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Shanling M0

  1. Wyville
    Wyville's Audiophile Boot Camp - Shanling M0
    Written by Wyville
    Published Apr 7, 2019
    Shanling M0

    I would like to thank Rick of Hifi Solutions in Amsterdam for providing me with the Shanling M0 for this review. No incentive was given for a favourable review, I was just asked to say something about the store. Of course! Would have done that anyway, Rick.

    Hifi Solutions
    The reason I wanted to work with Hifi Solutions is that sometimes in this hobby it can be quite difficult to find access to demo units and advice that actually takes into consideration the preferences and the budget of the customer. When I lived in London it was surprising that the best stores were actually found outside of Central London and now that I am back living in the Netherlands it is like landing in an audiophile desert. Hifi Solutions is quite literally the only brick and mortar store I know of in the Netherlands that stocks high-end portable gear from brands such as Campfire Audio, 64 Audio, EarSonics, Effect Audio, Chord, Astell & Kern, and in this case Shanling (because interesting gear does not always have to be expensive). So I wanted to make sure Dutch audiophiles were aware of Hifi Solutions. And of course any audiophile visiting from abroad, because there is more to Amsterdam than the Red Light district and Coffee Shops where the term "high tea" has a wholly different meaning to it than in London.

    M0 Specifications
    • Dimension: 40 x 13.5 x 45 mm
    • Screen: 1.54 inch, 240 x 240 touch screen
    • Weight: 38 g
    • DAC Model: ESS Sabre ES9218P
    • Sampling rate: up to 384kHz / 32 bit, DSD 128
    • Storage: up to 512GB TF card
    • Battery Life time: about 15 hours
    • Deep standby: 30 days
    • Charging time: 2 hours
    • Recommended headphone impedance: 8-300 ohms
    • Output port: Headphone output (3.5 mm)
    • Output power: 80mW @ 32 Ohm
    • Output impedance: 0.16 Ohm
    • Channel separation: 70 dB
    • Frequency response: 20Hz~20kHz (-0.5 dB)
    • Distortion: 0.004% (A-Weighting, Output 500mV)
    • Signal to Noise Ratio: 118 dB (A-weighting)
    • Ground noise: <3uV (high gain)
    • Dynamic Range: >105 dB
    • Price: US$109


    This is a first in what I hope to be a small series of reviews with a twist, as it is much less about critical listening and all about real-world use for training.

    I train a lot, five to six days a week, and have been doing that most of my life. For me there is a practical reason because high-intensity exercise helps me manage my ADHD and so I have to maintain the sort of training routine that is not all that far from what a professional athlete would do. In fact, I grew up with professional athletes and learned a lot from them, mostly the discipline and drive needed to keep it up year in, year out. There is a very strong psychological aspect to it and the harder you push, the more important that aspect becomes, even if your level is not quite up there with the Olympians. It is all about your own personal limits, irrespective of how you stack up against others. By the time this review goes up we will be well underway in 2019 and for many people the New Year's resolutions will have failed already. The first few weeks in the New Year were great, new running shoes and gym outfits, getting all excited about sweat pouring over your face and then ultimately giving up because of a 1001 different excuses. I have seen it many times and it is not that people are "weak" or "failures" or whatever degrading term you can think of, it is just that they have not addressed the psychological aspect that comes with building up a structural training regime, let alone building it up to the point where you can really start to push it (and that's where the fun is).

    There are many ways to deal with the psychological side of training and one of those we all know so well... Cue the music! [Insert Rocky I training video]
    See, I knew you would instantly have the right tune pop up in your head! Its near universal recognition is because it resonates with us. The music recalls the images of Rocky working hard and getting to the top (of the stairs), there is an energy in it that speaks to us at a very deep psychological level, and indeed at a deep physiological level as well. It literally gets our adrenalin up and stimulates us. Even if we do nothing with it, it still primes our body for action. Music can do that. So athletes wearing Beats on their head are not just raking in the sponsorship, they are creating a bubble for themselves where they can channel the energy of their favourite music to psych themselves up and prime their body and mind for action.


    Music is a great way to help you push on when otherwise you might not have, or worse, quit trying altogether. The adrenalin (and other chemicals your body has on offer) can even help you suppress the pain of your muscles burning from the exertion. One month before I started working on this review series my doctor told me that I should prepare myself that perhaps I would never run again because of a chronic knee injury. Not only was I lucky enough that the injury was not quite so serious, the first runs I did with the Shanling M0 were my fastest in two years. The music I carried with me actually helped me overcome a fear I had built up of injuring my knee further. This fear resulted in me running too carefully, actually worsening the injury. Getting myself psyched up and full of adrenalin helped me to ignore some initial pain and lengthen my stride to become more fluid, causing less impact on the knee and making me run faster. Win-win!

    Music can be a great catalyst like that, but being an audiophile I got curious about the influence of the quality of the music. While training many details are lost because your focus is not on the music and there is other noise around. So does it make sense to invest in better gear? My hypothesis is that it can indeed make sense, if it is aimed at the right things:

    - A good quality bass to begin with, as I have had many boring and lifeless "sports earphones" in the past.
    - Plenty of details coming through very clearly. Most of those will be lost, but enough of it will remain perceptible to add to the excitement of the music.

    Build (both source and IEMs)
    - Lightweight and very durable because it will need to withstand some abuse, especially moisture from sweat and rain.
    - In case of earphones, great ergonomics to get a secure and comfortable fit.
    - A vented design (like with some dynamic drivers) can help minimise pressure fluctuations while moving around.
    - Thin, light cable without any microphonics, or possibly Bluetooth without bulky parts that move around more than you do yourself.

    - Good battery life. Nothing worse than having to constantly charge equipment. My Garmin GPS watch lasts about a week and I cannot begin to describe my level of frustration when at the start of a training I get the dreaded "Low Battery" pop up.
    - Easy controls and a smooth, fluid interface.

    With this in mind I started thinking about the first setup I would like to try. I had already found the Final E-series IEMs, which I think are absolutely great. I bought the E2000 and got to review the E4000 and E5000, which showed me that indeed better quality IEMs help to make the music more engaging even while training. The E5000 have a stiff and very microphonic cable and I can't recommend those unless you plan to replace the cable. However, the E4000 do have a very nice cable, a great sound and a well-vented design, so I started with those. For the source I really had only one DAP in mind, the diminutive Shanling M0, which I understood to be a powerful little DAP with lots of added features.

    Before moving on to the M0 I wanted to briefly touch on the E4000. I have reviewed them in full here already, but there are a few practical elements that I did not really touch on in my review and some aspects that are specific to training.

    The E4000 have a vented design that is very helpful in reducing pressure fluctuations when moving around. With intensive exercise it is possible that the IEMs move around and if there is a good seal it can feel a little bit like someone is pushing and pulling a plunger against your ear. The vents on the E4000 help to mitigate this quite effectively. Of course it also helps to use different tips. Personally I always use silicone tips because I find foam tips to be a bit itchy, but after a run in the pouring rain I found that silicone was simply not practical, as it gets slippery when wet and that caused all manner of issues. With foam tips I have not had similar issues and actually found it more comfortable during training indoor as well.


    The runs in the pouring rain and freezing cold did also allow me to subject the E4000 to a real durability test and I have to say that I am very impressed by them. They have been completely soaked in the rain and I was quite sure water entered the vents because even my ears were full of water by the time I was halfway on one of my runs. Despite it all, the E4000 kept going and although there were some minor cut outs from the mmcx connectors in the days following the runs, those only seemed temporary. In terms of durability I think the E4000 did an excellent job, although I might avoid running in rain that bad in the future, just to be on the safe side, because they are definitely not waterproof.

    On to the Shanling M0...

    When Shanling learned about this review they were kind enough to send over their new armband for me to try out as well, so we are unboxing two boxes.


    The M0's box came in a white sleeve with an image of the great range of colours that the M0 is available in and some basic information on it. Removing the sleeve revealed a similar box to the one the armband came in, a classic mat black with a glossy Shanling logo on it. Opening up both boxes revealed a very nice presentation that has a premium feel to it. The M0 was presented sitting in black foam in such a way that it was the centre of attention, whereas the armband was the centre of attention simply by being the sole item in its box. The M0 also did not come with a whole host of extras, just the basics such as a USB cable, which I found was quite a nice one, and very basic manual and warranty card. Spartan, but also just what I would expect at this price point and there is no need to add more either.

    Design and build quality
    The M0 is a very nice DAP and I was really impressed from the moment that I took it out of the box. It is solidly built yet due to its diminutive size only weighed in at 37 grams on my kitchen scales, and that was including the required micro-SD card. The design itself is understandably minimalist, there is simply not much room to add lots of buttons etc, but it is executed in a very sleek and stylish design. On the bottom are the only ports found, a USB-C port and 3.5mm headphone out, on one side is a very nicely designed volume knob that also functions as an on-off switch (which I found a little too sensitive, often switching the M0 on when I was storing it after training), and on the other the slot for the micro-SD card. For a DAP this small, I would say this is an award-winning level of design, it is that well thought out.


    On the front is a 1.54 inch touch screen from which you control the DAP. It is very responsive and works very smoothly, although its small size does make it a little sensitive when trying to scroll through a long list of albums.

    In use for training the M0 is absolutely brilliant. The size and weight are perfect and I can just forget that it is there. Initially I did not have the armband (which I will discuss later in this review) and so I needed to find a way to carry it with me while running. I found that it fit perfectly inside the back pocket of my running pants that is actually meant for keys and during my runs I did not find the weight to be noticeable at all. The Shanling clip would do very nicely here too and if you happen to be using Bluetooth you can just put it in any pocket without it bouncing around more than a set of keys.

    Tiny DAP, huge number of options. The M0 has very extensive menus and lots of settings that can be used. There are five main menus:
    - Menu 1 'Now Playing': Brings you straight to the music you are playing or played last.
    - Menu 2 'My Music': Options to select music based on the Album, Artist, Playlist, Genre, etc.
    - Menu 3 'Folders': A folder view of all the files on the system/micro-SD card.
    - Menu 4 'Playback': Playback settings such as EQ, Gain, DAC filter, gapless, etc.
    - Menu 5 'System': Here you can update the system when loading a new micro-SD card (which can take a long time if you have many files), Bluetooth pairing, screen settings, USB function, themes, language, firmware updates, etc.


    I fiddled around with various settings to see what would work best during training. It tried the DAC filter settings and did not notice too much of a difference while I was training. The differences might well be there to hear during critical listening, but that was not the purpose of this review and so I left it on the factory standard 'Minimum Slow'.


    I usually avoid using EQ, especially for reviews, but when training it does not matter as long as the music is engaging and so I tried out various options. The M0 does not have a custom EQ function and only allows you to use a set of 16 pre-sets. I tried out several options while training, only to revert back to the normal sound, as the M0 sounds best that way to my ears.


    When the music is playing the M0 has three options to view:
    - Screen 1: Play/pause/forward/back controls, a favourite button, and playback control (repeat, etc).
    - Screen 2: Displays playing time, lets you add the track to a playlist, info button, and direct button back to the main playback menu.
    - Screen 3: Lyrics (if added to the music files).
    After a short while the screen will go back to displaying only the album art.


    Despite its diminutive size and affordable price, the M0 offers impressively good sound quality. It has a more neutral tone than my warmish-natural sounding AK70 and has a bit more brightness, which I feel helps details come through more clearly. With the E4000 I felt the M0 accentuated the V-shaped sound slightly compared to the AK70, as the AK70 had a tighter bass and more laid-back treble. In comparison I felt the M0 had a more exciting sound.


