Angel: Brilliant Sounding Dac/Amp
Pros: Well built and lightweight
Amazing natural, clean and clear sound quality
Reference neutral tuning
Great resolution and soundstage
Produces good power
USB-C connectivity
Cons: Battery could last longer
Fast charging option could have been amazing

For a very long time, I was in search of something portable—a dac/amp to use with my phone and laptop(at work). I had spent enough time with quite good daps in the past—Lotoo Paw 6K, Cayin N6ii, and A&K SP2KT—but somehow using a dap has never excited me a lot. I find it difficult to handle one more screen along with my phone and laptop. But these good daps have spoilt me in terms of good sound, always raising the bar when I look for something new. When Angel was launched in India, I was extremely excited. The reviews have been really good so far. Headfonia has said so many good things about it. I visited the India seller and spent some good time with the Angel before I bought it.

People at EarMen know tech and engineering. They originated from the house of Auris Audio - manufacturer of some super high-end tube amplifiers. EarMen has consistently proven its dedication to delivering exceptional sound quality, and the Angel is a testament to their commitment. With the Angel, EarMen has taken their ambition to new heights. As an eagerly anticipated addition to their product lineup, the Angel promised a level of sound quality that had me excited from the start. I was eager to witness just how high EarMen could score in terms of audio performance.

IMG_5971 Large.jpeg

Sound Quality:

The most remarkable aspect of the Earmen Angel is its impeccable sound quality. The neutrality of its sound reproduction ensures a faithful representation of the audio, devoid of any unwanted coloration. What sets the Angel apart is its ability to strike a perfect balance between being impressive and natural. The audio reproduction is incredibly detailed, showcasing nuances and subtleties that might otherwise go unnoticed. Yet, despite this meticulous attention to detail, the Angel never veers into artificial territory. It maintains a sense of naturalness that allows the music to breathe and unfold organically. The absence of artificial enhancements/colouration allows the listener to truly appreciate the music as it was intended to be heard. Whether you prefer classical compositions, energetic rock anthems, or intricate jazz melodies, the Angel faithfully renders each genre with astonishing clarity and accuracy.

Lows: Lower frequencies are well-controlled, precise, and accurately reproduced without excessive resonance or lingering. This creates a clean and articulate low end response that adds to the overall clarity, rhythm, and dynamics of the audio. It has a tight and slammy bass with faster decay which makes the lower end much more enjoyable.

Mids: Mids are very sweet, natural and very very enjoyable. Vocals and instruments sound true to life, as if they were present in the room with you. There is a sense of realism and transparency, without any artificial enhancements or coloration. Mids are clearly Angel's strength.

Highs: There is an absence of distortion, muddiness, or unwanted artifacts in the high-frequency reproduction.The treble frequencies are presented with clarity and transparency, allowing intricate details and nuances to be heard without any smearing or veiling. The higher notes are presented with precision and without distortion, capturing even the finest details. Higher frequencies are well-tuned and smooth, without any harshness or piercing qualities that could cause listener fatigue or discomfort. Overall there is an airiness and spaciousness to the sound.

Power and Performance:

When it comes to power, the Earmen Angel stands out as the most potent option in comparison with devices of it's range. Its ability to drive headphones or speakers to their full potential is truly commendable. Whether you're using high-impedance headphones or demanding speakers, the Angel effortlessly delivers the required power, ensuring a dynamic and exhilarating audio experience. This feature sets it apart from competitors like the Mojo2 and Gryphon, ensuring that even the most demanding audio setups are handled with ease.

Angel can easily drive all the iems out there, in fact it is quite powerful for the iems. It can drive some easy-to-drive headphones but for more power hungry cans I would give it a miss.

Other Features:
1. The 5v/2A adapters charges it full in nearly 4 hours. The battery lasts for nearly 6-7 hours as it's promised. When the battery goes below 20%, the led blinks red which is really useful feature.
2. Whenever you switch iems, or turn on the device, the sound output resets to zero which again is very very useful.
3. The sound knob does a good job.


With Mojo2 and Gryphon

I had the opportunity to compare the Earmen Angel with two popular models, Mojo2 and Gryphon. I must admit that the Angel exceeded my expectations and delivered an exceptional audio experience. With its neutral sound signature, fast decay, and impressive slams, the Angel proved to be a standout performer among its peers. Having compared the Angel with the Mojo2 and Gryphon, I can confidently assert that the Angel reigns supreme in terms of sound quality. Angel has a slightly faster and sharper/crisper sound than the two. While the Mojo2 falls short, with a laid-back presentation and a distinct coloration, the Angel maintains an open and clean soundstage that truly enhances the listening experience. The Gryphon, known for its impressive slam and soundstage, still doesn't quite match the power and overall performance of the Angel. The Angel's ability to deliver impactful slams, combined with its expansive soundstage, creates an immersive and engaging musical journey.

