Today we’re going to be checking out the new Shanling UP5 Bluetooth DAC & AMP! It’s selling for $179 USD.
Disclaimer: Shanling sent us the UP5 for the purpose of this review. I only covered the import taxes and fees. All thoughts and experiences with the product are naturally my own.
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.
These past years, the brand also developed a complete range of portable players, Bluetooth devices, and IEMs. Shanling company is expanding its product range every passing day and continues to do good work in different fields. We have reviewed and awarded a lot of Shanling gear here on Headfonia over the years and you can read those reviews here.
Today we are going to take a look at the UP5 Bluetooth DAC & AMP and find out all about its performance, together. Let’s get to it!
Shanling UP5 Bluetooth DAC & Amplifier
Shanling launched the UP series in July of 2019. The first product of the series, the UP2, was presented to the audiophile sphere with a price tag of $80 USD. Shanling used ESS Technology’s ES9218P DAC, which offers high performance with low power consumption, in the UP2. The UP2 also supported LDAC and other HQ codecs.
A few months after the UP2, the UP4 was announced. The UP4 used two of the same DAC that was used in the UP2. The UP4 was introduced with a more advanced amplification stage and balanced output compared to the UP2. It also had a bigger form factor and a better battery. It was priced at 119 USD.
After nearly two years, here we are with the new UP5. It features ESS’s new DAC, the ES9219C. It also comes with a new, premium-tier Bluetooth chipset from Qualcomm. It looks like Shanling has further improved the amp stage with the UP5 and added a 4.4mm balanced output. Another change that caught my eye was that Shanling used a dedicated USB controller inside the UP5.
I am including all the highlights of the new UP5 below. The UP5’s dedicated webpage can be found here.
DAC: ESS Technology ESS9219C x2 (Dual Configuration)
Bluetooth Chipset: Qualcomm QCC5120 – Bluetooth 5.0
USB Controller: XMOS XUF208
Supported Codecs: AAC / SBC / aptX / aptX LL / aptX HD / LHDC / LDAC
Outputs: 3.5mm Unbalanced x1 – 2.5mm Balanced x1 – 4.4mm Balanced x1
USB DAC Mode: Native DSD up to DSD256 – PCM up to 384kHz + MQA Support
SNR: 120 dB – SE & BAL
Microphones: Knowles SiSonic Omnidirectional Mic x1
Battery: 680 mAh / 10-15h
Dimensions & Weight: Approx. 68×39×14.5mm – 50 grams
Packaging & Accessories
The UP5 comes inside of a compact, square, cardboard box. The box has UP5’s artwork on it and it looks nice. Shanling listed the specs on the back and supported codecs on the left side. You’re immediately welcomed by the device itself after opening the magnetic lid. The accessories are located under the foam that holds the device. Shanling included a quality USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB-A to USB-C adapter.
Apart from those, the UP5 comes with a beautiful leather case. I found the build quality of the accessories satisfactory. The cable is flexible and it feels quite durable thanks to the braiding. The adapter seems rigid as well. All the accessories have the Shanling logo placed on them, that’s another handsome nuance. The leather case is a lot better than FiiO’s ABS plastic case however, there is a small problem with it. The back clip is useless unless you wear belts regularly. That’s pretty much all I can say about the accessories. If you keep the old-school clip out of the equation, the accessories are great!
Design & Build Quality
If you follow Shanling closely, you know that they stick to a certain design language and manufacture their devices according to this style. We see that glass and metal are used extensively in Shanling products and the UP series has been following this theme from the very beginning. The UP5 is no different. The front and back of the UP5 are made of 2.5D curved glass. The chassis of the device is aluminum as expected. It also features the same metallic black finish that we saw on the M3X and the previous-gen UP devices. In my opinion, all the devices that Shaling makes are quite durable and look quite nice. I really liked the design of the UP5, it is a simple and elegant-looking device. It should be noted that the device is both larger and wider than the UP4. It is also much thicker than the FiiO’s BTR5 2021.
Let’s get to the layout and details. The device features a clickable volume knob on the right and a single button on the left. The volume knob acts as a power and navigation button. Furthermore, the device features an OLED screen and it provides you with quite a bit of information about the device. In Bluetooth mode, you can check the codec type, battery, and volume level. In USB-DAC mode, you can see the sample rate, volume level, and battery level. The screen also helps us navigate between the menus seamlessly. On another note, the glass panels are fingerprint magnets and they are not very resistant to scratches. I recommend using the included leather case. All the output options are located on the top side of the UP5 and the charging port is located on the bottom.
The overall build quality of the device is really good however the device is not as compact as the BTR5 2021 or the UP2. It is also slightly heavier than both of these units. It’s safe to say that Shanling nailed yet another product, design & build-wise.
The review continues on Page Two, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.
Page 1: Shanling, Shanling UP5, Packaging & Accessories, Design & Build Quality
Page 2: Features & Control, Power & Stability
Page 3: Battery, Sound Performance, Wired Performance, vs. Shanling UP4, vs. FiiO BTR5, Last Words