Shanling UP4 2022 Review
Shanling UP4 2022 Review
Shanling was founded in 1988 in China and began to develop audio products and launched their first Hi-Fi stereo amplifier in the same year. 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/In-Ear Monitors, SACD/CD players, Hi-Fi amplifiers, Power Conditioners and many other Hi-Fi products.
The UP4 2022 is the updated version of the Original UP4, which are a Portable Bluetooth & USB DAC Amplifier. The main difference between the UP4 and the UP4 2022 is the DAC Chip, which has been replaced with the new Dual ES9219C DAC SoC (the OG UP4 came with the ES9218C). The UP4 2022 comes also with some remarkable features such like a 3.5mm SE and 2.5mm Balanced output, Qualcomm’s CSR8675 Bluetooth, NFC, Multiple Modes (Dual DAC Booster and 2 Filters), Built-In microphone and many more.
I would like to thank Aoshida Audio for providing me the Shanling UP4 2022 review sample. I am not affiliated with Aoshida Audio or Shanling beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered, opinions about the product.
Price & Availability:
The actual price of the Shanling UP4 2022 is $119.99 US$. More information’s can be found under the link below;
Package & Accessories:
The Shanling UP4 2022 came in a small cardboard box with a magnetic lead that sports some brandings and the illustration of the product on the front and some technical details at the rear surface.
Inside the box of the Shanling UP4 2022 are the following items/accessories;
- 1 x Shanling UP4 2022 BT & USB DAC/Amplifier
- 1 x USB Type-C to USB A adapter
- 1 x Plastic Case with Shirt Clip
- 1 x Print Material (Quick Start Guide Warranty card)
Design & Build Quality:
The Shanling UP4 2022 comes with a major update, which is the DAC inside the device that has been replaced with the new ES9219C, while the device looks visually identical to the OG UP4. The UP4 2022 is an Ultra Portable Bluetooth & USB DAC/Amplifier with a pretty small and pocket friendly size that has dimension of 60x36x13.5mm and weights only 37grams (exclusive shirt clip case). The device looks very esthetic with and shares some design elements like rounded edges, aluminum frame and glass panels with its bigger brother the UP5 flagship model. The build quality of the device is decent same like all Shanling products that I have reviewed before.
On the front of the device is a relative plain glass surface in black with the NFC logo and Shanling branding on the top.
The NFC antenna is located behind this glass panel that is marked with the NFC logo on the top.
Here is also a small LED status indicator that gives you information about pairing, mode and charging status of the device.
The right surface of the UP4 2022 sports a similar Multi Functional Volume and Power button like the UP5.
On the top of the Shanling UP4 2022 are the 3.5mm Single Ended and 2.5mm Balanced headphone outputs. Here is also the Mode function button that activates the dual DAC Boost mode and that helps to switch between Low/High Gain and Digital Filters. Near the Mode function button is a small opening for the Microphone that supports the Qualcomm’s cVc 8.0 standard noise reduction technology.
At the bottom of the device is the USB Type-C port that works for charging and digital sound input purposes.
At the rear side of the Shanling UP4 2022 is another glass panel with 2.5D rounded edges.
Here is the Shanling brand logo, the Hi-Res Audio/Hi-Res Wireless Logos and some technical detail & industrial certifications.
- Model : UP4 2022
- DAC Chips : Dual ESS Sabre ES9219C
- Analog Output Port : 3.5mm Single Ended and 2.5mm Balanced
- Bluetooth Chip : Qualcomm CSR8675
- Bluetooth Version : 5.0
- Bluetooth Codec’s : LDAC, LHDC, aptX HD, aptX LL, aptX, AAC, SBC
- Operating Distance : approx 10 Meters
- Output Power SE : 71mW@ 32Ω High Gain / 100mW @32 Ω Dual DAC Mode
- Output Power BAL : up to 165mW@ 32Ω High Gain
- SNR : SE 119dB / BAL 119dB
- Noise Floor : SE 114dB (High Gain) / BAL 112dB
- Output Impedance : < 1Ω SE/BAL
- Channel Separation : 71dB @32Ω (Single Ended) / 92dB @32Ω (Balanced)
- Frequency Response : 20Hz – 40 kHz (-0.7dB)
- THD+N : SE 0.002 % (A-W/1V/32Ω) / BAL 0.0018 % (A-W/1V/32Ω)
- Battery Size : 540mAh
- Battery Life : Up to 15 hours (SE, Single DAC), Up to 10 Hours (Balanced)
- Charging Time : approx 2 hours
- Dimensions : 60mm x 36mm x 13.5mm
- Weight : 37 grams
Hardware and Functionality:
The Shanling UP4 2022 is a pretty small but pretty feature packed Portable Bluetooth and & USB DAC Amplifier that comes with some remarkable features such like a 3.5mm SE and 2.5mm Balanced output, Qualcomm’s CSR8675 Bluetooth, NFC, Multiple Modes (Dual DAC Booster and 2 Filters), Built-In microphone and many more.
