Thanks to Shanling Audio for providing the Shanling SONO 2+1 for review purposes.
The Shanling SONO 2+1 is the newest affordable option on the market. It is a courageous move, actually, to position itself so close to the notorious Truthear Hexa and Dunu TitanS. However, one of its benefits is that it comes with a variety of eartips and nozzles that may be interchanged. Let me begin this review with the nozzle that promises to be lively and bassy, and then I will compare it with the nozzle that comes standard on the Hexa.
Shanling was founded in 1988. In the same year, they made their first Hi-Fi stereo amplifier and released it on the market. Shanling’s main offices are in Shenzhen, and its manufacturing facility is in Dongguang. Shanling is a high-tech company that does research and development, production, processing, and sales of goods like Hi-Res portable music players, portable amplifiers, Hi-Fi headphones, SACD/CD players, Hi-Fi amplifiers, power conditioners, and many other Hi-Fi products.
- Bass (resolution depends on the nozzle)
- Detail projection
- Good separation in congested moments
- Relatively safe tuning with both nozzles
- No sibilance
- Easy to drive
- Comfortable for the ear
- More than slight variations with nozzles (funny, it can be a pro at the same time)
- Not being able to be slamming with the fun nozzle
- Not able to reach excellent levels in any specs. It had given me the promise of being another Hexa :/
iBasso dx320 alone, TitanS and Hexa for comparisonsGears Used For The Review
- Form: IEM
- 2 DD + 1 BA
- Impedance (Ohm): 16
- Sensitivity (dB): 103
- Frequency Response (Hz): 16 Hz – 40 KHz
- Removable Cable: Yes
- Source Jack: 3.5mm
- Cup/Shell Jack: 2-pin
- Weight (g): 8.6gr
- List any additional features
- The hybrid IEMs have three drivers: two dynamic coaxial drivers (6.8mm + 9.2mm) and a balanced BA driver. The earphones have a high-end design with shiny zinc alloy ear shells and high-quality HCCAW voice coils. They also have three magnets. They come with two sets of tuning nozzles and an interchangeable cable with 0.78mm two-pin connectors made of high-purity copper with a silver coating.
The outer box has the usual black background with a fingerprint catching attitude. The logo displays a nice contrast with a casual looking appearance.
In the box
- Cardboard containing eartips
- The cable
- Double protected nozzle pair
Silver coated multiple braided and lightweight metal connectors using soft, supple, yet strong-feeling .78mm cable. The ending connectors carry TitanS influence.
TitanS influence is obvious.However, being not in rusted texture, it shots of just influence. Not a copycat, IMO.
Pretty lightweight and shiny. Comfortable in the ear, letting you wear it for many hours without discomfort.
Shanling Audio SONO 2+1 Sound
The timbre is dark to neutral with its OG, bassy nozzle. The soundstage is somehow airy with 2 venting holes per shell, and one is substantially big. Layering is enough for its price. However, background resolution is arguably slightly low with that nozzle. (The other nozzle’s effects on technicalities will be observed and compared later) In energetic music, everything is separated from each other as much as its price tag and nozzle allow. This is another topic that will be observed too. Speaking of separation, strings and the bass of the drum carry their own characters. And, this is giving an edge in math rock of Polyphia (sharper edge with red ringed nozzles). Vocals and their texturing clearly float around 75/100 points. And conceivably, its detail projection is so with the black ringed nozzle. Red ringed nozzle added some crispness to vocals and everything else. I can live happily ever after with those nozzles 🙂
At Shanling SONO 2+1, playing bass is considered to be one of the nozzles jobs. (the second nozzle is not removing it entirely; rather, it is pulling it back to make room for other components.) Thankfully, there is not any bleeding in a bass bath. It is easy to detect the physique and the weight. Even in the challenging conditions of the bass nozzle, it is great that you are not permitting other lines to be crushed beneath. Tuners and engineers have triumphed with this achievement. But even with all of those, the assistance they provide is limited. I am able to feel the boominess of the midbass in specific periods where it is present.
Definitely mellow with plenty of details, it borrows from the upper ranges. With the help of it’s airy and huge soundstage, and separation, it’s a semi ideal budget performer at the high end for live recordings below 100 bucks. The playback is charming at times, especially if you open the book of mid focused songs. However, it’s missing the 3D imaging that is sought after, especially with smooth jazz recordings. But bass nozzles were labeled as fun nozzles. So get along! However, switching to balanced ones resulted in increased clarity across the midrange. 3D imaging improved as well. And crispness rose at the same time. Happy hours for the 80’s and the Riverside ID.Entity album began 🙂 (and dearest respects to Queen – Innuendo’s flamenco-esque partition with that red ringed nozzles)
I didn’t sense an early rolloff, even with the bass enhancing nozzle. Treble percussion details are solid to concentrate on. Funk music of the 70’s is quite happy with the treble allowance of its bass enhancing nozzle. But black upper mid and lower treble enhancing nozzle is making me happy due to the individual instrument projection it enables instead 🙂
vs Dunu TitanS: When compared to the SONO, the sound signature at TitanS is less rough, and the vocal is closer to me with a darker background. When using SONO, the playback gets closer, and the distance between the front layer and the other layers in studio recordings gets less.
vs Turthear Hexa: Hexa is maintaining a tone that is on the drier side of the spectrum. The hits from the bass do not feel strong. TitanS and SONO have teamed up on the voice, however. In terms of the resolution of the background and the overall resolution, I do not see any difference between the SONO and the Hexa.
Where to Buy
- Amazon https://www.amazon.com/SHANLING-SONO-Headphones-Earphones-Replaceable/dp/B0C9MCVM1R/ref=sr_1_5?m=A2VJ0Z3L2E4038&qid=1691311152&s=merchant-items&sr=1-5
Shanling SONO 2+1 Review Conclusion
The Shanling SONO was so easy to review due to the apparent sonic differences of their nozzles and easy going sound performance. It was easy to find PROS and CONS so quickly while removing the power element from the table. It’s a good overall performer in the end. It can cater to wider audiences than Hexa 😉
75/100 with the black nozzle for under $100
80/100 with the red nozzle for under $100