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ESS Sabre ES9038Q2M DAC
The Amp EarMen TR-Amp supports Tidal Masters (MQA) playback through smartphones. MQA optimizes high-res audio files so that they are playable on-the-go. It even supports Qobuz’s high-res playback in smartphones, Windows, and Mac OS. Qobuz allows users to stream and download songs in one of the most popular formats for mastering and archiving — FLAC. TR-Amp users can stream around 40 million tracks and 2 million hi-res audio files in 16-bit CD resolution.
The EarMen TR-Amp is created in collaboration with Auris Audio, one of the leading manufacturer's of high-end audiophile amplifiers. It ensures that you always get an amazing balanced sound. This is a feature-packed battery-powered Amp that can drive almost any headphone (even two at a time) up to 400mW. With its high-grade sonic performance, this one's a must-have Amp for the discerning audio enthusiast.
The TR-Amp is designed, developed, and made in Europe using high-quality, premium materials. The production line of SMT is in Switzerland and all materials are bought from European distributions. With the ES9038Q2M SABRE Reference DAC, you can achieve high-end audio from your portable music source. It supports PCM up to 384kHz, DSD256 via DOP, native DSD128, and MQA. It utilizes HyperStreamO II QUAD DACTM architecture and Time Domain Jitter Eliminator that delivers high-performance sound.
The TR-Amp sports a high-fidelity TPA6120 chip from Texas Instruments that makes sure that you hear the high-end sound with clarity. The TPA6120 current-feedback AB amplifier architecture allows the Amp to offer a dynamic range of 128dB, great bandwidth, and almost zero distortion and noise. The combination of three different features i.e. a high slew rate that prevents distortion, current-on-demand at the output for quick a linear response without increasing the noise-floor of the system, and gain independent frequency response that helps the amplifier to completely realize its bandwidth across gain settings; make this current-feedback amplifier one of the best in its class.
The TR-Amp has a high dynamic range and super-low distortion thanks to the Super Low ESR tantal capacitors in the power supply design and 4-layered gold plated PCB technology. It comes with a high-grade EarMen shielded female USB-A to USB-C Adaptor. You can listen to music for as long as 10 hours owing to its 3700 mA battery. It has dedicated DATA and Charging USB Type-C ports which are placed distantly enough for convenient all-day use. It sports an analog volume control as well as a switch to use it as a direct DAC or Pre-amp. You don't have to worry about external noise with the all-metal aluminum body.
|INPUTS||USB C / DATA
USB C CHRG
|POWER||16Ω - >2.5V/400mW
32Ω - >3.4V/350mW
|THD+N (2.7V, 32R)||<0.005%|
|DSD||DSD 128 Native / DSD 256 (DoP)|
|PCM||Up to 384 kHz|
|MQA RENDERING||Up to 384 kHz|
|CHANNEL SEPERATION||>107dB (1kHz)|
|CHANNEL SEPERATION||>103dB (1kHz)|
|BATTERY||3700 mAh / Up to 10 Hrs|
|DIMENSIONS||129 X 66 X 30mm
5.08" X 2.6" X 1.18"
|WEIGHT||240gr / 0.53lbs|
|BOX CONTENTS||1. EarMen TR-Amp|
|2. Remax USB-A to USB-C cable|
|3. Rubber band|
|4. Mesh carrying bag|
|5. Information sheet|
Don't sweat it, this EarMen TR-Amp comes with a 2 year warranty on the DAC and 6 months warranty on the battery. EarMen's warranty covers all manufacturing defects. All products featured on Headphone Zone are backed by an original manufacturer's warranty.
Read more about EarMen's warranty in India.
"It's tuned smartly and presents and amazing value.TR-Amps straight forward plug and play integration with Android, powerful output and energetic tuning I feel make it an excellent portable DAC/Amp."Read More
"The amplifier in the EarMen TR-Amp is mind-boggling, able to drive most everything I threw at it, with musicality. The TR-Amp was straight plug and play, and worked flawlessly every time."Read More
"However, if your main priority is power (in addition to MQA support) then at $249, the EarMen TR-Amp is a good option for the price."Read More
"Enter the EarMen TR-Amp - the brand comes from the well-respected European manufacturer Auris Audio and showcases the company's portable high-end audio products."Read More
"Earmen did a good job with this one, no doubt about it. Super happy that quality was highly considered and an important factor for this company to offer."Read More
"The TR-Amp pleasantly surprised me with its transparency and dynamics. You get a detailed and energetic sound, combined with a musical delivery."Read More
"TR-Amp is designed, produced and assembled in Europe and comes standard with a shielded female USB-A to USB-C adaptor."Read More
** Edit: Adding preamp impressions, I had forgotten to add that part.
The Earmen TR-Amp - Cheeky name for an entry level DACAMP that will surprise you pleasantly.
Purchased something from #headphonezone after a long long time. I had a voucher I needed to use and was evaluating some TWS when I saw the Earmen tab populated on the HPZ website. I was intrigued by this DACamp for sometime now.
It’s a nifty little device about the length and width of my Aune B1 but twice as thick. The body is an Aluminum enclosure with CNCd plates on front and back, the build is quite sturdy, even the PCB is of good quality and is populated with quality components unlike other products in the same price bracket. All bolts and edges sit flush and the finish is quite good. I liked the bright red color. Outputs to 2 HPs simultaneously plugged in to the 6.3mm and 3.5mm SE phone outs on the front. At the back there are twin RCA outs for a preamp out which is selected via a toggle switch next to them and 2 USB C sockets for charging and data respectively.