With Fiio M17
As an additional point of reference, I also compared the Angel with the Fiio M17. It is worth noting that the Angel performs on par with the M17 in terms of sound quality, providing a clean and transparent audio experience. However, the distinct coloration that is characteristic of the Fiio house sound is absent in the Angel. While the M17 may provide a unique tonal flavour, the Angel's neutrality showcases a purer and more accurate representation of the music.


(sorry, have not been able to click decent pics)


  1. Highly highly recommended.
  2. Sounds as good/better than as some of the daps I have tried: Cayin N6ii, LP6K, A&K SP2kT and the lower offering from the brand.
  3. If at all I would like anything to be better in the sound quality, it would be the soundstage. If it had any wider soundstage, Angel would have trumped even the best of daps in the market.
Earmen Angel has undoubtedly proven itself as a formidable contender in the high-fidelity audio market. Its exceptional sound quality, characterised by its neutrality and absence of coloration, sets it apart from its competitors. Angel's ability to deliver powerful slams and its expansive soundstage create an immersive listening experience that is unmatched by its rivals. With its impressive power output, it effortlessly handles a wide range of headphones and speakers. If you're searching for an audio companion that faithfully reproduces music with unparalleled precision and transparency, Earmen Angel is an excellent choice that will leave you captivated by its sonic performance. It's a must must buy for someone looking for a dac/amp for iems and easy-to-drive cans.
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100+ Head-Fier

General Info/Build/Packaging
Earmen is no stranger to the audiophile community especially in the high end segment. If you are not aware, Earmen is Auris Audio’s sister company, in which Auris is mainly producing audio equipment for desktop setup, while Earmen’s focus is mainly on the portables. The unit is being designed and made in Serbia which will ensure strict QC as well as consistent quality throughout.

Build Quality of the Angel is solid, the unit is built like a tank and the switches and buttons exhibit no wobbly behaviour, not to mention both the USB C port for data and charging are also positioned vertically, this in my opinion is a very good design consideration because the vertical position is less likely to be prone to any accidentally damage to the port.

Packaging is rather standard with a box containing the DAC Amp itself, some manuals as well as a usb c cable, for the price, it’d be good if a storage pouch is being included in the package, but sad to say there isn’t one, not really a big deal anyway


I will leave the product link here for your reference as the specs are quite lengthy.
Earmen Angel’s Official Specification

IEMs/Headphones/Equipments used for this review
  • Kiwi Ears Orchestra Lite 3.5mm
  • Simgot EA500 4.4mm
  • Thieaudio Ghost 4.4mm
  • iKKO OH5 4.4mm
  • 7Hz Timeless x AE 4.4mm
  • Hidizs MS5 3.5mm
  • Macbook Air M2 -> Earmen Angel -> Apple Music
  • Macbook Air M2 -> Earmen Angel -> Tidal MQA
  • Macbook Air M2 -> Earmen Angel -> foobar 2k (tracks ranging from 16-44 to 24-192)
*Earmen Angel is sent over by Miroslav from Earmen for the purpose of this review. I appreciate the opportunity given


My review is solely based on what I hear via my equipment and I never consider my reviews to be objective in any way rather a subjective approach. Do take into consideration that everyone’s ear anatomy is not the same, so the psychoacoustics perception might be different as well, but i believe it will not stray too far. I have used the Angel for several months prior to writing this review.

General Features
  • There are some features on the Angel which i find it’s notably useful hence worth mentioning it here since i did not see it being mentioned anywhere in the manuals
  • After you unplug your cable from either the 4.4 or 3.5mm port, the volume will be reset to 0, i find this feature very helpful in preventing the volume from suddenly playing too loud when we plug in new earphone/headphone
  • The Gain+ mode is really impressive in making any of the pairing sounds a lot more dynamic, the difference is noticeable immediately, without the Gain+ switched on, the music sounded less dynamic but when you switch the Gain+ on, you can immediately hear that the music sounded a lot more dynamic
  • Angel can also be used as DAC only, allowing you to connect to your AMP of choice, my gears are generally quite efficient, hence i don’t really need to use it with other amp as Angel offers plenty of power for my gears, except when i want to listen to Angel with different sound characteristics, i will use the line out function
  • Battery life is quite impressive as well, clocking in roughly 7 hours with mixed usage of IEMs and Headphones, it can also be charged and used at the same time, although it does get a little warm, but nothing to be worried
  • The volume steps adjustment is also very precise and has good control, it doesn’t get too loud nor too quiet when i’m adjusting the volume
  • Volume pot is fully digital, so there will be no channel imbalance even at low volume
Sound Impression
Having reviewed several sources, it is futile to describe the signature of the source as the sound characteristics ultimately depend on the transducer that you are pairing it with. Having said that, The Angel is neutral and uncolored, it does exhibit a little of the Sabre glare but it’s not really noticeable and well controlled.


