Shanling M7 Review
Shanling M7 Review
Shanling M7 Review

Shanling M7 Review: Capable of delivering high-quality sound

Shanling M7 Review
9

For over 30 years, Shanling has established itself as a prominent producer of high-end audio accessories, earning a reputable position among audio connoisseurs. However, for those familiar with the brand’s authority in the player market, there’s no need to elaborate. Today’s review focuses on the Shanling M7, a flagship player that embodies the pinnacle of Shanling’s expertise and craftsmanship.

Packaging

 

The Shanling M7 arrives in an elegant bronze rectangular box, comprised of two parts. Upon unwrapping, the tactile box, reminiscent of leather in texture, is revealed. Opening it like a book reveals the player on the left side, while accessories are neatly arranged on the right. The presentation is captivating, designed to evoke a sense of admiration and excitement.

Complete set :

  • Player
  • USB-C cable
  • Protective film
  • Manual

Technical features

  • Shanling M7¬†uses the ES9038PRO 8-channel flagship DAC configured in current mode and supports up to 768kHz/32bit and DSD512 decoding
  • A power supply such as the Shanling M9 is used along with ES9311 voltage regulators to ensure a clean and stable power supply to the audio circuit.
  • Available CPAF technology based on mathematical algorithms to correct phase errors in the entire audio spectrum caused by low-pass filtering.
  • The player includes an I/V conversion stage for its 4-channel amplification circuit. In line with other DAPs, the OP+BUF stage design is used in a single-board acoustic design, and the fully balanced architecture is capable of delivering 900mW into 32 ohms, which is pretty decent for a pocket-sized device, but only for a balanced output. On an unbalanced output, the power is 400 mW at 32 Ohms.
  • High-precision thin-film resistors, Panasonic polymer capacitors with high precision and low sensitivity to temperature fluctuations, as well as high-quality ELNA Silmic II capacitors from Japan are implemented around the signal path.
  • Dual ADI ADA4896-2 is used in the I/V stage with matched resistors and capacitors, as well as a Muses8920 dual-channel J-FET op-amp, which provides excellent noise cancellation performance. In addition, the TI-OPA221 and BUF634A from Texas Instruments are available in the circuit.

 

Design

I appreciate the understated exterior design of the Shanling M7. Unlike some other Chinese players like Fiio, which can be overly flashy with unnecessary details, the M7 exudes a sense of modesty. Its brick-like shape features sharp geometry softened by rounded edges that fit comfortably in the palm of your hand. The corrugated side borders provide a secure grip, resembling gentle waves. Despite its unique shape, the screen size is maximized without compromising on aesthetics, thanks to the cleverly mounted display framed by the side ribs. The silver matte coating of the player’s cover adds a touch of elegance while resisting fingerprint smudges.

Operating system and battery

The Shanling M7 operates on Android 10, providing a smooth user experience without throttling or freezing. It functions like a regular Android phone with features such as three Gain presets (Low, Medium, High), Bluetooth connectivity, and various operating modes including Android mode, Prime mode, and USB DAC mode for connecting to a PC. It also offers a low-frequency filtering mode with seven presets to customize the audio experience.

Powered by a Snapdragon 665 processor, the M7 boasts Wi-Fi 2.4G/5G and Bluetooth 5.0 support with LDAC, LHDC, aptX HD, aptX, and SBC codecs. It features 128 GB of internal memory (20 GB allocated for the system) and 6 GB of RAM.

With a robust 7000mAh battery, the M7 provides up to 10 hours of music playback, depending on the chosen input (approximately +- 1 hour). It charges quickly and evenly discharges, offering good autonomy. When using Bluetooth, the playback time is approximately +- 8.5 hours.

Experience of use

The Shanling M7 features an excellent touch screen with a resolution of 1080×1920. On its body, there are four functional buttons: a wheel on the right side and three keys on the left side, providing simple and clear controls. The volume control wheel is particularly convenient, offering reliable and pleasant adjustment without any backlash.

However, it’s worth noting that the device lacks a 6.3 mm jack, offering only 4.4 mm and 3.5 mm options. Additionally, the micro SD card slot may not securely hold the plug, requiring firm pressure to keep it in place.

In terms of weight, the M7 is relatively light at 312 g compared to other devices. However, it tends to generate significant heat during operation, which has been noted by many users. This can be uncomfortable, especially in warmer weather.

Regarding functionality, the M7, like many other players, may suffer from unnecessary features that drive up the cost without significantly improving the user experience. Features like full Android support, which allows for installing apps like Instagram or Facebook, may not be relevant to the primary purpose of the player, which is to reproduce audio signals. This raises questions about the value proposition of such devices, especially when they are priced higher than flagship smartphones despite lacking features like cameras, speakers, and microphones.

Sound

The sound of the Shanling M7 appears neutral, with a premium and refined quality often associated with Hi-Res Audio. The low frequencies are well-reproduced, offering voluminous and clear bass without excessive emphasis. Mid frequencies are melodic and pleasant, although there may be some subtle coloring in this region compared to the lows and highs. Instruments and vocals sound refined and natural, capturing attention with their clarity and detail.

The trebles are not overly emphasized but are well-detailed and contribute to a clean sound with a wide soundstage. Compared to conventional audio players or basic jacks in PCs, the difference in sound quality is noticeable, even to the untrained ear. Overall, the Shanling M7 offers a unique sound signature that many audiophiles may consider top-tier, possibly even reaching “endgame” status for some.

Conclusion

It’s clear that the Shanling M7 left a lasting impression on you with its stylish design and enjoyable user experience. Being paired with top limited in-ear monitors (IEMs) and enhancing special musical evenings speaks to its capability to deliver high-quality sound and elevate the listening experience.

Shanling M7 Review
Shanling M7
9

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