PROS: Sound quality – Clean, detailed, resolving, good performance for price, built like a tank, well finished shiny shells, variety of ear tip options.
CONS:It depends on fit but some might find it a bit bright/peaky in upper mids, should’ve included a better and more bling-y cable for the asking price.
I would like to thank Shanling for sending me the ME500 PE, EL1 and UP2 to test and review. I am not affiliated with the company or any of its sellers and write this review with an unbiased opinion regardless of how the review turns out.
I am a professional musician, producer and audio engineer with experience in the performing, recording and pro-audio industry. I test products on a technical and musical level and try to write reviews as simple as possible from a music fan’s perspective.
I majorly listen to rock, acoustic, pop, metal, and sometimes popular EDM songs doing the rounds on the charts.
- Impedance: 18Ω
- Driver: 10mm Dynamic+ Dual balanced armature
- Sensitivity: 111±3 dB
- Frequency response: 20-40khz
- Cable wire: Silver plated OFC + OFC
- Cable length:1.3m
- Weight: 12.5g
Included in the box
- Shanling ME500 Platinum Edition
- Silver Plated Oxygen Free Copper
- 5 sets of SML ear tips
- Premium C4 leather case
- Cleaning tool
Shanling ME500 is accessories rich which includes 5 sets of ear tips including tips that help balance, vocals, bass, soundstage, etc.
- IEM – ME500 Platinum Edition looks very premium with platinum coated brass shells which are polished for super shine. The shells have good weight and feel very solidly built. The whole shape, curves, nozzle, mesh; everything is executed very well. The shell is made up of two parts and each has a vent for venting the dynamic driver.
- Cable – The stock cable is an Octa-core silver plated oxygen free 6N copper. The cable has been upgraded from a hybrid cable to an all silver-plated copper cable for the Platinum Edition. The weaving and sealing technique achieves a much tight construction, avoiding unwanted oxidation of the wires. It is not as flashy as the shells but feels well built. The connectors are transparent and the cable has pre-formed ear guides which are well shaped to curl around your ear properly. The Y-split and chin slider are both made up of metal and follow the design language of the IEM package. Even though the cable works well, a lot of other IEMs at this price come with much better cables and I wish Shanling had included a better looking and feeling cable.
- Connectors – The Platinum Edition has connectors with thicker gold plating which helps with a tighter fit and increases the life-span of the connectors.
- Shanling EL1 2.5mm Balanced Cable – Shanling also sent me their Shanling EL1 cable to test with the ME500PE. It has a 2.5mm jack, fit to work with 2.5mm balanced outputs which Shanling DAPs spot too. It is an 8-core high purity Single Crystal Copper cable which has 22 wires in each core, them being 24 AWG. The jack has nickel plated brass housing which looks very cool! As for sound, I perceive slightly more resolution, better bass character and more refined and smoother treble. If you’re buying the ME500 and want a nice premium looking 2.5mm cable right away along with it, you can maybe give the EL1 a try. But frankly, at $119 asking price, there are other manufacturers offering UP-OCC Litz and Single Crystal Copper Litz cables which IMO, are a better steal.
- Carry Case – The included carry case is made up of soft leather and looks quite classy and premium. The stitching is very neatly done and it sports the Shanling logo on the lid. But as soon as you flip open the case, you realize that it is not very ergonomic to fit the IEM with the cable. The opening is pretty small and you have the push in the IEM and cable to fit in completely. I wish Shanling would’ve paid the same level of attention to ergonomics here too, as they have done with the IEM.
Fit and Comfort.
The shells are small enough to fit most ears and weighted enough to know that they are in your ear. This also gives me confidence in their ruggedness. Out of the collection of ear tips, large size fits me best. The fit is not as snug as semi-custom shaped IEMs but is still very nice and comfortable. The shells are ergonomically shaped to provide a good fit. Noise isolation is pretty good though not as high as semi-custom shells, partly because of the vents and the rest because of difference in shell design.