Pairing Impression with various Transducers

  • OH5 itself is a warm IEM and the soundstage is rather intimate
  • Pairing it with the Angel made the OH5 sound more dynamic
  • Bass quality is better in terms of tighter and slightly more punchy
  • Slightly better perceived detail retrieval as well a little bit more “excitement” on the top end
  • Soundstage is slightly wider as well
  • Very good pairing to my ears overall
Kiwi Ears Orchestra Lite
  • Despite being a full BA set, it doesn’t exhibit any noise or hiss when i plug it in, even with the Gain+ on
  • Orchestra Lite is another set that’s safe sounding by nature, pairing it with the Angel seems to be a great choice as the so called “Sabre Glare” does add some excitement overall for the Orchestra Lite
  • Detail retrieval and staging is excellent


Hidizs MS5
  • MS5 has fairly low rated impedance at 5.3ohm and 104db of sensitivity, hence a perfect candidate to test if it will hiss
  • To my surprise, it doesn’t hiss and the background is quite dark
  • Listening with the MS5 using the Bass nozzle paired with Angel shows a good improvement in terms of dynamics as well as imaging
  • The bass and treble pretty much sounds the same as Angel is quite neutral
  • The soundstage has better depth and imaging is excellent
Thieaudio Ghost (Headphone)
  • Bass appears to be more punchy and sub bass has slightly better extension
  • Tonality wise, Ghost is lacking some warmth hence pairing it with the Angel doesn’t seems to be quite musical, but it is a little analytical sounding, good if you’re going after this signature, bad if you like it to be musical, so it’s up to the individual, not really a good or bad thing
Comparison (iFi xDSD Gryphon)
  • The 4.4 exhibit some noise when using it with certain IEMs, no such issues with Angel, dead silent
  • Gryphon has some additional features over Angel, on the fly filter adjustment, Bluetooth connectivity, hardware EQ functionality as well as a OLED screen to display the informations
  • In terms of power, this is where Angel takes the lead from Gryphon, a whopping 8.5vrms vs 6.7vrms from the Gryphon
  • Angel will power most of the headphones and IEMs out there without breaking a sweat, of course not the Susvara, Gryphon does struggle to drive the Planar headphone properly, i have tested one with HE400SE, a budget Hifiman Planar headphone, it does propel it to a loud listening volume, however i feel that some of the dynamics are lacking, switching the dac amp to Angel, the entire experience changed, dynamics are much better, bass are tighter, imaging and soundstage also improved
  • The verdict here is, if you are mainly using efficient headphones or IEM, Gryphon is the way to go, if you have a wide range of gears, power hungry to power efficient, you’re better off with Angel
Final Thoughts
All in all, Angel is an excellent transportable dac/amp, for a portable user like me, i prefer to have something that’s powerful enough for the future in case i want to get some power hungry headphones, yet easily usable with efficient IEM. The price in my opinion is positioned justly given the build quality as well as the specifications and the listening experience.

With all that being said, The Angel does lack what I deemed is quite an important feature for most portable users, Line-in (the ability to use Angel as an amp only). However, it’s not really a deal breaker to me with all the features offered by it. The Angel no doubt will receive the recommendation from me for those who are looking for a high end portable dac/amp.

Head to the link below if you are interested in getting a unit yourself
Earmen Angel - Non affiliated
Earmen Angel Product Page

@nihalsharma yeap, in terms of feature, gryphon no doubt trumps in terms of features, but in terms of sound, Angel trumps in terms of dynamics and power. Sound is uncoloured and reference like. Gryphon will be for those who prefers a slight colouration to their sound. I personally prefer Angel over Gryphon because I don’t really EQ nor uses Bluetooth, but for those who uses both the said features, gryphon might be it for them.
Totally agree with you on Angel’s sound quality. I found it to be very neutral and sweeter than Gryphon. It doesn’t have any added colour as Gryphon has. Angel sounds very clean, has fast decay and slam really well. The mids are slightly better sounding than Gryphon - not by a big margin though. For plain simple listening, Angel is the darling winner.
@nihalsharma yeap, it is my daily driver now :p
plenty of power for most of the IEMs and efficient headphones out there, drives the Hifiman Edition XS and HE400SE effortlessly.


