Shanling UA5 Review: Is Portable USB DAC AMP Worth Buying?
A Shanling UA5 review for its portable USB DAC amp performance can help you decide if it is the compact amplifier you need. This Hi-Res headphone amplifier recently surfaced after the FiiO KA3 DAC and has the same 32bit/768kHz with DSD512. However, it has up to 137mW output power, while the FiiO KA3 produces up to 130mW output for 3.5mm audio jack. There is a 122dB Dynamic range, THD+N 0.0005%@32ohm, and 20hz-50kHz frequency response. Also, it packs two DAC amplifiers with two separate headphone amplifiers. Unlike others, there is also a 220mAh battery with an OLED monochrome display and volume control key.
About Shanling Brand
Shanling first developed Hi-Fi audio products and launched amplifiers in the year 1988. Over the years, this brand has also achieved a series of patents for technology qualifications, including SONY LDAC, Bluetooth BQB, Japanese Audio Association Hi-Res, Microsoft’s HDCD, Dolby Laboratories’ Dolby Digital, DTS and DVD, SACD, CD patent licenses, and many more. The company offers premium Hi-Res portable DAC/AMP, Hi-Res music players, portable amplifiers, Hi-Fi headphones, Hi-Fi amplifiers, and many more audio products.
Shanling UA5 Review
This brand’s new compact USB audio DAC has some impressive performance features. There are two ES9038Q2M DACs, two RT6863 Amplifiers, 211mW output power for 4.4mm balanced audio jack, 137mW for 3.5mm audio jack, and Hi-Res support up to 32bit/768kHz plus DSD512. The Shanling UA5 review for design shows an aluminum alloy body with a built-in rotatable gold volume control key and 29 grams weight. There is a Hybrid battery power system with 220mAh capacity, an in-house developed FPGA chipset, extra low noise, smartphone app, Digital SPDIF output, and monochrome OLED display for easy function readings.
How will it perform?
There are two ES9038Q2M DAC (Digital to Analog Converter) chips with high-performance 32bit stereo audio digital to analog converter. So, the sound is audiophile-grade. Also, the audio output power increases even more with additional two RT6863 headphone amplifiers. The Shanling UA5 review for USB DAC amp shows an output power of 137mW through 3.5mm jack and 211mW through 4.4mm Balanced audio jack. Thus, this portable audio amplifier impresses with Hi-Res audio, Treble, Bass, mids, and clear lows with no noise. The sound profile is warm and fuller. Moreover, the small-size USB DAC is designed to eliminate noise. You can also connect it with various devices, including gaming consoles, using UAC 1.0 Mode.
The Hybrid Battery System
We find a 220mAh battery inside a portable DAC amp for the first time. It keeps on powering the analog audio circuits of DACs and amplifiers. The Shanling UA5 review for battery performance shows up to 6 hours for consistent sound quality. Also, the UA5 utilizes power from any USB source when connected to a device. You can also use the Hybrid Power Mode to power all other circuits via USB, while the digital to analog amps use the battery.
Easy to use and control settings
A 1.44-inch Monochrome OLED display helps to see all the running attributes. A volume wheel helps control sound volume, settings, modes, menu navigation, and factory reset. The Shanling UA5 portable amp comes with a USB-C to USB-C cable and a USB-A adapter for more connectivity options for computers, tablets, laptops, Andriod, iOS, gaming consoles, and smartphones. Plus, UAC 2.0 and UAC 1.0 modes to connect with Nintendo Switch or other gaming devices. There is also support for Digital SPDIF coax output through the 3.5mm audio jack. Moreover, you can use the Shanling app for filters, USB control, charging, etc. To connect with PC, download the USB drivers.
|DAC:||Dual ESS Sabre ES9038Q2M|
|Headphones Amp:||Dual dedicated Ricore RE6863 amplifier chips|
|UAC:||UAC2.0 and UAC1.0|
|Compatibility:||Android, Windows, Mac, Gaming Consoles and IOS Devices|
|PCM Decoding:||up to 32-Bit/768kHz|
|Display:||1.44-inch Monochrome OLED|
|DSD Decoding:||Native DSD512|
|Output Power:||137mW@32ohms (3.5mm), 211mW@32ohms (4.4mm balanced)|
|Frequency Response:||20Hz – 50kHz (-0.5dB)|
- Easy-to-use volume key for settings and menu navigation.
- Monochrome OLED display.
- Built-in 220mAh battery with Hybrid Power Mode.
- Dedicated Dual Amplifiers for headphones.
- Dual High-Performance ESS DAC chipset.
- 3.5mm and 4.4mm audio jack.
- up to 32bit/768kHz audio output support.
- Native DSD512 support.
- up to 137mW 3.5mm output power.
- up to 211mW 4.4mm Balanced output power.
- UAC2.0 and UAC1.0 support.
- Warm and fuller Hi-Res audio as default (can change using filters).
- Over the US $200 price tag.
- special lightning cable required for use with Apple devices.
What’s in the box?
There is the Shanling UA5 portable USB DAC amplifier, USB-C to USB-C OTG cable, USB-C to USB-A adapter, warranty, and quick start guide inside the box.