The Shanling UA2 Plus Portable USB DAC/AMP is the latest addition to the Shanling UA Line, the product series designed by the Chinese specialist Shanling for personal audio devices as particularly compact D/A converters with integrated headphone amplifiers. Solutions that are primarily designed for use with smartphones and tablets as a source, but can also be used with notebooks and even portable game consoles. The new Shanling UA2 Plus Portable USB DAC/AMP follows in the footsteps of the Shanling UA2 Portable USB DAC/AMP, although on closer inspection the two are very similar.
Shanling UA2 Plus with direct relationship to the Shanling UA2
The Shanling UA2 Portable USB DAC/AMP was, along with the Shanling UA1 Portable USB-C Adapter, the first device that Shanling presented as part of the Shanling UA Line, in August 2020. Since then, several other solutions have followed, but the Shanling UA2 Portable USB DAC/AMP was, according to Shanling, the most successful of this product family to date.
The new Shanling UA2 Plus Portable USB DAC/AMP is intended to build on this success, whereby the basic concept has been retained and the equipment has remained almost unchanged. However, there is one decisive detail that distinguishes the Shanling UA2 Plus Portable USB DAC/AMP from its brother without Plus.
4.4 mm Pentaconn instead of 2.5 mm jack
The new Shanling UA2 Plus Portable USB DAC/AMP has a 3.5 mm stereo mini jack for unbalanced connection of headphones and a 4.4 mm Pentaconn for balanced connection of headphones. The “little one” relied on a 2.5 mm jack for this.
USB-C for flexible use
For connection to source devices, the Shanling UA2 Plus Portable USB DAC/AMP naturally also offers a USB-C port and various cables, so that it can be plugged into a wide variety of solutions. The scope of delivery includes a USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB-A adapter, so that the Shanling UA2 Plus Portable USB DAC/AMP can be connected to a smartphone or tablet with Google Android as well as to any notebook. For Apple iPhone and Apple iPad, of course, a corresponding adapter is required, which must be purchased from third-party suppliers if necessary.
Converter from ESS Technology Inc.
The signal processing is done by a D/A converter from the specialist ESS Technology Inc., namely an ESS ES9038Q2M DAC that processes data in Linear PCM with up to 32 bits and 768 kHz as well as DSD up to DSD512. According to the manufacturer, the converter is supported by a high-precision low jitter clock for highest precision.
Output stage with high-quality amplifier
The output stage of the new Shanling UA2 Plus Portable USB DAC/AMP relies on a separate amplifier, namely a Dual Ricore RT6853, as the manufacturer states in its description. This is supposed to provide an output of 195 mW to headphones with an impedance of 32 ohms.
LED display plus own app
The new Shanling UA2 Plus Portable USB DAC/AMP has an LED that uses an RGB controller and thus different colours to always provide information about which signals are present.
For easy operation, the user is also provided with a dedicated app in the form of the Shanling Eddict app. This app is not only intended to enable the particularly sensitive control of the output power optimally for the different headphones, but also the intervention in the filters of the D/A converter. This app is available for Apple iOS and Google Android.
Prices and availability
According to Shanling, the new Shanling UA2 Plus Portable USB DAC/AMP should be available soon, with a price tag of US$ 89,-.
Getting to the point
The new Shanling UA2 Plus Portable USB DAC/AMP is another solution of the Shanling UA Line, the product line that the specialist for personal audio devices Shanling designed as a particularly compact USB dongle. The Shanling UA2 Plus Portable USB DAC/AMP is intended to build on the success of the Shanling UA2 Portable USB DAC/AMP, although it is similar to it except for one decisive detail: While the Shanling UA2 Portable USB DAC/AMP has a 3.5 mm stereo jack and a 2.5 mm jack, the new Shanling UA2 Plus Portable USB DAC/AMP has a 4.4 mm Pentaconn for balanced headphones in addition to the 3.5 mm stereo jack for unbalanced headphones.
|PRODUCT||SHANLING UA2 PLUS PORTABLE USB DAC/AMP|
|Distribution||NT Global Distribution GmbH|
|More about this manufacturer at HIFI BLOG|