Shanling ME500 Review

Sound performance

 

 

My main sources were: FiiO M11 Pro / Shanling M2X / FiiO UTWS1. New year, new sources!

As usual, files were played from either Qobuz / Spotify or my own music library. Some tracks will be highlighted, just so you can try it at home too!

Overall signature

Shanling never flood us with IEM, and that’s a bit sad when you can hear how good the ME500 sounds.

First, the dynamic is simply awesome. Not just for a sub-300$ earphone, but for any earphone. Even at low volume, you can distinctly distinguish the Forte from the Pianissimo, on the go. What’s equally impressive is how you can get this kind of sound with just a simple source.

I always begin my review by plugging the IEM/Headphone to my trusted FiiO K3. And here, right from the start, I was immersed into the music, flush down deep into it quite actually.

The mids are razor-sharp, guiding the guitars and leading the voices right on tracks, every minute. The work made by an engineer, regarding the filter and crossover is beyond what I’d expect it to be. Sure, it doesn’t match the TinHifi P1 in terms of pressure, but it definitely outperforms them in terms of musicality.

The dual magnet system should lead to deeper bass. This is true indeed, but it’s also not as impactful as I expected. It’s efficient, with elegant articulation and fast transients, but it’s not… explosive. And I prefer my hybrid IEM explosive.

Yet, this is a small price to pay in exchange for clarity. Everything you’ll listen to seems to be filtered through a magnifier glass, embellishing the finest details leaving just a delightful afterglow. Everything takes place naturally, it’s an effortless presentation.

Classical music? Awesome. Jazz music? Superb. Electro track? Great… but not enough kick.

Again, for the price, there is not much to complain about. I don’t know if that’s because the Shanling ME500 Platinum edition comes with a silver-coated cable, but the bass never seems to heighten much.


The best combination came from the FiiO M11 Pro, with the THX-AAA amp. It’s literally mesmerizing and the only trade is the shy low-mids, but then bass went insanely deep.

That said, sonic wise, it’s bloody awesome!

Tonality

Highs : superb articulation with a little emphasis. Like most of Shanling gear, the ME500 seems to favor the highs, which is a good thing in fact. The Knowles drivers always manage to push higher all thanks to the low distortion and excellent crossfeed. It’s a musical wonder.

Good test-track : Smooth Operator – Sade

Mediums: spaciousness and accuracy. 

The sound stage is amazing and transients are cleaner that I’d expect. The voices are decisively the strong point of this IEM, well helped by the dynamic which is outrageously wide. I tried to fault the Shanling ME500 much time, but even when they were paired with the UTWS never did they fall. If you like jazz, or acoustics songs, get one pair, right 

Good test-track : We Choose – Her

Bass : deep and shy. The bass is there, well-defined, with a good extension. Yet, they seem to shy off compared to the usual chi-fi IEM I’m accustomed to. Albeit, decreased bass will always sound keener than extra-bass, I’d have preferred a slight bump around the 500Hz, for a funkier sound. Again, it’s still very impressive, but not flashy enough for my taste.

Good test-track : Time – Solee

Sensitivity / Hiss 

Impedance is low, sensitivity is high, so as it makes it easier to drive the IEM, you’ll also have to carefully choose your source.

The article continues on Page Five, after the click here

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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.

    4 Comments

    • Reply March 2, 2020

      Matt C

      Hi there, just wondering how thus IEM would match up to either HiBy R5, Shanling M5s, or Ibasso DX160 for listening to classical music? thanks

      • Reply March 2, 2020

        Matt C

        Sorry I was referring to the ME500 Platinum, thanks

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