Today, we are reviewing the last DAC from EarMen, the Eagle. It is selling for $119 USD.
Disclaimer: EarMen sent us the Eagle free of charge, in exchange for our honest opinion.
Founded in 2020, EarMen aims to offer Portable High-Performance Audio Devices for All. A ballsy motto, for a relatively unknown brand, but if you dig deeper, there is more than meet the eyes.
In fact, behind the Chicago based company lies Auris, a brand known for their high-end amps, acclaimed by listeners and reviewers. This allowed EarMen to kickstart pretty fast, with two great DAC/AMP – the Tr-Amp and Sparrow – all designed and produced in Europe (!).
Good news, today, we are fast-checking.
The EarMen Series
As usual, we are gonna take a quick tour of EarMen’s range. A small catalog at the moment, but as they say, quality over quantity!
The TR-AMP is a battery-powered DAC/AMP. If the name may seem a bit weird at first, you have to remember that EarMen also released a DAC before that one, the Donald DAC. So I’ll let you put Donald and Tr-Amp in the same sentence, so you get the idea.
It’s a bit bulky, but at the same time pretty quirky, as iFi’s product, for example. It embeds a Sabre 9038Q2M chip which is able to decode PCM streams up to 32bit – 384kHz and DSD up to DSD256.
Even better, the DAC can drive multiple headphones at the same time, with two available outputs (6.35mm + 3.5mm). Moreover, at the rear of the device, you’ll find an RCA port, made to feed a power amp (line-out) or an integrated amplifier (pre-out).
Lieven reviewed it a few months ago, here is an excerpt:
As the name suggests, the Sparrows aims directly at the DragonFly series from AudioQuest. Why? Because Sparrows eat… Again, you get the idea.
More seriously, the EarMen Sparrow is a portable DAC/Amp, based on the new Sabre 9218 Pro chipset. 32bit-384kHz playback, DSD256, and MQA support, all in the palm of your hand. The design is neat, build quality is great, and lightweight construction allows you to carry it everywhere.
But, the main advantage of the Sparrow against its direct competitor, comes in a simple feature: dual headphone output, single-ended + balanced. And, that makes the device one of the few with a true balanced output in this class range, with the iBasso DC01 (almost 4 times cheaper, not as good nor powerful)
Again, Lieven reviewed that one, here is his thoughts:
EarMen with the Sparrow promised a lot but they also delivered in all possible ways. For only $199 you get a US/EU product with a single-ended as well as a balanced output, and especially the latter one is magical.
We introduced the EarMen Eagle earlier this month on Headfonia. If you have already read our presentation (thank you !), you can directly get to the next page.
If you haven’t read our First Look Sunday, here is a quick summary :
- it’s cheap, €119
- it’s small, not as as small as the Sparrow but really small
- I like the design, aluminum case with a glass-panel on each side
That said, it’s time for us to get more “intimate” with the Eagle
The article continues on Page Two, after the click here