EarMen is a sister-brand of Auris Audio, a Serbian company with nearly a decade of experience in making high-end tube amplifiers for headphones and speakers alike. In 2019, the company saw the burgeoning market of portable audio and created the EarMen brand to focus on more portable solutions built upon the experience and knowledge gained thus far. So while EarMen claims to be based in the US for better communication and image, it is for all intents and purposes a European company with products made in Europe, as is the case with the subject of today's review—the EarMen Sparrow. Thanks then to Auris Audio and EarMen for helping arrange a review sample for TechPowerUp!
The Sparrow is one of EarMen's newest products, and the image above does little to show how portable it truly is. This is easily the smallest of the portable DAC/amps I have here, making the FiiO BTR5 look like a giant by comparison. It does so by foregoing wireless connectivity, so gone is the battery and typical Qualcomm chipset. There are also no onboard controls, making it even more compact. But how much does the EarMen Sparrow sacrifice in functionality to achieve said form, and what is still there to make this a popular product in the world of portable audio? Let's find out in this review as we begin with a look at the product specifications in the table below.
|EarMen Sparrow Portable DAC/amp|
|Input:||USB C Female|
|Output:||3.5 mm/2.5 mm Balanced|
|SoC:||ESS Sabre ES9281PRO|
|Power:||3.5 mm: 1.4 Vrms into 32 Ω/2.0 Vrms into 600 Ω; 2.5 mm: 2.0 Vrms into 32 Ω/4.0 Vrms into 600 Ω|
|Audio Formats:||DSD at 64/128 DoP, DXD at 384/352.5 kHz, PCM up to 384 kHz, MQA rendering up to 384 kHz|
|Supported OS:||Windows 10, macOS, Android, and iOS|