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EarMen's budget portable DACs aim to upgrade your mobile and desktop sound

EarMen expands its range of portable DACs
(Image credit: EarMen)

EarMen, the sister brand to high-end manufacturer Auris Audio, has expanded its range of portable DACs to help improve the sound quality of your mobile device or computer.

Designed for plug-and-play use while on the go, the DACs are compact and light, while some also offer compatibility with hi-res digital audio formats. The brand claims that its use of high-grade components ensures low noise and minimal signal degradation, with a stable sound field all the way to your headphones.

Measuring just 55 x 22 x 8mm and weighing a mere 15 grams, the EarMen Eagle is a pocket-friendly USB DAC with a 3.5mm jack output and USB-A input, so should be ideal for use as a headphone amplifier. The Eagle has an aluminium casing featuring glass design details and costs £109 / AU$220, sandwiching it between the class-leading Cyrus soundKey and AudioQuest DragonFly Red rivals.

Similarly sized, but priced at £189 / AU$400, is the EarMen Sparrow. This USB DAC, preamplifier and headphone amplifier has support for playback of MQA  and hi-res files up to 32-bit/384kHz (PCM) and DSD128 audio. The Sparrow has an aluminium enclosure housing a USB-C connection, 3.5mm output and 2.5mm balanced output with up to 4.0V RMS of power. 

The EarMen TR-Amp, meanwhile, is a battery-powered DAC, preamplifier and headphone amplifier with a reported 10 hours of charge.

The TR-Amp lets you use two pairs of headphones at once using the 6.3mm and 3.5mm headphone sockets. There are separate data and charging USB-C ports, so you can listen to music without interruption. There's an analogue volume control for the preamplifier and easy switching between direct DAC or preamp function. 

Compatible with hi-res streaming services Qobuz and TIDAL as well as formats including 32-bit/384kHz (PCM), DSD256 via DoP, native DSD128 and MQA, the TR-Amp uses a 32-bit mobile audio DAC and an A/B amplifier architecture to deliver up to 128dB of dynamic range.

The EarMen TR-Amp comes in red aluminium and costs £229 / AU$480.

All of EarMen’s DACs are supported by Apple and Android smartphones, as well as MacOS and Windows computers and are available to buy now. 

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Mary is a staff writer at What Hi-Fi? and has over a decade of experience working as a sound engineer mixing live events, music and theatre. Her mixing credits include productions at The National Theatre and in the West End, as well as original musicals composed by Mark Knopfler, Tori Amos, Guy Chambers, Howard Goodall and Dan Gillespie Sells.