Dark Mode On / Off

Shanling UP4 2022 Bluetooth Receiver DAC AMP – Gym Partner, Music Renderer

Shanling UP4 2022 Bluetooth Receiver DAC AMP – Gym Partner, Music Renderer

Shanling UP4 2022 is a $ 85 USD Bluetooth DAC / AMP sold by Ahosida, based on a Dual ES9219C DAC configuration, with both Single Ended and 2.5mm Balanced outputs, and with a long battery life. It will be compared to other Bluetooth Receivers / DAC / AMPs, including IKKO ITB03 Heimdallr, Khadas Tea, and Shanling UP5. Among those, UP4 2022 is the most affordable, so it will be a fun review where we’ll explore what you can expect and if this is still a good purchase for music lovers. 



Shanling requires no introduction, as it is a popular company from China, and Mr. Fran from Shanling is the one who convinced us to participate in the 2023 High-End Munich event, and for this, we are forever grateful. But leaving our feelings aside, we always stay neutral while reviewing, especially as the ones providing the review sample for today’s review are Aoshida, a huge store from China, which delivers to the entire world, and which has products from competing companies in their offer, so it is in their best interest that we are neutral and that you are getting something you’ll enjoy. They have their products available even on Amazon, acting as a distributor, and more than your average simple shop, offering great warranty and support, and being one of the top companies you can order your audio from. 

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with Shanling or Aoshida. I’d like to thank Aoshida for providing the sample for this review. This review reflects my personal experience with the Shanling UP4 2022. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it. The purpose of this review is to help those interested in the Shanling UP4 2022 find their next music companion. 


Product Link

You can grab one from Aoshida here: https://aoshida-audio.com/products/shanling-up4-2022

You can grab one from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/3CFsLLh

If you’re in the UK, you can grab one from www.amazon.co.uk here: https://amzn.to/3XnVSMM

And if you’re from Europe, you can grab one from www.amazon.de here: https://amzn.to/3NpsgK6


Build Quality/Aesthetics

Shanling UP4 2022 is a tiny Bluetooth Receiver with a fairly common design and if you didn’t look at the golden volume wheel, it looks really similar to IKKO ITB03 in person. The bottom of the unit has one Type-C port that can be used to charge it, and I have not seen a USB DAC function advertised nor did I manage to use the UP4 2022 that way. Charging UP4 2022 can be a bit complicated since it won’t accept all fast chargers, and this is a theme you will find online in the discussion forums. What I did discover is that it works with fast chargers from Xiaomi but not from Motorola or One Plus

The battery life is quoted to be around 11.5 hours for the single ended output, and that is around what I am getting. I am using UP4 2022 for my Gym, connected to a pair of Austrian Audio HI-X60 headphones, and I love the sound. The battery lasts me for around a week or so, so about 5-6 sessions of around two to three hours of training. My volume is not at max, so if you blast music, it may last for a little shorter. 

The unit is elegant, has a glass face, but mine, even after around 2 months of gym, doesn’t have scratches or any usage sign, which is neat. The Balanced headphone output does sound a bit better tha the single ended one, but I don’t have many or any new headphones that use a 2.5mm connection, so for me the 3.5mm SE connector is the king. You can make UP4 2022 run both balanced Dual DAC for a better sound or Single DAC, and it has a lot of driving power, even for headphones. Just for fun, it can bring HIFIMAN HE1000 V2 reasonably loud, but it is not driving them as well as a stronger source, so no lies here, it is powerful, but for more entry-level headphones. 

You can switch between high gain and low gain, via the button on the top, and the volume wheel can be used as a click button, to end calls, answer calls, play / pause, and double click it to skip to the next song. There is NFC on it, but I never used it, B;luetooth connection is simple and very quick, and I find it more convenient than NFC. Speaking of which, UP4 2022 supports all popular Bluetooth encoding formats, including aptX HD, LDAC and LHDC, based on the CSR 8675 Bluetooth chip. 

The Bluetooth range is ok. Basically, I experienced something rather odd, it can have a somewhat frail connection for the first 5 minutes after it connects to a phone, after which the connection becomes stable, and I can use it freely. Since I use it at the gym, I use it in a torture setting, where there’s someone using a Bluetooth device literally at ever meter, and a lot of wifi and GSM connections, but it can still become fully stable after it gets connected. I am using the LHDC codec, and it has the best connection quality and overall sound. It is necessary to set it manually from the smartphone setting to use the highest available data rate and bit rate. Despite this not making any sense, I found that it sounds much better if using 24 Bit and the highest data rate available. 


Sound Quality

The main headphones I’ve been using with Shanling UP4 2022 have been Austrian Audio HI-X60, but I also paired it with HIFIMAN HE1000 V2 Stealth, Dita Perpetua, Unique Melody Maven PRO, iBasso SR3, and Erzetich Thalia. All in all, UP4 2022 has enough power for all of them, except for HE1000 V2, where it struggles to achieve a satisfying volume. This being said, it has a bold bottom end and bass, with a clean midrange, and a fairly sparkly treble, which makes it very universal and easy to pair with a multitude of sources. I like the overall dynamic and detail it has, but at times the Bluetooth compression can be audible, especially if the bluetooth network becomes congested, and your smartphone has to roll to a lower quality signal. The data rate for Bluetooth can be enforced from your smartphone, but doing this causes signal dropouts if the network gets congersted. I made a full article about how all of this works here – 

The bass of Shanling UP4 2022 is clean, deep and full. I actually really like the bottom end, and Shanling doesn’t shy away from a stronger, warmer bottom end. With most headphones this is going to be a welcome thing, and especially with headphones like Austrian Audio HI-X60, which are quite bright, it helps a lot, giving them a really powerful punch and deep sound. There is no distortion in the lows, even at maximum distortion, and for a device this small, it can be too loud for me, reaching well over 115dB with most headphones, more than you’re likely to listen if you want to keep your hearing intact. The bass can reach well in the sub-lows, and it has good control even in complex passages. 

