The new Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/ AMP joins the so-called Shanling UA Line, thus representing another particularly compact, mobile solution for high-quality audio playback, especially on the go. However, the Chinese specialist for personal audio devices Shanling states that the new Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/ AMP presents itself a little differently than the previously available solutions of the Shanling UA Line.
The new Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/ AMP is said to provide a solution whose flexibility is significantly greater than the products available to date.
A new direction in the Shanling UA Line
According to the manufacturer, the new Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/ AMP takes a somewhat different direction than the products previously offered within the Shanling UA Line.
While solutions such as the Shanling UA1 Portable USB-C Adapter or the Shanling UA1 Pro Portable USB-C Adapter or the Shanling UA2 USB DAC/AMP were essentially designed as so-called USB dongles and thus deliberately very simple, the new Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/ AMP is oriented more towards solutions that are located above the Shanling UA Line.
The new Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/ AMP has turned out to be a bit bigger than the already mentioned solutions, but it is still a very compact solution that can be taken along everywhere.
This is mainly due to the fact that the new Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/ AMP comes with some features that have not been found in this product range so far, such as a volume control and a display.
The new Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/ AMP also offers more flexibility in terms of connections than its smaller brothers.
Volume control and display
First and foremost, the two features, a volume control and the display, naturally serve to make the new Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/ AMP particularly convenient to operate.
The volume control, designed as a rotary encoder, is not only used to control the volume, but also to control various parameters. The display has been implemented for this purpose, even if it is “only” a monochrome 1.44 inch OLED display.
USB-C for connection to source devices
In the tried and tested manner, USB-C is used to connect to source devices, first and foremost smartphones and tablets, of course, but also notebooks. Since the new Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/ AMP supports UAC 2.0 as well as UAC 1.0, it can also be used for portable gaming devices such as a Nintendo Switch.
Signal processing with 32 bit and 768 kHz as well as DSD512
It must be emphasised that the “little one” offers hi-res audio up to 32 bits and 768 kHz with linear PCM, as well as DSD up to and including DSD512, and is thus optimally equipped for all eventualities. At the heart of the signal processing are two ESS ES9038Q2M D/A converters from the specialist ESS Technology Inc. and two Ricore RE6863 amplifiers. The signal processing of the new Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/ AMP is therefore fully balanced.
Amazingly Versatile Connections
The new Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/ AMP now features a balanced 4.4 mm jack as well as an unbalanced 3.5 mm stereo mini jack, the latter also accommodating an optical S/PDIF interface.
By the way, the manufacturer specifies 137 mW at 32 ohms for the unbalanced output and 211 mW at 32 ohms for the balanced connection.
Hybrid Battery Power Mode
It is interesting to note that the new Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/ AMP has two operating modes, namely the so-called Full USB Power Mode and Hybrid Battery Power Mode. The manufacturer emphasises the latter as especially recommendable, because it is a particularly “clean” solution for power supply via an integrated 220 mAh battery.
Of course, the new Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/ AMP is also designed to be particularly solid, so that it can be used anywhere and at any time. The housing is therefore made of aluminium, and you can choose between a black or red anodised finish.
Prices and Availability
The new Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/ AMP is now available from specialist retailers, as stated when it was first announced in January 2022. The manufacturer recommends this solution equally for Apple iOS, Google Android, Microsoft Windows as well as Apple macOS and therefore includes a USB-C to USB-C cable as well as an adapter for USB-A. For use with an Apple iPhone with Apple Lightning connector, a corresponding adapter is required, which is not part of the scope of delivery.
The recommended retail price for the new Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/AMP is € 235,-.
A matching leather case is, of course, also said to be available, in black, grey and brown finishes, priced at around €15,-.
Getting to the point
The new Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/ AMP features a volume wheel for independent volume control, a small screen for easy access to multiple settings right on the unit, a balanced 4.4 mm connector instead of the fragile 2.5 mm connector, a fully balanced audio circuit, a digital output in the form of an SPDIF interface, and a special hybrid battery power mode to reduce smartphone battery consumption. All this shows that with this new solution of the Shanling UA Line, Shanling is clearly orienting itself towards products that are located above it and is not relying solely on a USB dongle that is as simple as possible, as has been the case so far in this series. This also makes it clear that the Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/ AMP is the new flagship of the Shanling UA Line.
|PRODUCT||SHANLING UA5 PORTABLE USB DAC/ AMP|
|Price||Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/AMP € 235,-|
Leather Case for Shanling UA5 Portable USB DAC/AMP € 15,-
|Distribution||NT Global Distribution GmbH|
|More about this manufacturer at HIFI BLOG|