect a digital source to the player all wirelessly. Compared to DNLA and Airplay, this option trade quality (due to the limited bandwidth) for versatility : almost everything has bluetooth now.
Compatible with apt-X, AAC/SBC and LDAC, the Shanling M6 now supports apt-X HD. Also, if LDAC, AAC and SBC get bidirectional support, apt-X (HD) can only send music to an 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 M6 is very pleasant to use, but a bit too big sometimes.
It’s a bit thick and if it’s not as long as my iPhone, the thickness can be an issue when you’ll put it in your pocket. This can be even more problematic once the M6 wears its leather pouch. 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. With the new case, I didn’t have the previous issue where I ended up pressing the button I took out the player.
The Shanling M6 weighs 228g and measure 133,5mm x 71mm x 17.5mm and the case adds up roughly 1cm overall.
The review continues on Page four, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.