    I have tried both low gain and high gain mode and ended up keeping it on high gain, as I felt the E4000 benefitted from it. Paired with the E4000 on high gain, the sound is punchy, detailed and exciting, exactly what I was looking for in a training setup. Even when I run outdoors I get a really good bass impact coming through, clear details and a lovely bit of sparkle, it just feels really well balanced for training. The soundstage is also of a very good size so that the sound does not feel like it is too confined in the head. It does create a nice training bubble where I can focus on myself, but it feels nice and natural as well. There is also no need to push the volume up too much, as even on relatively low volume levels everything is there.

    Shanling Armband
    The design of the armband is simple and effective. I think it is the same case Shanling released earlier, but this time connected to a band. You can simply slide the M0 in from the top and the fit is tight enough to keep the player in place. The cable can be inserted through an opening in the bottom and the armband itself is elasticated so that it can fit tight enough around the arm to stay in place, but not restrict movement by being too tight.


    I really liked using it for running and it stayed perfectly well in place. It also worked well with the E4000, the cable of which I just ran underneath my clothes, as I was wearing several layers due to the cold weather. I expect though that in spring it might be a bit trickier, as I will need to find a way of dealing with the cable when I wear only one layer with long sleeves. In this case Bluetooth becomes a much more practical option, as it does away with the cable. Or, alternatively, the Shanling clip so that the M0 can be clipped on my clothes around my waste, making it much easier to run the cable underneath my shirt. Wearing the armband on my bear arm underneath the sleeve of my shirt is not something I want to try while running, as I expect it will start to chafe after a while. (Running is notorious for causing chafing.) Again, Bluetooth might be the optimal solution here and I hope that at some point I will be able to try out true wireless earphones paired with the M0.

    Overall the armband has proven an excellent solution that is comfortable and has what feels like a very durable design.

    The Shanling M0 is an excellent "micro DAP" that packs a considerable punch in a very small package. It is beautifully designed and a very capable performer with a smooth and responsive GUI, and a great sound. Despite its minimalist looks, the M0 is fully featured and is a joy to use. For audiophiles looking for a training DAP, I cannot recommend the M0 highly enough. It is a joy to use and when paired with IEMs such as the Final E4000 offers audiophile quality sound in a setup that is extremely light, comfortable and durable. The added bonus of having a few great optional accessories such as the armband and clip, make it a really practical solution that might well be more convenient than some Bluetooth receivers, as those would still require a source and the M0 is already very small and light.
    1. Redcarmoose
      Interestingly I found the iPod Touch 6th Gen. to sound way better with a more natural interface. Though the Touch is 2X the price and has crippling storage capacity. And...the Shanling comes in at 38 grams not 88 grams as the Touch does.
      Redcarmoose, Apr 9, 2019
    2. Wyville
      @Redcarmoose Thanks! I haven't tried the iPod Touch, but keep hearing positive things about those. I think there are a few interesting alternatives available/coming, such as the FiiO M5, Hidizs AP80, the Lotoo Paw Pico, and lots of BT DAC/Amp like the Hiby W5. I expect that up next in this series will be True Wireless IEMs, although I am not sure if the latest firmware for the M0 will resolve the issues it has connecting to such IEMs.
      Wyville, Apr 9, 2019
      Redcarmoose likes this.
    3. arrow34
      You should update the firmware btw. It gives custom eq options. I also found the small package to sound pretty awsome. Even drives m00 planars no prob.
      arrow34, Oct 8, 2019
  2. ngoshawk
    Shanling M0-The little DAP that could
    Written by ngoshawk
    Published Oct 19, 2018
    Pros - Ultra-portable.
    UI-friendly, and simple.
    Good Shanling sound, slightly north of neutral.
    Cons - Might be a bit small for some.
    Slippery if not in case.
    Lacks 2.5/4/4 jack (oh well...).
    Not enough power for some
    Shanling M0-the little DAP that could.

    Sometimes opportunity knocks on the door as they say. Other times it subtly stands by the side, expecting you to see, yet you walk right on by without site or thought. Lastly, sometimes opportunity comes at you like a freight train where you either grab hold or get run over. The opportunity to audition the M0 came at me the third way. I was honored to be considered by Shanling for a look, but cautious as well, because this is kind of a job interview of sorts. One can rightly assume that the reviewer-game is wrought with carnage of well-meaning people, who get run over. Or with “reviewers” who often create that carnage, and hence cautious approach by companies who value their product above all and not only want open honest reviews, but to protect their product as well. It is here, that I fully appreciate the company model in which Shanling espouses. Their products are good. Very, VERY good and I will openly admit I am already a fan. I own the M1, M3s and an older M5, which was my indoctrination into the “higher order” of DAPs. I use all of them, and they make it into my review queue as often as possible. The M3s is my go-to for working out. My M1, while deposed as the burner for IEM’s, also makes it in when comparing DAP’s of the “more economical” variety, because it is a standard by which I still judge others at that price point (personal opinion, so deal with it). Last, the M5…oh my, the M5. Simple, straightforward bearer of flagship moniker; my heart still flutters upon listen. I often squirrel off late at night under darkness to listen. I do this for fear of being found out, for I would have to explain to my love, why I love another so…quite embarrassing it would be.


    So, you can see that I like the Shanling house sound. On the warmer side, with rich, detailed note, excellent battery and simplicity of use; the Shanling brand has taken me in, and grabbed me right before smashing me to bits, because they understand. They understand what it means to be in love with your music, and save you, lest you be flattened. And that would rightly be an embarrassing quandary to explain to my better half…



    I wrote the above while Los Lonely Boys song Orale emanated from the M0 and the MEE Audio M6 Pro Generation 2. To say I was happy would be an understatement. The sound, which came forth was good and rich of detail. Deep of bass reach (not superbly deep, but for this price, excellent), present and tolerant treble note and mids, which are just forward enough to keep your interest. This was a good set up, especially when one notes it can be had for less than 2 Bens. I am amazed at what one can get for less and less these days. I am hooked, and it is a good thing.


    Followed by Ziggy’s Make Some Music, and one could rightly claim you have reached what does not need to be crossed. You stand at that divide, but feel no need to cross, for you see the view presented, and are quite happy and satisfied to have reached this point. While others may go forth, and you do not fault them for this; you are quite satisfied to have reached here. You take in that intoxicating view, and it is good.


    You also realize that while not powerful, the M0 has enough power to rattle your ears. Often many people are drawn into discussion regarding “how much power does it have?” And, I believe that is the wrong way to go about discussing this. By the specs, the M0 is almost anemic of power. But, once you hook in your favorite pair of IEMs’, there is sufficient power to drive most. I did run the testing on high-gain most of the time, and to reach sufficiently loud levels where it could hurt did take some effort, reaching 60 on the scale. That said, to me there was sufficient power for all but the hungriest.


    I want to thank Frantesik and Shanling for the opportunity to review the M0. All that we agreed upon was that the review be open and honest. We would have this no other way. As this was a loaner to be forwarded to another, I did treat the M0 as if it was a gift; in fact, better than if the M0 was my own. Suffice to say I treated the red critter well, and careful.


    Specs (from Musicteck):

    • Specification size: 40*135*45mm
    • 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: <3uV (HIGH GAIN)
    You will notice that many of the above specs are based upon European measurements or specifications. That said, they do apply to the rest of the world as a guide.

    Songs used:

    Too bloody many to list all, but you want songs, so there you go:

    REM-Losing My Religion
    Coldplay-All I Can think About Is You
    Coldplay-A Message
    Coldplay-White Shadows
    Dona Onete-Sonos de Adolescente
    Los Lonely Boys- Heaven (en Espanol)
    twenty one pilots-Trees
    twenty one pilots-Car Radio
    twenty one pilots-Heathens
    Damian Marley-Everybody Wants To Be Somebody
    Damian Marley-So A Child May Follow
    Damian Marley-The Struggle Discontinues
    Ziggy Marley-Lighthouse
    Ziggy Marely-See Dem Fake Leaders
    Mark Knopfler-Laughs And Jokes And Drinks And Smokes
    Santana w/ Mana- Corazon Espinado


    Comparison equipment:

    MEE M6 Pro Gen2
    UM Mentor V3
    Meze 11Neo
    64Audio U8
    Campfire Audio Jupiter
    KZ AS10

    Shanling M1
    Shanling M3s
    Shanling M5
    Questyle QP2R
    Aune M1s


    The Shanling M0 comes in a typical small box from Shanling, utilizing as much space as they could, while still being stylish. Included accessories are par for the course: USB-C cable, instruction manual, and warranty card. Also included in the loan unit were a plastic belt clip (held VERY well and a nice addition), and a KILLER red pleather case. The M0 does come in many colors, which is a nice departure from black, and ummm…black.


    Build quality/UI:

    Finish on the red version looks almost rough metallic. That is until you feel the unit, then it is smooth. With an almost industrial-like look, the critter is pretty simple. A scroll wheel on the right, which operates on/off by long presses and rotates for volume (most of the time 2-numbers at a time). The top is rounded more on the right side, ala other Shanling DAPs. A nice touch to the past. The left side is dominated by a plastic cover over the single micro SD slot. A bit hard to unseat (good!), the top side of that plastic cover rotates to reveal the SD slot. Simple and straightforward. The bottom has the micro-USB port and single 3.5mm jack. That’s it. Simple and easy to operate. I like it. Plus, a single push of the scroll wheel wakes the unit for further instructions.

    Once turned on and in operational mode, the menus remind me of a simpler inexpensive DAP. Basic to a fault, but functional well beyond those looks. Once inside each menu though, there is a plethora of options. About the only thing lacking is a customizable EQ setting. There are enough to satisfy most wants, though. And if not, then maybe you should re-evaluate your listening preferences. Plus, when the screen is off, you can set a function of double-press the wheel and play/pause of the song results. Very handy when you need to talk or answer your phone. This can be done successfully from one’s pocket. Nifty, indeed but not novel.



    I found the UI to function smoothly, with little lag and there was good ease of operation. A feature I really like is a long press on the top of the screen from pretty much any mode. By doing so, you return to the “front page” where you can access all features. A long press there takes you back from whence you came as well. At least back to the “play” widget, with but one more touch that returns you to the current song playing. Swiping to the right, will also return you one screen back at a time. A nice feature. For the price, this is a highly functional unit, with many features you may not expect, such as the long press and other options. And yes, I do know that most DAP’s today have a long press, which returns you to the home area, or close. Again, for the price it works, and it is functional. Typical Shanling in my book, it simply works.


    As others have described the functions of the various screens and features, I shan’t bore you with a regurgitation of the various options. I will provide a video link, below for my “multi-faceted” video, which goes over such features in detail.


    Initial listen:

    Suffice to say, that upon arrival the M0 vaulted to my DAP of choice while reviewing other items. As such, I was struck immediately at how small it truly is. For comparison, see the side by side with the GIGANTIC M1s, and HUMONGOUS M3s. While I jest a bit, the M0 is truly pocketable and extremely functional within its shell. I was mightily impressed. It also looks devilishly wonderful in red. And I do mean, RED. The pleather case, which came with it is even red. Also included is a belt clip for use on runs or walking much like a pedometer. Very nice, indeed.

    But the sound! You all shout. Get to the good stuff, you dolt!!! Well, all righty, then! Be polite.


    Let me say this up front. I went in expecting that typical warm Shanling sound, and I was not disappointed. Having preconceptions here does not taint what I heard, it confirms it. And I’m OK with that. Make no mistake, though. It is a good solid sound belying the price range. So many DAP’s of today espouse a “good” sound, but when compared to items within their same range, fall short or more aptly flat on their face. The M0 does not. It can justify its place in the sub-$120 range, pushing wannabes out of the way with the politeness of a Kingsman. Polite, but with a purpose. One might say I was impressed, and one would be right.


