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Shanling M0 Pro DAP Review

Rate this audio player:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 3 2.1%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 54 38.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 72 51.4%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 11 7.9%

  • Total voters
    140

amirm

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This is a review, measurements and listening tests of the Shanling M0 Pro digital audio player and DAC. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $129.99 on Amazon.
Shanling M0 Pro SD Card DAC Portable Player Review.jpg

As you see, this is a very diminutive player, easily fitting in your pocket weighing almost nothing. Music is stored on micro-SD card that you have to provide:
Shanling M0 Pro SD Card DAC Portable Player Headphone Review.jpg

Using the USB connection, you can treat the device as a mass storage unit and transfer files to it. Or you can configure it as a DAC. I did not test it but apparently it can also act like a host, driving other DACs.

The 3.5 mm plug can be converted to 4.4 mm balanced using their adapter which I did not have. Shame as I would have preferred balanced output if they are going to provide one connector.

The sole control is a rotary one which controls the volume. You can click it in to wake up the unit. Other input is through swipes on the touch panel which I barely learned to use. I wish the processor was faster as scrolling can be somewhat sluggish. Overall too annoying for me to use but you may think otherwise.

Shanling M0 Pro Measurement
As noted, I don't have the balanced adapter which would increase the output level and possibly lower distortion at the same level as 3.5mm produces. So let's go with what we have in high gain unless stated otherwise:
Shanling M0 Pro SD Card DAC Portable Player Measurement.png


Nice to see 2 volts output as I would be grumpy otherwise. There is fair bit of distortion which directly impacts SINAD. Lowering the volume helps with that. Going with what we have and treating the unit as a "DAC," performance is "fair:"
Best portable audio player review.png

Best portable audio player zoomed review.png


I would have wanted SINAD over 100. Good news is that noise performance is quite good:
Shanling M0 Pro SD Card DAC Portable Player DNR Measurement.png

Best low noise portable music player review.png


Which is what you want as most people likely would use an IEM with this unit.

I tested Jitter even though playback was from SD card (most of the time jitter is internally generated and not from the external source):
Shanling M0 Pro SD Card DAC Portable Player jitter Measurement.png

This is quite a bit cleaner than many dongles.

Good multitone performance shows what you get when the output level is lower:
Shanling M0 Pro SD Card DAC Portable Player Multitone Measurement.png


Power is just about everything in a headphone amp so let's measure that at 300 ohm:
Shanling M0 Pro SD Card DAC Portable Player Power 300 Measurement.png

Most power portable music player review 300.png


This is the area that would improve the most if you used balanced output. As is, performance is respectable especially if you compare it to what you can get out of a phone dongle.

32 ohm is current limited so likely won't matter if you have balanced:
Shanling M0 Pro SD Card DAC Portable Player Power 32 Measurement.png

Most power portable music player review 32 ohm.png


Shanling M0 Pro Listening Tests
I started with my everyday Dan Clark Stealth headphone with is both low impedance and difficult to drive. Predictably, at anything other than soft levels bass notes would get distorted. Switching to Sennheiser HD-650 improved things quite a bit, allowing enjoyable listening at even elevated levels. Balanced output would make it perfect.

Conclusions
Measured performance of M0 Pro is "good" in my book when you add it all up. User interface is adequate if you are not picky like me. Overall package is tiny, and very lightweight which is a major plus. And of course the price is right as there are phone dongles that cost nearly this much.

Overall, I am going to give the Shanling M0 Pro a recommendation even though personally I would not use it.

Manufacturers Specifications:

Dimensions: 43.8 x 45 x 13.8
Weight: 36.8g
Display: 1.54-Inch 240 x 240
DAC: Dual ESS ES9219C
Memory: MicroSD card slot, up to 2TB support
Battery: 650 mAh
Battery Life: Up to 14.5 hours
Bluetooth 5.0
BT Codec Support: LDAC, aptX, AAC, SBC Transmitter / LDAC, AAC, SBC Receiver
Hi-Res support: 32 bit / 384 kHz & DSD128

Single-Ended Output
Output Power: 1.7 V @ 32 Ohm (90 mW)
Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 40 kHz
THD+N: 0.0006%
SNR: 118 dB @ 32 Ohm
Channel Separation: 72 dB @ 32 Ohm
Output Impedance: 0.4 Ohm

Balanced Output
Output Power: 2.75 V @ 32 Ohm (236 mW)
Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 40 kHz
THD+N: 0.0004%
SNR: 119 dB @ 32 Ohm
Channel Separation: 109 dB @ 32 Ohm
Output Impedance: 0.8 Ohm

------------
As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
 
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respice finem

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"Fine" with me, though I don't quite understand the purpose of such players, considering everybody has a portable player already, which is a smartphone. Maybe to save space on said smartphone?
 
