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.
TECH SPEC and UI:-
USER INTERFACE: The M6 runs android 7.1.1 with playstore and APKPure app stores to install your favourite application. It is a pure android DAP, the UI is exactly same as my Lenovo P2 (which still runs Android 7.0) with some additional audio settings. We have the gain setting, lowpass filter modes and wireless playback quality options. In the drop down menu we have shortcut to audio setting, gain, airplay (for media servers), PO/LO option and with the latest update we have an option to switch off the android mode and go into prime mode which disables the android UI and apps turning the M6 into a pure audio source. You still have access to setting, you can access wireless connections but you can’t access any other app. It is more like a launcher where the music player takes over.
Updating the Firmware is kind of tricky. There is no software upgrade option in the setting, it has to be updated from the support app or the whole firmware can be downloaded from the official website.
The Default (pre installed) music app is Shanling Player and it is not bad at all. It has UPnP and SyncLink options built into it, you can make playlists, delete tracks at your will and other basic functions include a basic graphic EQ if EQing is the need of the hour. You can always install and use your favourite music app from playstore for better control and customizable options.
SPECIFICATIONS: To handle the Android properly the M6 has an entry level Snapdragon SD430 soc (octacore) which is paired with 4GB of ram and 32 GB of internal memory. Compared to the M5s which doesn’t have any internal memory this 32 GB internal memory is a very generous addition. Out of the 32 GB only 24.2GB are available for storage. Ram management too is very good, most of the time it has more than 2.7GB of RAM available. Compared to my day to day Mobile phones (lenovo P2 3GB/32GB and A7 2016 3GB/16GB) this DAP has better specifications. If you want to run games on the HD display let me tell you the SD430 can run subway surfer and other low on graphics games without much trouble but don’t expect it to run PUBG or COD.
Now moving on the audio specs it uses dual AK4495SEQ DAC chip along with two OPA1612 low pass filters and AD8397 amplifiers. It makes use of some of the Japanese KDS crystal oscillators, ELNA silmic II and Panasonic Tantalum polymer capacitors for high quality sound. In single ended mode the separation has improved from 65db with M5s to 75db but the balanced crosstalk remains the same.
It has “Hi-Res” certification for both wired and wireless connectivity.
The M6 is loaded with a lot of connectivity options let it be wired or wireless. After the usual wired connectivity you can connect it to your PC via the USB cable and use it as a DAC too (Shanling PC app needed).
The M6 has handful of wireless connectivity options. It has BT 4.2 and full array of Wi-Fi connectivity. It supports 2.4g and 5G dual frequency Wi-Fi. If you like BT you can stream and transmit high resolution music or do both at the same time. Connect the M6 with your mobile phone or TAB and you can use it as a high-res Bluetooth amplifier (Codec support: Two Way – LDAC & SBC; Transmit only – HWA LHDC, aptX HD & aptX). With support of UPnP you can connect to your media servers without carrying around your whole music library with you.
The M6 has a healthy 4000mah battery to keep the lights on. The official numbers are at 12hours for single ended and 9hours for balanced. In my experience it kind of range around similar numbers but if the display is used a bit more than usual it can come down to around 8 hours. I did a small drill of deleting from the library for around one and half hours and the battery drop was around 22%. Playing videos on YouTube or video players can drain the battery even faster. Playing games drains the battery dry in around 5hours straight. I would have loved it to have a slightly longer battery life of around 15-16 hours but it is not bad to start with. The standby time is not as good as the M5s, after all the android os is
Good News is it has QC 3.0 and can be topped up in around 2 hours with a 15w charger. Using a 10w charger will take around 2 hours and 45 mins.
The M6 is a very capable DAP. It can drive anything you throw at it. It has plenty of power to driver full size headphones and the lowly output impedance of just 1ohmit pairs very well with sensitive IEMs too. It does not have any floor noise at all irrespective of the headgear used. If you feel the M6 is showing some weakness, don’t worry, go balanced and it will solve the problem.