    Delving deeper:

    Knowing what you might get beforehand can be a good or a bad thing. Good because you know of the virtues presented, since you may have prior experience with the company. Bad, because you may have certain expectations, which might not be met. That familiarity can breed doubt and despair by the readers. Doubt that the reviewer might simply be a fanboy. Despair, because the pocketbook of our readers IS dependent upon what we write sometimes. Throw in the companies stake, and we are under pressure.


    Well…you need not worry. At all. The Shanling sound is there. The Shanling reliability is there. The Shanling build is there. And, the Shanling passes. With flying colors. Actually, it comes in some flying colors as well. So, what makes the Shanling so good, and full of those luscious colors? That Shanling house sound.

    Some prefer a more analytical sound, or more neutral in other words. Sometimes those are thrown around together, and here in the description I am thinking of, that would be apt. Think FiiO x5iii, and that would be somewhat analytical and neutral to me. At least in comparison to my Shanling collection. Those would all have a warmer signature, and the M0 does as well. Just not as much as the others. It is a bit more mainstream to me, but still good. Oh, so good. To me, I think Shanling wanted to appeal to a broader base of listeners, as they had their hardcore fans covered with the other models.


    There is adequate power for most IEM’s, though it may be a bit short for those hard to drive units. I found the M0 to have plenty of power for those with which I paired. I did have to raise the volume when plugging in the AAW-Shozy Hibiki Mk2, but not the KZ-AS10. Nor with the MEE M6 Pro, Gen2. So, for most the M0 is plenty adequate power-wise.

    And what might that power provide? A good reach of bass on songs such as Damian Marley’s Everybody Wants To Be Somebody. There is plenty there, and it reaches pretty deep. Again, this would be IEM-dependent, but fair to say that the M0 provides a good part of that.

    A nice feature, which I turned on immediately was the double click on the scroll wheel. This allowed the user to play/pause as mentioned so that one could hear a conversation or answer your phone, etc. A nice touch, and yes available on other DAP’s as well. What is nice here though, is that the scroll wheel protrudes, making the function of the play/pause even easier.


    Detail of song is present in most song offerings. Using Damian Marley’s Living It Up, you can clearly hear the layers of music, separated quite well. This is a good song with which to differentiate layering, detail, bass and any possible congestion. The M0 came through the car-wash test with flying colors. You can clearly hear the percussion support instruments while the bass guitar dominates the sub-bass line. Throw in Damian’s penetrating voice and the lounge-like support of keyboard, and you have a thoroughly happy nod-your-head song. One aspect, which could be a bit better would be the separation of vocals, when singing the support line. I had a harder time differentiating individual singers, but this could be down to my upper end loss of hearing. It is still quite good.


    This is furthered by Annie Lennox’s sumptuous voice on Love Is A Stranger. Talk about obsession…oh my goodness. The range of her voice is an excellent “tool” for discerning female vocal and the critter being tested. Again, the M0/M6 Pro G2 combo exonerated itself quite well. Her voice, though…oh my. Throughout the test, I found the M0 to represent vocals honestly and without artificiality. I currently have another unit on hand, and I cannot say the same of it. So, for the price, the M0 does an admirable job, indeed.


    Comparo dujour:

    When one compares anything to another of the same ilk, you are walking a fine tightrope to begin. There will always be those that defend their choices like an affront to their family heritage. While others will look on quizzically at the choices you make. Yet others will nod in agreement or with the understanding that by comparing we are doing a service. A service so that you may make that informed choice. That said, if one does not like what we recommend that is life. Personal choices abound and doing one’s own research is tantamount to a solid purchase. Here is where my hope is that some small part can be the result of the verbiage listed below.


    Shanling M0 ($109) v Shanling M1 ($129):

    A natural comparison to the older brother begets many similarities of family lineage. Both share that squat squarish, roundy-edge shape, which has become synonymous with Shanling’s offerings. Little brother has one big advantage though…a touchscreen. Plus, the scroll wheel has been redesigned on the M0 as well. It is now more rotating knob as opposed to wheel. Still Shanling, but less so in my humble opinion. There were early issues with that rotating wheel on the M1 as well, which were taken care of by Shanling, so good for them.

    When it comes to sound, the M1 moves a bit up the food chain as one would expect. With a tighter, deeper reach of bass we begin to fully experience the Shanling house sound. Luscious mids come through such as on Lyle Lovett’s Bears, one of my all-time favorite songs. His voice and that wonderful Mandolin run the trifecta with the National steel guitar perfectly. A taught drum sound finishes the deal. This song is good no matter what. And here, the M1 provides more depth and fuller sound. Where the M0 is a fun almost energetic sound, the M1 defines the beginnings of maturity.


    Shanling M0 ($109) v Shanling M3s ($279):

    To some, the M3s was what started the resurgence or revolution at Shanling. The fine M2s came before, but the M3s raised the bar for the entry-level-mid-fi range. I can remember listening to both the M2s (borrowed) and the M3s (tour model, then I purchased one) side-by-side. Even with my ears, I could feel a better sense of detail from the M3s, and more warmth. To me this was as close to the M5 as Shanling had come. It is still my go-to workout DAP, fitting perfectly into a Smartphone arm band. With good power, and good battery life, I happily use it to judge others at this price. Through in single-end and balanced-end outputs and you have a killer DAP for less than $300. I absolutely love the warmth that emanates from the M3s. I was sold the minute I heard it. I was lucky enough to have another brand on hand during that tour, at a higher price point, and kept coming back to the M3s. With 2-way BT and HiBy on deck, you could feed through your Smartphone using the excellent DAC portion of the M3s. A nice feature, which is carried over into the M0. Again, using Bears, that maturity further develops. There is an almost thumping quality of bass in the M3s.This is one of the facets, which drew me into the purchase of the M3s. That good reach of bass, while also defining what a Shanling would sound like at the upper end of what I might call the “low-fi” price. Low-fi in price only, certainly not quality of sound. Where the M3s provide succulent treble and the “S’s” of Lyle’s voice sound sweet and sublime; on the M0 there is a bit of sibilance. Not sibilance really, but an overly brilliant sound. Enough to where I listened again and again to define that sound. I do believe that is a result of where the M0 might be utilized…on the go, where outside noise could drown out the upper end. Maybe I don’t know of what I am talking about, either. A distinct possibility, but I hear what I hear.


    Shanling M0 ($109) v Aune M1s ($240ish):

    A pure music player, which I had previously auditioned (at the M1-level), I found myself on the receiving end of a winner. The Aune came my way by a giveaway, but knowing how much I liked a borrowed M1, I anticipated it for the simple fact that the Aune does one thing and one thing well…play music. Don’t go looking for WIFI, or BT, or dual micro-SD slots. Don’t go looking for a UI, which is state of the art Linux or Android. No, the Aune is meant for one thing…to play your music. And in this regard when considering music alone, bests even the M3s in my humble opinion. More detail than a critter has a right to promote at this price, the M1s is one fine player, which fell upon hard times due to the steamrolling of features that other better-known players and companies crammed into their DAP’s. You want BT? SURE! WIFI? YOU BET! Touchscreen/scrolling screen/wheels? DARN STRAIGHT! No, this might be the forgotten DAP of our time, and that is a shame for based upon pure sound, I rate it near the top in this price. And yes, that would be in my limited experience but enough to warrant a good judge of abilities/sounds.

    The Aune has a more analytical sound, without the bass reach of the aforementioned Shanling’s. And you know what? That is OK. Dare I say “reference,” lest I get hammered; but an apt description might be pure and clean. There is a cleanliness to the sound, which smacks of wide open spaces on a crystal-clear blue-sky day. Nary a cloud in sight, your view is unencumbered. And that is well and good. With less sibilance up top, the upper frequencies ring truer through the M1s than the M0. And it should. Especially when one notes the challenger is a dedicated music player.



    There really isn’t much more that can be said about this wonderful little critter (especially on the back of existing reviews). Finishing with Bob and Bad Card seems appropriate, since there really isn’t a bad card involved with the Shanling M0. Suffice to say, if I was in the market for a small portable DAP, which can be used not only at the gym, or out in active situations, but at home relaxing as well; this would be at the top of my want list. Especially for the price.

    Yes, I am a fan of Shanling already. I stated that above…many times. To me that does not allow blind obsession and accolades for anything thrown my way. Indeed, I consider it just the opposite. As Ziggy sang the live version of ABC from his wonderful Live From Soho album), I tapped the keys. I tapped my feet. I nodded my head and scribbled some more. As such, knowing what Shanling has wrought or rung from its other DAP’s, my expectations were most likely higher than those who have not the experience. And as such I was not disappointed. This is a very fine little DAP that should take serious consideration when looking at the ultra-portable DAP segment. Especially with a good functional touchscreen. I can find little to fault, except maybe it is TOO small, and not quite powerful enough. Turning Joe Satriani’s excellent Goodbye Supernova to 70/100 on high gain, was plenty adequate for me. That said if one wants to drive your headphones to ear-shattering volumes, you are probably not looking at this type of critter anyway. It can get plenty loud, but some always want more…

    I want to thank Shanling for the loan of this excellent little critter known as the M0. It met my expectations and is the next logical successor to the M1 at this highly-affordable price point. Were I in the market for replacing my smallest portable, this would be on the way to me right now. That is the highest regard I can personally give…spending my own hard-earned dollars on it.


    1. NeonHD
      Very nice educational review! And I love your rhetorical writing style.
      NeonHD, Oct 25, 2018
    2. ngoshawk
      Ah, thank you! My wife accuses me of sarcasm as my middle name. I think she knows me too well! Cheers.
      ngoshawk, Oct 25, 2018
  3. ustinj
    Shanling M0: Between Quality and Convenience
    Written by ustinj
    Published Aug 7, 2018
    Pros - sound quality, clean output, design, value, USB-C, easy-to-learn UI, firmware updates (so far), features, portability
    Cons - UI could use some minor improvements, lack of BT playback control, tiny size could be an issue for some

    Confession: I use my phone as a source for my portable listening purposes. A handful of people out there are probably disgusted by my mindset -- I’d spend over $1,000 on quality IEMs, only to waste their potential by driving them through a cellphone? But this one is for those out there in the same boat, those who struggle with the dilemma of balancing the two attributes of portable audio -- quality and convenience.

    I’d say I’m very much focused on the convenience side of things; I do enjoy higher quality audio (who doesn’t?), but not when it comes at the expense of the overall experience.

    When I got into the world of portable audio, I decided I needed to pick up a quality source to pair with my new chi-fi IEMs and OnePlus One. In came the JDS Labs C5D, my first portable DAC/AMP. It sounded “less bad” than my OnePlus One, but let’s just say I never brought it outside the house.

    It was clear that I was not willing to:

    1. Carry another device around.
    2. Bear the responsibility of charging it.
    3. Tether it to my phone using additional, bulky cables.
    And I’ve stood by this ideology for a long time. Most of my portable listening is done on the go; whether I’m walking around outside, studying quietly in the comfort of my home, or in the gym, I want to make my experience as convenient and streamlined as possible.

    But then the Shanling M0 comes along, and checks enough boxes to push me back to the dark side.

    Shanling M0


    When the Shanling M0 was announced, I was instantly enamoured with the idea. Ultra-portable, stylish in design, feature-packed, and boasting impressive sound -- all at an unexpectedly low price point of $99. Now, since then the price has been tweaked a bit up towards $109, but read on to find out why I still think the M0 is totally a bargain.

