Digital Audio Player

Shanling m0

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5/5,
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  1. ExpatinJapan
    Shanling m0 - A wee beastie!
    Written by ExpatinJapan
    Published Jun 17, 2018
    5.0/5,
    Pros - Small size, easy UI, versatile, low price, great sound
    Cons - Some connection problems to Sony daps, EQ not customizable
    Shanling M0 Dap - Not A Review...Review
    - Expatinjapan

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    Shanling M0 and Campfire Audio Comet

    http://www.shanling.com/Product/Detail?id=f009f9f9c6304359a99bc7d0d51a7d46
    Full description and specifications in detail: Follow the link above.


    The Shanling M0, M Zero? M oh! I'll leave it up to your geographical position on the globe.
    I was going to write this earlier having been enamored by this diminutive but beastly player at an initial stage. I had already reviewed the Shanling M3s https://www.headpie.net/2018/02/shanling-m3s-review-expatinjapan.html also a player with a lot of balls, and was impressed.
    I was expecting a big jump down the food chain with the m0 being more than half the size or the last player released by Shanling in keeping with common practices of companies general releases. I had not reviewed the M1 or had much time with it, although Mimouille did post his initial impressions https://www.headpie.net/2016/10/shanling-m1-unboxing-and-first-thoughts.html and Ta-ke reviewed it for Head pie https://www.headpie.net/2017/01/shanling-m1-review-very-functional.html
    So I had a few ideas before setting forth, knowing it was well received as transport by quite a few in the portable audio community. I was contacted by Frankie of Shanling whether I was interested in reviewing the Shanling m0 and after enjoying the M3s I said a define yes. We met up at the Fujiya Avic Headphone Show in Tokyo and the m0 changed hands at the local Starbucks.

    With so much to do and so little time I regretfully had to reserve my listening for after the chaos of the headphone show.

    But color me intrigued.

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    Shanling Mo and Campfire Audio Atlas

    User manual
    Why not just stick this here at the start. It may serve as an immediate troubleshooter for those who already have the Shanling M0 and for expectant buyers can hopefully answer your many questions.
    This version from June 15th, 2018.
    "Since M0 is first portable music player for many users, I felt need to create some little bit deeper manual. Found some spare time this week and put this first version together.
    Here you can download rough version, missing guide to some additional features and troubleshooting, but explaining core functions and all menu items. I'm sure it will be useful to some."
    -Shanling.
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/18zS5nrnF1ibbi2F9gTi28j0ESWKRVHPj/view

    Unboxing

    Whats in the box?

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    Various colors to choose from are shown on the box

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    USB C to USB-A cable

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    On/off, volume wheel that can double as play/pause via the settings.
    100 volume steps

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    USB C for charging or use as a DAC. headphone port.

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    Micro SD slot, covered and protected.
    The Shanling m0 has no internal memory.

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    Shanling basic tutorial video
    Many basics explained.



    Shanling M0 UI and Menus
    A nice walk through the various offerings within the menus of the m0, not entirely complete as there are more subfolders etc. But it is enough to give a general over view without sending you into scroll down Hell for eternity.

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    In between DSD Mode and Theme is now Output PhO/LineOut

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    From Resume Mode you get these options.

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    Plus Frequent and Recent

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    Now playing take you to the Album cover of the last song (see settings)

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    A hard 2-3 second press of the above or below screen will take you to the Settings / Playback /
    My music / Now Playing / Folders main menu.

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    Touch the screen to bring up the options.

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    Swipe leftwards (for the screen coming from the right hand side) for options (yes you can scrub/FF), one more swipe takes you to a lyrics screen.

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    Swiping right aways, (the screen coming from the left), brings up the tracks (not shown) and then another swipe brings you to the albums (shown).

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    Folders take you easily into your Micro SD card to navigate through and choose albums.
    Another way to access apart from the play menu.

    Shanling scrolling, speed and navigation of the menus

    This is a short UI video I made that mostly shows the speed and response of the Shanling m0.



    Video blurb:
    Shanling m0 before the next update (said to make interface more speedy).
    Seems speedy enough. I random swiped.
    Excuse my bad filming, I had an ipod touch held in one hand- whilst operating the Shanling m0 with the other hand.
    Close enough... and featuring Campfire Audio Atlas (i dont know why its in the comedy category. Youtube noob)
    Video shows Firmware version V1.0
    (Shanling m0 is now on Firmware V2).