The midrange is clean and dynamic, but while it is pretty colorful and punchy, it is about as detailed as most sources within the ~100 USD price range are, like Surfans F20, Shanling M1S, and HIFI Walker H2 Touch. Overall, I found it to be the most dynamic and punchy sounding Bluetooth Dongle that is not super large, so this is one of the main reasons I chose it to use it for my Gym sessions, where dynamics and punchiness are far more important than detail and resolution, to keep the blood flowing and muscles pumping. 

The treble of UP4 2022 is clean, detailed and fairly well extended. There is no roll off nor is there any unintentional super smoothness, so it keeps things active and interesting, which once again, makes it the perfect companion for gym, as the sound is energetic, lively and punchy. The treble is not bright nor super aggressive though, but I think it has more than enough for most headphones, it makes a super good pair with HI-X60



Shanling UP4 2022 vs Shanling UP5 (85 USD vs 179 USD) – Shanling UP5 is generally a better sounding DAC / AMP than UP4 2022, it has better driving power, better dynamics, better resolution and a crisper sound. This being said, UP5 is larger and heavier than UP4 2022, and it wouldn’t allow me to just clip it to a headphone band, and run, jog or do my daily weight lifting, which means that the smaller size of UP4 2022 makes it a winner if you’re going to do some gym. I think that if ultimate sound quality is your purpose, UP5 is a more compelling purchase, but only if you’re pretty sure you don’t want it clipped to a headphone headband. 

Shanling UP4 2022 vs IKKO ITB03 Heimdallr (85 USD vs 149 USD) – Heimdallr is also a bit more detailed and cleaner than UP4 2022, but just as with UP5, it is larger than UP4, which puts it at being too large and heavy to clip to a headphone and use it to make a wired headphone, well, portable. I found that most wired headphones coupled with UP4 2022 will sound better than most bluetooth headphones, so I would still go for this kind of usage, IBT03 has a smoother treble too, which does not work well for gym, where I need to be rather pumped up and have a bright sound, not a smooth and relaxed sound. I would recommend UP4 2022 if you want something super portable, and ITB03 if you want better clarity / detail, and don’t mind the larger size. 

Shanling UP4 2022 vs Khadas Tea (85 USD vs 209 USD) – Khadas Tea actually doesn’t even make much sense compared to UP4 2022 unless you have an iPhone iDevice that has the MagSafe Lock. It can be locked to a smartphone, but not to a headphone, so it is more of turning your smartphone into a DAP kind of Bluetooth DAC AMP / wired DAC AMP rather than a portable DAC AMP like UP4 2022. The sound of Khadas Tea has better dynamics and a thicker, warmer bass, more punch, and a smoother treble. 


Value and Conclusion

We have been reviewing a Bluetooth Amplifier / DAC that costs 85 USD at the moment of writing today’s review, and I think that for this price point it is more than a sweet deal, it has one of the best price / performance ratios you’re likely to find out there. Even better, UP4 2022 has both balanced and single ended line out, a lot of driving power, and supports even less popular, but higher quality codecs like LHDC, so I think it is totally worth checking out for a high performing Bluetooth AMP at the sub 100 USD price range. 

At the end of the day, if you need a portable Bluetooth DAC AMP that can be clipped to the headband of a headphone, something tiny, but powerful, with a good battery life, and a lively, dynamic and punchy sound, Shanling UP4 2022 is one of the best I’ve heard and a fully recommended purchase. 


Product Link

You can grab one from Aoshida here: https://aoshida-audio.com/products/shanling-up4-2022

You can grab one from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/3CFsLLh

If you’re in the UK, you can grab one from www.amazon.co.uk here: https://amzn.to/3XnVSMM

And if you’re from Europe, you can grab one from www.amazon.de here: https://amzn.to/3NpsgK6


--- Please remember to stay safe, and always have fun while listening to music!---

 - If you have a dime to spare, please donate, and help us! It would make the day brighter for me and my wife- 

Full Playlist used for this review

We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature.  I recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music! The playlists are different for Spotify, Tidal and Youtube, and based on the songs I enjoy and are available on each!




--- Contact Us ---


  1. […] diving into an in-depth review, and comparing it to other popular Bluetooth Receivers, including Shanling UP4 2022 (85 USD), IKKO ITB03 HEIMDALLR (149 USD), and Khadas Tea (209 USD). We will also be exploring […]

  2. […] easy to drive the FH11, and the list of sources I’ve used for today’s review includes Shanling UP4 2022, FiiO Q15, Aune S17 PRO connected to an Aune S9C, JDS Labs Element III MK2 Boosted, Hiby R3 II, […]

  3. Michael Gunin
    Michael Gunin

    Nice review and comparisons, George. May I ask if you’ve had a chance to try FIIO BTR5 and BTR7? How does UP4 hold out against them?

    1. George Dobrescu

      Thank you so much! I actually did review BTR5, and I think that UP4 2022 is close to it in quality, but there are some differences in shape, size, and what each does best. For example, I prefer the sound of UP4 2022, but it doesnt’ work as well as a USB DAC, also codec support is a bit better on UP4 2022 from what I can see, most smartphones see more codecs for it than for BTR5.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Copyrighted (C) to www.audiophile-heaven.com