    Now having had the Shanling M0 for roughly 1.5 months, I think I'm confident enough to post some solid impressions on it. Big thanks to Andrew over at Musicteck.com for offering the M0 at a discounted rate for me to share my thoughts and impressions on the device. You can purchase the M0 for $109 through the following links:

    Shanling M0 @ MusicTeck

    MusicTeck @ Amazon

    I won’t be able to offer detailed comparisons to the other DAPs I’ve tried in the past, as I don’t have them in hand. As mentioned earlier, I consider myself a casual ‘audiophile’ by the general definition of the word, but ultimately a consumer beneath the surface. For that reason, I hope this review reaches people just like me -- I’ll be comparing the M0 against one of the current “best” portable audio phone sources on the market, the LG V20.



    On a design note, the M0 is a tiny, portable DAP reminiscent to that of the Apple Watch. I ended up picking out the Titanium color, which is an ultra-premium pearl / champagne colored metal. The frontside is almost entirely covered in a curved “2.5D” black glass, with the display a bit smaller than that. Directly in contact with the display is the aluminum body of the player, cut with a great variety of smooth and slightly more aggressive edges. The physical volume knob is milled with rivets along its outer edges with some pretty close attention to detail. It’s a great looking device, and definitely a player that could be turning heads in public (if they notice it despite its tiny size!).

    The learning curve of the Shanling M0 is fairly low, and very simple to pick up. The interface is clean and easy to navigate, through the primary touch commands of single-taps and swipe-lefts to return to the previous page. The features are basic but convenient enough to provide the necessities of a DAP.

    There is no on-board storage for the Shanling M0 -- a micro SD card is required to play tracks locally (bluetooth / DAC features are still operable).

    The overall fluidity of using the M0 can be described as “mostly quick”. Animations while navigating through menus are smooth, but not quite on par with something buttery smooth like an android-based DAP. There are small quirks with the touch sensitivity, notably two that come to mind:

    • When scrolling down lists, touching an item at the bottom of the screen will not yield a response from the player (usually ends with accidentally selecting the item above it)
    • The M0 has a feature to return to the home screen from any given screen by touching and holding for a short period of time. Sometimes (an unfortunately high percentage of times), tapping and holding will not return to the home screen and I would have to try again.
    There is one physical button on the M0, built directly into the volume control (pressing downwards on the knob). As far as I’ve found, the button is only used for powering the device on/off, locking/unlocking the screen, and can be assigned one function activated by double tapping the button. This means that for users who like to control playback using hardware buttons without turning on the device screen, the M0 will be limited to only one control (unfortunately).


    On the bright side, this knob is very tactile and responsive to use. It reverberates with a soft, blunt clicking on rotation, and a solid click when pressed.

    Volume Control
    Volume control is performed exclusively by rotating the knob, and can be done with both the screen on and screen off. The speed of volume control feels perfect, neither too slow nor too fast. However, when the screen is ON, changing the volume via knob opens up a small bar at the top of the screen that displays the current volume on a scale of 0-100. There have been several times where my finger touched the bar slightly, and the player would jump to max volume (touching the top-right of the screen). Extremely terrifying with sensitive IEMs, at very dangerous levels of exposure. I noticed that others have had this issue on Head-Fi.org as well -- I personally don’t think touch volume are necessary, and the knob itself should be enough for safety reasons.

    The playback interface of the M0 seems to be slightly choppier, and less fluidly animated than the rest of the user interface. Panning between playback menus (playback control / equalizer + info / lyrics) seems to move a bit slower than optimal, with noticeable gaps between each animation frame.

    However, there are plenty of features at your disposal in the playback screen. It is complete with playback method (shuffle / repeat one / repeat all), "favorite", playlist control, file info, equalizer access, track scanning, and lyric info all on top of the album art.

    My M0 unit shipped with the V1.5 firmware. Updating to the V2.0 firmware increased the interface fluidity noticeably; animations were quicker and crisper, and the UI felt more responsive overall. However, FW2.0 caused the bluetooth receiver feature to stop functioning properly when connected to my LG V20 (served as a bit of a roadblock in finishing up my post). Shanling has been fairly quick to put out software for the M0, as the recent FW2.1 has seemingly fixed bluetooth issues caused by the previous software.

    The Shanling M0, as mentioned, is very pocketable and portable. It's very lightweight and does not create a noticeable burden in your pocket (unless you dedicate the entire pocket to it, to prevent scratches!). I especially like that I can often go through multiple days of use before having to think about charging it. I would estimate the battery life lasts me an average of 12 hours playback time. And when it does come down to having to refuel, I'm happy that it uses USB Type-C for charging and data transfer, as I no longer use any devices that have the old micro USB standard (reason I didn't charge my previous DAP/DACs).


    Its tiny form factor can cause issues for those with larger hands. For me (slightly below average hand size), navigating menus and accessing the volume knob on a daily basis feels fairly natural. However, I have not figured a way to navigate both the menus and control the knob consecutively without re-positioning the device in my hand. Regardless of its small size, I often find myself using the M0 with two hands anyway.


    Sound Impressions
    In my opinion, source changes will never be as drastic and noticeable as actual IEM differences. The Shanling M0 sounds to have a slight but noticeable lift in the sub-bass region, as well as a fairly linear sound into the upper midrange. Background is very clean and dark, with very little noise or ringing. Detail retrieval seems to be completely adequate, though I wouldn't say that it poses a particular emphasis on putting microdetail at the forefront of its presentation.


    Campfire Audio Andromeda

    The Andromeda is known to be a very source-sensitive IEM, with its sound signature varying wildly with different output impedance matchups. It’s also quite infamous for picking up hiss from unclean sources, as a result of a high noise floor.

    When I first tested out the LG V20, I was fairly impressed that the Andromeda exhibited very little to no hissing. Listening to the Andromeda through the Shanling M0 has been a bit eye opening to say the least. There is absolutely no hissing or stray noise picked up by the Andromeda, and the background is cleaner than the V20 (ignorance is bliss). I thought the V20 was already quiet with the Andromedas, but the M0 takes it a step further and introduces a seemingly black, empty background for the music to play over. Both seem to be similarly capable in terms of resolution, but the M0’s cleaner presentation and decay give it the perceived edge in leisurely listening. Tonally, the Andromeda paired with the M0 has a greater lift in the sub-bass region, while the V20 has a noticeably emphasized sharpness (in a negative connotation) to upper midrange notes. As a result, it the M0 seemingly has greater depth with a fuller, thicker tone with the Andromedas, while the V20 seems flatter and more compressed. I would tend to carry a UE Buffer Jack on hand with this combo, to produce an airier, more spacious sound signature.

    Tin Audio T2

    More in line with the budget offerings, the Tin Audio T2 has definitely secured in a spot in my IEM arsenal for being a well-built IEM with balanced tonality. Its primary downfall is that it has a noticeable subbass roll off, making the sound a bit lean and weak in the lower registers. The Tin Audio T2 is a perfect match with the Shanling M0 -- it mostly alleviates the T2 of its achilles heel, providing a gentle boost to the subbass. If anything, the T2 sounds impressively flat to my ears through the Shanling M0. I would say this is a stellar combination for those looking for a balanced, quality sound in an ultra-portable and affordable package. In terms of stray noise and cleanliness, the M0’s strength over the V20 are not as emphasized on the T2 as they were when using the Andromedas.


    Acoustune HS1551

    This has proven to be a very fun combination. The Acoustune HS1551 is a very unique-sounding IEM, with exquisite bass texturing and resolution, paired with a sweet, resolving midrange. Through the LG V20, the HS1551 can occasionally (rarely) reveal a slightly metallic, sharp tinge to upper midrange vocal notes. Pairing with the M0 has overall been a more pleasurable listen -- bass is slightly more emphasized, highlighting the properties of the HS1551’s low end. Another notable pairing aspect is that the HS1551’s upper midrange is seemingly never an issue through the M0, alluding to the idea that the sharpness lies within the LG V20. The M0 also doesn’t seem to direct any highlight or attention onto the treble, which in my opinion works well with the 1551’s particular sound signature.

    Bluetooth Receiver

    For me, one of the biggest selling features of the Shanling M0 was that it could function as a bluetooth receiver. As an owner of the Fiio BTR1, I was not completely satisfied with the battery life I was getting out of it. The Shanling M0 appeals to me as it not only has bluetooth receiver functionality, but also comes with fully decked-out DAP functionality, greater battery life, all while retaining a slick portable form factor.


    I had no issues setting up and pairing my devices with the M0. I can say that with the latest V2.1 firmware update, bluetooth is working as expected, only with the occasional hiccup in sound. Now that BT seems to be working properly, I can comfortably say that the M0 continues to display excellence in low noise floor with a cleaner, darker background when paired with my LG V20 using AAC codec. While connected via Bluetooth, the M0’s screen shows a large bluetooth logo along with the codec being used. Only volume control is functional while connected via BT.

    There is a very brief delay in pause / playing of audio, though not drastic enough to make watching videos startlingly desynchronized. I hear a thinner, less full-bodied tone listening to the same track over BT versus directly through SD card. Subbass is definitely more rolled off and dynamics seem lacking in comparison. However, most of the M0’s sonic characters seem intact apart from these glaringly obvious changes.

    The Fiio BTR1 has a weaker battery life, as well as significantly noisier processing unit (various electronic signals / stray sounds during quiet passages of music). It also sounded warmer overall, with less apparent sub bass roll-off. However, the BTR1 has one large advantage over the M0 -- it has hardware buttons, allowing for direct playback control. If you don’t have access to your source device while using the M0, you will not be able to play / pause / change tracks.


    The Shanling M0 is a complete package, offering excellent sound and a multitude of features at an incredible price. On top of that, it is an elegantly designed and truly portable device. At $109, I doubt many other devices can compete in terms of absolute sonic value, as it already puts the highly-praised LG V20 to shame in terms of cleanliness while edging it out in dynamics. It does have a few nitpicks, such as some touch input issues and lack of bluetooth playback control, but these fail to bring it down from what it really is -- a DAP that manages to blur the once solid lines between quality, value, convenience, and style.


    Thanks for reading, I will be posting future reviews on HF as well as grouping them on Wordpress.
      watertriber, NeonHD, ngoshawk and 7 others like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. wolfjeanne
      Looks like it could be something for me too as I hardly ever bother to use anything other than my phone when I am on the go. I worry though that scrolling through my 120+ GB music library might take ages on this thing... Could you comment on that perhaps @ustinj or perhaps @ExpatinJapan ?
      wolfjeanne, Aug 12, 2018
    3. scott1
      Great review. I was kinda on the fence about buying the M0 and I think you just convinced me to pull the trigger!
      scott1, Aug 14, 2018
    4. jithu215
      Are you using v20 on normal mode or external audio mode(medium gain mode)? I was waiting for a review comparing v20.nice review
      jithu215, Aug 17, 2018
      Sp12er3 likes this.
  4. ExpatinJapan
    Shanling m0 - A wee beastie!
    Written by ExpatinJapan
    Published Jun 17, 2018
    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

    Shanling M0 and Campfire Audio Comet

    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.

    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."


    Whats in the box?

    Various colors to choose from are shown on the box




    USB C to USB-A cable


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

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

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




    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.





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






    From Resume Mode you get these options.




    Plus Frequent and Recent


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

    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.

    Touch the screen to bring up the options.

    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.

    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).

    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).




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

    iBasso DX200 with Shanling m0

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

    Banana for scale!

    Sansa Clip and Shanling m0.

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

    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.


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

    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.

    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.


    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:
    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.

    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!"


    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.


    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

    Ghost in the dap shell

    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.

