Sensitivity / Hiss
Impedance is low, sensitivity is high, so neither to say that the ME700 is very prone to hiss. As this IEM scales up nicely with good sources, the same can be said regarding the noises. On Shanling’s M6 Pro and M2X, nothing to worry about. Even FiiO’s flagship passed the test hand down.
On my iPhone, results were not as good and when I played music at low volume, the phone couldn’t mask the faint noise running in the background.
Shanling ME700 + Shanling M6 Pro: the obvious choice. Obviously, the brand took special care to match its IEM with the new player. Details are crisp, sound stage amazing and when you push the volume it’s a real journey to nirvana. So much that you may end up cracking the volume a bit too high, so beware!
Shanling ME700 + FiiO M15: a great combo. The M15 is my “affordable TOTL”, one that helps me discerning good stuff from bad ones. With the ME700, the pairing over-emphasizes the duo good (and bad) points. Great sound stage, superb mids, and lows that appears a bit to low (for me). You’ll never go higher than low-gain because you don’t need it, but it’s still a good all-rounder combo.
Shanling ME700 + iBasso DC01: fully balanced. The DC01 is provided with a 2.5mm TRRS output. Good news, so does the ME700, making it the perfect bundle on the go, if you want to fit everything inside the same box. Visually I like how they complete each other, and sonically it’s a great experience too. Not as good as a fully-fledged DAP, but still superb with excellent layering and great instrument separation, in a tiny package.
Want to compare with other chi-fi gears? Voila :
Shanling ME500 Platinum: the lower tier IEM remains an excellent solution to this day. If not as crisp as the ME700, I tend to prefer the bass of the prior, faster if not as clean. The ME700 is more on the warm side, where the ME500 sound sounded more linear. That said, you get more details and better mids with the M700, whatever the source and whatever the track.
BGVP DMS: the DMS is the exact opposite of the ME700. Metallic shell, hard shape, and toe-tapping bass, it’s a perfect example of how two similar IEM on paper, can sound vastly different in reality. The lows are definitely the forte of the DMS, where the ME700 gives a more linear response across the whole spectrum. Not as linear as the ME500, but more than the DMS.
Fiio FH5: I rarely compare FiiO’s IEM in my reviews, so let’s fix that issue. The FH5 is a good contender for the ME500, but not for the Shanling ME700. If both share a lot of traits and seem to offer the same signature, the ME700 gives much proper result: better resolution, cleaner highs and high-mids, and a wider sound stage. That said, the FH5 is also half the price of the ME700, so this explains that.
The Shanling ME700 isn’t the TOTL you would expect, but they are the great IEM you deserve.
It’s a true gem in terms of design and engineering, even if the gold-coating may have been carried to the extreme. Even though, you know and feel that Shanling’s engineers built these IEM to last, until a new flagship comes out.
Sound wise, it follows the path carved by the ME500, but improves almost every aspect: wider sound stage, richer mids, cleaner lows, and a step-up in terms of resolution. My only regret is how shy the lows may appear on budget DAP, not that may be a concern for most of you. Yet, it’s been a long time since I’ve put my ear on an in-ear this dependent of the source.
Pair the ME700 with a TOTL DAP and you’ll get a TOTL experience, but anything under that will just sound as good as the ME500, with shyer lows. So yeah, it can be superb, but with great powers, come great responsibilities… or in fact mandatory high-end sources.