Shanling UP2 – Review

Shanling UP2

 Shanling UP2

| Bluetooth Amplifier | USB DAC | Knowles Microphone |



🎧 We are reviewing the Shanling UP2, a Bluetooth amplifier with high quality specs.

The Shanling UP2 features a Bluetooth 5.0 with a CSR8675 chip, an ES9218P DAC and USB DAC functionality.

Shanling has origins on the audio market since the late 1980s, if you are a serious audio enthusiast, you might already know the brand. In the recent years the brand has manufactured high quality audio devices with budget-friendly prices.

The Shanling UP2 is part of the newest products released by the brand, like the:

To be more precise, the Shanling UP2 is the second generation of the UP Bluetooth amps from the brand, being the 1st model called Shanling UP.

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Shanling UP2 Review

Tests & Scores


AF

Advanced Features

The Shanling UP2 features include advanced options such as:

  • USB DAC: Can be used as an external USB sound card and amplifier/DAC
  • Knowles SiSonic microphone
  • Qualcomm cVc 8.0 noise cancellation
  • Bluetooth v5.0
  • Light and voice status indications
  • 64 volume steps

W

Weight

Shanling UP2 weight in Ounces and Shanling UP2 weight in grams.

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A

Accessories & Packaging

The Shanling UP2 unboxing results in a USB-C charging cable (also used for USB DAC functionality) and a detachable clip/case.

The unit comes inside a small, rectangular box with a side opening front that holds a magnetic closure design.

It is nice seeing a brand that can bundle useful accessories for free with the device – accessories that other brands usually sell you at an additional price.

Something important to highlight, be careful when pulling the unit out of the cut-off foam, as it tends to suddenly pop-out and might fall to the floor.

gramophone-25660 3/5


D

Design

The Shanling UP2 has an elegant design with a dark-color pattern and a bi-material build. In addition to this, the pearled paint finish gives it a classy feel.

The aesthetics of this tiny device follows a logical style with all modern portable DAP/DACs/Music players from Shanling, such as the:

In fact, even at first sight, the Shanling UP2 could be confused as a miniature Shanling M2X.

The right edge of the unit holds a wheel/button while the 3.5mm jack is placed on the top edge.

Measuring just 55mm×27mm×12mm, the Shanling UP2 is an super pocketable Bluetooth amp.

gramophone-25660  4.75/5

Shanling UP2 front view
Shanling UP2 front view

OC

Operation & Control

The Shanling UP2 can be controlled with a single multifunction button that is also a wheel control.

Different to other Bluetooth adapters that offer multiple buttons, the operation/control design of the Shanling UP2 will never make you guess the function of each button.

With this button/wheel, users can control all the functions of the device on a single piece.

Shanling UP2 Button/Wheel functions:

  • Press and hold for 3.5 seconds: Power on/off
  • 5 seconds press and hold: Force pairing mode
  • A single press: Play, Pause music
  • 2x click: Next song
  • 3x click: Previous song
  • One clockwise wheel turn: Volume up by 1 level
  • One counter-clockwise wheel turn: Volume down by 1 level

Call commands:

  • Single press: Answer/End call
  • 2x click: Reject incoming call

LED Status Light: Centered on the front glass of the Shanling UP2 there is a very well-hidden light that can give an quick indication of the status of the device.

Moreover, this light can also tell users the Bluetooth audio codec being used – having a different color according to the codec (read below to know which color corresponds to which codec)

  • Pairing mode: flash blue/red
  • Power On: flash blue three times
  • Power Off: 2 seconds red light
  • Charging: red light on
  • Fully charged: red light turns off
  • Bluetooth audio codec: blue (SBC), cyan (AAC), white (HWA), green (LDAC), purple (aptX/aptX LL), aptX HD (yellow)

gramophone-256605/5

Shanling UP2 with clip
Shanling UP2 with clip

B

Battery Life

The Shanling UP2 is equipped with a 400mAh internal battery that can provide up to 11 hours of continuous use while used with the SBC codec and 200 hours of standby time – on a single charge.

With 11 hours of continuous playback, the UP2 is inline with most modern, high quality Bluetooth headphone amps.

How to charge the Shanling UP2:

The Shanling UP2 can be charged connecting it to a power supply that can output 5V and 0.5A (standard USB charger or USB 2.0 ports)

The charging connector of the Shanling UP2 is a modern USB Type-C connector, which is nice to see being used as still to date many brands keep using the dated micro USB as their standard charging connector.

To fully charge the Shanling UP2 it is needed 2 hours (approximately)

gramophone-25660 3.5/5

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Shanling UP2
Shanling UP2

CB

Construction & Build

The Shanling UP2 has a superb build quality and feel thanks to their glass front and back combined with an all-metal body.

