Comparison with SP2000
Since the SP2000 is the only high-end DAP I have in my inventory as of now, I will try to explain the differences between these two.
The SP2000 to me is the benchmark of DAPs with its incredible sound performance. I already talked about a few of the differences in terms of overall experience in the Part 1 video. But of course, the SP2000 doesn’t have full Android support like the M8 with Google Services. So you need to download .apk files and put them inside the SP2000 to install them. Since it works perfectly fine, I don’t have any problems with it but your preference can play a part here.
Sound-wise, they have very different presentations. SP2000 is a player that focuses on technicalities and it impresses with the resolution, transparency, and layering. The Shanling M8 prefers a different route to impress the listener. It does that with its tonality, musicality, and sound-stage. And it actually surprised me mainly because of the latter. Normally with warm and full-sounding DAPs, the sound-stage is a bit cramped and congested. This is not the case with the M8, and that has been a huge surprise for me.
I’ll cut the long story short; the SP2000 is better from a technical standpoint. But this solely doesn’t mean that you have to get the SP2000 to experience the flagship DAP performance. The M8 perfectly gives you that. And it also gives you something that to me many DAPs don’t; musicality combined with excellent technical performance. Not to mention the huge price difference between the two.
Shanling M8 – Conclusion
The last time I was really impressed by a DAP (excluding the SP2000), I was in London, and Covid19 wasn’t introduced to the world. That device was no other than the Lotoo Paw Gold Touch. Now the world is a different place, but the qualities that make a DAP good didn’t change really, especially for sound quality.
So how should I rank the Shanling M8? I would say it’s among the best. This is the first DAP that really impressed me for quite a while. Aside from its unmistakable sound presentation, it has a clean-cut Android software implemented with good features in a versatile environment. It has good battery life, build quality and design. It has a unique approach to headphone outputs, which I really liked. Some people disagree about the idea, but I beg to differ.
In my opinion, this player deserves a spot in our Best DAP Recommendations. This is the 4th Shanling product now in the recommended status, so that proves that they’re a formidable brand in the Digital Audio Player realm.