In this article we look at the $799 EarMen Tradutto DAC.
Disclaimer: The EarMen Tradutto was sent to us free of charge in exchange for this review.
If EarMen doesn’t ring a bell yet, then the Serbian “Auris Audio” probably will. In fact, if you’ve been following Headfonia you will know that we’re quite the Auris fans here. Their amps have won multiple of our awards, and models like the Euterpe, HA2-SF and Nirvana get praised all over the world.
A while ago Auris Audio decided to enter the portable market and to do so they came up with new brand name: EarMen. EarMen is registered in the US but all of their products are built and assembled in Europe to ensure the highest standards in production quality.
EarMen is all about delivering the best possible value for money and their new product line-up consists out of 5 models at this time, with 1 more (Colibri) in the pipeline. The EarMen Line-up:
- The Donald DAC – A USB-DAC only with an RCA output to hook up to your dedicated amplifier
- The TR-Amp – A portable DAC/AMP solution
- The Eagle – A single ended USB DAC/AMP dongle and DragonFly Cobalt competitor.
- The Sparrow – A single ended and balanced USB DAC/AMP dongle.
- The Tradutto – An ultra-high resolution fully balanced compact DAC with advanced BT streaming capability.
In this article we look at this (for now) last unit of their line-up: The Tradutto!
The EarMen Tradutto is a Hi-Res Fully Balanced DAC and it comes in a small form. The main Tradutto unit as well as the remote control are made from a full block of aluminum and it really like how it looks and feels. It in the pictures actually looks bigger than it is in reality and I was quite surprised when I opened up the box. The Tradutto measures only 150x30x150 mm and weighs an impressive 550g. That’s compact! The EarMen Tradutto’s retail price is $/€799 USD/Euro.
EarMen Tradutto is a piece-of-art device with the power to Enhance Sonic Performance of your system.
You can find Tradutto’s dedicates webpage right here: https://earmen-shop.com/products/earmen-tradutto. In short, the Tradutto is a fully balanced DAC, which means that the balanced outputs from the DAC go to the output directly, only amplified. In regards to inputs and outputs, the Tradutto offers the normal possibilities. The inputs are USB, Toslink, Coax and Bluetooth 5.1 (AAC,SBC, aptx, aptx HD, aptx LL ). The outputs are RCA (300 Ohm) and 4.4mm balanced (600 Ohm). This means you will need a 4.4mm to XLR or 4.4mm to 4.4mm cable in order to use the Tradutto DAC in balanced mode. These cables do not come with the unit. It’s also nice to see that the Tradutto supports MQA just like the latest EarMen devices we looked at. You either like or hate MQA, but it’s a nice feature to see.
The full feature and spec lists are below but we’ll talk about the most important one in this chapter already.
The DAC chip inside Tradutto is the ESS Sabre ES9038K2M that – according to EarMen – delivers outstanding sound performance. This chip can process digital audio files up to 32bit/768kHz or DSD512. Tradutto uses an XMOS with 16 cores (XU216) and a carefully adjusted clock to have minimal jitter.
One of the key product features of the Tradutto is the wireless input and it comes with built in Qualcomm HD Bluetooth 5.1 (AAC/SBC/aptX/aptx LL/aptx HD ). The Bluetooth brain is the QCC5124 which is a part of the QCC5100 Low Power Bluetooth Audio SoC Series. It is designed to meet demand for robust, high quality, wireless Bluetooth listening experiences in small devices with low power consumption for longer audio playback.
The digital and analog part of Tradutto’s circuit is carefully separated by the power supply. Tradutto’s PCB is gold plated and that, according to the EarMen designer, not only gives a good clean low resistance contact, but also a perfectly flat surface. EarMen uses German Wima capacitors to obtain the lowest THD, as well as audio electrolytes in combination with MELF low noise resistors and SoundPlus OPA1642 operational amplifiers.
Tradutto can be bought from your local dealer or directly from EarMen right here: https://earmen-shop.com/products/earmen-tradutto (international customers) or here https://earmen-eu.com/products/earmen-tradutto (Europe). In order to use it on a Windows PC with ASIO, you need to download and install this exact driver. You can find Tradutto’s user manual here in case you want to learn more about the unit’s functioning already.
Tradutto Full Features overview
This overview is directly copied from EarMen’s website:
– The ES9038Q2M DAC allows outstanding sound performance and easily handles digital audio files up to 32bit/768kHz or DSD512. Furthermore, the whole circuit is optimized to draw less current and improve power filtering, resulting in low interferences from Wi-Fi, cellular, and Bluetooth signals.
– MQA Supported: OFS (MQB/MQA Core, decoded file), MQA (MQA file that is hardware decoded in our device and then rendered), MQA Studio (the same as MQA, just with the consent of an author or production company)
– Digital optical, digital coaxial and USB inputs – connect CD players, phones, tablets, games consoles, laptops or other digital audio sources – just play it!
– Gold Plated PCB – Not only does it give a good clean low resistance contact, but the perfect flat surface.
– Built in Qualcomm HD Bluetooth 5.1 (AAC/SBC/aptX/aptx LL/aptx HD) – Bluetooth QCC5124 is designed to meet demand for robust, high quality, wireless Bluetooth listening experiences in small devices with low power consumption for longer audio playback. Qualcomm® aptX™ audio, aptX HD, and Qualcomm aptX Adaptive audio technologies are designed to deliver consistent, high quality audio streaming over Bluetooth.
– XMOS 16-Core chip (XU216) – has enabled us with its excellent performance a hardware decoding MQA, as well as other necessary functions for listening to music (delivers double the clock speed (2000MIPS) and four times the memory (512KB).
– TRADUTTO is fully balanced, which means that the balanced outputs from the DAC go to the output intact, only amplified
Below the full specs, the article itself continues on the second page. Click here.
These specs can of course be found on EarMen’s product page as well:
|Inputs||Bluetooth QCC5124||Bluetooth 5.1™ ( AAC, SBC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX LL )|
|Outputs||RCA (SE output)||output impedance = 300 Ω|
|Balanced 4.4mm||output impedance = 600 Ω|
|Audio Formats||PCM||up to 768kHz|
|DSD||DoP64, DoP128, DoP256, native DSD512|
|DXD||up to 768kHz|
|MQA||OFS (MQB/MQA Core), MQA, MQA Studio|
|Bluetooth||44.1kHz – 192kHz/16bit – 24bit|
|USB input||S/PDIF input/BT|
|Output Level||2Vrms 0dBFS||2Vrms 0dBFS|
|Fully Balanced Output|
|USB input||S/PDIF input/BT|
|Output Level||4Vrms 0dBFS||4Vrms 0dBFS|
|Dimension LxHxW||150x30x150 mm||5,9″x1,18″x5,9″|
The article continues on the second page. Click here.