DAC & Amplification:
The Shanling UP4 is equipped with a Dual ES9219C DAC chipset, which is a major improvement over the original UP4. The ES9219C offers ESS Technologies patented 32-bit “HyperStream” architecture, which delivers a SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) of 119dB over both the 3.5mm Single Ended and 2.5mm Balanced outputs @32Ω (A-weighted). The THD+N over the SE output are 0.002%, while the 2.5mm Balanced out offers a even better performance with 0.0018%.
The UP4 2022 comes with both a 3.5mm Single Ended and a 2.5mm Balanced (TRRS) output. The 3.5mm Single Ended output offers up to 71mW@ 32Ω High Gain and up to 100mW @32Ω when you activate the Dual DAC Mode of the device. The 2.5mm Balanced (TRRS) output on the other hand is even more powerful with up to up to 165mW@ 32Ω High Gain, which is quite impressive for such a small All-In One BT & USB DAC/Amplifier.
The both the 3.5mm Single Ended and the 2.5mm Balanced outputs do show a pretty clean output with very low amount of hissing.
The Shanling UP4 features Qualcomm’s CSR8675 Bluetooth chip, which is a widely used BT SoC that supports 5.0 BT protocol. The device supports most of the advanced high-resolution wireless codec’s including LDAC, LHDC, AptX HD, AptX LL, AptX, AAC and SBC.
The both the 3.5mm Single Ended & 4.4mm (TRRRS) + 2.5mm (TRRS) Balanced outputs of the Shanling UP5 do show a pretty clean output with very low amount of hissing.
Bluetooth Performance & Pairing:
The Bluetooth operating distance of the Shanling UP4 2022 works pretty flawlessly up to a distance of 10 meters if there is just a wall between you and the source.
The device didn’t have any remarkable lip-sync issues when I watched to YouTube or Netflix videos over the Samsung Galaxy Note10 Plus, thanks to the latest aptX LL and LDAC codec support.
However, the device shows quite annoying audio interruptions in form of hiccups that I have faced both in Bluetooth (S22 Ultra) and USB Mode (PC). But I am sure that Shanling can solve this problem with a further update.
Update [24.10.2022]: Shanling has solved the audio interruption issues with a new FW update (Version: 1.3.5). In order to update your UP4 2022 please follow the steps below;
Please note that the first upgrade method is suitable for Android phones. The second upgrade method is suitable for the Apple mobile phones, which requires a computer terminal to upgrade.
① Android phone online upgrade steps:
The following is the direct upgrade of OTA online push firmware, just follow the steps in our below.
1、Download the Eddict Player App on your mobile phone.
2、Launch the App, connect UP4 in the App and return to the device connection home page.
3、Click the “…” icon in the top left corner to enter the Bluetooth device control, click the small arrow on the right side to upgrade the firmware via OTA.
② The Apple mobile phone upgrade steps:
Please check the attached PDF file and download at the link below for the upgrade file.
The pairing of the UP4 2022 with sources like Android/iOS phones, tablets, etc are quite easy. You have also the option to pair it to other compatible devices with just a simple tap by using the NFC wireless short-range communication protocol, entirely avoiding the cumbersome traditional pairing process.
The Shanling UP4 2022 is equipped with a microphone for voice conversations that supports the cVc 8.0 standard for noise reduction that elimination the surrounding noises. The performance of the build-in microphone is on an average level same like all Bluetooth DAC/Amplifiers I have used before.
USB DAC function:
The Shanling UP4 2022 is an All-in One DAC/Amplifier solution with a small size that offers both Bluetooth and USB DAC functionalities. UP4 2022 is equipped with mainstream Type-c USB interface that you can connect with Mobile phones, Computers, Tablets and any other equipments that support such devices.
The Shanling UP4 2022 is equipped with a 500 mAh build-in battery, which takes about 2 hours for a fully charge. The device supports up to 14 -15 hours over the Single Ended output and about 9 – 9.5 hours over the more powerful yet power hungry 2.5.mm Balanced output, which is quite decent for such a little device.
