Shenzhen-based audio equipment manufacturer Shenling is best known for its digital audio players and Bluetooth amplifiers. We’ve reviewed the Shanling M0, a compact digital audio player that stands above its weight in terms of both size and price. However, the company also makes earphones – both wired and wireless. Considering that true wireless audio is a big craze right now, Shanling has launched its first true wireless earphones, the MTW100, in India.
5,999 onwards, priced at Rs. Shanling MTW100 Interestingly available in two variants with different types of drivers. You can have dynamic drivers for Rs. 5,999 for Rs. 5,999, or a technically better balanced armature driver. 6,999. We have got a chance to review both the variants of these affordable true wireless earphones. Read on to know if this little-known brand has what it takes to make a mark in the affordable true wireless segment in India.
Shanling MTW100 Design and Specifications
The Shanling MTW100 earphones are available in three color options, but your choice of color also has to do with your choice of driver. The black and red versions of the MTW100 use balanced armature drivers, while the white ones have dynamic drivers. In this case, your choice of color has a definite impact on performance.
Whatever color you choose, the earphones come with a contrasting case. The black case is orange inside, the red case is black inside, and the white case is red inside. These dual-tone color combinations look good, and the case comes with matching straps at the back. The outer, glossy casings of the earphones are colorful, while the inner parts are matte black plastic for all three variants. We really liked the black variant and especially the black-orange combo of the case.
The Shanling MTW100 earphones sound great with their own unique shape. They are short, with slightly elongated stems where the microphones are located at the bottom. A Shanling logo is visible on the outer side of each earpiece. Just below the logo are the touch sensors that control playback and transparency modes, and just above them are small power indicator lights. Volume can’t be controlled with earphones, and will need to be adjusted on the paired device.
When it comes to fit and comfort, the Shenling MTW100 is one of the best in the budget true wireless segment. The earphones are lightweight, and with the right tips we were able to achieve a secure, noise-isolating fit that effectively kept noise out. Transparency mode worked well, but made the ambient sound a bit artificial and ‘pipe through’. This was really only effective when no music or sound was being played on the earphones, as the music overpowered what the microphones were able to pick up from our surroundings.
The charging case looks like an earphone in terms of finish and styling, and is compact enough to carry around in your pocket. The earphones are magnetically attached to the case, and automatically turn on or off when needed. When the earphones are placed, three small LEDs light up to indicate the case’s power level. We weren’t too impressed with the lid hinge, though; While it looked modern and stylish, it didn’t feel very sturdy and the lid was very loose when opened.
The sales package for the Shanling MTW100 includes a total of six pairs of silicone ear tips, a user guide, and a short USB Type-C cable for charging the case. We got about 5 hours of battery life per charge from the Dynamic Driver variant, and the case offered the earphones three additional charges for a total of 20 hours per charge cycle. While we didn’t specifically measure battery life on the Balanced Armature variant, we expect it to last a little longer as the drivers themselves get a little more energy-efficient.
Shanling MTW100 Performance
The two variants of the Shanling MTW100 use different driver technologies, and inherently sound completely different. As expected, the more expensive balanced armature version had the better sound of the two, in our opinion. We used both pairs of earphones with the OnePlus 7T Pro (Review) and Apple iPad Mini (2019) (Review) for music as well as audio in TV shows, movies, and games.
Although both types look good when you consider the different use cases, the balanced armature MTW100 is a bit more musical and capable when it comes to the core usage experience. The sound signature is a pleasant one that suits most genres, and the sound is well controlled across the frequency range. Don’t expect neutral or flat-sounding output here; The balanced armature Shanling MTW100 is definitely designed for the kind of sound that works with popular music.
You’d expect the Dynamic Driver variant to be a little more bass-happy, and that’s basically speaking. However, the bass is a bit raw and unsophisticated, while the balanced armature drivers produce a more calculated and tight low-end that doesn’t feel excessive or steamroll the rest of the frequency range. That is to say, if you choose balanced armature drivers there is less raw punch, but a lot more drive and attack.
It’s only really noticeable with music; For audio in movies, TV shows and games, we found both the variants to be equally ready. The sound quality is quite good, and the excellent passive noise isolation helped us deliver a decent listening experience in these scenarios.
This was well highlighted by listening to the Borgore remix of Passion Pit’s Sleepyhead on both pairs of earphones. We started with the Dynamic Driver variant to listen to this dubstep track and found that the bass had a bit more thump and extension, but felt a bit sluggish compared to the mid-range and highs, with the earphones focusing on the rumble of the lows . Switching to the balanced armature earphones, vocals sounded noticeably louder, while lows were a bit more crisp and distinct. Height wasn’t that impressive and felt a bit low, but that didn’t affect the enjoyableness of the track too much.
Next, we listened to the rather wacky club bally remix of David Bowie’s Let’s Dance. The balanced armature Shenling MTW100 made for a detailed and fun representation of this fusion track, with an expansive soundstage and immersive character. The balanced armature drivers once again captured the essence of the track better than the dynamic drivers, rendering Indian instruments as well as details in Bowie’s soulful voice.
While we enjoyed listening to the Shenling MTW100 and found the earphones to be worth every buck (the balanced armature version, at least), we felt that these earphones were somewhat lackluster in one big technical aspect – Bluetooth codec support. The earphones support SBC and AAC codecs, and the lack of support for aptX keeps drivers and tuning back rather capable.
Lastly, we also used the earphones for calls, and were impressed with their performance. Sound on calls was good on both ends, in quiet and noisy environments. Good passive noise isolation was useful here too, helping cut out extraneous sound and letting us hear the caller’s voice clearly.
Shenling isn’t a very well-known name among most audio buyers, but the brand is highly rated among audiophile circles and advanced users. The company’s first true wireless earphones are a value-for-money offering, and definitely worth considering if you have a budget under Rs. 10,000. The earphones sound good, sound good, and have decent battery life as well.
Though the Dynamic Driver variant is more affordable at Rs. 5,999, we would highly recommend spending Rs. 1,000 more and getting the balanced armature version. It’s more musical, is better tuned, and will likely offer better battery life as well. Few competing options in this price segment offer better codec support, such as the 1More Stylish True Wireless, and it’s worth considering for a similar overall experience.
- Looks good
- Comfortable, great passive noise isolation
- good battery life
- Balanced armature drivers are detailed, musical
- Huge soundstage, immersive sound
- good performance on call
- Dynamic driver version is not very sophisticated
- no aptx support
Rating (out of 5) – Shanling MTW100 with Balanced Armature Drivers
- Design / Comfort: 4
- Audio Quality: 4
- Battery life: 4
- Value for money: 4
- Overall: 4
Rating (out of 5) – Shenling MTW100 with Dynamic Drivers
- Design / Comfort: 4
- Audio Quality: 3.5
- Battery life: 4
- Value for money: 3.5
- Overall: 3.5