Shanling UP Portable Headphone USB DAC and Amplifier
Up your portable audio game with the Shanling UP, with excellent detail retrieval and a wide soundstage, a must have for the audiophile on the go.
- Value for money
- None for the price
Aesthetics, Build Quality and Accessories
The Shanling UP is a tiny little device, the size of a memory stick, with a glossy black front and matter black rear. It has a USB tybe C socket on the top and a 3.5mm headphone jack output on the bottom, on the front an LED will light up telling you the device is on and what sample rate is playing. It is so simplistic and elegant it will fit into any system with ease.
The build quality is excellent with the glass front and the rest of the body being aluminium. Both sockets feel tight, and there is nothing on it to go wrong.
Accessory wise all you get is various cables, which is all that is needed. You get a lightning to USB C, USB C to USB C, Micro USB to USB C and a regular USB to USB C cable, so it covers most phones and PC use.
Ease of use
The UP does not have an internal battery, it just plugs into your device and runs as a DAC/Amp. It should work with most android devices that support OTG accessories, iPhones with lightning port and also PC’s. With the new Windows 10 creators update you no longer need to install drivers.
The devices has no buttons, thus you control the volume level via your phone or PC, I had no issues getting it to work with a Samsung phone, and a regular Windows 10 PC. It is recommended you use the Hiby music app when using the UP.
The UP is so clean, so clear it is hard to go wrong for the price. I am a DAP user, and don’t use my phone for music as I like having files stored locally. But the trend to not want to carry an extra device nowadays has grown and also Apple did away with the headphone jack so the market for portable DAC/Amps is booming.
There are plenty out there, but few that offer full DSD support and an ES9018 DAC chip for this price. The Shanling UP may only be able to output 35mW @32 Ohms, but it gets loud and driver easy to medium hard to drive headphones.
From IEM’s to portable full-size headphones you will be guaranteed to get much cleaner and better separated sound with the UP.
The bass is tight and controlled, with precise kick and good body to back it up, the bass notes also decay as they should.
There is no added body to the lows, this means the midrange is allowed to shine and it does, with vocals coming across clean with excellent detail retrieval. There is also plenty of air around notes which allows you to pinpoint each and every part of the recording.
The treble is well extended without any harsh metallic tone to it, what is best about the highs is their imaging, the placement within the soundstage is critical and this little device has managed to get it spot on.
The Shanling UP is a superb High Resolution DAC/Amp for portable use, if you have some good headphones, you are not hearing their full potential out of a phone. This will change that, the UP with give you the clarity, detail and soundstage that your phone simply cannot.
Even being used with a PC there is a substantial upgrade from the on-board audio, so this can be used on your morning commute with your phone, then plug it into your PC at work and enjoy the same quality of music.