    Frankie goes to Holywood


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

    Shanling M0 V2.0 firmware update
    Download from Google drive:
    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



    Random schtick - Head pie memes


    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!
      ngoshawk, funnyjoke and dabotsonline like this.
    1. View previous replies...
    2. 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
    3. ExpatinJapan
      No significant downgrade imho. its a surprising lil beastie
      ExpatinJapan, Jul 6, 2018
      doboo57 likes this.
    4. mwillis
      Are there any other DAPs you would recommend over this for under ~$200 USD? This thing checks all my boxes but I just want to make sure I'm getting the biggest bang for my buck. It will be driving primarily Massdrop+ UIEMs, so output impedance <1 ohm is absolutely the biggest requirement.
      mwillis, Aug 9, 2018
      negramurcia and ExpatinJapan like this.
  5. Dobrescu George
    Ultra-Portable & Good Sound - Shanling M0
    Written by Dobrescu George
    Published Feb 9, 2019
    Pros - + Excellent price for a DAP with this sonic quality
    + Has enough power for most IEMs and portable headphones
    + Excellent display quality, and has touch screen
    + Excellent 2-way bluetooth function
    + Cool design, no hard edges, and very ergonomic clip case
    + Can act as a transport, and also as a USB DAC
    + Affordable Ultra Portable
    Cons - - Sonic quality is not quite that satisfying, soft sound with intimate soundstage
    - My thicker fingers misclick a lot on the small display
    - No physical buttons for blind browsing
    - Battery Life isn't very long
    Ultra-Portable & Good Sound - Shanling M0 Review


    Shanling M0 is one of the few Ultra-Portable Music Players on the market right now, but it has fairly solid specifications, with a good amount of power, a nice overall design, and even a touchscreen and Bluetooth.


    Shanling is a large company from China, actually working in high-end devices, and usually having products considerably more expensive than M0. This means that they have both the experience and the budget to design and create good products, and to offer excellent support for them. In my experience, Shanling is great with warranty support, they will be helping you if you have any issues with their products, but this is fairly unlikely since they are all pretty well built.

    It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Shanling, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. This review is not sponsored nor has been paid for by Shanling or anyone else. I'd like to thank Shanling for providing the sample for the review. The sample was provided along with Shanling's request for an honest and unbiased review. This review will be as objective as it is humanly possible, and it reflects my personal experience with Shanling M0. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in Shanling M0 find their next music companion.

    About me



    First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:










    Shanling M0 is a mini-Player and it comes packaged as one, although the overall package feels fairly satisfying. In the package you will be receiving the Player itself, a high-quality Type-C USB Cable, and that will pretty much be it.

    Shanling also sells a Clip and a Leather case for M0, and I actually do recommend getting the clip case if you can, it has been a great help to me.

    Since the price of M0 puts it in the entry-level area, being priced at about 110 USD, so the package is very fair.

    What to look in when purchasing a high-end DAP


    Build Quality/Aesthetics/UI/Firmware

    Starting with the build quality, M0 is quite awesome, it is a fully metallic device, with a selection / volume wheel (digital controller of an analogue volume controller).


    M0 comes with a small display, but the glass above the display is fairly thick, so you don't have to worry about keeping this one in a back pocket, or, if you're using the clip case, to clip it to your shirt and such.

    My personal unit took a few hits to the ground and came back with no scratches or defects, but it would be bad practice to recommend you do be careless with it just because it will last some wear and usage without a hint of fatigue.

    The aesthetics are on its side, as are ergonomics, since it has mostly rounded edges, and it is a sleek device. Relative to its size, it is a bit thick, but this works well for carrying it in hand.

    The display is a bit small for my thick fingers, but then again, my finger occupies almost 30% - 40% of its display, so I get some missed clicks. On the other hand, the display is fairly bright, although not quite that colorful. In fact, the display is one of the brightest I've noticed in small DAPs, and this is something good since it means it will be visible under direct sunlight. For this size of a DAP, it is absolutely adequate.

    Shanling M0's main issue will be similar to other mini DAPs, the fact that on this display size, sometimes the name of an entire song may not fit, similar for [band name] - [song name], but this is not an issue of M0, but a limitation of this kind of size. Folder browsing works very well, and so do other browsing methods.


    M0 also comes with LDAC and APT-X, and I got excellent results using it with APT-X devices. The transmission is okay for casual usage, and the signal doesn't cut out often. You can both receive Bluetooth signal, and send it, and you can use M0 as a USB DAC. You can even use it as a transport to your DAC/AMP, which would make it a really nice affordable transport.

    If there is anything that is missing from M0, those would be physical forward and play buttons, since an ultra-portable DAP would probably be used in a pocket, or you'd want to use it without turning on the display, so on future versions, physical buttons may come in handy.

    The battery life is fair to pretty good, lasts one car trip easily. I've also connected M0 to my Dacia Logan's sound head unit to act as a transport / music source for my car rides, and with the small size, yet simple navigation, it was just what I needed to have access to my music while driving.

    I should note that for such a small device, I ended up using it more often as a shuffle DAP than as a typical one, with one large folder of many songs, and using it to shuffle between those. If you had an iPod shuffle before, and if you wanted a much much better sound, M0 should be a good answer to that call.

    Sound Quality

    The driving power of M0 is quite limited, barely making face to Ultrasone Signature DXP, so I'd recommend sticking to easy to drive IEMs, or really portable headphones instead of trying to force it to drive hard-to-drive headphones. It lacks the push and power to drive something like a Planar, or high-impedance cans, but with IEMs and portable headphones, it does a sweet job.


    For the most part, M0 is a fairly neutral DAP, with a touch of warmth, with a generally clear, clean sound that has good extension in both the bass and the treble.

    The bass is clean and clear, the speed is fairly good, and it could be considered an accurate bass, especially for the price point. M0 is a touch warm overall, but this doesn't make it any less fun to listen to, instead, making it a good pair for colder and brighter IEMs.

    On an overall level, the midrange is slightly smooth, not necessarily laid back, but neither very forward. The midrange is presented with a very natural tonality, and it isn't a very aggressive midrange that pushes the details in your face, being more on the laid-back and lean side.

    The treble is clean and clear, although fairly soft as well. The treble would pair quite well with headphones that are a tad bright or a tad too sparkly, and if you wanted to soften their character a notch. The treble presentation as well as its position is natural, and there is very little space to complain about M0.


    Shanling M0 also has an excellent sense of dynamics, thing which shocked me a bit, since for a really small device, it sounds very dynamic and engaging. The stereo imaging is also very good, especially considering that this is a 100 USD mini-DAP, and can compete with 100 USD DAC/AMPs that do not offer DAP functions at all.

    The soundstage is rather natural, with every instrument placed in its rightful place, although, if anything, it is on the more intimate side of things, especially compared to wide-sounding devices in the 100USD price range. This being said, it compliments both intimate and wide-sounding IEMs and headphones, although it will tend to give a more intimate experience with all IEMs and Headphones it is paired with.

    Portable Usage

    This is a chapter where M0 shines brighter than a thousand stars.

    Starting with the ergonomic design, M0 has rounded edges, so it can sit well in your pocket, but with the clip case, and given its low weight, it can also be attached to virtually anything, including backpacks, hats, boots, belts, or virtually anything you could imagine. To connect it to my car, I have been using my car's ventilation system, which has just enough space for the clip case to attach to it.


    There is no EMI, and the bright display makes up for an excellent experience if you're going to be using M0 portably, in full daylight.

    Given its good pairing with IEMs and portables, M0 shines if it is being used with an In-Ear, so that adds to its portability, and so does the fact that you can use Bluetooth with it, as you could use it as a bluetooth receiver, while having it clipped to your hat.

    All in all, the portability of M0 is quite golden, and there's nothing to complain about in terms of portability.


    Shanling M0 is slightly warm, soft and intimate, so I'd generally recommend pairing it with brighter and more airy IEMs, making better synergy with those than thick or already soft IEMs.



    Shanling M0 + Tin Audio T2Pro - T2Pro is actually an interesting pairing for M0, because it is both easy to drive, and because it has a really wide and airy overall sound that makes a good contrast with the more intimate and softer sound M0 has. Overall, the pairing sounds a touch more natural, and although M0 cuts some of T2Pro's original flair of being really wide and airy, the pairing ends up sounding quite a bit more natural and tonally precise. The soft nature of M0 compliments T2Pro quite well.

    Shanling M0 + Orieti New Primacy - Oriveti New Primacy has always been an interesting IEM from Oriveti, with its main drawback being the driver flex it had. Otherwise, ONP has always been a wide and natural sounding IEM, and with M0's softer nature, the soundstage gets a bit more intimate, while the overall sound gets a touch softer, but also a touch leaner, all while staying fairly dynamic and engaging.

    Shanling M0 + FLC8N - FLC8N is a multi IEM all in one, with many signatures under its belt. Given its magic, it surely has a combination of filters to pair with M0 to get an excellent sound, but regardless of further tweaking it, even out-of-the-box, FLC 8N sounds quite nice with M0, having a natural soundstage, clear and punchy sound, with a dynamic overall presentation.


    Shanling M0 is an interesting ultra-portable DAP, and at the moment my list of ultra-portable DAPs reviews is a bit thin, so I'll try comparing it to something similar in terms of price range and design, the devices of choice being Audirect Whistle, HIFIMAN Megamini, and Shanling M2s.



    Shanling M0 vs Audirect Whistle - The whistle from Audirect has now been replaced by Beam, a more ergonomic device with a different overall design. Starting with their design, M0 is an ultra-portable Player, while the Whistle is a DAC/AMP for smartphones, also made to be ultra-portable. Now, the difference in function is quite huge, you can use each for a very different scenario, for example, M0 can read your microSD cards, while the Whistle can use your smartphone's library and especially Streaming library, but then again, so can M0, if you're inclined to use it as a bluetooth receiver. In terms of sonics, the Whistle makes itself remarked first by being quite a bit warmer in the bass, although it has an even smoother treble, and by a considerably wider soundstage. By contrast, M0 makes itself remarked by sounding more intimate, more natural (neutral), having a touch more sparkle to its treble, and by being a tad more controlled on an overall level. I also have noticed a bit less hiss coming from M0 with very sensitive IEMs. If you're looking for a DAC/AMP, and if you're not afraid of it draining a bit of your smartphone's battery life, you can totally go with the Whistle or rather, the beam, but if you're looking for an ultra-portable DAP, and to get disconnected from your smartphone while listening to music, and especially, if you're looking to have the choice of staying connected to the smartphone or not, since it has APT-X, M0 should be your main choice here.

    Shanling M0 vs HIFIMAN Megamini - Megamini is a considerably potent enemy for M0, but it is held back by some of its inherent issues, like its really minimalistic design. M0 is much more rich in features, and has a more ergonomic design, although Megamini is lighter as an overall device. In terms of screen display, both have a bright display that can be used in full daylight. In terms of browsing playlists, both are actually pretty much the same, since while Megamini's button-based browsing isn't the fastest, but M0's small display is also a little hard to browse with small fingers. M0 does have some extra features like bluetooth, including APT-X, it can act as a USB DAC, it can accept larger sized microSD cards, and it has some EQ presets. This being said, Megamini has the wider soundstage, more dynamic overall sound, better driving power (considerably so), more tight and quicker overall sound, and with the more natural overall presentation. M0 is much more feature-rich, and is easier to browse if you don't have really thick fingers, and although it has a softer and more intimate sound, this isn't necessarily a disadvantage, especially if you prefer this type of leaner, softer, and more intimate presentation. If you're looking for a mini DAP, and if you want no bells and whistles, no Bluetooth, and if you don't mind physical buttons, Megamini is still an excellent choice, but if you want to have access to Bluetooth, APT-X, if you want to have a larger music library with you, and if you prefer a more intimate and softer sound, Shanling M0 is quite the awesome choice.