Equipments used for this review:
Devices : Shanling UP4 2022
IEM’s : Meze Audio ADVAR, LetShuoer S12 Pro, FiiO FH7S
Albums & tracks used for this review:
- Adele – My Little Love (Spotify)
- Randy Crawford – On Day I Will Fly Away (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Hayley Westenra – Odyssey Album (Dezzer HiFi)
- Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sarah McLachlan – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Sertap Erener – Aşk (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
- Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Sonya Yoncheva – (Giuseppe Verdi) II Trovatore, ActI (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- George Michael – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- David Bowie – Heroes (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Elton John – Rocket Man ((Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- B. King – Riding With The King (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama (Deezer HiFi)
- Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Daft Punk – Doin’ it Right (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Jo Blankenburg – Meraki (Spotify)
- Lorde – Royals (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
- Toutant – Rebirth (Deezer HiFi)
- Gogo Penguin – Raven (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Gogo Penguin – Murmuration (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Portishead – It Could Be Sweet (Spotify)
- Max Richter – On the Nature of Daylight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Ferit Odman – Look, Stop & Listen (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
- Otto Liebert & Luna Negra – The River (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
- Lunatic Soul – The Passage (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Deftones – My Own Summer (Shove it) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Metallica – Master of Puppets (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
- Opeth – Windowpane (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Tidal Hi-Fi)
- Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
- Slayer – Angel of Death (Spotify)
- Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Spotify)
- Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles (Spotify)
The Shanling UP4 2022 is an ultra portable Bluetooth & USB DAC/Amplifier solution with a decent sound performance that shows a mildly warm tonality, which is a common signature of Shanling products. The lows are shown with an adequate level of depth and control, while the midrange is produced in a pretty clean, lively and detailed manner. The treble on the other hand sounds relative smooth and is able to produce an efficient sense of airiness and sparkle.
The Shanling UP4 2022 review has been written after a burn-in process of about 80 Hours and is mainly based on my sound experiences over the 2.5mm balanced (TRRS) output that offers better dynamics and slightly higher level of resolution. My sound experiences for the UP4 2022 below are mainly based on my impressions with IEM’s like the Meze Audio ADVAR, LetShuoer S12 Pro and FiiO FH7S.
Bass / Midrange / Treble / Soundstage & Imaging:
The Shanling UP4 2022 shows a mildly pronounced, soft and pretty controlled lower frequency response. The sense of layering and resolution of this area meets my expectations from a device below the 150 – 200 US$ mark.
The subbass region is shown with an adequate level of rumble and extension when I listen to songs such like Armin Van Buuren’s “Vini Vici”, Lorde’s “Royals” or to Massive Attack’s “Angel”. The midbass region on the other hand has a slightly grade of coloration and shows a good sense of body and control when I listen to instruments such like a cross drum, bass guitar or trumpet. The UP4 2022 doesn’t shows any remarkable negative situations such like a midbass hump or muddiness with all IEM’s I have listen to it.
The Shanling UP4 2022 has a fairly close to natural midrange presentation with a touch of warmth that is typical for Shanling products, which is produced in the lower midrange. The general midrange character is relative transparent and airy, along with an above average sense of clarity and resolution that makes the UP4 2022 to a quite successful for a ultra portable BT & USB DAC/Amplifier at this price level. The lower midrange is a bit more saturated compared to the upper midrange that shows a good sense of body and fullness wile listen to vocals or instruments such like a viola, piano or acoustic guitar.
The upper midrange is nicely emphasized and doesn’t sounds overly bright, uncontrolled or dry. This area has a good level of dynamism and resolution, especially when I listen to female voices or to instruments such like an electro guitar, flute and violin. The transitions from the upper midrange towards the lower treble area are relative controlled.
The Shanling UP4 2022 shows a moderately bright, relative smooth and pretty controlled treble presentation, which has in general an efficient level of extension. The lower treble region has an adequate grade of presence and resolution, when I do listen to soprano voices or to instruments such like a clarinets or pianos. The upper treble area on the other hand is able to produce a sufficient sense of airiness and sparkle, while listen to instruments such like violins, hi-hats or voices.
The Shanling UP4 2022 has a fairly expansive soundstage that shows an efficient sense of airiness and space for a relative precise separation and placement of instruments and vocals. The UP4 offers sufficient level of depth and wideness, while the height of the stage is on an average level.
The brand new 2022 version of the UP4 is another solid Ultra-Portable Bluetooth & USB DAC/Amplifier from Shanling with a very esthetical appearance and good built quality that continuous the company’s warmish and pretty musical sound character that is highly praised in the audiophile community. Another highlight is the surprisingly good resolution and the overall technical performance that is combined with a powerful output over the 2.5mm balanced output, which meets my expectations from a device at this price range.
Pros & Cons:
- + Shanling’s Highly Praised Musical Sound Character
- + Decent Technical Performance for its Price
- + Powerful 2.5mm Balanced Output
- + Esthetic Minimalistic Design & Good Built Quality
- + Can be used both as Wireless & Wired Source
- + Supports All BT Codes including LDAC
- – The Beautiful Glass Surface is a Dust & Fingerprint Magnet
- – Its pricier than the Original UP4
Thank you for the Read!