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Shanling M6 (21) Portable Hi-res Music Player – Now with new DAC

Shanling presents the new Shanling M6 (21) Portable Hi-res Music Player, which is an adaptation of the previously available Shanling M6 Android Player. Due to the current problematic situation around essential components, a different D/A converter had to be used.

Shanling M6 (21) Portable Hi-res Music Player is the name of the latest portable hi-res audio player from the Chinese specialist Shanling, which according to the company will probably come onto the European market in April 2021. It is no coincidence that the name of this new player is similar to the solution that Shanling already offers, namely the Shanling M6 Android Player.

The specialist for personal audio devices has been offering the Shanling M6 Android Player for less than two years, and actually no reason would have been seen to present a new model here. The Shanling M6 is still considered an impeccable solution for enjoying audio data in hi-res quality on the go, but the company has to react to the current situation on the market.

As is well known, in October 2020, a devastating fire broke out in the chip production of the specialist Asahi Kasei Microdevices, the company that is often referred to simply as AKM and is one of the most important suppliers of D/A converters. It was already clear in the autumn that this event would have a massive impact on the worldwide consumer electronics market through supply bottlenecks and also a significant price increase in the entire DAC sector. And it is precisely this that is now gradually becoming apparent, and is also affecting Shanling.

“AKM DACs have been an important part of Shanling’s audio designs for many years, being the core component in all of our higher positioned portable players. At the time of the fire, we had a reasonable stock of all the different DACs to keep production going, but we knew that at some point we would be forced to switch to other DACs.”


The Shenzhen-based company states that the Shanling M6 Android Player is the first portable hi-res audio player from the manufacturer’s product portfolio to undergo this transformation. To be fair, they did not even try to conceal this inevitable step with any marketing games and the presentation of a “new” product, but rather deal with it quite openly, calling the new version simply Shanling M6 (21) to refer to the changed D/A converters.

A pair of ESS Sabre ES9038Q2M DACs is used here, but these are not the only innovations.

The developers also rely on a newly designed output stage that is optimally adapted to the new D/A converters. In addition, Shanling can now offer full support for content encoded in MQA.

Apart from that, the technical equipment of the new Shanling M6 (21) is actually identical to the previous model Shanling M6 Android Player. It is offered exclusively in black, i.e. an elegant black anodised aluminium housing, with a gold rotary encoder providing a striking accent.

Unfortunately, it must also be noted that the new Shanling M6 (21) will be a bit more expensive than the previous model. Shanling quotes a price of € 569 for this solution. According to the manufacturer, the price increase is due to several reasons. On the one hand, there is the higher price of the D/A converter now used, on the other hand, there is the general price increase of other essential components on the market, different exchange rates between Renminbi and US Dollar as well as Euro, and last but not least, a new certification of the Shanling M6 (21) for the different markets.

By the way, anyone who still wants to get hold of a player with AKM DACs should do so as soon as possible, according to Shanling, as there are only a few remaining stocks available.

Getting to the point

Shanling, too, is of course massively affected by the current problems on the market, which are currently plaguing all manufacturers. Increased raw material prices, increased transport prices due to a shortage of capacities, the demand for integrated circuits that simply cannot be met, all this leads to the fact that sometimes serious changes have to be made in the existing product portfolio and products that are also in development have to be reconsidered and thus delayed. Shanling’s response to this is, among other things, a slightly adapted Shanling M6 Android Player, which will soon be launched on the market as the Shanling M6 (21) Portable Hi-res Music Player.

Distribution:NT Global Distribution GmbH
Price:€ 569,-
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Michael Holzinger

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

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