    Shanling M0 vs Shanling M2s - What kind of review would this be, if I wasn't comparing M0 to its roots, namely M2s. M2s is an ultra-portable DAP as well, and it actually is similar in size to M0. There are a few differences though, the largest one being that M2s does not feature a touch screen. This is probably the biggest difference between the two as well, everything else being less important than the fact that you require to use the wheel for everything with M2s, while you can use a touch screen with M0. The sonic signatures are quite similar, with M0 sounding actually a touch more natural, and more neutral to my ears, and making the better source. If you want a touch screen Player, Shanling M0 is clearly the better choice here.

    Value and Conclusion

    Talking about the value of M0 could take more than talking about any aspect of it, as this is one of the best value DAPs there is, since it costs very little relative to other DAPs in the market, being priced at just 110 USD, but it offers quite a lot of power and features.


    Starting with the build quality, M0 is build like a champ, being a fully metallic device, with an ergonomic design, nicely rounded edges, and with a fairly nice feel to it. A good resolution touchscreen display with good brightness complements the rest of the design, and a physical volume wheel makes usage much better.

    M0 has Bluetooth, it has APT-X, and it has LDAC, along with offering the possibility of using it as a USB DAC, basically it offers a full plate of features, for the price at which other devices offer none of those abilities. It may not have quite that much power, so you won't be able to power planars, or a HD800 / HD600, but M0 surely is enough for most IEMs and even portable headphones, so you won't feel limited by its power.

    The sound is crisp and clear, albeit it is also fairly intimate and soft, making M0 an excellent pair for brighter, colder, and more airy cans, especially those where you always wished they were softer, leaner, or more intimate.


    With a large number of features, excellent build quality, great battery life, bluetooth APT-X, LDAC, and a clear and crisp, punchy and dynamic sound, if you're looking for an ultra-portable Music Player for about 110 USD, you should really give Shanling M0 a shot, and don't forget to grab a clip case, if you plan on clipping it to your clothing, or on using it in your car, to provide sound to your car's head unit!

    Link to Audiophile-Heaven Review Page: https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/2019/02/ultra-portable-good-sound-shanling-m0-review.html

    Playlist used for this review

    While we listened to considerably more songs than those named in this playlist, those are excellent for identifying certain aspects of the sound, like PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you're searching for new most, most of them being rather catchy.

    Bats - Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date

    Eskimo Callboy - Frances
    Incubus - Summer Romance
    Electric Six - Dager! High Voltage
    Kishida Cult - High School Of The Dead
    Dimmu Borgir - Dimmu Borgir
    Breaking Benjamin - I Will Not Bow
    Thousand Foot Krutch - The Flame In All Of Us
    Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
    Infected Mushroom - Song Pong
    Attack Attack - Kissed A Girl
    Doctor P - Bulletproof
    Maximum The Hormone - Rock n Roll Chainsaw
    Rob Zombie - Werewolf, Baby!
    Escape The Fate - Gorgeous Nightmare
    SOAD - Chop Suey
    Ken Ashcorp - Absolute Territory
    Machinae Supremacy - Need For Steve
    Ozzy Osbourne - I Don't Wanna Stop
    Crow'sclaw - Loudness War
    Eminem - Rap God
    Stromae - Humain À L'eau
    Sonata Arctica - My Selene
    Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back
    Metallica - Fuel
    Veil Of Maya - Unbreakable
    Masa Works - Golden Japang
    REOL - Luvoratorrrrry
    Korn - Word Up!
    Papa Roach - ... To be Loved
    Fever The Ghost - Source
    Fall Out Boy - Immortals
    Green Day - Know The Enemy
    Mindless Self Indulgence - London Bridge
    A static Lullaby - Toxic
    Royal Republic - Addictive
    Astronautalis - The River, The Woods
    We Came As Romans - My Love
    Skillet - What I Believe
    Man With A Mission - Smells Like Teen Spirit
    Yasuda Rei - Mirror
    Mojo Juju - Must Be Desire
    Falling Up - Falling In Love
    Manafest - Retro Love
    Rodrigo Y Grabriela - Paris
    Zomboy - Lights Out
    Muse - Resistance
    T.A.T.U &amp; Rammstein - Mosaku
    Grey Daze - Anything, Anything
    Katy Perry - Who Am I Living For
    Maroon 5 - Lucky Strike
    Machinae Supremacy - Killer Instinct
    Pendulum - Propane Nightmares

    I hope my review is helpful to you!


    Contact me!






  6. B9Scrambler
    Shanling M0: M0 to Hero
    Written by B9Scrambler
    Published Dec 11, 2018
    Pros - Ridiculous feature set - Well thought out UI and integrated touch screen controls - Build quality - Clean sound with good end-to-end extension
    Cons - Latency through USB DAC mode and when being used as a Bluetooth receiver - No custom EQ - Scroll wheel isn't the most easy to access sometimes - Tiny touch screen not quite suited to larger fingers

    Today we're checking out the M0 from Shanling Audio.

    Shanling is a well-versed audio company that has been developing products under one name or another since 1988. In the portable audio world, they are revered for their affordable, high quality audio players. My first introduction to the brand was through the M1, a tiny, feature rich player that I had on loan as part of a review tour. To my benefit, the Canadian leg of the tour consisted of me and only me, so I bought that tour unit from Shanling. I liked it too much and there was no way in heck it was leaving my possession. Fast forward over a year later and the M1 is still my primary player, though it's little brother, the M0, has been accompanying me on my travels for the last few months.

    The M0, announcer earlier this year (2018) basically took everything I loved the about the M1 and shrunk it down into an even more pint sized package. I was pretty darn impressed with everything Shanling crammed into the M1 without it feeling compromised, and they've done it again with the M0.

    Let's take a closer look at this miniature marvel of technology, shall we?



    A massive thank you to Frankie at Shanling for the wonderful communication and for arranging a sample of the M0 for the purposes of this review. The opinions within this review are my own based on my time with the M0 and do not represent Shanling or any other entity. No financial incentive was provided to write this review. At the time of writing, the M0 retailed for 109 USD.

    You can check out the M0 here on their site; http://www.shanling.com/Product/Detail?id=f009f9f9c6304359a99bc7d0d51a7d46

    Be sure to follow them on Facebook too so you can stay up to date on firmware and other product updates: https://www.facebook.com/Shanling-Audio-603230783166845/

    This review is based on just shy of three months of near daily use of the M0.

    What I’m looking for:

    When it comes to portable amps and DAPS I take a pretty casual approach. If you’re looking for an in-depth look at this thing with measurement graphs going over THD, sine waves, etc. you’ll want to look elsewhere. None of that matters to me, nor do the components inside that make the device tick. All I really care about is ease of use, how well it can drive my headphones and earphones, and if they still sound good to me plugged into it. Great battery life is a bonus. So is above average build quality. This review will go over my subjective impressions and experiences with the M0 and how it has served me over the last month and a half.

    Testing Sources/Devices:

    USD DAC mode was testing with my ASUS FX53V laptop. Bluetooth was tested with a number of products; ADVANCED Evo-X, PlusSound EXOBT cable module, Radsone ES100, and the Optoma NuForce BE6i. For more general listening, it was paired with a wide variety of earphones, from the super sensitive like the Astrotec Delphinus5, to more demanding sets like the Havi B3 Pro I. Some headphones used for testing were the Brainwavz HM100, thinksound On2, and the Philips SHP9500S.

    Specifications (from Shanling's product page linked above):
    • Size: 40 x 13 x 45mm
    • Screen: 1.54 inch 240 x 240 high definition touch screen
    • Weight: ~33g
    • DAC model: ESS Sabre ES9218P
    • Battery Life: ~15 hours (depending on the use)
    • Standby: ~ 30 days (depending on the situation)
    • Charging time: ~ 2 hours
    • Battery capacity: 640mAH lithium battery
    • Storage: maximum support 512G TF Card
    • Output port: headset output (3.5 mm)
    • Output power: 80mw@ 32 ohms
    • Output impedance: 0.16 ohms
    • Channel separation degree: 70dB
    • Recommended earphone impedance: 8-300 ohms
    • Frequency Response: 20HZ~20KHz
    • Distortion: 0.004% (A-Weighting, output 500mV)
    • Signal to noise ratio: 118dB (A-Weighting)
    • Bottom noise: <3uV (high gain)
    • Format Support: DSF, DFF, ISO, DXD, APE, FLAC, WAV, AIFF, AIF, DTS, MP3, WMA, AAC, OGG, ALAC, MP2, M4A, AC3
    • Bluetooth: SBC, AAC, aptX, LDAC (aptX not supported if being used as a receiver from another device, such as your cell phone)
    Be sure to visit their product page for a more in depth spec list.

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    Packaging and Accessories:

    The M0 comes in a reasonably compact package. At 13.5cm x 10cm x 4.5cm, it's about as large as your average earphone package. The exterior sheath is mostly white with the M0 lineup and it's various color adorning the front, surrounded by the usual branding for Hi-Res audio, various Bluetooth codex options, model information, and some stripes of color to lighten things up. It's all very cheery. On the back you find a small listen of specification in nine languages, along with some contact and location information for Shanling.

    Sliding off the sheath reveals a simple matte black box with Shanling printed in glossy back on the lid. A lot of companies have been doing this lately, but I like it. It looks classy and fairly upscale. Lifting the lid off reveals the M0 set within a dense, felt-coated foam insert. A ribbon is present, acting as a pull tab to remove the M0. Below is a smaller, Shanling branded cardboard box containing the fabric sheathed USB-C cable used for charging and the M0's ability to act as an external sound card. I like this cable a lot more than the one that original came with the M1. Seems to be much, much more durable. In all you get:
    • Shanling M0
    • USB-C cable
    • Manual
    Not as hugely in depth kit, but you have to remember this thing is a tech and feature powerhouse, yet it only costs 109 USD. That said, since they've moved to a touch screen with this model, a screen protector either preinstalled or included in the package would be nice. I suppose I can pick up one for a discontinued cell phone from a discount bin for a couple bucks and cut it down to size. Not a big deal.

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    Build, Software, and General Usage:

    The M1 set my expectations for what to expect from Shanling when it comes to build quality, and the M0 certainly did not disappoint. The M0's CNC machined aluminum shell features a unibody design making it extremely solid and free of flex. The compact size doesn't hurt that feeling of solidity either. The machining is absolutely flawless with rounded edges that conform naturally to the hand with the satin finish of the paint job giving you some extra security in your grip. The general shape means it looks quite similar to the M1, but in-hand it's a lot nicer to hold. The hardened, tempered curved glass protecting the screen beneath looks fantastic, should resist scratching fairly well, and fits perfectly in place without any unsightly gaps or misalignment.

    On the base of the unit you find the USB-C and 3.5mm ports. The top is bare. The left side of the unit contains the SD card slot, covered by a rubber-ringed plastic door. On the right is the new scroll wheel design, doubling as a button. On the M0, it sits horizontal to the side of the unit. It's not quite as easy to spin the wheel here as it was on the M1 due to the way the top of the wheel tapers in. That is despite the heavy knurling for grip. That said, it's not something you're going to be using consistently anyway since it's only used for volume control. The button is only used for turning the device on and off, and if you have the function set, either playing and pausing your music, or, skipping back or forth (not both) through tracks. You can decide on this alternative function from the 'System' menu under the 'Double click' option. The only complaint I can levy at the otherwise flawless build would be at that SD card cover. You have to wedge it in a very specific way, at least on my unit, to get it to close flush with the rest of the body of the unit. Again, not really much of an issue.

