Portable Bluetooth DAC amplifiers in a variety of options and designs are available for some
- What is interesting Shanling UP4?
- What is in the box?
- What does Shanling UP4 look like?
- What is usability and functionality?
- How does that sound?
- What about autonomy?
- In the dry residue
What is interesting Shanling UP4?
In a very compact and light black “box”,which Shanling UP4 represents, packed a lot of interesting things. First of all, it is a Bluetooth receiver, to which a smartphone is connected via Bluetooth 5.0 as a wireless source. At the same time, the gadget supports all possible codecs: AAC, SBC, aptX, aptX LL, aptX HD, LDAC, HWA (LHDC) and formally meets the requirements for Hi-Res Wireless certification. A standard 3.5 mm output and 2.5 mm balanced is provided for connecting headphones. For the sound, two ES9218PC mobile DACs combined with amplifier circuits are responsible, and for the wireless connection is the Qualcomm CSR8675 chip. To control the Shanling UP4, use the scroll wheel and an additional button. The gadget can be used as a headset thanks to the built-in microphone, and the NFC-module allows you to quickly connect to your smartphone. And all this good weighs only 37 g.</ p>
What is in the box?
Shanling UP4 is packed in a small black boximage of the device, Hi-Res, Hi-Res Wireless certification logos and any technical information. Magnetic closure cover. Underneath is a kit that includes Shanling UP4, a quick guide, a fabric-braided USB Type-C cable, and a removable plastic clip mount. With it, the gadget can be fixed on clothes. For example, during sports.
As an alternative, Shanling has a leather case with a snap fastener.
What does Shanling UP4 look like?
Shanling UP4 by design came out very pretty. It is a very compact black “block” with rounded side edges. The main part of the frame is metal, and the front and back are glass covers. On the front panel - NFC-tag, Shanling logo and LED indicator. We will come back to him. The receiver is very compact, in the pocket it is almost not felt, both in size and weight.
Controls and functional elements minimum. Bottom - only USB Type-C for charging and connecting as a USB-DAC:
On the right side is a scroll wheel,which is responsible for adjusting the volume, controlling playback and turning on the gadget (it works like a button). It is the same black color, small in size, with notches. The cutoffs are informative, the wheel works with a pleasant click.
At the top there are both connectors for connectingheadphones, an additional button for tuning and the hole of the built-in microphone. By the way, we use the Knowles SiSonic model with support for Qualcomm cVc 8.0 noise clipping algorithms. It works very well, you can use it for conversations.
The left end is devoid of anything, and on the back - only technical designations.
The assembly and appearance of Shanling UP4 are all at the best level. Setting up and managing is a bit more complicated.</ p>
What is usability and functionality?
Enough wheels for basic controlscroll. With its help, not only the volume is regulated: by pressing (including double and triple), you can control the playback, reception and rejection of calls. Well, no one forbids for the same purpose to get a smartphone out of your pocket. More difficult. Gain level and digital filters are switched using the Mode button. Gain level - double tap, digital filters - long press. Everything would be fine, but the indication of current modes is realized only with the help of an LED indicator. Similar to the current codec. There is no special desire to remember all these color combinations. And there is simply no indication of the current volume level. So a small screen would not be out of place.
The benefit of the company has released an Android applicationcalled Shanling Controller, in which all this can be done more clearly. And at the same time see the firmware version, the current charge level, the codec used, as well as adjust the equalizer. The application is still raw, there are problems with localization, but it’s convenient to use it for configuration.
As already stated above, the receiver usesBluetooth 5.0 and supports codecs AAC, SBC, aptX, aptX LL, aptX HD, LDAC, HWA (LHDC). Mostly used LDAC paired with Huawei P40 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, it is most convenient to connect using NFC. There were no problems with the stability of the connection with the above models. At a distance of about 5 meters with an obstacle in the form of a wall, cliffs or interruptions were not observed. There is a USB DAC function, which is common for such devices. But pleased with the lack of the need to install any drivers. In any case, for Windows 10 they are not needed.
How does that sound?