The DAC chip used, ESS Sabre 9038q2m is what had attracted me to this DAC in the first place, I have the D50 which uses the same chip and have experienced some amazing results with the same after a few mods. I wanted to evaluate the board to see if this can be tweaked as well. The other factors were that this is designed by the founder designer of Auris Audio, Serbia (Not Romania as I was mistaken earlier) who make top class tube amps and have a great reputation, secondly it has similar utility like the D50 to be used as preamp, however the advantage here is the ‘portability’ I can easily carry this on my travels. Added to all this is the ability of hardware based MQA unfolding.
The 9038 implementation on the TR-Amp is very good. Nowhere do I hear an edginess as in the stock D50. Earmen has used the TI OPA1642 opamps in the IV/LPF stages which take care of that fatigue inducing edge. In fact I would have used the same part to mod it because of what I have heard from Soumya Banerjee about the 1642 in his experiments. The amplification is handled by the TP6120A chip which again is very good from my experience with it in the Fiio AM5 module for the X7ii/Q5. The amp section is powerful, in fact it’s not for iems at all. With even the power hungry Stealth Sonics C9s I hardly get any range on the volume knob, with the Noble Kaiser Encore even less. But that’s not all, somehow with both my iems, the tramp sounds bloated and smeared in the lower mids and below. Even with the ieMatch in line before the drivers on Ultra mode (-24dB) there is discernible amount of bloat and boom in the lowend that makes it soft and fuzzy. However moment you switch to full size HPs, that fuzziness and boominess just disappears. I tried the Tramp with Sennheiser HD650, HD800, HD540, Audeze LCDX and the EL8 Ti. It did not disappoint with any pairing except in case of HD800 and more so HD540 (600ohms) where the amp section was overwhelmed a bit. However throughout all pairings that Tramp was clean with very good resolution for this price bracket (on stock configuration). Good extension on either end with nice speed and accuracy. Best aspect is its dynamics and musicality while still maintaining a mostly overall balanced tonality, although on certain vocal heavy songs one does notice a bit of shallow scoop in the mids. But one thing I have to mention even with the sensitive Kaiser Encore, through the different drivers I threw at it, the TRamp was very clean in terms of background noise. At this price point I think this is very good performance for a entry level DAC amp.
The best pairing for me was the HD650, so I would automatically recommend it for the many people asking for a good VFM amp to pair with the Massdrop HD6XX or similar drivers, this can be a good option to start with. Comparing to the Aune B1 I find the TRamp more balanced with better dynamics. While the B1 is a little more powerful and has a better slam, it is warm sounding, almost tube like. The HD800 and HD540 got fatiguing for me after 15-20 minutes of listen, whereas the fast Planars LCDX and EL8 sounded quite good with equally good dynamics and speed.
To conclude, in this form factor and PSU, the TRamp may not match a desktop source, but it brings amazing value at an entry level price point. It is loaded with features like top class chip, MQA capability , adequate power, clean noise free output, preamp and top class components that sound good in stock configuration. Agreed it is pretty much useless for iems, but if you have full sized cans that you want to use on the go with your phone/DAP this is an valid option.
PS: Pre-Amp impressions:
The pre out on this amp is equally clean and resolving, giving it an added advantage of using it with a better amp. I tried it with the Oriolus BA10 portable tube amp and the result is very good. This way I can take full advantage of the 9038 chip with any amp of my choice.
Finally, after a long long wait, and research, bought the Earmen Tr Amp. And I must say, it really delivers the sonic goods.
I use it with my AKG K712 Pro. It ain’t particularly warm (which is a good thing for me). Has a wide and more importantly deep soundstage. Accurate instrument separation in the stereo image. Surprisingly fast attack and decay. Bass is authoritative, but never overtakes the mids and highs. Mids are slightly intimate and highs crisp. I didn’t find them fatiguing though. Good amount of micro detail retrieval.
It drives the K712 fairly well I would say, though a little more power would have made wonders. The analog volume knob is fairly precise, though not the most linear. Slight channel imbalance at very low volumes(as with most analogue volume controls). Also, though the soundstage is quite deep, and wide as well, its not the widest. But hey, now im being extremely picky.
All in all, I am really happy with the TR AMP. A great portable all in one dac amp (with mqa) solution. I even use its line out to connect with my 5.1 home theatre, which is a nice extension of its abilities.
I don’t think anyone can go wrong with it.
Last but not the least, hats off to the Headphonezone team – fair pricing, top rated packaging and superfast delivery, Need I say more?
I purchased TR-Amp after a friend reviewed the unit and I liked what he had to say about the overall tonality, MQA capabilities and LineOut quality. DAC being an ESS Sabre implementation and myself preferring R2R+tubes tonality, initially was reluctant to try it out. I still went ahead based on the initial impressions i could gather from friends and online, but moistly due to the portability being offered. I received this unit in a very speedy manner , given the current situation, kudos to HPZ team.
I was impressed with the pairing of this amp with Campfire Andromeda (with iematch, of-course!). It has almost clean output, no noise/hiss with sensitive iems, but the line-out is much better. Considering this has an ESS based DAC and my all prev. experiences with portable ESS based DACs is that they have an edgy high end, for me thats a big NO-NO. This is different, takes care of the edginess to a greater expent, thanks to the IV stage opamps.
It can easily power high impedance headphones like HD600 to high volume levels, but can it really drive them to their potential is another question. I felt it to be a decent and enjoyable pairing for the size of the device with High Imp. headphones. SQ doesn't match the desktop level dac/amp setup with high imp. headphones but not worth ignoring also, its decent. A good alternative to cheap/budget Chi-fi Dac/amps , plus MQA certified (Tidal users, check this out).
Yes received yesterday and using this for last 24 hours. Absolutely stunning. It gives new life to my sundara, 990 pro and sennheiser hd 650.
And yes no channel imbalance at all (even at low volume) as reported by few channels