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I'm happy with my Shanling M2s, nice construction, good sound, decent power, volume wheel no problem; but I wouldn't buy this M3s just for the balanced output. Shanling better catch up with the field and offer a touchscreen display or they'll be left behind quick! I just bought a Fiio M9 which has better power, balanced output, Wifi, LDAC bluetooth, and supports apps such as Tidal. Cost of the Fiio was $299 but worth the total package upgrade. Come on Shanling! Even the Fiio M6 now has touchscreen for $149.
M9 195mW @32ohm vs M3s 230mW @ 32ohm
M9 2350mAH vs M3s 2600mAH
M9 DACx2-LPFx1-AMPx2 vs M3s DACx2-LPFx2-AMPx2
along with an outdated GUI and outdated bluetooth interface. no thanks.
To each their own... nothing wrong with GUI, we are playing music with it, nothing more.
Why buy a DAP for it's bluetooth? kinda defeats the purpose IMHO when you can get similar or better from a phone(where BT is more useful).
I understand everyone has different needs and wants in a device. That is fine, but arguing one is better than the other because of a touch screen and its bluetooth capabilities? neither of those are, or should be, on the top of any list when purchasing a device made for listening to hi-res music on quality wired headphones.
you are welcome to skip this message (IMHO you should consider skipping this drop) if ALL you will be using is 16/44.1k or lower, that typically include any lossy CODEC e.g. MP3 or audio recordings of FM/AM analogue radio, 8 bit gaming music from the 80s, you get the idea
Unless LDAC had a breakthrough in the past 2-3 years, stay wired, don't bother with BT if you want true (not "near", not "almost") Lossless Hi-Res audio (true here means not just based on your hearing perception but the data being transmitted & received). At time of this writing, BT transmission for Hi-Res (24/96k and above, that includes DSD64 and above) is highly questionable due to its data rate and proprietary CODEC processing (Sony's LDAC is specd ~1Mbps, Qualcomm aptX-HD is lower, of course both have higher bandwidth than SBC)https://www.avhub.com.au/news/sound-image/what-is-sony-ldac-and-how-does-it-do-it-408285https://www.soundguys.com/ldac-ultimate-bluetooth-guide-20026/
btw, both LDAC and aptX has licensing cost (except LDAC on Android, which Fiio M series is based on)
so that leaves Wi-Fi connectivity (use case: lossy streaming services except TidalMasters) and the operating system (user experience) for ~$100 difference
M6 at ~$150 is in a different class with integrated DAC and Amp and unsurprisingly various review shows that being inferior to M9 in the sound department (resolution, detail, imaging, … etc)
Might have mistaken your reply? Good article though.
I am an aowner of this DAP.
IMO M3s provides more neutral sound signature. M2s has slightly enhanced bass and trebles, so it is also a matter of sound signature, not only balanced output. And M3s provides longer battery life.
Can EQ in hardware for either player?