While the Shanling M0 is not a bright source, there is enough effervescence in the treble that some headphone may become fatiguing for those who fear sharp highs. Because of this, I found warmer monitors paired best.
I first noticed this while listening on my beloved Meze 99 Classics ($309, Review HERE). I don’t usually have a problem with treble. In fact, the 99C is tuned to damn near perfection for my tastes. But they were a touch hot at times on the M0. But only a touch. The richness and detail remained strong, and the open, clear nature of Meze’s signature helped keep the M0 from feeling too closed-in.
It may take 57/100 notches on the volume wheel, but the e5000 by Final Audio Design is perfect for this player ($279, Review HERE). It’s super warm and organic, with treble so smooth no source will ever make it seem bright. The soundstage on the e5000 is enormous, which does nothing but good for Shanling’s little device. Finally, with its deep wealth of harmonics and low/high extension, the e5000 elevates the M0 to new heights. It sort of ignores the M0’s limitations and stubbornly sounds wonderful, in spite of price or specs.
The Noble Audio Bell ($199) may not be as warm, rich, or spacious as the e5000, but does much of the same things for the M0. This would be the choice for those who want a little more treble presence, without overdoing it. Also, it’s MUCH easier to drive, and the form factor and cable are better.
The Massdrop + Fostex T-X0 ($150) pushes the M0 to the breaking point. At 83/100, on a loud album, I can get them to a satisfying volume. Which is crazy impressive for such a small DAP. The T-X0 is another splendid companion, with impossibly warm tones and eternal smoothness. Just like the e5000, you find yourself relaxing into the musicality so much that nothing else matters. It obfuscates the M0’s flaws, and seduces you with overwhelming charm.
Well there you have it. A thoroughly budget-friendly review. Proving once again, you don’t need to murder your piggybank to get good sound.
The Shanling M0 is an awful lot of fun. Between size, driving-power, and connectivity, it can easily become a vital part of your mobile life. Whether you’re going to the gym, or buying groceries, or dropping off this month’s payment to your blackmailer, Shanling will integrate seamlessly. M0 works so hard to be useful… it would be an awful shame not to bring it along.
The Shanling M0:
Screen: 1.54 inch 240*240 high definition touch screen
Weight: about 33g
DAC model: ESS Sabre ES9218P
Endurance: about 15 hours (depending on the use)
Deep standby: about 30 days (depending on the situation)
Charging time: about 2 hours (depending on the use)
Battery capacity: 640mAH lithium battery
Storage: maximum support 512G TF Card (to buy)
Output port: headset output (3.5 mm)
Output power: 80mw@ 32 Europe Output impedance: 0.16 Europe
Channel separation degree: 70dB
Recommended earphone impedance: 8-300
Europe Frequency effect: 20HZ~20KHz (-0.5dB)
Distortion: 0.004% (A-Weighting, output 500mV) Signal to noise ratio: 118dB (A-Weighting)
Bottom noise: <3µV (HIGH GAIN)