Shanling MG600 Single Dynamic Driver IEM Review: Fast, Punchy, Grande Sound In A Compact Package!!
Founded back in 1988, Shanling has developed itself as a premium audio gear brand. They have been actively releasing new products every year capturing different categories including Digital audio players, in-ear monitors, Bluetooth TWS, etc. Earlier this year, Shanling released their Single Dynamic Driver based “MG” series of IEMs with the launch of MG600. Today, I am going to share my impressions on the same with you guys as I have the unit with me. So without wasting any more time, let’s begin!!
I got this unit of MG600 from a friend for the purpose of this review only. All impressions in this blog are my own based on my own understanding of audiophile terms. I got only the pair with the stock modular cable. At the time of this write-up, the Pair retails for 639$, you can check more information on the Hifigo website from the link below or by clicking here.
Shanling MG600 is the first installment in the “MG” series of single dynamic driver IEMs by Shanling. This is a recently launched pair that features a 10mm dynamic driver with a carbon fiber composite diaphragm and aluminum-magnesium dome structure. The pair has a semi-open back architecture with beautifully crafted whole wood ear shells. Since I got only the pair with a modular XINHS cable from my friend, I will be skipping over the retail unboxing part in this video and we will start directly with the Design & Build Quality of the pair!!
Design & Build Quality:-
MG600 is a beautifully built set. As I just mentioned above, the shells are completely made up of wood except for the ear nozzle that’s metallic. The cavities are precisely carved out of Solid Stabilised Maple wood. Since they are made of natural wood, each earpiece has got its own unique texture. My unit here has a mellow blue shade to itself, they look beautiful and have a really nice in-hand feel.
In a world where most IEMs have a custom-like shape, MG600 brings a breath of fresh air with compact, round-shaped ear cavities. The pair has a semi-open back architecture with a grill at the face plate area. MG600 uses MMCX connectors that are placed at the top area. Let’s move on ahead on the Fit part now.
Fit & Noise Isolation:-
I am impressed by the compact form factor of the MG600. The pair is actually comfortable to wear for long durations and easily disappears into my ears. I personally prefer it with Spinfit W1 ear tips, while also getting a good fit with Azla Sedna Earfit Light, and Moondrop Spring Tips. I can’t comment much on stock ear tips as I have not got any stock tips from my friend so no idea what’s bundled in the package. With its semi-open acoustic design, the isolation is average. It’s not much, just a little bit, something that I expected from a semi-open-back set. Let’s move forward and let’s discuss my pairings with the MG600.
A point to note here is that the ear nozzle of MG600 is a little long, which might give trouble for some people. I personally had no issues, but my wife she had very small ears and she doesn’t wear IEMs often, she had a hard time trying out the MG600.
Pairings & Sources For MG600:-
I had an arsenal ready for MG600. Actually, I spent a good 2-week honeymoon with the set, my friend sent his unit to me and went outstation for official work. So I got to spend a lot of time with the MG600 and during this time I tested it thoroughly with three different sources, the Shanling M7, the HiBy RS2, and the Questyle M15. While I don’t find the MG600 to be demanding by any means, don’t give it a smartphone. Don’t get me wrong here please, It works nicely off my Redmi Note 10 Pro(direct 3.5mm headphone output), but obviously with better sources, it scales nicely and shows good dynamics. To do justice and get the best out of the set, I would recommend giving it a decent USB DAC/AMP at the very least like the Shanling UA3, and FiiO KA3(tried both briefly with the MG600, good pairing). Here are my impressions of the three sources that I personally own.
It’s a dream pairing, like an absolutely premium experience awaits me every single time I plug the MG600 into the M7. Amazing dynamics, open soundstage, good resolution!! Never really had to go above 20-25/100 on medium-gain mode here.
Smooth, Elegant pairing. Note-definition gets a bit soft and the bass a little lean, but vocals carry all the charm in this combination. I absolutely adore the vocal performance of RS2. Had to turn the volume to about 45-50/100 on high-gain mode on the RS2 for MG600.
M15 delivers a crisp output with well-defined instruments on the MG600. It’s like M7 tbh but a little less dynamic, overall a very good pairing IMO. MG600 is decently powered at about 70% volume on my iPad Air while using the M15 in low-gain mode.
That’s about my sources for the MG600, let’s move ahead and start on the Sound part now!!
Shanling MG600 has a dynamic, lively sound tuning. The pair impressed me instantly with its quick lower-end response, energetic/lively treble, and the grand soundstage literally gave me goosebumps. The semi-open back architecture works in MG600’s favor and grants it an amazing depth on the stage. MG600 has a U-shaped sound signature which sometimes feels W-shaped in some vocal-centric tracks. But mainly I found the Bass and Treble regions to take the front while the midrange is a little recessed. “Californication” by RHCP shows good separation, well-defined instrument notes, and a greatly immersive presentation on the MG600. “Rare” by Selena Gomez gets a beautiful treatment with fast slams and crisp vocals.
MG600 has an elevated bass response with its U-shaped sound signature. If you love a fast, deep-hitting bass response, congratulations, you are in for a treat with the MG600. The pair delivers some actually good slams in the mid-bass region which is more focused in its lower end. Sub-bass has good rumble, but I find it more hitting on the mid-bass region. Drum kicks are slamming and hit deep with every single beat even in busy tracks(which you will find in the song explanations below). I would say, the Sub-bass of the MG600 could be improved a little. “Limit to your Love” by James Blake shows an excellent bass response with the pair not losing its control or texture at any point!! Impressed by the bass response here!!