    The screen in use by the M0 was provided by LG and looks absolutely fantastic. At 240 x 240 it's not particularly hi-res, but the small size plays to the resolution on hand quite well. Album art is crisp and colors quite vibrant. Side by side with the M1 and it's higher res screen, you do see some pixelation on the M0 around fine detail on the same images, but overall it's pretty darn impressive. I didn't have much of an issue viewing the screen outside in bright light either. Viewing angles aren't amazing, but they're not terrible either. Straight on, tilting the device forward and back there isn't much loss of function. You see some minor discoloration but everything is still plenty visible. Tiling side to side sees colors fade or change, and a decrease in brightness. Visibility is better viewing from the left than the right. Since this is a touch screen unit I found myself looking straight at the M0, so the limited side-to-side viewing angles never came into play. Overall, it's a really nice screen. Probably better than it needs to be.

    The M0 uses a completely new touch-based UI designed by Shanling called MTouch OS. I was worried about how it would perform given the size of the M0. In use it is not only easy to navigate, but intuitive and quick too. I can live with a sub-par menu layout, which is not an issue with the M0, but speed is key. I have zero patience for sluggish interfaces that halt and stutter, or take a moment to register inputs. MTouch is plenty quick and smooth enough to satisfy my occasionally unrealistic expectations. On startup, you're taken through a very brief tutorial that guides you through the navigation process. Shanling didn't over-complicate things by adding a wide variety of gesture options. There isn't much more to it than tapping what you want to select, and swiping left-to-right across the screen to go back to the previous menu. I initially found scrolling up and down a little sensitive, often overshooting my desired track, but I quickly got used to the way the interface built up acceleration. I also found myself needing to swipe a few times to go back in the menus, but that was more a combination of my dry hands not being registered (something I have an issue with on most touch-based devices) and starting the swipe too far to the right. This device needs only one hand to navigate, and it won't take long for pretty much anyone to be zipping around through menus without a second thought.

    So far we know the M0 is well built and comfortable in the hand with a great software package and intuitive GUI. How does it all come together in general, everyday use. As you probably guessed, really well. Within the first hour of use, I was swooping through menus like it was second nature. Gapless playback isn't something I miss, or even use on my other players, but when enabled it proved itself to be a valuable feature. I enjoy listening to albums front to back, especially those intended to be enjoyed that way. The Crystal Method's “Community Service Vol. 1” is one of them, and the M0 handles the near invisible track transitions over the first half of the album without missing a beat. The small size of the M0 meant I could chuck it in my pocket, or that weird little one above the right pocket on my jeans. For the brief period I tested out the clip case, I attached it somewhere easy to access, like the top of my pocket, collar of my shirt, or the front pocket on one of my sweaters. Regardless of where it went, the M0 stayed out of the way, but easy to access. I also found myself setting the double-click feature to skip to the next track. Originally it was used to pause/play, but the M0 was leaving the pocket to skip tracks more than I felt the need to halt playback, so the switch was made.

    Like the M1 before it, the M0 can act as an external sound card. In order to use it in this mode, you need to first install the USB driver which can be downloaded from Shanling's site. The instruction file was in Chinese characters so I winged it to see how easy the process would be. I extracted the files, opened the .exe file, and at the end of the installation followed the instructions provided via a pop-up window and plugged the M0 in. Before that, however, I hopped into the 'System' menu to swap the USD mode from USB to DAC. As soon as all that was done, the system picked up the M0 as a sound device and starting piping my music through it. I then translated the instructions via Google and found out I did exactly what I was supposed to do. Super easy. Does the M0 work well as a USB DAC? Unfortunately, not really. At least not for video. For music it's fine. Audio is slightly de-synced when using the M0 for video content. It's watchable, but the delay is significant enough to be annoying. The older M1 does not have this issue so hopefully this is something Shanling can address with a future firmware update, if it's not a quirk limited to my particular sample.

    The M0 is rated for up to 15 hours of battery life. While I never did any formal measuring of battery life, I can say that it comfortably handled a few days of routine use at a time before charging was necessary. Running Bluetooth on a higher quality codec did seems to cut into battery life a fair bit and I found myself charging every other day when performing my listening over Bluetooth exclusively. Overall battery life seemed decent and more than fair given the size and feature set of this player. It charges pretty quickly anyway, taking around 2 hours from near empty.

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    Bluetooth and Radsone ES100 Comparo:

    The M0 has pretty decent codec support ( SBC, AAC, aptX, LDAC) and when paired with either a quality pair of Bluetooth headphones like the ADVANCED Model 3, or an excellent receiver like the Radsone Earstudio ES100, can provide a fantastic wireless experience. I had no issues with connection stability and range seemed to be around 33ft. Unimpeded, a distance that seems to be the standard nowadays. Sound quality is absolutely fantastic, particularly when connected to an LDAC supported device, and does not feel like a compromised experience compared to running your earphones wired. However, achieving the rated 15 hours of battery life isn't going to happen if you're going wireless on the routine, especially with the LDAC HD codec selected. Another really nice aspect of the M0 and it's Bluetooth functionality is that it accepts inputs from your headphone or receiver allowing you to control volume and change tracks without needing to pull out the M0.

    The ES100 has been my go to device for months now, running most of my gear. With the two devices connected, they defaulted to SBC which sounded satisfactory at best, lacking in dynamics and failing to provide the outstanding experience I have come to expect from these devices on their own. Diving into the Bluetooth menu, I found there were six quality options available, three of which were LDAC variants; SBC, AAC, aptX, LDAC Connect (Auto), LDAC Normal, and LDAC HQ. I'm assuming those three LDAC options refer to the three different transfer speeds available with LDAC (330 mbps, 660 mbps, and 990 mbps). LDAC HQ provided the auditory experience I had come to expect from the M0 and ES100 and was definitely the way to go when pairing the two. It was every bit a pleasant experience as running your earphones wired.

    A lot of people, myself included, were interested in how the M0 stacked up to the ES100 since they cost about the same and serve a number of similar functions. In favor of the M0, it is a more flexible device in some ways because not only does it offer Bluetooth capability, but it is also a fully featured DAP. However, the M0 can only serve as a Bluetooth receive for other devices, like a phone or laptop, with limited codec support. Even though both it and my LG G6 ThinQ support LDAC and they were both set to prioritize quality over efficiency, AAC was the highest quality connection that could be achieved. This leads to a decent, but slightly compromised, auditory experience. Connecting the ES100 to the same phone, an LDAC connection is possible and provides a cleaner sound. The M0 also showed itself to suffer from higher latency when acting as a receiver, with audio lagging behind video when compared to the ES100 which came across nearly 1:1.

    Both of these devices can also act as an external USB driven amplifier for your computer. The M0 connects at 48Khz/24bits while the ES100 connects at 48Khz/16bits. When it comes to sound quality, I didn't notice much of a difference between the two so choosing came down to signature preference. The ES100 has a more neutral and less colored stock signature, and as such I found it a better pairing than the M0 with a wider variety of products. It's volume rocker was also more convenient to access and use than the M0's scroll wheel. That said, the biggest reason to use the ES100 over the M0 was for media other than music, like music and gaming. Oddly enough, audio lags behind when used for these applications which is, as you would expect, quite distracting and certainly not ideal.

    Those physical controls on the ES100 in general gave it a huge edge over the M0 when used for the same tasks since the M0 is reliant on the touch screen for the vast majority of it's functionality. As a Bluetooth receiver the M0 is good, but the ES100 is great. As a USB amp, the M0 is good, but the ES100 is great. The M0 cannot replace it in the areas the ES100 is designed for and as a result they are better thought of as complimentary products, which they are, as opposed to competitors. I bet no one saw that coming :wink:

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    Sound and Select Comparisons:

    The M0 is good sounding player with a silky smooth presentation. It's not entirely neutral and uncolored, adding some warmth and extra bass to your music. Clarity and texture from top to bottom is quite good without any significant smoothing over of micro-details. Note separation and spacing is just fine allowing airy earphones to retain that quality. End-to-end extension is excellent with the M0 showing none of the early sub-bass roll off found in some cheaper products, like the Ruizu X02. When it comes to pairing the M0 with various earphones and headphones, I found it was quite flexible and wasn't really suited best to any particular signature. Be it powering the mildly u-shaped RE2000 from HiFiMan, the slightly mid-forward Delphinus5 from Astrotec, or the v-shaped Campfire Audio Polaris, the M0 was equally at home with any signature. If I were going to skew it anywhere, it would be towards neutral to bright earphones that are on the bass-lite side, something the M0 naturally compensates for somewhat. Bass-heavy options like the GT3 Superbass from ADVANCED might come across a bit heavy handed in the low end when paired with the M0, though you can always use the various EQ settings to compensate.

    HiFiMAN MegaMini: Compared to the similarly priced MegaMini from HiFiMAN, the M0 is much more compact comfortably fitting within the space beneath the MegaMini's buttons. The M0 is much thicker though, by nearly 1/3rd. The MegaMini looks fantastic and is still one of the cleaner, more mature designs I've seen, but it is made from plastic and doesn't feel quite as solid and durable. I do prefer holding it though since it fits better in the hand. The M0 is wonderful to hold, but those with larger hands will probably have troubles interacting with it's minuscule design. When it comes to software, the M0 is leaps and bounds ahead. Not only does it have tons more functionality, but the difference in speed is embarrassing for the MegaMini. Remember earlier when I said I have no patience for sluggish software. The MegaMini is the perfect example of this. The M0 does everything so much faster. It turns on in half the time. Once in the menus, with the Megamini you press a button and wait for a response. Rinse and repeat until you eventually get around to listening to music. And it's so much better now after some firmware updates. When I first got it the lag was unbearable. The M0 is seamless in comparison, responding to your inputs much more swiftly. In terms of sound, the M0 and MegaMini have a similarly warm feel but I'll give the edge to the MegaMini. It has a more airy, balanced presentation with tighter, more prominent treble, more full mids, and a less dominant low end bump without sacrificing extension. Treble control is similar. Bass impact through the M0 is more satisfying. MegaMini is slightly more detailed.

    Shanling M1: The M0 is similar in shape and design but obviously smaller and more compact. Both feature lots of metal and glass and feel like quality products, with the M0 seeing some improvements made to the design of the scroll wheel and integrated button. Speaking of buttons, where the M0 has a touch screen interface for navigation with minor involvement of the scroll wheel/button, the M1 makes due with a three physical buttons and it's somewhat awkward scroll wheel for all navigation. While I prefer physical buttons, I can't mince words in saying that I like how Shanling handled the M0's interface more, except when it comes to fine movements where the M1's buttons have an advantage. In general it is smoother and faster to navigate, feeling much more natural, especially if you're used to navigating smart phones. A combination of the two would be ideal but I'm sure that would add a fair bit to the cost. When it comes to sound the two a very comparable. The M0 shares the same smooth, organic presentation of the M1 but with a slightly bassier, warmer sound. The M1 produces a little more air between notes and comes across a touch more detailed. The M1's lighter sound is more suited to my tastes and preferred earphones.

    Suggestions for Improvement:
    • Would love to see a feature that allows you to adjust the scrolling acceleration. It's a little too quick for my preference, and slowing it down would make scanning through my music more convenient.
    • Would love to see a slight redesign on the scroll wheel to make it easier to spin. The way it tapers in makes it tough to get a handle on it, especially when it is within the leather case. Reducing that taper would be helpful.
    • A custom EQ option would be nice. In Shanling's defense, the presets are all quite varied and unlike the vast majority I've used on other products, can be useful since they alter the sound tastefully. In most cases. 'Lobby' just seems to turn everything into a muddied mess with no mid-range. Not sure why they included that one.