    Specifications


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    Size
    One can carry this any where. The size is small and the sound is big.

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    iBasso DX200 with Shanling m0


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    The Shanling line up. On the right we see the new m0, then on its left the Shanling m1.

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    Banana for scale!

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    Sansa Clip and Shanling m0.


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    A pretty picnic. the Shanling M0 plus a couple of your favorite earphones
    fits easily into the hard shell Shozy Zero case.

    Price
    The Shanling m0 is US $109.

    Wha, wha whaaaa!?!! Yes.


    Functions (Does it work?)
    Spoiler alert! Yes, it does

    Connect over Bluetooth to an external dac, or headphones.
    Or connect to the M0 (as receiver).
    Connect via cable using one such as the Shanling L2
    Use as a dac for your computer.

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    Shanling M0 used as a transport to the iFi xDSD via Bluetooth (Featuring Campfire Audio Atlas).

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    ipod Touch 6G streaming music to the Shanling m0 via Bluetooth. FW 1.0
    *Shows (after 2.0 FW) SBC, AAC and LDAC as receiver.

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    with Campfire Audio Orion.

    *I had read of volume jumping, and recommendations to set the OS device to 0,
    but I had no such problems myself.
    *There have been reports of difficulty connecting to Sony Dap devices.



    Sound

    Well all daps sound the same, some say, then they say well this one sounds different! Confused? You're not alone. (Gives virtual hug).

    So what does the Shanling m0 offer? We have seen earlier above the User Interface screens, the Manual, the Specifications and Features, Two videos: Shanlings quick guide and my Speedy Gonzales vid showing the UI response and a couple of photos showing the use of the Shanling m0 as a source and as a receiver...not to mention simply as a stand alone dap/player.

    So what more can I say?

    There is a dedicated thread on Head-fi where people are discussing their various successes (mostly) and a few difficulties with pairing of phones etc.

    There have already been a couple of reviews released Twister6 and Headfonics and an accurate, short and sweet write up of the m0 by Ryan of THL on Facebook (couldn't avoid reading it as it was on FB) so far. I look forward to reading the other reviews once this is finished. Like many other reviewers I try to avoid reading reviews before I have written mine so as not to color my judgement or cloud my thoughts.

    So once again onwards.

    I reviewed the Shanling M3s earlier this year:
    https://www.headpie.net/2018/02/shanling-m3s-review-expatinjapan.html
    and thought it a splendid dap. It doesn't have a touchscreen but that did not deter me me from trying to use it as one on many forgetful occasions. *Facepalm.

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    Shanling M3s with Jomo 6R and a Double Helix Cable

    The Shanling m0 was handed to me as I mentioned earlier in the introduction. It was small as expected and as I didn't have a ready SD Card at the time so it was safely put in a hard shell earphone case for later inspection.

    It was small, as I expected, as I hadn't fully demoed to my knowledge or memory the Shanling m1, though I had definitely seen it in the flesh I wasn't too sure of what to expect size wise. (TWSS!).
    I had seen some pictures but it was a mystery.

    Above in the size section there are several comparisons. Yes, it is tiny...miniscule. "I lost it already" you may be forgiven for saying.

    But is the sound as small as the dap? Well I expect to read eventually in the reviews already published when I finish this that they say it is a wee beastie, whose small stature belies the power within.

    Such flowery language! Such a shameless hussy of a shill you say!
    Well yes and no? yes! no? Shillin like a villain, or an idiot without a village. Regardless I generally do like reviewing gear that I enjoy, that makes life easier for sure. Why waste time on rubbish?
    Well what about protecting the poor gormless uninformed public against the faceless mechanisms of the grinding forces of the audiophile factory machine!
    Well there are plenty of blogs and sites that deal in the lower end of things, forums to peruse and the ever present court of audio law that is the Facebook comments section where one may delve for truth.

    Its a lot less energy and stress spent reviewing an item one likes because generally it is made well and performs well. I don't reject samples I am offered to keep things on a level playing field, I do keep an open mind for all and dedicate as much time to a $50 product as a $1000 product. I am fortunate that the good that arrives on my doorstep outweighs the mediocre at the best of times. It just makes writing easier.

    I'm lazy. Spoilt....and a tired parent. Forgive me.

