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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.