    Final Thoughts:

    Shanling knocked it out of the park with the M0. How they managed to cram most of the M1's functionality into a much smaller shell, while also integrating a usable touch screen from LG is pretty impressive. Also impressive is Shanling's new UI to make use of this responsive touch screen. I found it quite intuitive and simple to navigate. While I would like to see a couple tweaks here and there to make movement a bit more fluid and accurate, I can find little fault in how it currently works. My patience for mediocre software is essentially nil, and the M0 does very little to annoy. If I were to levy any qualms at the M0 here, it would be towards the delayed audio when using the M0 as a USB amp, though I don't imagine a ton of people will be using this feature anyway.

    The aluminum shell is wonderfully crafted with a neatly integrated, curved glass screen. The new scroll wheel design with an integrated power/alternative function button is compact and satisfying to use, though the tapered top makes it difficult to grip sometimes. This is especially true when the M0 is set within one of the optional cases. You can use it with just one finger, though I found that resulted in me pressing the button unintentionally more often than not. Overall the build quality and ergonomics are to be applauded, with yet another positive nod going towards the use of USB Type C.

    In addition to the nice UI and great build quality, the M0 doesn't disappoint with it's sound quality offering a lush, slightly warm signature. It also has decent output power for driving demanding earphones and headphones, with a high impedance mode coming in the clutch if needed. It really is a jack of all trades and for 109 USD offers up some pretty insane value, especially when you compare it to some other similarly priced devices.

    Well done yet again, Shanling. Thank you for giving me the chance to spend an extended period testing out this device, and thanks to YOU for reading!

    - B9Scrambler


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      hqssui likes this.
  7. Zelda
    Shanling M0
    Written by Zelda
    Published Dec 29, 2018
    Pros - Super compact and ultra portable.
    Very good build quality. All metal and very smooth finish.
    Solid battery (wired).
    Stable firmware and fast navigation.
    Decent sound quality for the price. Fun bass and clear midrange with good detail.
    2-way Bluetooth usage.
    Cons - Lack of physical buttons.
    Volume wheel accuracy.
    Touch screen response is not always accurate and sometimes very frustrating.
    Scrolling through lists can be annoying.
    A bit artificial treble tonality.
    Battery drains faster on BT mode.
    Some bugs...
    REVIEW - Shanling M0

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    Website - Shanling

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    Official M0 info

    • Size: 40*135*45mm
    • Screen: 1.54 inch, 240*240 high definition touch screen
    • Weight: ~33g
    • DAC model: ESS Sabre ES9218P
    • Battery time: up to 15 hours
    • Standby: about 30 days
    • Charging time: about 2 hours
    • Battery capacity: 640mAH lithium
    • Storage: Micro SD only, maximum support 512GB
    • Output port: 3.5mm
    • Output power: 80mw@ 32
    • Output impedance: 0.16
    • Channel separation degree: 70dB
    • Recommended earphone impedance: 8-300
    • Frequency range: 20HZ~20KHz
    • Distortion: 0.004% (A-Weighting, output 500mV)
    • Signal to noise ratio: 118dB (A-Weighting)
    • Bottom noise: <3uV (High gain)

    Price: $99~109.

    Purchased from MusicTeck.

    MusicTeck M0 link & Amazon MusicTeck store link.

    Great customer service and the package arrived in just a week time which is quite a record considering the usual customs delays.


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    The package includes the USB cable (Type A to Type-C), manual and warranty card.

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    The Shanling M0 is among the smallest portable audio players on the market. The design is not just super compact but also very cute, and probably a selling point for the M0. Build quality is not left behind. The unit is very well built with a whole CNC aluminum machined chassis (including the volume wheel) in a very smooth finish. The shape is well rounded on every single corner too. The square shape and low weight (<40g) is also very pocket-friendly and ultra-portable.

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    The M0 is not just compact but also very minimalistic. The front side consists of the small ~1.5" LG touch screen of tempered glass. The screen resolution is not too high with just 240*240 of display, though the brightness can be set high enough. Color depth is average but nothing to complain about for this small form factor.

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    At the bottom there are two different connections for multiple uses, USB Type-C socket to the left and 3.5mm plug. The USB port can be used not just for charging and access the micro SD, but also for DAC function, while the 3.5mm port can be set as output for extra amplification.

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    To the left, there is the hidden micro SD card slot and reset button, well protected by the plastic cover. There is no internal storage on the M0, though it should support up to 512GB cards. Only tested with 128GB Samsung card and no issues so far.

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    Finally, the right side holds the small control wheel used for volume adjustment, power on/off if held a few seconds and screen on/off on single press. There are extra 2 functions that may be assigned to this button by user preference (see next section).

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    User Interface & Software

    The interface is very simple. Apart from the volume wheel there are no physical controls and everything is managed by the small touch screen. It may sound that this makes things simpler, but in practice, the lack of the basic playback controls can be a disadvantage. Not a problem when using Bluetooth sets, but the 3.5mm plug does not respond to in-line controls.

    The wheel can be set to 2 extra functions by user preference, play/pause, next or back track; useful, but still limited. Moreover, the wheel lacks accuracy when adjusting the volume, usually jumping two steps instead of a single one. It is annoying but not a serious issue as the volume changes are very low from one step to another and probably something that could be fixed by a next firmware release.

    Using the Shanling own MTouch OS the navigation with the small touch screen is easy and the response is fast enough most of the time. You start with five different round tiles at the home screen and can go back to any previous menu with a short swipe to the right. The small screen can only show four lines a time, which is quite acceptable.

    In theory, it is also possible to go back to the home screen by single touch and hold on any screen or menu for a few seconds. However, in practice this feature is far from being perfect and can be more than frustrating; sometimes it works just fine, but others there is no response regardless what part of the screen is touched. Moreover, while the scrolling through lists is fast, it is also too sensitive and on a slight swipe up or down it will go to the end or top of the list; problematic when scrolling through long file lists. Also, if a folder or file name is too long for the screen, then it is possible to scroll the whole line text by a short swipe to the left; this must be made with lot of care, because if missed it will scroll to the beginning or end of the current list.

    The software on this M0 already arrived with the last 2.2 version. And good news that so far the system is surprisingly very stable, no freeze and never needed to reset the unit after a month of daily use.

    Below the different screens and menus:

    Playback screen(s)

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    Home screen(s)

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    My Music

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    Playback settings

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    [One note on the 'Resume mode' options. It does not always work as should, as for some reason (firmware bug), the player will not start on either the last track played ('track' option) or the position of the track ('location'). It is another annoying part, that (hopefully) must be fixed on a firmware release.]


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    Wheel shortcuts

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    Volume bar

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    Rated to perform up to 15 hours. A fair statement when using only the wired 3.5mm output with easy to drive gears with a volume level of around 30 (out of 100) and on low gain. However, the numbers will drop drastically when using any wireless feature even at lower ~20 volume steps, where the battery may hold up to around 10 hours. And if used as source for a DAC or amplifier then it will drain the battery even much faster.

    Charging time is actually fair and may take to ~2 hours to fully charge. The USB Type-C does not support fast charging.

    Bluetooth performance

    The M0 features a 2-way Bluetooth connection, so it can be used either as transmitter or receiver, supporting up to BT 4.1 version with common codec like SBC, AAC, AptX (not HD) and now various LDAC options. I used it mainly for streaming music to some portable earphones and headphones like the u-Jays Wireless, Zolo Liberty+ (total wireless) and the Soundcore Spirit pro for more active use. The paring is not always immediate even with devices already listed on the M0. Once paired the M0 automatically adjust to the best BT codec available. Connection is usually good but not perfect. The BT antenna appears to very sensitive, so if blocked a little bit there are some short interruptions on the music playback and it is very annoying when it happens. Otherwise, it can work continuously for some hours.

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    As receiver, it worked fine with a couple of Samsung Galaxy phones, and the BT connection was actually better than when used as transmitter.
    Either way, the volume can be adjusted by the M0 wheel, though the EQ won't work (not that is worth anyway).

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    DAC usage

    The M0 also features a bidirectional USB interface, so can be used either as external DAC, and might need to install extra drivers. It works fine and the playback can be done as usual through the M0 controls.

    Also, it is possible to use the M0 as source for an extra DAC; however, the volume is fixed to maximum so it is useless if used with something as the Dragonfly. Moreover, the battery is drained very fast too.

    Sound Quality

    The M0 rates a low output impedance and expectedly pairs pretty well with easy to drive gears with usual low impedance up to 32ohm and standard sensitivity of ~100db. It can drive any kind of IEMs, dynamic, multi BA or hybrid sets to more than an enough loud level without showing signs of distortion. Earbuds too are well powered as long as they rate up to 64 ohm, and didn't have problem to drive some headphones like the u-Jays, P55 Vento or even the Meze 99 Classics. Moreover, there was no hiss and the background is rather quiet with low floor noise.

    Some of the gears used include the iBasso IT01, Dunu Falcon-C, FLC 8N, final E4000 and CustomArt Fibae 3, Periodic Audio Be. For larger wired headphones, the Meze 99 and briefly the SoundMagic P55 Vento (v3).

    Inside, the small Shanling M0 adopts an ESS SABRE ES9218P DAC chip, found of a few good smartphones and on other small portable players as well, but of course with a sound tailored by the company.

    Sound-wise, the presentation is clean and mostly linear from lows to highs. It is not a neutral, flat reference sounding portable player, but does compete well within the $100 price. While there is not much coloration to the sound either, the M0 shows a noticeable lift on the mid-bass region for a bit fuller note on lower instruments. Easy to catch with any headphones that have a north of neutral bass response but not a serious bass boost with heavy-bass sets. Extension is limited without much sub-bass rumble or depths, but on the other hand the upper-bass is quite controlled and clean when reaching the lower midrange. Layering and texture are decent, and speed is actually good when paired with nice dynamic drivers.

    The midrange is neutral if a just bit laid-back. There is not much emphasis on either instruments or vocals, and while the tonality is neither too cold nor too warm it can sound a bit of dry and lean. The level of air and separation suits well for the price; better than a few sub $100 options but clearly below than more dedicated DAPs that cost 2 or 3 times more. Transparency is good enough with a fair level of detail.

    The treble has good control with just little boost on the low treble area for extra energy and sparkle, trying to impress with more detail and added fun factor. Extension is decent with just a small roll-off at the higher registers. There is not much room to complain about in terms of treble quantity; however, the quality is not as positive. The timbre is kind of off and more importantly it sounds kind of artificial; not a big issue when paired with more affordable earphones of around the $100 mark, but if going higher it will sound quite 'synthetic' and simplified.

    Soundstage is limited, lacks expansion and width with a more 2D effect, though the channel separation is good. It works good enough with IEM or closed headphones sets on lower budget that don't have a large stage presentation, but with higher stuff it will sound very closed and limited.

    As reference, the Lotoo Pico or xDuoo X10 are more expansive, and yet the M0 sounds more spacious and airy than the Nano D3 or Fiio M3K; so pretty much it fits well to its price range.

    M0 (45).jpg

    M0 (46).jpg
      Winterheim, Dsnuts, hqssui and 2 others like this.
    1. vanexe
      what do you mean by a bit artificial tuning with their treble? Thanks
      vanexe, Jan 10, 2019
    2. Zelda
      Usually it presents a small elevation on the treble area in order to bring some more detail (like more hi-fi), but results unnatural / synthetic and unrefined.
      Zelda, Jan 10, 2019