Shanling M0 Pro hi-fi player review: a capable baby

By: Alex Chub | 19.05.2023, 17:57

Miniature Shanling M0 Pro turned out to be a very interesting and successful Hi-Fi player, which has all chances to become popular. In addition to very pleasant, melodious and driving sound, it has a number of advantages. First of all, it is multifunctional. It can be used as a player, Bluetooth receiver and USB DAC in one very compact metal case. It has a simple and user-friendly interface, can be controlled from a smartphone, supports aptX and LDAC codecs, and runs for a long time on a single charge. The main significant complaint about Shanling M0 Pro is the absence of a 3.5 mm to 4.4 mm adapter in the package. In fact, not all functionality is available to the user out of the box. It would be more logical to increase the price a little and put the adapter in the box.

Shanling M0 Pro
Shanling M0 Pro
Portable Hi-Fi player with a metal case, 2xESS Saber ES9219C, 3.5 mm and 4.4 mm balanced outputs (via an adapter). It runs on MTouch OS and has a 1.54 inch touch screen. Supports DSD128, WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF

Current price on Amazon

5 reasons to buy Shanling M0 Pro:

  • Pleasant melodic sound
  • Can be used as a player, Bluetooth receiver, and USB DAC
  • Compact metal case
  • Simple and intuitive interface
  • Good battery life

2 reasons not to buy Shanling M0 Pro:

  • The lack of a 3.5 mm to 4.4 mm balanced adapter in the package
  • You are quite satisfied with the sound from your smartphone in inexpensive wireless headphones

Quick transition

  1. What's in the box?
  2. What does Shanling M0 Pro look like?
  3. What's inside and how comfortable are they to use?
  4. How does Shanling M0 Pro sound?
  5. How long does the battery last?
  6. In dry balance

What's in the box?

The Shanling M0 Pro comes in a relatively small orange box with a bright cover that provides basic technical information, including Hi-Res Audio, Audio Wireless labelling. Only the most necessary things are included. In addition to the player itself, there is a Type-C cable, documentation, and a spare screen protector (one is glued on from the factory).

What does Shanling M0 Pro look like?

The player is a logical successor to the quite popular Shanling M0 that the company released five years ago. It caught the fancy of the public due to its very compact size and nostalgic memories of the miniature SanDisk Sansa Clip and the 6th generation Apple iPod nano. Shanling M0 Pro continues this idea. The player is very compact, with dimensions of only 43.8 x 45 x 13.8 mm and a weight of 36.8 g. The company compares the dimensions of Shanling M0 Pro to the Apple Watch. The design is made in the style of other Shanling models. The main part of the case is made of metal, the side edges have a streamlined shape with cutouts.

The front panel has a black protective glass with rounded edges and a 1.54-inch touchscreen display with a resolution of 240x240. It's small, but it's quite enough to control the main functions of the player.

There is a metal wheel on the right side. Shanling uses it in most of its players and Bluetooth receivers. By default, it is responsible for adjusting the volume by scrolling and powering up the player with a long press. In the settings, you can add forward and reverse track switching by double and triple pressing, respectively. In general, the wheel is nice, but the movement is very light. It scrolled several times in my pocket. The upper and lower sides are flat and made of plastic: Shanling M0 Pro has a Bluetooth module, so it was necessary to place the antennas.

The bottom has a Type-C connector for charging and connecting to a PC or smartphone as a USB DAC, a microSD card slot (the player has no built-in memory), and an unusual 3.5mm headphone jack. It can operate in both standard and balanced modes. But for this purpose, you will have to buy a proprietary 3.5 mm to 4.4 mm balanced Pentaconn adapter separately. Unfortunately, the company decided not to bundle it with the player, but to sell it separately.

On the back there is only the Shanling logo, some technical information and HiRes Audio and HiRes Wireless logos. We reviewed the green version, and there are also black and red versions. The player looks interesting, and its miniature size allows you to carry it in any pocket. You can hardly feel it.

What's inside and how convenient is it to use?

Inside the player is the energy-efficient Ingenic X1000 processor, which is used for smart audio devices and IoT. The operating system is MTouch OS based on some variant of Linux. There is a Bluetooth 5.0 module: the player can work both as a source and a Bluetooth receiver. The codecs supported are SBC, AAC, aptX (downlink only), and LDAC. Shanling M0 Pro can also be used as a USB DAC with a PC via a cable. Two ESS ES9219C DACs/amplifiers are responsible for the sound in the player. It supports PCM up to 32-bit 384 kHz and native DSD128. The output power of the standard 3.5mm Single-Ended output is 90 mW, which is enough for the vast majority of both in-ear and full-size portable headphones. The balanced output has a much higher power of 236 mW and will cope with more serious headphones.