Headphoneus Supremus
EarMen Angel - Full Review
Pros: Clean clear and crisp sound signature
love the blue finish
Cons: seperate data and power, with no option to combine the inputs
no fast charging, meaning wont work from laptop to charge

Hi Guys,

Today we are taking a look at a product that is a first for me, from a company called EarMen. EarMen is a Chicago/Serbia based affordable portable audio based sub company of Auris Audio, a maker of high end tube gear. The piece of gear in question is called the Angel, a portable DAC/Amp combo unit. I have a fair amount of experience with pieces of equipment similar to this, particularly from iFi Audio, so I was really interested to see what EarMens take on the product type would turn out like.

The Angel itself is a fully balanced unit, with two gain modes and both single ended and balanced line out options on the rear. It comes in a very striking anodized blue finish, with both 4.4mm balanced and 3.5mm SE outputs on the front. The DAC section of the Angel is based on the ESS ES9038Q2M chip, is 768khz/32bit capable, and also DSD and MQA capable. The data and charge inputs are separated, and on the rear of the device. I’m honestly not a huge fan of separating the two on portable devices, but I do understand why companies tend to go this route. It is usually done to help separate noise issues from the power section from the data stream of the unit. Still, on portable pieces of gear I find it really handy to have them combined, and only having to bother with one input cable. I suppose this depends on your use case, and a more reference based IEM listener may really want the separation to increase audio quality, but a more casual portable listener like myself may be more convenience oriented. The Angel does also have combo mini toslink/spdif input for data use, instead of the USB-C input, if you prefer to use a different input type.

From the balanced headphone output in Gain+ mode, the Angel puts out a respectable 8.5Vrms. This makes it a suitable choice for IEMs, and up to moderately difficult to drive headphones. I wouldn’t recommend it for something like the 1266TC from Abyss, or the HE6 from Hifiman. However, something like a Sundara or similar would be driven well from the Angel, and I doubt you would struggle in terms of needing more volume level.


In terms of overall tonal balance, I would say the Angel is mostly neutral, bordering on a slightly lean sound signature. I would describe it in an overall sense as being clean, clear, and crisp. I will mention more about comparisons later on in the review, but the Angel having this tonal balance is a nice change of pace from its main competitors, the iDSD products from iFi audio, which are a bit warmer and more organic sounding. Options are good to have.

The bass is in line with the neutral signature I mentioned above, bordering on slightly lean. This works well with warmer headphones and IEMs. Compared to something like the iDSD Signature from iFi, the Angel has a slightly faster and sharper sounding leading edge in the low end, and overall. It’s a slightly faster, quicker sounding DAC/Amp than the iDSD’s. The low end has a good amount of impact to it, and is slightly less rounded off sounding than the iDSD Signature. If you prefer a slightly quicker leaner sound signature, the Angel is a good option to check out.

This sound signature also carries through the mids, with the low mids being neutral and not warm at all. It is a fairly even keeled sounding mid range, but I do feel the upper mids come across as slightly more forward than the iDSD Signature for example. The slightly bloom and low mid warmth present on the iDSD Signature is not present here, and help give the overall tonal balance a slightly clearer and cleaner sonic image.

The treble on the Angel is slightly forward sounding, and has the fairly stereotypical clean and clear sound you might expect from the ESS DAC. Its definitely not grating and over blown like some of the early 9018 based DACs were, but there is a slight amount of edge and sharpness to the treble. This does lend itself to a non veiled sound signature, which works well with warmer and thicker sounding IEMs or headphones.


In terms of overall technical performance, the Angel is a strong performer. It has the aforementioned clean and clear type sound signature, with decent detail levels for the price point. I do think it is similar in overall detail levels to iFi’s iDSD Signature, but due to its tonal balance, comes across as being slightly more detailed. It has a slightly narrower soundstage than the iDSD Signature, and a more “front row” type of presentation. Again, this works well with warmer and thicker sounding headphones and IEMs. Imaging is a fairly strong point, everything is rock solid in its placement and very coherent sounding overall.

