Shanling UA5 – Portable USB DAC/AMP

With UA5, we are pushing our UA line into a bit different category. While UA1 and UA2 worked nicely as simple USB Audio dongles, UA5 is quite a bit closer to your bigger portable DAC/AMPs.

Shanling UA5

UA5 adds volume wheel for an independent volume control, small screen for an easy access to multiple settings directly on the device, full-size 4.4mm balanced connector instead of fragile 2.5mm, fully balanced audio circuit, SPDIF digital output for use with other DACs and special Hybrid battery Power mode, to reduce battery drain from your smartphone. UA5 provides a better sound quality for your smartphone and a better user experience when connected to your computer.

Key features
– Monochromatic 1.44-inch OLED display, giving access to multiple settings directly on the UA5, without any need for an app on the phone.
– Volume wheel for an independent volume control. Also serving as a menu navigation.
– 3.5mm Single-ended and 4.4mm Balanced outputs.
– Possible to switch between full USB Power and Hybrid Battery Power mode. In Hybrid mode, DACs and amplifiers are using clean power from the build-in 220 mAh battery.
– Fully balanced circuit with two ESS ES9038Q2M DACs and two dedicated Ricore RE6863 amplifiers.
– Digital SPDIF coax output through 3.5mm connector.
– Compatible with Android, Windows, Mac and iOS. Special lightning cable needed for use with iOS.
– UAC2.0 and UAC1.0 mode compatible, for use with a Nintendo Switch and other gaming systems or older devices.
– Hi-Res support up to 32bit / 768khz and DSD512
– Output power 137 mW @ 32 Ohm SE // 211 mW @ 32 Ohm Balanced.
– USB-C Connector. USB-C to USB-C cable and adapter to USB-A included in the packaging.
– Available in black or red anodized aluminium.

UA5 will be available at our international distributors in March.
MSRP 235 USD/Euro
Protective leather case will be sold separately. Available in 3 colors, at 15 USD.

Hybrid Batter Power mode
When enabled, certain sections of UA5 will still be running on USB power, like USB Controller and FPGA. But the crucial parts of DAC and amplifier will instead use a cleaner power from the battery.

In our testing, this set-up proved helpful in three scenarios:
– Consistent analog performance and noise floor, independent from the quality of USB power of the connected device.
– Reduced power drain from the connected device, which can be crucial when running it with smartphone.
– Reduced power demand allows for a compatibility with certain devices, that are normally unable to provide enough power for USB DAC/Amps.

UA5 is of course capable of running in a standard USB Powered mode, in which the battery is completely disconnected and all sections of UA5 runs out of USB power. UA5 will automatically switch to this mode when the battery runs too low.

Did this article help you? If so, please tell me in a comment what do you think about it.

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