The proprietary MTouch OS interface has large interface elements and is very well adapted for a small touchscreen display. Most of the transitions between screens are performed by horizontal swipes. Moving your finger from left to right moves you to a higher level. The main menu consists of the usual items for a player: sound settings, playback, media library viewer and basic settings. At the top of the screen there are various marks of the current modes and indicators: battery power, clock, Bluetooth codec, playback marks, SyncLink (if activated). The settings include everything you need, from Bluetooth connectivity, clock settings and USB connection mode to double-clicking the wheel/button.

When using a smartphone as a source, playback can be controlled from both the player and the smartphone. And thanks to the proprietary Eddict Player app and SyncLink support, you can control the playback of music from a memory card in the player from your smartphone.

What does Shanling M0 Pro sound like?

The Shanling M0 Pro was used with Campfire Audio Polaris, Sennheiser HD 215, Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, Sony MDR-7506 headphones connected to a standard 3.5mm output. Unfortunately, neither a proprietary 4.4 mm adapter nor a corresponding cable was available during testing. Therefore, the conclusions about the sound quality refer exclusively to the standard 3.5 mm jack. Its power is enough for the vast majority of headphones, especially in-ear headphones. The general melodic and emotional mood inherent in Shanling is present. But, compared to Shanling M0, the sound has become more neutral in terms of frequency transmission, more detailed and more natural. Low frequencies are quite massive, elastic, well defined and have a pleasant clear attack. The sub-bass is present in moderate amount, but it is enough to create the necessary characteristic underlay. LF speed is not very high, but it is quite enough to create a clear rhythmic pattern. The middle pleasantly surprised with its rather high detail and naturalness. Usually, middle frequencies suffer the most in entry-level players. The midrange of the player is expressive, full of details and very melodic. High frequencies are a little softened and do not cut on the ears, which is quite expected for a "mass" player. But there is no lack of quantity, expressiveness and detail. All micro details and echoes are in place. The highs are enough to create an imaginary space and to make the sound more dynamic and emotional.

The common important advantage of all inexpensive Hi-Fi players is the unpretentiousness to the quality of the reproduced materials. This applies to Shanling M0 Pro as well. The player is also quite universal in terms of musical genres. Both simpler music such as electronica, pop or hip-hop, as well as jazz, symphonic, instrumental and heavy music sound good.

How long does the battery last?

The player uses a 650 mAh battery. Shanling claims that the player can run for up to 14.5 hours on a single charge when using the standard 3.5mm output and up to 10 hours on the balanced output. In actual use, the player lasts about 12 hours on a standard connection. A full charge takes about an hour.

Shanling M0 Pro
Shanling M0 Pro
  • Pleasant melodic sound
  • Can be used as a player, Bluetooth receiver, and USB DAC
  • Compact metal case
  • Simple and intuitive interface
  • Good battery life

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To sum up: three things you need to know about Shanling M0 Pro.

  • Shanling M0 Pro has a high-quality sound
  • The player has a built-in unusual 3.5mm output, which can be used as a balanced output using a proprietary adapter with a 4.4mm jack, which is not supplied
  • Shanling M0 Pro can be used as a player, Bluetooth receiver and USB DAC
Shanling M0 Pro
Processor Ingenic X1000
Operating system MTouch OS
Built-in memory none
Display. 1.54", 240x240 dots, touchscreen
Output power 90 mW (Single ended) / 236 mW (Balanced) at 32 ohms
Maximum resolution up to 384 kHz / 32 bit
Supported formats DSD128, WAV, FLAC, WMA, MP3, OGG, APE, AAC, ALAC, AIFF, DFF, DSF
Connectors USB Type-C, 3.5 mm, 4.4 mm balanced Pentaconn (using an adapter not included), MicroSD
Wireless interfaces Bluetooth 5.0, SBC, AAC, aptX (return only), LDAC
Battery. 650 mAh, up to 14.5 g (3.5-mm), 10 g (balanced)
Dimensions and weight 43.8x45x13.8 mm, 36.8 mm
Shanling M0 Pro
Miniature Hi-Fi player

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The editors would like to thank the Soundmag store for kindly providing the player for review