Shanling M8 Review

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.

Shanling M8

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.

Shanling M8

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.

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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 with audio. Sometimes photography wins, sometimes his love for music takes him over and he puts that camera aside. Simplistic expressions of sound in his reviews is the way to go for him. He enjoys a fine single malt along with his favourite Jazz recordings.

5 Comments

  • Reply February 11, 2021

    Carlo

    Thank you for your review. How do you see the pairing of M8 with Aether R and/or VE-8, using a Janus D cable? Thanks

    • Reply February 11, 2021

      Berkhan

      I experienced the VE8 before and I should say it would be a great match. Not sure about the Aether R.

  • Reply February 11, 2021

    Steven Zore

    Proud owner, i agree totally. One thing … Shanlin customer service is best in industry.

  • Reply February 15, 2021

    Carlo

    I’ve actually Aether R ciem paired with Sr25/Janos D and thinking to upgrade to SE200 but the M8 came and… I am confused. Additionally, no Shanling shops for demo in Italy.

    • Reply March 3, 2021

      Berkhan

      I’ve heard that Aether R is a warm IEM right? It wouldn’t suit M8 the best I assume.

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