Compendium updated February 22nd, 2021
A good DAP is hard to find, especially in the entry-level price range. It's not hard to see why. A DAP wears every hat of the audio system--DAC, amp, storage system, UI, and everything else except the headphones --and must pull those things off at least as well as your laptop or phone, items which retail for magnitutdes more than most people are willing to pay for any one DAP.
A good DAP almost never retails for less than $500, except in rare cases. The Shanling M2X is that rare case. We’ve compiled reviews from across the web for your reference. What you’ll find here are the TLDR versions of the full reviews (which you can access with the provided links). We’ll continue updating this compendium as reviews come in.
From Headfonics' review of the Shanglin M2X Portable Digital Audio Player, first published on July 24th, 2019:
“The M2X is my first Shanling. It’s also one whose indelible experience may be a hurdle for future DAPs in the price range. It is designed so well, has such a nice screen, is easy to use, and it both measures and sounds good. It is Grade A in almost every metric I can think to throw at it, balanced by A+ and A- in a few areas.
“I wish it had a crossfeed system. I wish its Bluetooth connection quality was better. But I’ve no problems with its sound or performance or utility in the hand. It sounds great and better yet, it works without UI or other feedback problems. That is far more than I can say for the DP-S1 and Plenue D2, which are plagued by screen, UI, and graphical issues.”
From Audiophile Heaven's review of the Shanglin M2X Portable Digital Audio Player, first published on January 28th, 2021:
“At the end of this review, if you’re looking for a high-quality DAP, one that doesn’t cost a lot, but which is portable, one that supports microSD cards up to 2TB, and one that has access to Tidal, as well as Airplay and Bluetooth, Shanling M2X checks all points, and has a smooth OS, and a good touchscreen and ergonomic shape that make it a really easy choice for those looking for a new DAP.”
From Everyday Listening's review of the Shanglin M2X Portable Digital Audio Player, first published on August 10th, 2019:
“The M2X is one of the most impressive midrange DAPs I’ve tested recently on behalf of its well-rounded design and performance. Undoubtedly, the device is a looker with build quality that belies its asking price much like the smaller M0 before it. The UI is intuitive and fluid, the device also has a high screen to body ratio than previous Shanling DAPs granting it a more modern aesthetic. The controls are intuitive and the addition of a balanced output brings real benefits to power output and, to my ear, soundstage. I am especially enamoured by this DAP’s sound; its clean background and hint of inviting warmth and smoothness that makes it perfect for long listening sessions. And yet, its presentation does not falter under scrutiny, revealing a resolving presentation with a wide soundstage. The M2X excels not on by a single merit, but the combination of many, making it an easy recommendation at its asking price.”
From Soundphile's review of the Shanglin M2X Portable Digital Audio Player, first published on May 4th, 2019:
“The Shanling M2X is lovely indeed. Its only limitation is that it does not have Spotify, but that won’t scare off those who look for a great “offline” portable player or who can/want to use Tidal. The M2X is well made and sounds really great. Its few flaws are minor and the company seems to be aware of them, as they showed by introducing the “double click to power on” option with a software update. Given the company’s great reputation, I am sure they will make the M2X grow even better. It’s already a device anyone can enjoy – and, most importantly, a device anyone can truly enjoy listening their music with.”
From Headfonia's review of the Shanglin M2X Portable Digital Audio Player, first published on April 25th, 2019:
“Simply put, the Shanling M2X is an M5S in kid clothes. You get the same sound signature – dry, precise, subtle – without the awkward design previously shown by the M5S. I was afraid the M2X might have lost what made the M5S different, in a good way, due to the mono DAC circuit instead of dual mono, but that didn’t happen. Sound stage is a bit narrower but honestly, that’s the only issue you have compared to the M5S.”
From Audio123 Reviews' review of the Shanglin M2X Portable Digital Audio Player, first published on November 7th, 2019:
“The M2X is a clean sounding DAP that is able to provide smooth bass, forward upper midrange and detailed treble. There is a controlled and tight presentation which provides a pleasant listen. In addition, the M2X is constructed well and it boasts many functionalities. The Shanling M2X is a fantastic upgrade from the M2S with its engaging sound.”
From Currawong’s review of the Shanglin M2X Portable Digital Audio Player, first published on August 30th, 2019:
From Headpie's review of the Shanglin M2X Portable Digital Audio Player, first published in March, 2020:
“The Shanling M2X is an excellent starter dap due to its affordable entry price of around US$200 and pure, natural, neutral and analytical sound. But does not veer into dryness.
“If one has some easy to drive headphones for on the go, or IEMs this would be a great dap with its single and balanced outputs.
“Wifi, and bi-directional Bluetooth make it an excellent companion for those who want to stream music.
“It is nearly fully quiet as far as noise floor is concerned.
“Earphones are usually said to have the soundstage and not the daps, and well the M2X has enough head room and width to please. I did not find it to choke out earphones up to the $400-$700 price range. And even above the performance was satisfying enough.
“The Shanling is a dap I would not hesitate to recommend to a friend who is looking to enter in the world of daps. With is excellent sonic performance, oodles of options and attractive price when paired with an earphone from $50 - $300 it makes for a decent starter pack."
Editor’s note: Emphases ours.