    Before I was even reviewing back in the days of the horse and cart one person at a show remarked on a well known personality and said 'He never gives anything a bad review'. 'A person nearby who knew the fellow in question rather well mentioned in response 'Well he never reviews anything that he does not like' - it seemed like a fail safe plan,...great work...If you can get it.
    We here in the salt mines of Head pie must deal with the cards we are given comrades!

    *'Whips crack'

    Luckily the Shanling m0 (As well as other products recently reviewed on Head pie) thankfully falls in the category of being a great product. Build, price, style, UI, form and sound.

    Shouts from the two old guys (Staler and Waldorf) on the stage left balcony box of The Muppet Show...

    "Waldorf: There've been wars started over less then that.
    Staler: You're wrong. Nothing's less then that."



    You dear reader are probably thinking: "Who cares, get on with it!"

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    To be honest even after being impressed with the Shanling M3s I initially did not have such high expectations for the Shanling m0. Well its smaller isn't it? So therefore on the law of big being better (in Texas anyway) the Shanling m0 should be a direct step down, or a few steps down. to my surprise it wasn't.

    The Shanling m0 provides a satisfying sonic experience. I even found myself putting aside the other more high end daps in my audio arsenal to listen to the m0 at times on the go. But don't read into this that it measures up with the iBasso DX200 or Opus#2 for example. But it could definitely take on some daps in the $200-$300 range.

    In short it is generally transparent, with a slight warmth at the lower end that comes across as giving more body to the sound, smooth and even mids, it has enough space and sound stage to retrieve details well and a treble that extends far enough without getting peaky or sibilant.

    Controlled, consistant and coherent.

    It scores well on the recently formulated system for categorizing audio components in a testing condition formulated by Nor. UA. S. (North University for the study of Audio (State).
    DKBT or Dynamics, Kinetics, Balance, Transparency.

    I thought the CA Comet plus The Shanling m0 would make a good starter pack recommendation at one stage.
    I also found that that it performed well with higher end IEMs such as the Campfire Atlas and Andromeda. Quite attractive to my ears. And with no hiss.
    With headphones it played well with the middle range (Meze Classic, ATH-ESW9), and even drove the Campfire Audio Cascades well on Low Gain, High Gain proved more pleasurable. Although I expect that with some harder to drive headphones it may not enough to please.

    Sound stage is a nice sphere just outside ones skull. Great height and a nearly equal width and depth.

    There isn't a super strong bass for extreme bass lovers, mids are pleasing and natural to my ears but not a prominent feature, but overall the treble shines and could be one of the factors which gives the sense of so much space.

    It is a relaxing and smooth dap, it has a quiet dynamism to it.

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    Music
    In my mind - Amanda Palmer
    Dreaming my dreams with you - Cowboy Junkies
    Something good - Alt-J
    Changes - David Bowie
    Everything's not lost - Coldplay
    Do you believe - The Cardigans
    All is full of love - Bjork
    All over the world - The Pixies
    All the young dudes - David Bowie
    All your sisters - Mazzy Star
    Ask - The Smiths
    Who cares? - Gnarls Barkley
    Where is my mind? - The Pixies
    Wide open - The Chemical brothers
    Untogether - Belly
    Unwashed and slightly dazed - David Bowie
    Something must break - Joy Division
    Surrender - The Chemical Brothers
    True love waits - Radiohead
    Come as you are - Nirvana
    Some might say - Oasis
    Be thankful for what you've got - Massive Attack
    Don't look back in anger - Oasis
    Disarm - Smashing Pumpkins
    Come on - The Verve
    Start - The Throwing Muses
    Something good - Bic Runga
    Today - The Smashing Pumpkins
    Stop whispering - Radiohead
    Under pressure - David Bowie with Queen
    Stay free - The Clash
    Misguided Angel - Cowboy Junkies
    Lovely Creature - Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds
    Come away with me - Norah Jones
    Hey boy, Hey girl - The Chemical Brothers
    Its in our hands - Bjork
    I'll be your mirror - The Velvet Underground
    This time - The Verve
    This is love - PJ Harvey


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    Ghost in the dap shell

    Overall
    The Shanling m0 is a treat. Like an ice cream on a summers day, or a Lego Millennium Falcon.
    Well perhaps one could buy several Lego MF for the price.