The build quality of the Angel is rock solid. Its fully made out of metal, and feels high quality and like it will last. I have not had any problems with the build quality at all. One thing I need to mention, and it is really the only negative I have had over my time with the Angel is the lack of fast charging. EarMen implemented this to prolong the life of the battery. Now, its not that I need fast charging in terms of time, but I was not able to plug it in to my laptop, to listen and keep it charged at the same time. I would have to charge it separately from a slow charger below 5v/2a, and then use from my laptop separately. This was a bit annoying at times as I would forget to charge it, and run out of battery when I wanted to listen, and was not able to charge from my laptop (a MacBook Pro) whilst listening. Its not a huge problem, just a minor annoyance that took a bit of effort to remember to charge up the Angel when not in use.


In terms of comparisons, the angels main competitor are the iDSD products from iFi. This is really stiff competition, as the iDSD’s are very well thought out, well featured, well built devices. The iDSD Signature is the main competitor in terms of features, and comes in at a very similar price point of $750USD, vs the Angel’s $799USD. I think it depends on your sonic preferences and also use case as to which I would recommend. The Angel would be better for people who prefer a more neutral, clean and clear type of sound signature, or are going to be using warmer IEM/headphones. I would recommend the iDSD if you prefer a slightly more forgiving sound signature, or need a bit more power in terms of output, for use with harder to drive headphones. The Angel is slightly smaller than the iDSD, so if space is a concern it is a clear winner in that category. The over all sonic performance in terms of technical quality is quite similar, with the two simply having different tonal balances and output power specs.

The Angel works very well as a DAC/Amp combo, but you can also use it as a plain DAC, from the outputs on the rear. You will have to use either a 3.5mm to RCA, or 4.4mm to XLR cable. I tried both, and the Angel performs well as a DAC only, maintaining the same sound signature as when it is used as a DAC/Amp combo. One thing to note is that if you will be using it as a DAC only, make sure you have a cable long enough to plug it in to charge whilst using, or make sure to get it charged prior to listening sessions. You don’t want to be right in the middle of enjoying some tunes and boom, red light, no power – no tunes. You can also select direct, or pre-out on the front of the unit, meaning the Angel can be used directly with a power amplifier in a stereo system, or used to lower input into a higher gain amplifier or similar. It’s a very handy feature to have.

Overall, the Angel was a really nice change of pace to try out. It is similar to the iFi iDSD products in terms of looks and functions, but offers a different tonal balance and set of sonic qualities. With a couple small changes, it would have really knocked it out of the park for me. The inclusion of fast charge capability, not for charging time concerns, but simply to use with my laptop would be nice to see on any V2 in the future. Also, I’d love to see the capability to combine charging and data on a single cable, but also to be able to flip a switch to go to entirely separate inputs, giving the user the decision of how they want to use it.


The Angel has a great clean, clear, and crisp type of sound signature, with decent power levels to work with IEMs and most headphones. I wouldn’t recommend it for especially hard to drive headphones, but apart from those, you should be entirely ok with most models. The Angel does also work well as a stand alone DAC, as long as you have the right cable handy and make sure it is charged up before a longer listening session. I really dig the blue colour scheme, and the build quality feels rock solid. Overall, the Angel is a solid first effort at a higher performing portable DAC/Amp combo, and with a few tweaks, could knock it out of a park if they ever come up with a V2 model. I’d certainly recommend the Angel given it fits your use case and sonic preferences.


500+ Head-Fier
Future Cult Classics
Pros: Exceptionally well built
– Head-turner color scheme
– Gobs of output power
– Fully digital potentiometer
– Resolving-yet-natural signature
– Great staging and separation
– Excellent matching with most planars
– MQA certification and full MQA decoding
Cons: Heavy, bulky design
– No line-in/amp-only function
– Picky about USB cables
– Not for very sensitive IEMs

EarMen has made a name with its source gears, and the Angel is the flagship “portable” DAC-Amp offering in its lineup. This also happens to be the first Earmen product I’ll be reviewing, so there’s that.

From a market-positioning perspective, the Angel fills the niche of “portable powerhouse” DAC-Amps that have rather high output power, albeit in a less pocket-friendly manner compared to typical dongles. Usually the idea is to power inefficient planars and high impedance dynamic drivers while on-the-go, or perhaps to settle for a minimal setup that can be moved around in a pinch.

Does the Earmen Angel manage to carve a spot for itself, or is the first attempt at a powerhouse dongle a forgettable one? Let’s find out.

This artcile originally appeared on Audioreviews.

Note: the ratings given will be subjective to the price tier. Earmen was kind enough to provide me the Angel for review.

