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Shanling M3 Ultra – New DAP of the Shanling M Line

With the compact dimensions of its predecessor but with the latest Google Android platform and improved gearstick, the new Shanling M3 Ultra is to be presented by Shanling as the new offspring of the Shanling M Line.

Shanling describes the new Shanling M3 Ultra, which the specialist for personal audio devices is now announcing for the next few weeks, as a DAP that offers the ideal balance between high-quality features and compact dimensions for maximum mobility. It is the latest addition to the so-called Shanling M Line, the product line of portable hi-res audio players that Shanling develops on the basis of the Google Android operating system.

Shanling M3 Ultra – With the design of its predecessor

The new Shanling M3 Ultra follows on directly from its predecessor, with a form factor that is extremely popular with users. The shape and size of the new Shanling M3 Ultra, which first and foremost allows for a 4.2-inch display with 1.280 x 768 pixels as the central control element, also represents the ideal balance between the user-friendliness of the system and the mobility of the device. The aluminium frame retains the same overall design, with only a few minor adjustments, including a new solution for the microSD card flap, according to the manufacturer.

New Google Android platform

Even if only subtle changes have been made to the design, the Shanling M3 Ultra is said to have a completely redesigned circuit board inside. The developers have opted for a new Google Android platform. This is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 platform with an octa-core processor and now uses Google Android 10, which is supposed to offer the Shanling M3 Ultra higher performance and greater compatibility for the future.

In this context, the manufacturer explicitly refers to the fact that a so-called AGLO system is used, whereby this abbreviation stands for Android Global Lossless Output and ensures optimal performance in signal processing.

D/A converter from ESS Technology Inc.

According to the manufacturer, the audio section of the new Shanling M3 Ultra is based on the same D/A converter used in its predecessor, a pair of ESS ES9219C DACs from ESS Technology Inc, but now with more sophisticated circuitry around them. Two Ricore RT6863s were added to serve as dedicated headphone amplifiers, allowing the player to more easily handle the headphone load, resulting in lower distortion, wider dynamic range and overall improved clarity. Much attention was also paid to the ELNA Silmic II capacitors used, as Shanling says they proved crucial to the sound tuning of the Shanling M3 Ultra.

The converter is capable of processing signals in Linear PCM up to 32-bit and 384 kHz, DSD up to DSD256, as well as content encoded in MQA.

The Shanling M3 Ultra offers a 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack for unbalanced headphones and a 4.4 mm pentaconn for a balanced connection, which is said to guarantee an output power of 260 mW on headphones with an impedance of 32 ohms.

Bluetooth 5.0 from Qualcomm

The new Shanling M3 Ultra now uses Bluetooth 5.0, a module from Qualcomm Inc. that is part of the Qualcomm Snapdragon Platform. This module not only supports the lossy codecs SBC and AAC, but also features aptX and aptX HD to guarantee signal transmission in hi-res audio with 24 bits and 48 kHz.

Of course, the new Shanling M3 Ultra has an integrated WiFi module and a USB-C interface is available for data exchange and for charging the integrated battery.

Prices and availability

According to the manufacturer, the new Shanling M3 Ultra will be available on the market this year. The recommended retail price is € 479,-.

Getting to the point

The new Shanling M3 Ultra is an interesting option for users who are looking for a compact, attractively priced DAP that is nevertheless based on Google Android and thus offers all the flexibility this entails. The so-called Shanling M Line of the Chinese specialist for personal audio devices Shanling thus receives a welcome extension.

Price€ 479,-
DistributionNT Global Distribution GmbH
More about this manufacturer at HIFI BLOG
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Michael Holzinger

Michael Holzinger, founder and editor-in-chief of HiFi BLOG and, has been working for years as a journalist in the fields of IT, photography, telecommunications and consumer electronics.

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