Shanling M5s Flagship DAP Full Specifications Revealed! – Features Dual AKM AK4493EQ DAC

Shanling recently introduced their latest flagship portable Hi-Res digital audio player (DAP) – the Shanling M5s. It’s basically the successor to the dated M5 released around a couple of years ago. Aesthetically speaking, the M5s looks similar with the company’s M3s or a longer version of the M2s; but with refinements or improvements to the design. I like the M3s, it’s a good and reasonable mid-range DAP with good sound quality. A few hours ago, or yesterday, Shanling officially revealed the full specifications of the M5s. It features a fully balanced audio circuit and it’s powered by two new AKM AK4493EQ DAC chips combined with two OPA1612 and two AD8397. At this point, I can’t say how good the sound quality is since I haven’t auditioned it yet. But judging by the sound quality of the M3s, I bet the sound quality of the M5s will be stellar. Continue reading below for the full specifications of the Shanling M5s.

Shanling M5s portabale Hi-Res Digital Audio Player

Shanling M5s Flagship DAP Specifications

Okay, let’s start from the top. The Shanling M5s features two AKM AK4497EQ DAC chip in a fully balanced audio circuit. The two AKM AK4497EQ DAC chips are paired with 2x OPA1612 + 2x AD8397; and Shanling incorporated a copper shielding of the audio circuit. If you want to learn more about the AK4497EQ DAC chip, below is a description from AKM:

The AK4497 is a new generation premium 32-bit DAC based on AKM’s VELVET SOUND architecture that has been widely adopted by well-established high-end audio companies. High signal to noise performance is achieved by improving VELVET SOUND technology by supporting a larger current drive capability. The performance of an audio DAC using switched capacitor is expanded to the limit with the AK4497. In addition, AKM has developed an original process that has greatly improved low noise performance and electric margin for audio devices, increasing data amount and enhancing original acoustic sound that can be found in the sound strength.

Premium DAC VERITA AK4497EQ
● Dynamic Sound Playback with Large Amount of Playback Information: VELVET SOUND architecture is improved
Not only circuit designing but also the LSI manufacturing process was newly developed at AKM exclusively for AKM’s audio devices. The AK4497 is the first device to utilize this process in AKMs foundry. 32-bit processing is integrated for the IRD (Impulse Response Designed) Filter, reproducing a detailed and natural signal wave. A low-dispersion short delay filter was newly added to the other five filters found in our previous generation device. So, six different digital filter types are selectable according to the user audio and system preferences.

● AKM’s Best Performance D/A Converter
Low-distortion technology achieves industry’s best performance of -116dB THD+N DAC with 128dB S/N characteristic. The AK4497 has the best performance among AKM’s D/A converters. In addition, OSRD (Over Sampling Ratio Doubler) technology greatly reduces out of band noise.

● Supporting High Resolution Data
The first in the industry, a 22.4MHz DSD input is supported. The digital input supports up to 768 kHz PCM and 22.4 MHz DSD (Direct Stream Digital), recreating high-resolution sound that is as close as possible to the original acoustic source.

By the way, Cayin’s N8 flagship DAP will also feature two AK4497EQ DAC chips. And oh! Astell&Kern’s A&ultima SP1000 DAP also uses two AK4497EQ DAC chips. But this doesn’t mean that these DAP will sound the same. They won’t, but it’s good to know that Shanling is using a very good DAC chip used in top of the line digital audio players.

The Shanling M5s supports hi resolution audio format from lossy format to 32bit/768Khz files and up to DSD256. It will features an MTouch System 2.0, which is a different user interface from the M3s. It features a 3.2-inch display and (finally) it’s a touch display. Notice that the volume knob is slightly recessed and that’s definitely an improvement from the volume knob on the M3s. The M5s measures 117mm x 59mm x 16mm and weighs around 178g.

In terms of connectivity and output, the M5s has a 3.5mm singled ended and 2.5mm balanced output. The balanced output is 540 mW into 16 Ohm. Unfortunately, there’s no 4.4mm output. Shanling is using a USB Type-C port and it will also serve as a USB DAC and transport connection. However, I’m not sure if it’s a USB 2.0 or a USB 3.0 Type-C. Does it matter? Yes it does! USB 3.0 is much faster compared to USB 2.0. Either way, USB 2.0 Type-C would do as well.

Aside from wired connections, the Shanling M5s features a two-way Bluetooth connectivity with LDAC/AAC and aptX support. The aptX is for transmitter only. Then there’s also a WiFi connectivity that supports DLNA, Airplay and OTA update.

It’s powered by a 3400 mAh battery and will have a battery life of up to 16 hours of playback using the 3.5mm single ended output or up to 9 hours with the balanced output. There’s no built-in memory, but it can support microSD / microSDXC cards of up to 512GB capacity. Although, it’s just going to be a single SD card slot.

The Shanling M5s has an output impedance of <0.3 Ohm for both single ended and balanced. As for output power, the single ended has 240 mW @ 16 Ohm, 130 mW @ 32 Ohm, 13 mW @ 300 Ohm. And the balanced output has 540 mW @ 16 Ohm, 300 mW @ 32 Ohm, 29 mW @ 300 Ohm. The channel separation for the single ended output is 85 dB, and 109 dB for the balanced output. Finally, the M5s has a Signal to Noise ratio of 121 dB (A-weighted).

Shanling M5s Price and Release Date

As of the moment, Shanling hasn’t disclosed the suggested retail price and they are still waiting for the supply of the new AKM DAC chips. The company is targeting an October 2018 release. So hopefully by next month or early October we will have an idea on its retail price.

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