Original Shanling M9 player was launched in 2021, significantly modernizing our Android platform and representing the last chapter for the classic AKM AK4499 flagship DAC. That M9 was available only as a limited run of 500 units, but we made a promise of the future M9, releasing with a different audio circuit.
And today we are announcing new Shanling M9 Plus, the long-awaited update of our flagship portable Android player, featuring the amazing AKM AK4499EX DACs in a special Quad DAC design.
Firstly, the M9 Plus is based on the same Android platform as the original M9, but it enjoys all the improvements that our software team implemented over the past 20 months of development. Beautiful 6-inch 2k screen, with a speedy Snapdragon 665 octa-core CPU running open Android 10 system, packing 8GB RAM for smooth multitasking, generous 256GB internal memory for all your apps and MicroSD card with support up to 2TB.
Overall construction follows the high standards set by the M9, with an expertly crafted CNC aluminium body, this time shortened by 0.5cm, for a bit more compact dimensions. Audio outputs on M9 Plus were simplified and now offer our standard combination of 3.5mm Single-ended and 4.4mm Balanced outputs.
Audio circuit of the M9 Plus was the biggest question, because where could we go after our favourite AKM AK4499 was discontinued? There were countless prototypes with rival DACs, wild experiments with less common solutions, but in the end it was the returning AKM who brought us the obvious choice, the new AK4499EX. This flagship DAC chip proved to be a great performer in the Shanling H7, but that was just a start, with the M9 Plus pushing its performance so much further in the quest for Hi-Fi sound.
Shanling’s Quad DAC design started with our old-school CD players, it was revived with M6 Ultra last year, but it was the M9 Plus that pushed it to the extreme. That’s why we squeezed FOUR AKM AK4499EX DACs into a portable player, getting access to an 8-channel audio design for the totally independent balanced circuit. Quad DAC design offers an increased current output and overall improved dynamics, better SNR and lower background noise, with all four DACs being active for the balanced output. All four DACs are manually tested and paired for ideal matching in the audio circuit.
Alongside DACs we are adding two units of AKM AK4191 Delta-Sigma modulators, the crucial partner for AK4499EX and the extra step that makes this new generation of AKM sound stand out next to its legacy. Crystal oscillators were upgraded to 90.3168MHz / 98.304MHz versions, the in-house developed I/V conversion circuit was adjusted for ADA45253 and the whole DAC section got its own independent XC9519 power supply chip.
The amplifier section adopts our proven OP+BUF architecture, now featuring MUSES 8920 J-FET and BUF634 combination for smoother and finer sound, with an improved power supply for increased stability and total power output at 1120 mW @ 32 Ohm. And of course, all accompanied by ELNA Silmic II and Panasonic Tantalum capacitors, so important for the warmer and smoother Shanling’s house sound.