Shanling is mainly known for their portable DACs and Hi-Fi portable music players, such as the M7 Digital Audio Player, but they also have their own line of in-ear monitors. Recently, they released their flagship IEM, the MG600. At $699, the MG600 is Shanling’s most expensive IEM, and definitely not an inconsequential price for the average person. I’ve personally never tried a Shanling product and am very excited to see what the MG600 is capable of.
What’s in the Box
- Shanling MG600 IEMs
- Detachable Octa-Core Cable
- 13 Pairs Eartips (3 Vocal, 3 Soundstage, 3 Bass, 2 Balanced, 2 Spinfit)
- 3 Jack adaptors (2.5mm, 3.5mm, 6.3mm)
- Carrying Case
- Cleaning tool
- User Guide
Look and Feel
The MG600’s maple housing looks great. Each pair is handcrafted and has a unique pattern as a result. I love the visual textures on these. The cable is a little rigid but feels solid, and the connections between both the adaptors and the IEMs themselves feel very secure. Since there are so many eartips to choose from, these are more than likely to fit you depending on your preference, and I found them comfortable.
The MG600 has a 10mm Aluminum/Magnesium alloy dynamic driver that ensures balanced and responsive frequency representation. The cavity utilizes a semi-open design in order to relieve air pressure and open the sound. The housing is constructed from stabilized maple wood, giving it both its unique look and acoustic qualities. The MG600 comes with 3 jack adaptors and 5 different types of ear tips to customize your listening experience. Shanling recommends using the included Spinfit eartips for the optimized experience (which I will be using unless specified otherwise).
The MG600s with SpinFit Eartips
The soundstage on the MG600 is tasteful and intriguing. Lead parts feel closer than a lot of other IEMs, but have a good balance between width and uniformity. Panning can get incredibly wide when it needs to, but can also narrow in when called for. Despite lead parts feeling close, it has a very unique airiness for background parts that add a subtle space to the mix; it feels like I’m in a large, sound-absorptive church and I’m surrounded by a band. When I put on the Soundstage ear tips, the width and space were magnified significantly and added to the contrast between the close lead vocals and spacey reverb. As with most IEMs, the isolation and dynamics add to the immersion significantly.
The MG600’s low end fits well into mixes. It’s much smoother than it is impactful, but it’s also very clear and the subs have just the right amount of feel to them. In some more chaotic mixes, I felt that the bass parts were not as punchy as some other IEMs, but that seems to be a deliberate choice by Shanling. Rather than going for that bass-boosted Beats by Dre sound, they chose something with more depth and texture that can still support a mix, which I appreciate immensely (not that I don’t love heavy bass too). If you’re looking for meatier lows, the included Bass eartips do a fantastic job of bringing out the subs and low mids, while still sounding great and maintaining the balance of the MG600.
The mids do a good job of representing the mix. The midrange is paramount to the MG600’s close sound signature. The range feels mostly mix-accurate, with some subtle boosting to bring out leads. This is a double-edged sword, and I had one or two instances where mixes sounded somewhat distorted in lead parts, but this was rare and added some nice grit to what I was listening to. While it’s ultimately up to preference, I think the mids on the MG600 were handled gracefully.
The high range is one of the most interesting aspects of the MG600. While not mix accurate, it still manages to add crispness, while not overly brightening the sound. Reverbs sound amazing in the MG600 and I was able to hear some new details in the highs that I wasn’t able to hear before. The intriguing part is how the highs are so present and spacious, without making the mix lose its uniquely dark character.
The MG600 is one of the most unique sounding IEMs I’ve listened to recently. It manages to achieve contrasting characters and blend them well without sacrificing the other, which is incredibly impressive. Shanling made a very specific type of IEM that they knew wouldn’t appeal to everybody’s preferences, but would sound amazing to people with those preferences. If you want to challenge your knowledge of your go-to reference mixes, all while hearing them in a new way, then I’d highly recommend the MG600.