Today, we take a look at the Shanling MTW100, the new TWS IEM from the brand. They offer two different versions, a dynamic one, and a balanced version, both available at respectively 79$/€ and 89$/€.
This is part of our Picture Sunday series, where we take a quick look at some products in the review cycle. You can find all previous Picture Sunday posts here.
Shanling is a Chinese brand, once known for its high-end CD players and tube amplifiers. Now, they also produce a nice range of portable hi-fi systems. We reviewed the M0, the M2X and even the M5X, soon the IEM.
So, when they sent us a box with their first TWS IEM, and their latest IEM flagship, we were more than curious to try them. For now, we won’t go thoroughly into a full review and just give some first listening impression.
Shanling MTW100 – The design
Like every True Wireless IEM, the Shanling MTW100 comes in a small charging box. This allows you to carry and charge your earphones on the go, even if you still have to charge the box.
If you’re afraid of big, bulky boxes, don’t worry. The charge box will be easy to grave and hold, the full package weighing only 50g and the box measuring 56mm on the longe side. In fact, the overall package should fit in any pocket or pouch, even more than my usual Jays M-Seven.
The Shanling MTW100 comes in three different colors, all glossy. They look more like candy than a pair of true audiophile IEM, but that’s refreshing in a way. You can have them in red, white or black, depending on what version you chose.
The charging box also comes in various colors, either red/black or white/red, which makes the ordeal even more candy-like. Or jewel-like depending on your point of view. It’s still very glossy, rounded and just over that “damn-it-feels-cheap” sensation. Like, just a few cms above the waterline.
That said, the design serves a good purpose. The MTW100 sit comfortably in the ears, and the plastic is made to resist full water immersion: IPX7 certification all the way! Just remember the box doesn’t have the same certification… so don’t be a fool and keep it away of water.
Visually, you won’t be able to distinguish the dynamic version from the balanced one. You’ll have to recall that the red and black IEMs feature the Knowles driver, whereas the white one sports the graphene driver.
Shanling MTW100 – A quick view
Only 10$ separates the dynamic MTW100 and the balanced one.
They are not the nicest set of TWS you might find out there, but compared to the Hifiman TWS600 for example, they simply look gorgeous. Even more for the price, which is on the lower side of the scale.
You can charge them through the USB-C port, which is the only port you’ll find, and the box will then charge the IEM sitting inside. The Shanling MTW100 offers around 6h of continuous playback per charge and can be charged 3/4 times. So, that gets you a full 24h of listening, very much like the Jays M-Seven.
Bluetooth 5.0, as usual, but no apt-X or LDAC support. Just plain SBC and AAC, which will not give you the full dynamic range you can get in wireless mode. Again, they are only $79/89 bucks, but when you see that FiiO offers the BTR3 with apt-X supports for half the price…
You can use the MTW100 in mono or stereo configuration. The audiophile will scream, knowing that some will only use one side at a time (so do I), but maybe that’s useful if you want to make a phone call without being totally shut from the outside world. But seriously guys, just keep them both in your ears…
Last but not least, Shanling offers a “Surrounding Awareness Mode” which simply allows the external sound to pass through your ears. This was introduced in the Bragi Dash a few years ago, and now we can find this option in most modern TWS IEMs. It might be useful in the street if you’re the type of person who’s not very aware of… his surroundings.
Did I tell you that those earphones are fully waterproof ? Yes ? Ok, I was just asking…
Shanling MTW100 – First impressions
Sound-wise, the dynamic and balanced version did sound different, but not quite like I expected.
On paper, the Knowles balanced armature driver should give me “more balanced sound for long and fatigue-free listening”, while the graphene dynamic driver should be “much powerful and energetic sound, with deep bass and sparkly treble”.
In fact… I found the balanced one to give me that balanced sound, but with much cleaner and powerful bass. The dynamic seemed shyer on the lows, but I had the (very) sparky treble and the energetic sound. Maybe too much.
Both feel equally comfy, and the Bluetooth connection never failed me, which is an important trait in my opinion. I’ll have to listen to them a few days more, but out of the box, the Knowles one gets my preference.
Wait and see !