Easy to fall in love with
Shanling has left no stones unturned with the M6, it has all the features one can ask for. Its sound quality is fantastic, the display and UI is very good and has all the popular connectivity options one can ask for. The Shanling M6 is easily one of the best DAP for under $500.
All of us are aware of Shanling, one of the most recognized Chinese DAP maker who have a variety of DAPs, starting with M0 for entry level users to the M6 pro for more demanding users who want most out of their music with all bells and whistles like streaming options, BT connectivity and balanced output with an open source android OS. All of their DAPs are reasonably priced and are more focused at being value for money. Shanling have been very cautious about their pricing, they make use of top quality chips but their prices are very reasonable.
They had a hard time coming out of their shell though. Their DAPs didn’t used to be this user friendly. Few years ago, when everyone was expecting their M3s to be a touch enabled device, it was not, the wheel was the only way to navigate but thankfully from the M5s onwards all of their media players have touch screens. Their signature wheel still is available and has its own functions.
The M6 is a huge step up from the M5s. The biggest change is the display, at 4.7 inch it is considerably bigger compared to the predecessor’s 3.2inch. It now runs on open source android 7.1 with playstore and you can install whatever you want on it. It has LDAC, aptX and Wi-Fi to stream the best quality audio. The M6 was Shanling’s flagship but is now a subordinate to the M6 pro. The M6 on its own is flagship worthy DAP with the AKM4495 chip. The good thing is it has two of this, one for both channels. What impresses me the most is that it all the three popular wired connectivity sockets. The bottom of the DAP houses 3.5mm, 2.5mm and the 4.4mm pentaconn sockets which should keep everyone happy.
The M6 is high resolution certified for both wired and wireless connectivity. It comes in only black color and is priced at $499 officially. The M6 faces competition from Fiio M11, Hiby R6, iBasso DX160, AK70mkii, Cayin N5ii and Sony ZX300, I have the Plenue R and M5s to compare with the M6.
You can buy one from Aliexpress and these websites, depending on your location:-
ACCESSORIES & PACKAGING:-
There M6 comes in an elegant looking box and a few necessary accessories can be found inside it. There is a type C cable, couple of screen guards, a few display wipes, a screen guard applicator, a user manual and a warranty card rounds up the list of things out of the box.
They like to sell their cases but it would have been nice if they had bundled it with a silicone case.
The M6 looks just like a bigger M5s. Its metal body is flanked by curved glasses on both back and front sides. At the bottom one can find the Type-C port along with the 3.5mm single ended 2.5mm and 4.4mm balanced audio sockets. Right side houses the signature wheel which doubles as the power and wake up button, left side has three music controller buttons and the micro SD card slot, top side is kept clean, maybe the Wi-Fi and BT receivers are placed there.
With a weight of 228g the M6 is slightly on the heavier side, it is heavier than both my mobile phones. The good thing is it has an oleophobic and hydrophobic coating which protects both the sides from fingerprint smears and smudges. With a height of 133.5mm, width of 71mm and thickness of 17.5mm The M6 feels very solid in the hand and is fairly comfortable to operate with one hand. One might think that the thickness of 17.5mm is slightly on the thicker side, let me tell you, DAPs can be considerably thicker.
Nothing is mentioned about the glasses used on both the sides and I have not tried scratching them either but I believe it is of the durable type which doesn’t get scratched easily. I will advice everyone who take their DAP places and put it in their pockets with other things should use some screen guard/ screen protector on the front and a case to protect the back side to avoid unnecessary scratches.
Thanks to the use of glass the M6 will barely survive a fall even from the height of an average table, not sure how much protection a case will provide, maybe it will depend upon the angles and size of impact.
Display: Front side of the M6 is dominated by a 4.7 inch capacitive display with HD resolution. I remember having a Redmi 1s back in the days and this display is considerably better than that one when it comes to dynamic range and colour accuracy. Touch response of the display is very good, as good as mobile displays. It has acceptable sunlight legibility and I had no problem seeing the display in direct sunlight. There is a small LED on the side of it which changes colour according to the quality of the music being played. It turns red when charging and turns blue when fully charged.