Headphones and IEMs used: Sennheiser HD650, Hifiman Arya Stealth, Hifiman HE-6se V2, Moondrop Venus, Dunu Zen, Final E5000

Price, while reviewed: $800. Can be bought from Earmen’s Official Store.


I received the Angel without any retail package, since back then a retail package was not even designed yet. So please check other reviews over at head-fi for a proper visual depiction of the packaging and accessories.


Exceptional, in one word. The blue finish is unique and makes the Angel stand out from a myriad of similarly-toned devices. I imagine this colorway could be divisive, but I find it flashy while being tasteful. A very fine line that Earmen manages to tread well.


The entire build is a three piece construction, with the front and back “caps” being held by 4 screws. The middle shell is milled out of a single piece of aluminum. The front panel of the device has the output jacks (4.4mm and 3.5mm respectively), gain switch, pre-amp mode selector, LED indicator, and the rotary encoder.


The rotary encoder has very smooth feedback with precise “steps” that have the right amount of feedback. It also doubles as the power buttons, since pressing it down is how you turn on or off the device. There is a slight wobble to the wheel for this reason but it’s very common for wheels that can be pressed downwards.


The LED indicator flashes between alternating colors depending on the input selected, the sampling rate/format of the file etc. A more detailed description can be found in the following.


The back houses two USB type-C ports: one for charging, and one for data transmission. The separated inputs are great to avoid any potential interference between the power and data lines, but poses a new challenge: finding a USB type-C cable that works.

Another oddity is the situation with fast chargers. Basically – the Angel do not charge at all with fast chargers. It turns out that Earmen recommends charging with 5V-2A chargers in the manual. So this limitation is by design.

Full recharge takes over 3 hours. Quite a long time, but the Angel holds charge really well. Standby drain is practically negligible. Moreover, the amp section does not even engage if no headphones are connected.

Now let’s move on the other ports on the back. You have the COAX/TOSLINK input, and finally two line-out ports in balanced or single-ended flavor. A curious omission here is a line-in. That way it would be possible to use the Angel as an amp alone. But alas.


Overall, flagship-grade build quality with no qualms whatsoever regarding the workmanship.


The Angel is rather substantial in size. You can grab it in one hand, but stacking together with a phone, for example, is quite impractical. I find the Angel more suited as a sort of “transportable” device than something truly portable. The 340gm of weight definitely hints toward that direction.

Battery life has been within expectations for a device of its class. When powering the Sennheiser HD650 and Hifiman Arya SE, the Angel lasted me about 7 hours on a single charge. The 2x3000mAh battery pack does the job, though I suspect using IEMs will yield slightly better results. Nonetheless, expect to charge every other day if you are a frequent user.

Another nifty usability feature is how the rotary encoder works. It acts as a fully digital potentiometer for one, and the volume is automatically reset to zero every time you unplug something or turn the unit off.

As a result, the chances of accidentally blasting your ears with high volume becomes diminutive. It does make volume-matching and comparing between multiple IEMs/headphones a chore, but that’s something you don’t do every day.

The dial also works as pre-amp volume control when the line-out voltage is set to “pre-out” via the switch on the front. Setting it to “direct” turns on fixed line-out mode instead, which is useful when connecting external amps.


Earmen does not specify the exact current at a specific load on their website. So I asked them for those figures and they told me that the output power of Angel is:
  • Single-ended: 1.62W @32 Ohm
  • Balanced: 2.25W @32 Ohm
The Sabre ES9038Q2M is used as the DAC chip, which is the highest end 2-channel Sabre DAC. The rest of the specs are as follows:



I find describing the tonality of digital sources a futile exercise, as most of the characteristics depend on the pairing with various headphones and IEMs. Nonetheless, there are some commonalities between all pairings, and in general the Earmen Angel has a “Reference” tuning. Which is another speak for: they are neutral and does not really emphasize on any frequencies.

There is a bit of “excitement” up top, which can be evident while pairing with some warm/laid-back gears, but it’s not overdone. The upper-mids/lower-treble show a hint of the infamous “Sabre glare”, though it’s not distracting and well under control. The staging was consistently wider than average. Rest of it is how it should be – uncolored, close to neutral.



The Angel pairs well with moderately sensitive IEMs with 16ohms or higher impedance. Anything lower with high sensitivity, and you will notice some hiss. Anything lower with low sensitivity (ala Final E5000), you’ll notice that IEMs sound underpowered.

I noticed some hiss with the Campfire Holocene and Dunu Zen (when using Gain+ mode especially). Granted – this DAC-Amp is way overkill for those sensitive IEMs but certain products in this category manages to handle IEMs just as well. I find the Angel to be more geared towards headphone use than IEMs for this reason.

