Thank you Frankie for sending me the Shanling MW100 in return for my honest opinion. I am not personally affiliated with the companies in any way, nor do I receive any monetary rewards for a positive evaluation. The review is as follows.
Shanling is founded in 1988. In the same year, Shanling embark their journey in developing audio products and showcased their first Hi-Fi stereo amplifier.
Today, main offices of Shanling are located in Shenzhen and factory is in Dongguang. Shanling is a high-tech company combining R&D, production, processing and sales of products, including Hi-Res portable music players, portable amplifiers, Hi-Fi headphones, SACD/CD players, Hi-Fi amplifiers, power conditioners and many other Hi-Fi products. We have established close relationship with many international top hi-end manufacturers and enjoy a good reputation in the industry.
In 2018, Shanling successfully transform their 30 years of experiences into wireless form. With the launch of MW100, it marked the new breakthrough in audio industry. Audiophiles and audio lovers can start to expect more wireless IEMs to be developed and designed by Shanling.
In the Box:
Soft Pouch for Storage
Battery life: 15 hours (Playback), 14 hours (Calls) and 300 hours (Standby)
Charging time: 2 hours
Frequency response: 20 - 20 000 Hz
Bluetooth version: Version 4.1
Transmission rate: 10m (30ft)
Supported protocol: HSP/HFP/A2DP/AVRCP
Supported codec: SBC, AAC and aptX
IP Rating: IPX5
Driver: 10mm graphene driver
Bluetooth Chip: CSR8645
Microphone: Sixth-generation of cVc noise cancellation technology
Design, Fit and Isolation:
Shanling MW100 is a wireless earphones with a silicon neckband. The neckband is fully flexible and you can roll the neckband to keep the unit into the provided storage pouch. I like the implementation of the neckband because it sits well on my neck. Normally, those wireless earphones without neckband always give me headache due to the weight unbalanced between the left and right. With the implementation of the neckband, this is like a paracetamol to treat my headache.
At the driver shell, there is an implementation of magnet. With the presence of the magnet, the earphones stay stable on my chest when I am not listening to it. This is like adding sodium to the paracetamol making it more efficient and faster in action to treat my headache - I love it straightaway when I opened the box and tried on it. Well designed!
At the left side of the earphones, there is a microphone which is powered by sixth-generation of cVc noise cancellation technology. The position of the microphone is very ideal - the distance from your mouth to the microphone is minimal. This can maximize the reception of desired sound and minimize the reception of unwanted noise.
Besides microphone, there are three buttons built together with the microphone - Volume controls and multi-purpose button. With this design, user can control the volume and skipping the track immediately with the volume control buttons. Multi-purposes button can be used to pause or play the song and picking up or rejecting phone call.
The fitting of MW100 is supreme. I managed to find a good fit with Final Audio Type E ear tips. It stays well in my ear. With the correct ear tips, the isolation is good and MW100 is my daily commuting companion. In Singapore, the trains and buses are always crowded and noisy during the peak hour. With a wireless device like MW100 - I able to isolate most of the noise and submerge myself in my favorite playlist.
The advertised battery life of MW100 is 15 hours continuous playback. This could be one of the longest I can find in the market. RHA has a battery life of 12 hours and Sennheiser has a battery life of 10 hours. I tested the battery life myself - Playing 320kbps MP3 from Spotify Premium it served me around 14 hours. Close to the advertised playback hours but do note that this is subjected to the playback volume. Higher the volume, shorter the playback hours.
Normally I spent around 3 to 4 hours commuting daily (disastrous right?). With a full charge in MW100, I can stay worry-less on charging for 3 to 4 days. So basically if I did my math correctly, I only need to charge the device twice a week! MW100 utilized a micro USB port at the control panel, together with volume controls and multi-purpose button.
MW100 utilizes Bluetooth Version 4.1. It is not the latest in the market but at least it does not give me any headache due to connectivity flaws. MW100 supports SBC, AAC and aptX. This makes MW100 iOS and Android friendly. I have both devices and I able to connect flawlessly. So for those who are considering MW100, connectivity will not be a major factor to be considered. Shanling has a very experienced background in Bluetooth devices development. I am always very impressed by their DAP 2-way Bluetooth abilities.
I tested this unit with my LG G6 playing Spotify Premium. I try to get myself in the consumer range so I did not use any lossless playlist in this review. The overall sound signature of MW100 can be considered as neutral - neither bias against nor for any frequency region in the spectrum. I am surprised because a lot of wireless headphones in this price bracket are designed to be bass cannons. This makes MW100 stands out more among other competitors.
The soundstage is sufficiently wide. In my three weeks spending time with MW100, I did not find any congestion in any tracks. On the y-axis, the depth is sufficient. I can obviously feel and observe the layering in most of the track. With the experience in designing ME100 and ME500, Shanling should come in handy when designing MW100.
As mentioned, MW100 is the rare one in this price bracket because it is not a bass cannon. For those bass-heads, you might want to look for other alternatives. The lows are sufficiently present. The lows response relatively precise. I would appreciate a faster decay in the lows but due to the depth in the Y-axis, there is no bleeding of the lows towards other frequency in the spectrum. If I were asked to describe the lows of MW100, I would describe it as a wave that hits on the beach - comfortable, decent and sweet.
This is where I love MW100 the most. If you read my reviews, you will know that I am a pop songs lover - Mandopop, Cantopop or whatever pop. I appreciate good vocal. What do I meant by good vocal? For male vocalists, they should sounds rich and firm while for female vocalists, the sound should be silky smooth. Please allow me to describe in a more Singaporean's way - for male vocalists, I would like it to be Nestle Milo with more Milo powder, to make it thick. For female vocalist, the most appropriate description would be Hong Kong's Silk Stocking Milk Tea. Weird but this could be the most accurate way to describe.
So, when I say I love MW100's mids, it ticked all the mentioned requirement. There was one day when I am doing my final year project, I wore MW100 with me for the whole day and I just love it. Ed Sheeran sounds emotional and soulful while Jennifer Warnes is soaring sweetly and smoothly. Flawlessly done!
A good highs should compromised a few factors:
Shall not roll-off too early.
Try to avoid frequency peak.
Has sufficient space and air.
This is my personal requirement - You can have your too. Highs for MW100 might be the most polite spectrum. Sometimes I do find it shy a little bit. This actually make this wireless IEM to be tamer and more gentle. This could be the reason why I can spend 3 to 4 hours a day listening to it without any fatigue.
The presence of the high is significant and accurate. It is placed slightly behind the lows and mids frequency spectrum. The air and space is sufficient. No congestion in the highs. The most important point to be observed here is the highs do not crack of sparkle when the volume is turned up. This is one of the common issues I found in most of the IEMs in this price bracket. The highs stand well even with high volume.
With the price of USD59.99, MW100 provides freedom without compromising sound quality to the user. This is the first wireless IEMs from Shanling and I would like to congratulate Shanling - You got it right!
Shanling truly understand what consumer needs and designed MW100 according to the demand. For those who are interested, you can make your order at Shenzhenaudio.com. As mentioned, I am not personally affiliated with the companies in any way, nor do I receive any monetary rewards for a positive evaluation.