Design & Build Quality
“Same player shoot again!”
With the Eagle, EarMen simply took the Sparrow, replaced the USB-C port for a USB-A one, and kept the sole single-ended headphone out. Measuring 55 x 22 x 8 mm, the DAC is just behind the Sparrow in terms of size, the latter being the smallest DAC I ever had. And that’s just because of the USB-A port.
Of course, due to its size, I had to endure a few criticisms from my friends and family. Because, whatever you may think, size matters and they raised some questions regarding the legitimacy of the Eagle, as a real DAC.
Thankfully, the Eagle is built in a sturdy, black-matte-finished-unibody-aluminum case. One-piece, CNC-machined to ensure a tight fit of the board, good thermal dissipation, and most of all, shielding against parasite EMI.
The cherry on top? Each side is covered by a super nice, bonded, tempered-glass. For me, that gives EarMen’s DAC a cleaner look than the Cobalt, even if the “automotive” blue keeps some appealing.
All in all, I like it a lot.
As I said, the EarMen Eagle is a well-built device. There is no gap nor lose plug, and the USB-A port feels ready to endure years of hard mistreat. Also, as you can see in the pictures, there are no visible screws, as I’m sure all of them have been hidden right under the mirror-plate.
In my opinion, the Eagle is one, if not the, best looking USB-Key-Sized DAC on the market at the moment. As for the Cobalt and Hi-mDAC, the LED remains hidden under the logo, until you connect the device to your source. Then, the light changes depending on the bitrate, simple but efficient.
Last but not least, the USB-A to USB-C adapter enjoys the same level of attention.
The EarMen Eagle is as simple as it gets.
On one side you have the USB-A port, to connect the DAC to a computer, smartphone, or Tablet. And on the other side, you get a headphone output (3.5mm Jack). Unfortunately, the headphone port doesn’t work as a Digital output, like NuPrime’s DAC.
Sadly, there is no balanced output as we’ve seen on its sibling, the Sparrow, or iBasso latest portable DAC, the DC01. For those of you who’d need a small USB-DAC with balanced options, you’ll have to either step up your game or tone-down your ambition.
Inside the box
This will be fast, you don’t get much with the Eagle.
In the box you have :
- the EarMen Eagle
- a USB-C to USB-A adapter
- a quick-start manual
Yes, this is a very, very, simple/dire bundle, so let’s get to the handle part, shall we?
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