On the positive side, output impedance is lower than 1ohm, so you should not have issues with multi-BA or hybrid IEMs having their frequency response thrown off.

A surprise exception was the current crop of planar IEMs, which paired wonderfully. Dynamics were spot on, and the staging was somewhat widened (a weakness of most if not all planar magnetic IEMs in the current market, the non-Audeze ones that is).


Powering headphones is where the Angel flexes its muscles, especially planar magnetic headphones that do not require absurd wattage.

I have tried a number of Hifiman planars with the Angel and apart from the HE-6se V2 (83dB/mW @ 50 ohms) – the rest of them were adequately powered. The pairing with Arya SE was something exceptional. Great bass slam, enveloping headstage, precise imaging, no harshness in treble – just wonderful all around. If you own an Arya SE – try the Angel.


Sennheiser’s high impedance dynamics were driven well too. The HD650 lacked the warmth and tactility that you get on an OTL tube amp, but it sounded as good as on any solid state amp. There is plenty of voltage swing here to fully power the drivers (usually HD650 and the likes require >= 6Vrms to sound their best, I will link to the calculations here if I can find them again).

A note about the Gain+ mode here: it adds some distortion to the sound which might be distracting esp on planars. I did not need to use the Gain+ mode that much but your mileage may vary. I’d recommend not using it until you absolutely need to.

Overall, if you are predominantly a headphone user, the Earmen Angel will be a fantastic source for most of them, unless all you own are the Hifiman Susvara, Abyss 1266, HEDDPHONE V2, or the likes. In which case – none of the portable sources can really help.


As standalone DAC

The DAC section is very competent and competes well with other desktop DACs in this range, e.g. SMSL M400. While those desktop DACs have more outputs and features like filter selection, the sonic differences are fairly minimal considering the massive difference in footprint. There’s also MQA decoding capabilities for those who believe in MQA.

As a result, I can see the Angel being a transportable all-in-one while on the go, and a nifty DAC connected to some powerful headphone amps when at home or desk. You may have to invest into some 4.4mm to XLR cables but the flexibility on offer is excellent.


vs iFi xDSD Gryphon

The iFi xDSD Gryphon has become one of the most popular portable DAC-Amps around. We reviewed it and found it to be a great all-rounder.

When it comes to build quality, both are exceptional. The Gryphon has a sleeker, more modern design, whereas the Angel has the subtlety of a muscle car. Poor car analogies aside, the weight difference between them is substantial, with the Gryphon being over 100gm lighter.

Despite the lighter weight, I don’t think Gryphon makes a suitable “stack” either, since the wide footprint makes it awkward to hold the phone and the Gryphon together. To aid in that, iFi has added Bluetooth DAC functionalities to Gryphon, which is absent on the Angel. Gryphon also has the ability to select different filters, and the on-screen display is a helpful addition.

The volume pot on the Gryphon is analog, vs the digital rotary encoder on the Angel. Gryphon also has hardware EQ functionalities which are fun to use.

The Angel has been on the backfoot until now, but it hits back with sheer output power. Planar magnetic and high impedance dynamics are far better driven on the Angel, with loads of headroom to spare. The DAC section is also better overall, with noticeably wider stage and better dynamics when connected to external amps.

The Gryphon pairs better with IEMs, and the IEMatch switch is another helpful addition. To summarize: for predominantly IEM usage and BT capabilities, the Gryphon is the better choice. For using as a standalone DAC and to power planars or high impedance dynamics – the Angel is a no-brainer.



The summary kind of writes itself – if you are a predominantly headphone user, and need something to carry on the go or act as a solid DAC when on the desk, the Earmen Angel is one of the best options out there. The build is excellent, the usability features handy, and the price is rather competitive when you consider the overall market of such devices.

The biggest downside here is the slight hiss with sensitive IEMs, and the lack of a line-in which would allow DAP users to use the Angel as an amp. Given the target demography, these are not deal breakers, as when connected to external amps or full-size cans the Angel just shine.

