Welcome to another edition of Bus Ride Impression! And as the season starts to sizzle to signify the start of summer, I have something “warm” in store for you (okay, enough Marlowe, you and your lame puns) especially for those who are in the hunt for a good DAP. I give you: Aune M2Pro!
Alright, seriously, this DAP has been in the market for some time now, but in spite of the released of numerous DAPs right after the M2Pro came out until now, I still think it holds quite good on its own in terms of contention with other players. The M2Pro isn’t exactly top of the line caliber, but it sure should be one serious consideration in the $500 range. Allow me to discuss why.
Traditional to Aune’s simplicity in packaging, the Aune M2Pro comes in a simple black box, nothing too fancy. Even after opening the packaging, you will find the DAP nested in black carton with the USB cable sitting beside it. Apart from that, the box contains nothing else but the warranty card and a manual. Would have been nice if Aune decided to include a few screen protectors just like how Xduoo and Fiio normally would with its DAPs.
However, I think Aune decided to invest more on the build of the DAP itself. The M2Pro is housed in a nicely chiseled aluminum chassis which definitely looks snug and tightly fitted, without any gaps seen in the edges of the DAP.
The top part of M2Pro is where the the power button is housed. At the bottom you will find two 3.5mm jacks, with the left one serving as the headphone output while the right one is for the line level output. Beside it is the micro USB slot for data transfer and charging purposes.
The right side of the DAP contains the micro SD slot and the wheel. Don’t be surprised upon using it but the wheel isn’t exactly for volume alone; it also allows you to navigate through the menu or track options and, upon pressing it, should allow you to select an option. Apart from that, long pressing the wheel serves as the home button.
The face of the DAP shows the 2.4″ display (of course) and three buttons: back, play/pause and forward. These buttons may serve different purpose apart from what was mentioned when long pressed, but it should pretty much be easy to get used to once you get the hang of it. Top part of the face shows the laser engraved branding for Aune and at the bottom part shows 32bit DSD labeling for the DAP.
The M2Pro comes in two color options, the aluminum and black finish. Choice should be yours, but I am totally digging the black one.
I must say, this outing from Aune did make me enjoy it a lot, what with its excellent details and nice balance of frequencies that should keep one engaged. M2Pro allows ample but accurate amount of highs while exuding nice, tight midbass with good extensions at the subs. Mids seems to be sufficient; not too forward but definitely not recessed.
Let’s take the M2Pro to a spin using the Meze 99 Classic as my can:
Tattoed On My Mind (D’Sound, Smooth Escapes – The Very Best Of)
Violins sounded quite smooth at the intro while bass allows quite a good depth using the 99 Classic. Simone Eriksrud’s voice simply flatters the entire tracks while the violins definitely lulls through smoothness. Guitars sounded crisp and clear while the cymbals provides an enjoyable dose of splash. Snare sounded tight and clean.
One thing I noticed is that very faint grain on the low ends using the M2Pro. I tried to play the track using my Onkyo DP-X1 and it did seem to really be with the M2Pro, albeit barely noticeable.
Return To Pooh Corner (Kenny Loggins, The Essential Kenny Loggins)
Acoustic guitars from the very beginning sounded crisp all throughout the track but complemented Loggins’ voice. Bass guitars sounded clear and harmonizes quite well with the guitars. Second voices sounded right in its place, complementing the instruments well. Imaging is quite splendid, allowing you to properly discern the elements of the track quite easily.
What’s Going On (Marvin Gaye, The Master 1961-1984)
I particularly liked the warmth on this tracked as it doesn’t feel overdone. Gaye’s voice simply sounded relaxing along with the back-up vocals. Bass guitar sounded prominent on the track while keyboards compliments the track quite well. Somehow, I kind of heard the track in a very different way using the M2Pro compared to other DAPs that I have tried.
Apart from that very minor quirk on the grain, the M2Pro is definitely a must in every DAP shopping list at the $500 range. It exudes excellent details, has a great definition on the frequencies and is definitely great using your treasured FLACs. Sure there’s the new Fiio X5iii, but to be honest, I would be willing to spend more to get the M2Pro instead. The UI may seem primitive, but then again, I am willing to compromise the UI to get to a better sound. Yes, UI should make it more convenient to use a DAP, but that is a small sacrifice I am willing to pay to get a sound like this. Overall I highly recommend this DAP next to the Onkyo DP-X1.