This is not a cheapo-plastic Bluetooth headphone amp.

gramophone-256605/5

Shanling UP2 side wheel
Shanling UP2 side wheel

C

Compatibility

The Shanling UP2 supports most current wireless audio codecs, including:

  • LDAC
  • LHDC
  • HWA
  • SBC
  • aptX
  • aptX Low Latency
  • aptX HD
  • AAC

gramophone-256605/5

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Shanling UP2 Bluetooth Headphone Amp
Shanling UP2 Bluetooth Headphone Amp

CC

Connectivity

The Shanling UP2 has two connectors: 3.5mm headphone jack and USB Type-C. These 2 connectors ensure wide compatibility with most headphones, audio devices and computers – 2.5mm, 4.4mm, 1/4” headphones can be easily connected with adapters.

The USB Type-C connector is also used to connect the UP2 to computers, enabling Shanling’s USB sound card/DAC/Amp functions to be used with any computer – the connector is placed on the bottom edge of the device.

The 3.5mm jack is not limited to turn wired headphones into wireless, instead, speakers, card audio systems and home audio can be combined with the Shanling UP2 and benefit with all of it’s DAC/Bluetooth Amp functionalities.

The Qualcomm CR8675 chip, inside the Shanling UP2 supports up to 24-bit transmission. Through the tests, the UP2 showed one of the smoothest Bluetooth pairing process that we have dealt with.

 

gramophone-25660 4/5

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Shanling UP2 3.5mm jack
Shanling UP2 3.5mm jack

S

Sound

So far, the Shanling UP2 proved to be a highly competent device but sound quality will determine how valuable this Bluetooth amp can be.

Most of the common sound issues with low quality Bluetooth amps are rolled-off bass, sound coloration and/or sound quality deterioration. The Shanling UP2, instead, exhibited a clean and clear sound with no coloration and a neutral response.

Audio enthusiasts will get the same original sound quality of their headphones while using them wired or wireless when connected to the Shanling UP2.

The measurements taken through our soundtests also revealed a flat frequency response with no boosting nor irregular spikes, dips.

In addition to this, users wanting to use the UP2 while watching movies and videos will be glad to know that, when using modern codecs, the device did not show any significant lag as to notice any annoying image/audio delay.

Shanling UP2 with Sennheiser HD 598 CS
Shanling UP2 with Sennheiser HD 598 CS

The Shanling UP2 can provide an output power of 67mW (32Ω) and a SNR of 116dB, reaching a crazy powerful output for this kind of devices and nearly 3 times more power than it’s direct competitors and miles more powerful than shady-branded Bluetooth amps.

Seeing this tiny device transform full-sized, open-back headphones into wireless headphones, even if they have higher impedance will be a audio enthusiast’s dream come true. Matching the Shanling UP2 with headphones such as the beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO 250Ω, showed no issues driving it and squeezing moderate-high volume output out of them.

Shanling does not specify the drive ability of the Shanling UP2, but as just mentioned, connected to high impedance headphones, they did not fall short. Even more, easier to drive over-ear headphones such as the Sennheiser HD 598 CS or Sony MDR-1AM2, were no challenge for the Shanling UP2.

The ESS Sabre ES9218P DAC inside the Shanling UP2 is the same that can be found in the Shanling M0, providing up to 96kHz / 24 bit. Moreover, the UP2 ensures remarkable tech specs such as a distortion of 0.005% (HWA) and an output impedance of 0.25Ω

gramophone-256605/5

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Shanling UP2 with Sony MDR-1AM2
Shanling UP2 with Sony MDR-1AM2

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Scores Scores

Shanling UP2 Scores

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Frequency Response (raw)

Shanling UP2 Frequency Response Curve

Shanling UP2 with in-ear monitor vs through direct source

Shanling UP2 frequency response curve
Shanling UP2 frequency response curve

Blue= direct source; red= through Shanling UP2

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Specifications

Shanling UP2 Technical Specifications

Type BT Amp/USB DAC
Codecs HWA, aptx (HD, LLC), SBC, AAC, LDAC, DAC, LHDC
USB DAC Yes
BT Chip CSR8675
Battery 11 hours
Charge time 2hs
Frequency Response N/A
Plug USB Type-C, 3.5mm
Weight Approx. 26g
Power output 67mW (@32ohm)

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Photos

Shanling UP2 Photos

meze 99classics, meze 99neo, 1more quad-driver, 1more triple driver over-ear headphones

Shanling UP2

8.9

SCORE

8.9/10


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