M3 Ultra Sound Quality: Is It as Good as They Say?

By ANAS KHAN 6 Min Read

Sonically, the Shanling M3 Ultra is a pleasant, adaptable DAP that can power in-ear monitors (IEMs) and Ambient Acoustics MAD 16 or Oriveti OV800, Fir Audio NE4, and Unique Melody MEXT. The absence of background hissing or noise is a pleasant experience. The M3 Ultra has sufficient driving power to support full-sized headphones, such as the Audeze MM-500, which I tested well. I was also able to pair the M3 Ultra with the Sivga SV023, HIFIMAN HE1000 V2, iBasso SR2, OLLO S4X, and KLH Ultimate One.

Most headphones have more than enough driving power, especially when using the balanced output, for which I’ve been using a variety of aftermarket cables, particularly the Lavaricable Silver. However, even with the HE1000 V2, I was unable to increase the volume above 55/100, though I was able to get close to the maximum when using the single-ended output with the OLLO S4x and S5x.

All testing was conducted in high gain, Dual DAC mode, and I mixed songs from my onboard storage, some Tidal and YouTube streaming, and a USB DAC (Shanling M3 Ultra). I have experimented with utilizing the M3 Ultra as a Bluetooth receiver and source. In addition, I thought the overall character sounded authentic, with a warm middle, a strong, noticeable bass, and a sparkling, brilliant high end.

IEMs and easier-to-drive headphones provide superior bass, and the OLLO SSX and Shanling M3 Ultra are a great combination, producing excellent instrument separation and resolution. The signature focuses a little on making the midrange sound natural, detailed, and smooth, which allows M3 Ultra to sound clean and smooth in the textures.

M3 Ultra Sound Quality With Special DAP

M3 Ultra Sound Quality With Special DAP

Let’s start with the bass. The M3 Ultra Sound Quality is a unique DAP with excellent control and a beautiful deep bass with terrific impact. It is surprising to hear that it has no distortion at all, yet has a great depth and intensity. I want to talk about the bass’s smooth texture presentation, which gives it a lean yet lush presentation, in addition to its general clarity. When there is no EQ applied, the bass is in line with the midrange and treble rather than being elevated above them. What is remarkable is how well the bass enters the sub-lows.

The M3 Ultra has a lovely midrange that is clean, melodic, smooth in textures, and extremely well separated. It appears that this is the core of its characteristic with all of the headphones and IEMS I test it with. The midrange of M3 Ultra has excellent dynamics, punch, and tone, but it also presents voices in a rather personal way that draws the listener in while still giving the instruments room to breathe and music to flow around them.

Since M3 Ultra has a distinctive method of presenting the mids that are pleasing to the ear, the overall midrange seems to be very natural, and I love that I can listen to aggressive music—even grindcore—without ever feeling tired.

There is no roll-off in the amount and vitality of the presentation, yet the treble is well-extended, airy, and sparkling with a smooth texture. I appreciate that


The Shanling M3 Ultra is a versatile DAP that can drive both IEMs and In-Ear Monitors, such as Ambient Acoustics MAD 16, Oriveti OV800, Unique Melody MEXT, and Fir Audio NE4. It has enough driving power for full-sized headphones, and its overall signature is natural with a sparkly top end, warm midrange, and powerful bass. The bass is better with IEMs and easier-to-drive headphones, and the OLLO SSX is a perfect match for the M3 Ultra.

The midrange is clean, musical, and smooth in textures, with spot-on tonality and superb dynamics. The treble is well extended, airy, and sparkly, with no roll-off in the quantity and energy of the presentation. The overall sound quality is pleasing to the ear, and the M3 Ultra is a great choice for those looking for a high-quality DAP.


What is the output impedance of the Shanling m3 Ultra?

There are two positions for the gain, and which one is selected determines the power output. However, the single-ended side achieves 41mW and 140mW at 32Ω. Once more, the numbers show power output with a high or low gain. On both connections, the output impedance was indicated as 1Ω.

How do you use Shanling m3x as a DAC?

Please download and install the Shanling USB Drivers for Windows users. Use a USB cable to connect the player to the computer. It will detect this and instantly enter USB DAC MODE, appearing as a new sound device in your system. To use the player with a smartphone or tablet in Bluetooth receiver mode, turn on the Bluetooth amplifier mode.

Can you use a DAP as a DAC?

Yes, you can use it as a DAC/amp combo if you can use USB to connect it to your PC or notebook and stream music through it.

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