    The price is the first thing one may notice. its cheap. Just over US $100.

    Touchscreen! And a responsive one too after the recent update of 2.0

    Size, small and light enough for anything!

    The sound is surprisingly good for what at first glance looks like something that can't go toe to toe with anything larger. Don't judge a book by its cover they say. the sound is transparent with enough detail to please, and slight warmth at the low end which comes across as it having a bit of body to the sound, smooth slightly recessed mids and shimmering treble.

    With Radioheads OK Computer I could not detect any hiss whilst the player was stopped or playing when using the Campfire Audio Andromeda.

    Battery life can be from 8 - 15 hours depending on usage.

    The EQ settings are all presets, no adjustable EQ. (A custom EQ is in the works I read).

    No built in memory, so have a micro SD Card handy.

    The low output impedance makes it IEM friendly for even the most sensitive IEMs.

    It can be used as a plug and play dap, a plug and play source, or bluetooth source, a receiver for a phone or as a DAC with a computer.
    For wired connection to an external dac the Shanling L2 cable should be fine.

    After 2.0 FW exfat, FAT32 and NTFS are ok for micro SD card format. FAT32 for any updates before.

    Cases are available for your Daps protection.

    The Shanling m0 is no brainer for those entering into the audio world, or for the casual user.

    It is easy to use and sounds great. I love it and carry it with me as well as a TOTL dap for my days when I commute by train.

    I have been listening for a good hour happily with the Campfire Audio Andromeda without complaint in ears, mind or spirit whilst I finish up the last parts of this review.

    A literal David amongst Goliaths in the highly populated modern world of daps.


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    Frankie goes to Holywood


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    Thank you to Shanling for Sending Head pie the Shanling M0 for review






    Shanling M0 V2.0 firmware update
    Download from Google drive:
    https://drive.google.com/file/d/101OpR2iCtQ5eRaUQ37-6O-BSuP9ifoV-/view
    New functions:
    1. Support of LDAC codec added to Bluetooth receiver mode.
    2. Support of AAC codec added to Bluetooth receiver mode.
    Note: Volume of M0 will be controlled by connected iOS device.
    3. If Bluetooth headphones/speakers are connected to M0 over LDAC codec, M0 will automatically change quality setting depending on the strength of signal.
    Changes and fixes
    1. Optimization of touch sensitivity and system speed.
    2. Optimization of quality of Bluetooth connection.
    3. Optimization of battery indicator.
    4. Fixed the problem of Bluetooth connecting while charging.
    5. Fixed the problem of card reading error after waking up from standby mode.
    6. Fixed the problem of “Add to my favourite” symbol not changing colour properly.
    7. Fixed the problem of some album covers not displaying.
    8. Fixed the problem of stopping playback while using USB digital output.
    9. Fixed other small problems.
    How to update:
    1. Make sure that M0 is fully charged.
    2. Unzip the file and copy “update.bin” file into root folder of micro SD card. Card must be formatted to FAT32.
    3. Choose “System Update” in system settings and wait until system restarts.
    4. Check in settings “About M0” to be sure new firmware was installed.





    Unnecessary fluff


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    Random schtick - Head pie memes
    https://www.headpie.net/2018/05/head-pie-super-meme-magic.html


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    Well how was that Head pie review?
    W: That was wonderful!
    S: Bravo!
    W: I loved it!
    S: That was great!
    W: Well, it was pretty good.
    S: Well, It wasn't bad.
    W: There were parts that weren't pretty good, though.
    S: It could've been a lot better.
    W: I didn't really like it.
    S: It was pretty terrible.
    W: It was bad.
    S: It was awful!
    S & W: Terrible! Eh, boo!
    1. View previous replies...
    2. ExpatinJapan
      Wow! You may be in luck after all! Lucky.
      No harm in asking for a miracle :)
      ExpatinJapan, Jun 19, 2018
    3. doboo57
      Excellent review! Is it a major downgrade from M3s in terms of sound quality, soundstage, etc.? I've paired M3s with MEE Pinnacle P1 in SE output (which is sounding great IMO), but I wonder if I will note any significant difference using the M0...
      doboo57, Jul 6, 2018
    4. ExpatinJapan
      No significant downgrade imho. its a surprising lil beastie
      ExpatinJapan, Jul 6, 2018
      doboo57 likes this.

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