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The Shanling M5 remains one of my favorite mid-tier DAPs to date, and I've tried quite a few. It provides a nice, smooth listen yet retains good detail retrieval and soundstage. It's a noticeable difference when switching back and forth between mid-tier DAPs in my collection like the Aune M2, Cayin N5, FiiO X5, iBasso DX80, L&P L3, Opus #1, and Shanling M3. That's not to say you'll prefer the M5 over any of those, but for my tastes I'm listening to M5 and Opus #1 most right now for their complementary sound signatures.
The GUI is very similar to those found in Cayin N5 and the FiiO X1, X3ii, X5, and X5ii DAPs but is is designed just a bit better for my tastes - seems more intuitive.
The scroll wheel / d-pad control is a bit controversial. I really like it as do most of the right-handed people I've loaned it to. It's a toss-up with the lefties, though. Some lefties are fine with it. Some have a hard time getting used to it. The reason I like it is that the controls are completely centralized and easily manipulated with just my thumb, and it's positioned such that I can maintain a very firm grip on the M5 while using the controls. After using the M5, it made me realize just how much more secure my grip is on it vs the touch wheel DAPs I've used. The one caveat is that because the volume is controlled by the wheel, you can't change volume while scrolling through menus. Dedicated volume buttons would be nice.
Firmware updates come fairly often and contain very nice upgrades like deep sleep, quick scrolling, replaygain functionality. It's nice to see Shanling listening to their customers and adding in very useful features over time.
As someone who's had little experience with DAPs (my only other device was the DX90 and I think the M5 is a huge step up from that one), I would agree with everything you posted except that the scroll wheel tends to turn on its own when I put the M5 in my pocket and walk around, although maybe my pockets are too overstuffed for my own good.
I agree that M5 is a big step up from the DX90. M5 is an underrated DAP IMHO!
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