Today we are reviewing the new Shanling ME800, the new flagship IEM from the brand, selling for €/$779.
Disclaimer: the Shanling ME800 was sent to us free of charge by Shanling in exchange for our honest opinion. You can find them on their website, or your nearest dealer.
Founded in 1988, Shanling has been developing Hi-Fi products for more than 30 years now. From high-end CD players to classy tube-amps, the brand made a name thanks to great craftsmanship and top-of-the-line performances. A legacy we can find in their new range, made of exquisite DAP, like the M6 Pro, the M8, or the M30, even if the latter looks more like a desktop station than a DAP…
In parallel, the brand also offers its own collection of earphones, from entry-level models such as the ME80, to mid-range models, like the AE3 we reviewed last time. But, Shanling didn’t have a top-dog, something that could rival its competitors in the sub-$1000 price range… until today.
Will the new Shanling ME800 be enough to compete? That’s what we’ll find out!
The Shanling Series
Shanling’s in-ears series split into two different categories:
- MEXXX, for dynamic and hybrid IEMs, like the ME700 we reviewed last time
- AEX, for balanced iems, like the AE3 (the only model available at the moment)
So, as usual, let’s take a quick look at Shanling’s actual range.
The Shanling ME80 is the new entry-point IEM from the brand. Sold for just $99, this model boasts a “lightweight aluminum shell”, with rounded edges for improved comfort, and a 10 mm dynamic driver, with a nanocomposite diaphragm.
There are a lot of options in this price range, so we’ll have to check if the ME80 is any good. That said, the custom-made driver is capable of exceeding one tesla, which is impressive, to say the least.
The Shanling ME200 is a hybrid, dual driver, IEM. Like the AE3 and ME700, it gets an acrylic 3D-printed shell, where all the other ones are given metallic enclosures. Still, in my opinion, acrylic shells remain the best option available, in terms of comfort and isolation.
The dynamic driver is allegedly the same: a double magnet dynamic driver, with a nanocomposite diaphragm, helped by a set of Knowles drivers, properly tuned for their need. Last but not least, there are five “pop” colors available: floating clouds purple, sun red, volcanic ash grey, clear blue, and deep blue. All match well with the silver-plated copper cable.
No review is available at the moment, but you can check the AE3, which should be quite close.
The Shanling AE3 is the sole fully-balanced driver IEM from the brand, embedding three Sonion drivers, in a beautiful, 3D-printed acrylic shell. With its “starry sky” faceplate, inspired by Van Gogh’s painting, and the deep blue main body, it’s one of the most beautiful IEM I reviewed recently.
Sound-wise, I’ll quote my own review (it’s very good):
“The Shanling AE3 is a great IEM, in every way. Build quality is superb, comfort is excellent and, even if didn’t expect much from them at first, I became immediately hooked the moment I put them in my ears. The AE3 sound and feel like a top-tier IEM – clean mids, sharp highs, deep bass – for a quarter of the price.”
Shanling ME500 / ME500 Platinum
The Shanling ME500 is the mid-range/premium model from the brand. Like the ME200, it enjoys a dual-driver hybrid configuration, where a dynamic one is matched to a BA driver. Bonus point, the Knowles driver combines two chambers in one, to ensure better performances.
If you want to go even higher, there is a platinum version of the Shanling ME500. What’s the difference? The shell is coated with platinum, one of the most precious metals on earth.
I reviewed it a few months ago, so I can auto-quote myself:
“They are built like a tank, comfortable, well-designed (yes that’s subjective I know) and, most of all, sound great. If they can become hissy with some sources, once correctly driven, they give a crisp and clear performance. If you favor voices and dynamic, the ME500 should definitely be in your list.”
The Shanling ME700 is the golden boy, the high-end model before the ME800 came out. So much that the brand even chose to gold-plate the dynamic driver for “further absorption and unwanted vibrations”. Also, while the ME500 and ME500 platinum enjoyed metallic cases, the new ME700 gets a more classic acrylic shell.
We reviewed that model a few months ago, here is an excerpt:
“The Shanling ME700 isn’t the TOTL you would expect, but they are the great IEM you deserve. [..] 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.”
The Shanling ME800 is the newest model from the brand, boasting four custom balanced armature drivers and no less than two 6 mm dynamic drivers, for utmost performance. There are a few other quirks, but we’ll keep it for the full review.
So, with no further introduction, let’s see how it fares.
The review continues on Page Two, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.
Page 1: About Shanling
Page 2: Design & Build Quality
Page 3: Comfort & Usage
Page 4: Specifications
Page 5: Tonality and conclusion