Excellent bass control, Exceptionally premium build, Unique combination of rich yet clear tuning, Wide soundstage
Midrange may be too warm for some, Heavy housings
The ME500 is an enjoyable listen, especially for those wanting a rich, smooth yet well-detailed sound with strong technical ability.
Shanling has become a name that most are familiar with, especially with the stunning budget DAPs they’ve released as of late. However, lesser known are their IEM efforts, the neutrally toned dynamic ME100 and, briefly after, the ME500 sporting additional drivers and higher dynamic range. Featuring a 3-driver hybrid configuration and, in the case of the limited-edition variant, platinum-plated brass housings, this earphone was forged to impress. Alongside a reasonable $289 price tag, the ME500 Platinum offers competitive value even within the rapidly evolving value market. You can read more about the ME500 here and treat yourself to one here.
I would like to thank Shanling very much for their quick communication and for providing me with the ME500 Platinum 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 ME500 Platinum Edition comes with an expanded accessory set complementing its more premium status as opposed to the ME100 and regular ME500. In particular, included in the box is Shanling’s C4 case with magnetic hatch that offers protection with its soft, padded interior and an excellent in-hand feel with faux leather exterior. Additionally, Shanling include a plethora of ear tips to ensure a stable and well-isolating fit.
Resembling, the ME100, Shanling’s higher-end model creates a more premium impression with its dense brass shell and gorgeous platinum-plated exterior with chrome finish and tempered glass accents. The tolerances are tight and the finish even and striking. The earphones are very heavy, reminiscent of the brass Cardas earphones, granting them a truly opulent feel in the hand and ear. Though such a heavy design is not ideal for active use, I didn’t find the weight to overly affect ergonomics and I experienced a comfortable and stable fit. This can be attributed to the relatively compact dimensions of the housings combined with a steady over-ear fit.
Their well-rounded design produced no hotspots and well-angled nozzles enable a solid seal. Passive noise isolation is above average for a hybrid, however, as they are vented earphone, they still let in a fair amount of noise, suitable for public transport but likely not the subway or air travel. The cable has also been revised coming from the ME100 and standard ME500, still featuring MMCX but now sporting silver-plated copper conductors throughout. It’s an 8-wire cable with pre-formed ear guides that are soft and well-shaped. Despite this, it’s lightweight with a soft jacket rewarding with a strong combination of tangle resistance and low-microphonic noise. The terminations are shaped to give purchase and have an aluminium construction with ample strain relief.
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