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I don't see anywhere that mentions the file format support, but I assume it supports FLAC.
In case anyone's wondering about file formats, Amazon states the following: "Supports MP2, MP3, WAV, WMA, APE, FLAC, AAC, AIFF, OGG and other music formats Supports up to 192K / 24BIT sampling rate, while supporting CUE index playback, seamless playback".
What I don't understand is why with all this processing power, there doesn't appear to be a recording function.
[edit: As per Anthony's comment below, additional sites state that ALAC and APE are also supported. You can find promotional images (which appear to be from the manufacturer) showing this as well as some format restrictions here: http://www.china-hifi-audio.com/en/shanling-auido-cd-player-hifi-c-24/shanling-m3-dap-portable-music-player-flac-wav-dac-24bit-192khz-p-1280 - unfortunately as images they cannot easily be translated.]
All the other comparable players including the more expensive ones do not have recording functions either due to the fact that these are in the "player" category. To incorporate recording functions the costs for the end product would definitely be higher and the unit would be more complicated in terms of design and user interface. Majority of the customers probably just want a player and do not want to pay extra for something they hardly use.
BTW the M3 also support ALAC and APE.
I'm using a Cowon D2, which granted is almost a decade old, and may or may not be "comparable" in your view, but it does offer basic recording through an onboard mic. All I'm saying is, it seems a waste to have all this hardware in the M3 (line in, SPDIF in) with no capture ability.
You're likely correct that few people would use it, but I have my doubts that more people would use this as a DAC or pre-amp.
I agree some would likely just using this as a player. As for myself I also would like to have the recording function added providing the additional costs is reasonable. I would also try to use this as a Hi Res HD music player and connect it to my main system prior to purchasing a more expensive DAP for home use.