The receiver is equipped with two ESS Saber ES9218PC DACs withown gain circuits. The output power is declared at 71 mW when connecting headphones via 3.5 mm, 91 mW - in Dual DAC mode (also 3.5 mm) and 160 mW - balanced output at 32 Ohms, so there will be no problems with “buildup”. For connection, a predominantly balanced output was used. According to subjective feelings, it gives a little “airy” sound with better detail on the midrange and treble. Although in general the nature of the sound does not change. Shanling in the development of UP4 well understood the target audience of the receiver and “built” the sound accordingly. He does not play analytically, for this there are more expensive and massive players for more demanding music lovers. Shanling UP4 plays musically and tightly. In particular, this is achieved by the characteristic study of low frequencies. They sound massive, deep and large, without losing in detail, control and whip. LF assertive, but at the same time remain in their place, do not climb into the mid-frequency part of the range.
Mids are good in resolutionquantity and naturalness, well convey the character of the instruments and vocals, adding to the overall emotionality of the recordings. At the same time, there is minimal smoothness and simplification in terms of detail. In this case, this is also possible, considering the purpose of the receiver: it forgives some flaws and shortcomings of the recordings. The situation with high frequencies is approximately the same: there are enough of them, but they are a little smoothed out, with slightly simplified attacks and attenuations and will not cut the ear for RF phobes. The imaginary scene is very dependent on many factors, including headphones. But the general impression is without discoveries: it is not clamped, but it does not strike the imagination.</ p>
What about autonomy?
Shanling UP4 is powered by a 550 mAh battery,promise up to 15 hours on 3.5 mm and up to 10 hours on balance. Of course, it all depends on the headphones and the codec used. But overall, the indicators are believable. When connecting the headphones to the balanced output and using LDAC, it really turns out about 10 hours, which is very good, as for such a miniature device. And if you regularly use it as a USB DAC, then the need for targeted charging will disappear altogether.</ p>
In the dry residue
Despite some “niche” likeBluetooth receivers, pleased that their number, quality and functionality is growing. Such a gadget allows you to significantly “pump” the sound of your smartphone and add the missing connector for your favorite wired headphones, because almost all modern flagship smartphones have already lost it. And now it can be done for adequate money. As for Shanling UP4 itself, it pleases with music, involving and driving sound, a standard and balanced headphone output, Bluetooth 5.0 with support for all existing codecs, decent battery life, a nice design and very compact size. Of the claims, one can only distinguish the absence of any screen, which makes it somewhat difficult to configure the receiver. At the moment, Shanling UP4 costs about 3400 UAH.
5 reasons to buy Shanling UP4:
- cool driving sound;
- the presence of standard and balanced headphone outputs;
- Bluetooth 5.0 with support for SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX Low Latency, aptX HD, LDAC, HWA (LHDC);
- compact dimensions and nice design;
- decent battery life.
1 reason not to buy Shanling UP4:
- lack of an information display for easy setup.
Shanling UP4: Hi-Fi Bluetooth receiver with dual DAC, standard and balanced outputs, Bluetooth 5.0 interface with support for SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX Low Latency codecs, aptX HD, LDAC, HWA (LHDC) and a microphone for use as a headset
2xESS Saber ES9218PC
71 mW (3.5 mm), 91 mW (3.5 mm output, Dual DAC), 160 mW (balanced output) @ 32 Ohms
Signal to noise ratio
Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise
0.003% (LDAC) @ 32 ohms
Bluetooth 5.0 (Qualcomm CSR8675 chip), NFC
SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX Low Latency, aptX HD, LDAC, HWA (LHDC)
550 mAh, up to 15 hours of playback
USB 2.0 (Type-C)
Dimensions and weight
60x36x13.5 mm, 37 g
For those that want to know more:
- Shanling M0 review: Hi-Fi in miniature
- Cayin N3 review: a universal Hi-Fi player for beginner music lovers
- Best-in-Class: Review of the FiiO X3 II Hi-Fi Player
- FiiO X5 3rd gen review: a universal mid-range Hi-Fi player
- Overview of the flagship Hi-Fi player FiiO X7 with interchangeable amplifiers
The editors thank Soundmag for the kindly provided review of the Bluetooth receiver