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restorer-john

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"Fine" with me, though I don't quite understand the puropse of such players, considering everybody has a portable player already, which is a smartphone. Maybe to save space on said smartphone?

Battery life perhaps? Or risk- you could take that to the beach or jog with it and not have to worry about dropping/losing/getting it stolen?

I think it looks fine, tests decent enough, but I'd worry (for me) the screen is too small.

Thanks @amirm for continuing to test such devices. I'd love to see one of those TOTL Sony DAPs on the test bench.
 

AluminiumEar

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For me it's a big no, if i want to use wired IEM, my phone and a small dongle like Meizu Pro is good enough.
 

Sal1950

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The sole control is a rotary one which controls the volume. You can click it in to wake up the unit. Other input is through swipes on the touch panel which I barely learned to use. I wish the processor was faster as scrolling can be somewhat sluggish. Overall too annoying for me to use but you may think otherwise.
Cute little guy, when I first saw it I was hoping it might be a more modern replacement for my very ageing Sansa Clip +.
But the minute I read about the swipe touch control panel I knew it wasn't for me, I hate those damn things. The first remote
I got for my Apple 4K has one and its junk to use. Later generation units went back to a conventional 5 way controller.
Oh well, for my uses, portable music in my trunk, at the poolside, etc, my little Sansa still fills the bill for me and they're still available everywhere for mostly under $50


81biig9k52L._AC_UF1000,1000_QL80_.jpg
 

Sal1950

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Or risk- you could take that to the beach or jog with it and not have to worry about dropping/losing/getting it stolen?
Amen, I don't have a "smart phone" either. I don't want to carry around the big clunky expensive things simply to make
a phone call.
 

lewdish

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For me it's a big no, if i want to use wired IEM, my phone and a small dongle like Meizu Pro is good enough.
Imma be honest carrying a dongle has been more of a hassle than a phone or a dedicated device. You would not believe how many dongles I've lost or broken in the last few years, it's made me reconsider needing a dongle for anything other than e-waste, esp on more powerful higher performing models.
 

fin

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It's fascinating that it can function as a DAC and also drive other DACs. It appears to act as a battery-powered dongle for other devices. I'm curious if it can be charged using your phone. In that scenario you could listen to music from your phone through it, and when you're concerned about your phone's battery life just disconnect it and listen directly from this device. If possible I can see it being useful in that case.
 

Michael Fidler

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VOTED fine - it would have been nice to see a higher power output for high-impedance headphones but I guess for something that runs off a battery of limited size a lower voltage output is somewhat par for the course. For what it is, it's pretty good.
 

staticV3

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VOTED fine - it would have been nice to see a higher power output for high-impedance headphones but I guess for something that runs off a battery of limited size a lower voltage output is somewhat par for the course.
The M0 Pro supports higher output power via the included 3.5 to 4.4 adapter.
The owner did not send that adapter to Amir, so he could only test the low power 3.5mm single-ended output.
 

Michael Fidler

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The M0 Pro supports higher output power via the included 3.5 to 4.4 adapter.
The owner did not send that adapter to Amir, so he could only test the low power 3.5mm single-ended output.
A good feature to have but I would still feel 64mW in 300 ohms (doubling of voltage from 16mW) not to be quite enough for the most intensive listening, although for a portable media player it's probably fine.
 

Dennis_FL

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USB powered?
 

staticV3

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A good feature to have but I would still feel 64mW in 300 ohms (doubling of voltage from 16mW) not to be quite enough for the most intensive listening, although for a portable media player it's probably fine.
Let me ask you this: what is the Average SPL (not Peak) that you deem appropriate for intensive listening?
 

Rottmannash

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@amirm I'd like to send you either my Hiby R5 which has fairly high power in 4.4 mm or the Fiio M10+. I wonder how they'd both perform. The Fiio is a much more expensive DAP but very heavy/clunky so hard to carry around.
 

Michael Fidler

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Let me ask you this: what is the Average SPL (not Peak) that you deem appropriate for intensive listening?
70-80dB for normal listening with loudspeakers, but with headphones it can get up to 90dB for short periods. 'Average SPL' doesn't really mean much when we're talking about music with wide dynamic range (such as classical etc.)...

With that said I think 100mW is a good target for a 300 ohm headphone. I use Sennheiser HD600s which produce about 92dB SPL at 1mW, which would give us 110dB peak SPL with this media player in balanced mode (assuming that there's no significant drop in output voltage from doubling the current in bridge mode for this device). It's a pretty high SPL but for short bursts/transients it won't damage hearing. A typical orchestra playing all out can reach between 110-115dB SPL peak level, so even if we do away with the peak-to-average argument there's a chance that 64mW isn't enough to replicate this without overload through a typical pair of high-impedance cans...

100mW into 300 ohms will give you 112dB through a pair of HD600s which I would consider the minimum for highly dynamic music at lifelike listening levels.
 
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