Midrange is a little recessed but shows full character and texture. Vocal-centric tracks sometimes make the pair sound W-shaped, for example, “The Animals Were Gone” by Damien Rice, and “Speak Softly Love” by Yao Si Ting, but don’t worry the pair never gets shouty or harsh for vocals. Although it’s a little snappy for high notes, especially in ‘sss’, and ‘shhh” sounds but I never find it to lose texture or go sibilant. Instruments such as Acoustic Guitars, Pianos, show brilliant definitions in the midrange segment.
MG600 maintains good energy and presents the listeners with a lively treble region. Lower treble feels a bit forward while the upper treble region has a smooth presentation. It’s not harsh or sibilant, rather has a nicely detailed treble response that shows smoothly defined notes and retrieves good details even from busy tracks. MG600 continues to maintain its resolution in the treble region. Instruments such as Pianos, Electric Guitars, and violins have got decent details in the high segments. Personally found the MG600 to be fairly decent in the treble region.
Soundstage, Imaging, Clarity:-
IMO Soundstage is the biggest pro of MG600 here. The pair creates a decently wide but amazingly deep soundstage. It provides a full 3D immersive experience for most of the genres I have given the set to. Imaging-wise I find the MG600 to perform excellently well, each and every single instrument can be positioned and placed precisely even on busy tracks. Overall, I would say the pair shows brilliant dynamics!!
Let’s discuss some tracks I tested the pair with during my critical listening sessions:-
Moonlight by Ali Gatie:-
This track becomes a treat to listen to on the MG600, the acoustic guitar, the drum beats, everything feels so real and complements the lovely vocals in the track. Drum kicks here feel like a deep punch but won’t get boomy or bloated. This is a slow track and is beautifully rendered on the MG600!!
Love of Mine by Imagine Dragons:-
This is a fast, busy track, and the MG600 keeps up with the pace of the track without breaking a sweat. The presentation here is smooth with instruments taking a step ahead of vocals. Even though the vocals feel relaxed and recessed, they show good character and tone. They don’t lose texture or become shouty even at loud volumes.
Love Ain’t Nothing But A Four Letter Word by Bon Jovi:-
Electric Guitar in this track extends well and is rendered beautifully on the MG600. This is a moderately fast track with a good amount of layers at the same time including Organs, Drums, Electric guitar, and Vocals, and the MG600 handles it well without losing texture or sounding congested at all. I feel the MG600 has got an amazing 3D soundstage which helps the pair to counter such tracks and present them in a beautiful manner.
Everything to Lose by Dido:-
Vocals in this track come to life with the RS2 and MG600. The pair retrieves every single detail from her voice and renders it in a beautiful manner. The EDM music in the background sounds so good on the MG600 with its punchy lower-end presentation.
I AM Here by P!NK:-
Again a fast and busy track, and you will find the MG600 to excel at this track again with its brilliant resolution and clarity. This track is a roller coaster ride, and the pair takes it on and presents it with its full capabilities!!
Hotel California by Eagles(Hell Freezes Over Recording):-
None of my reviews/impressions are complete without listening to this gem. MG600 with its excellent separation and details presents this favorite track of mine with absolute details and precision. The acoustic intro to this track sounds so mesmerizing on the pair that I listened to the track on repeat a few times just for that brilliant intro!!
Some Comparisons with Other Single Dynamic Driver IEMs in the market:-
Let’s compare the MG600 with two of its straight competitions, the Sennheiser IE600 and the Meze Advar. All three of these IEMs are priced similarly and have a similar single DD configuration but IMO differ altogether in their sound presentation. IE600 is my personal unit while the Advar is again a loaner from a friend. Here’s my take on them.
Shanling MG600 vs Sennheiser IE600:-
>MG600 and IE600 have identical stage width, but the MG600 has got a lot more depth on the stage.
>IE600 delivers a more rumbly, deep-reaching sub-bass response, which MG600 lacks in this department.
>MG600 notes sound a tad bit lean in comparison to the IE600, especially in vocals.
>IE600 has got more energy in the treble region, for some, it might be too much.
>Both have identical detail retrieval, which is pretty good for both of them.
>Fit-wise, Both are good, but I find IE600 to be better and it’s also better in noise isolation.
Shanling MG600 vs Meze Advar:-
>Advar sounds warmer and has a punchy mid-bass in the lower-end region. I would say MG600 presents better sub-bass than the Advar. Advar’s main focus is on the mid-bass region.
>Vocals have got a melodious warm touch with the Advar.
>Mids are lush and heavy with the Advar.
>MG600 has much better stage width, Advar feels intimate. Depth is more or less identical on both sets.
>Treble is where the Advar starts to lose its charm. It’s a little peaky, cymbals and claps are more pronounced, and can get sharp at loud volumes. MG600 handles them smoothly and shows a better definition.
>Detail Retrieval is better on the MG600, Advar sounds like a guilty pleasure set, just can’t put it down.
Final Words For the Shanling MG600:-
MG600 gets my recommendation for its 3D spacious soundstage, compact, comfortable build, and its brilliant lower-end response. I personally prefer listening to fast and punchy bass response and want my soundstage to have good depth, the MG600 delivers both of them. It’s a treat to the eyes with its solid wooden ear shells which are also super comfy by the way. My only complaints with the set would be, I need a little more sub-bass and I want vocals to be a bit smoother. Just my 2 cents and obviously based on my personal preference!! I absolutely loved my time with the Shanling MG600, a great entry into the premium single-dynamic driver IEM market for Shanling. Now the brand has also released the MG800, After listening to the MG600, I am kind of excited about it!!
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