Agile low-end, Clear vocals, Solid soundstage expansion, Great form factor, Effective tuning tips
Thin midrange, Sub-bass roll-off, Mediocre isolation
Shanling’s first IEM is a well-realised product with excellent ergonomics, build quality and a sound that remains competitive under scrutiny.
Shanling has a rich history in audio design and manufacturing that stretches back over three decades. Though they achieved renown on behalf of their digital audio players, the company is now extending their tendrils into the IEM space with the release of the new ME100 and ME500 alongside a wireless model. What strikes to me is the uniqueness of the design, this is no generic earphone. Aluminium housings with tempered glass faceplates provide a low-resonance environment for a 10mm graphene driver.
Meanwhile, a premium accessory set including leather carrying case portrays Shanling’s serious intentions with this venture. With other companies such as Fiio and Cayin nudging their way into the IEM market, the ME100 serves as Shanling’s reminder that they are just as potent and meticulous with their designs. More info can be found here.
I would like to thank Shanling very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the ME100 for the purpose of review. All words are my own and there is no monetary incentive for a positive review. Despite receiving the earphones free of cost, I will attempt to be as objective as possible in my evaluation.
The ME100 comes packaged within a clean cardboard box similar to their DAPs. Inside is the leather carrying case alongside an assortment of ear tips that offer differing fit and sound tuning. The case contains the earphones themselves encased within protective foam. The OFC cable is coiled beneath with removable velcro organiser strap.
The ME100 impresses with its build quality, sporting a compact, low-profile housing with entirely aluminium construction and tempered glass faceplates. This grants it quite a unique aesthetic that is instantly reminiscent of Shanling’s DAP design language. Special mention goes to the quality of the machining on the housings featuring a fine satin finish and a high tolerance 2-piece construction with a basically imperceptible middle seam.
What also strikes about the ME100 is the shaping of the housings, with triangular faceplate and more oblong internal face that fills the outer ear nicely without forming hotspots. They’re compact earphones with reasonable fit depth and though seal is good, it is without the vacuum-like feel provided by fully-sealed monitors. This is due to two vents for the dynamic driver and, as a result, isolation is only average. On the flipside, the earphone’s compact dimensions and lightweight translate to a very stable fit.
A typical MMCX removable cable system is employed here, and the cable itself is of pleasing quality. Shanling specifically mention utilising reinforced MMCX connectors with extra thick gold plating that offers harder wearing qualities. The cable itself is an 8-core OFC braided unit with hard plastic ear-guides. The cable is somewhat thin and can be tangle prone as such, however, it has a smooth jacket and is very compliant devoid of springiness or excessive microphonic noise. The cable also features svelte metal terminations with ample strain relief.
Next Page: Sound, Comparisons & Verdict