I think that the Earmen Angel will gain a following over time, as devices of their class usually do. As such, I have no qualms to recommend the Angel for headphone users who need something portable.
Last edited:
Adnan Firoze
Adnan Firoze
Stellar review - amazingly balanced and perfectly detailed. Keep more coming!
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Very nice and complete review...
As a Heddphone One and DCA Stealth user, I would say too most basic of the portable amps can't move properly, though I found at least 3 portable amps doing the Job nicely :
1) The Less BX2+ is really convincing, but it is bulky with a rather poor battery playing time (< 4 hours)
2) Centrance Ampersand does a very good job too and is rather compact, but with a poor battery playing time too, > 4 hours but less than 5 hours
3) Fiio M17 in enhanced audio mode with a proper external battery (samsung 12V 2A) is rather convincing too with at least a 5 hours playing time, so Q7 should to the Job too.

I think all of these portable amps are heavier than the Earmen Angel..


Reviewer at hxosplus
The voice of an Angel
Pros: + Reference neutral tuning
+ Supreme transparency and technicalities
+ Musical and engaging with a natural timbre and minimum digital glare
+ Powerful headphone amplifier with impressive dynamics
+ The single ended output is also powerful and good sounding
+ True balanced line output
+ Simple to use
+ Separate DATA and USB charging ports
+ S/PDIF input
+ Excellent build quality
Cons: - Not really portable
- Not too organic and analogue sounding
- No wireless connectivity or other bells 'n' whistles
- Average battery duration
- LED light color scheme is a little confusing
- I/O sockets could be of higher quality
The review sample was kindly provided free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
I didn't receive monetary or any other kind of compensation and I don't use affiliate links.
The price of the EarMen Angel is €799 and you can buy it from the EarMen online shop or $799 if you are located in North America and use this link.

About EarMen

Designed and engineered by Milomir "Miki" Trosic, founder of the sister company Auris Audio, EarMen carries on the legacy of sound that has established Auris as a leader in the high fidelity audio world.
Unlike Auris products, however, EarMen is designed exclusively to enhance portable listening, and as such their products are small in their size - easily fitting within your pocket alongside your smartphone. Although small in size, EarMen products contain powerful audio components designed to give you and your equipment an audio experience without compromise. Powerful amplification and world class audio processing, fully compatible with all major smartphones and computers, all in a device the size of a lighter.

The EarMen family of products

I have been following EarMen from day one and I was fortunate enough to review most of their products.
First was the Donald DAC followed by the TR-Amp and the Sparrow.
Then came the Eagle and the Colibri and now together with the Angel they have expanded their line to include compact sized desktop gear like the Tradutto DAC and the brand new ST-Amp.
The Angel was handed to me at the Munich High End show 2022 but the review was delayed due to a very busy schedule and some personal matters.
I would like to apologize but better late than never…


The Angel

The EarMen Angel is an enhanced version of the much acclaimed TR-Amp, a portable fully balanced high resolution DAC/Headphone Amplifier with a configurable pre or fixed line output option.
The Angel uses the ESS ES9038Q2M DAC chip which has great SNR and THD+N characteristics compared to its competitors, along with the newest XMOS USB receiver which is capable of decoding up to 768kHz/32 bit PCM, DSD256 via DoP and MQA studio quality.

It is a fully balanced device whose balanced signal goes intact from the DAC all the way to the headphone output. There are no changes in the audio signal itself except for amplification, so the sound from the DAC is original.
The device is designed so that in the path of audio signal sound, there are no additional capacitors and other components that would introduce distortion.


The device has a linear power supply with ultra low noise which helps to deliver even clearer sound.
It is powered by a two-cell battery 2x3000mAh which will give you the opportunity for many hours of listening to music.
You do not have to worry about battery consumption, as the charging time is less than 3 hours.
Separate DATA and USB charging ports allow the device to run continuously if it is on the charger, and so you can use it all day in your system.

There is also a Gain+ mode that when engaged will get you more power, volume and dynamics of sound. This option gives you the ability to adjust the volume to a more precise level, allowing Angel to be used with all types of sensitive and insensitive headphones.

There is an interesting story behind the creation of the Angel as narrated by the lead engineer Filip Tot that you can read it here.


Design and user interface

The Angel is somewhat larger and heavier than the TR-Amp, measuring 152x27x66mm and weighing 340g.
It has a rectangular prism shape which is not pocket friendly and as such it is a transportable rather than a really portable device.
The full aluminum alloy chassis has an excellent metallic finish and a solid, sturdy and well made build.
The design is neat and minimalistic with four visible screws at the front face and the back plate that add a rather industrial look.


Input and output sockets are arranged with great ergonomics and functionality in mind.
At the left side of the front face you will find the two headphone outputs (3.5mm and 4.4mm), a multi-color notification LED light, the Gain+ button, the pre/direct output switch and the volume control button that also doubles as an on/off switch.
At the back side of the unit there are two USB type-C inputs, one for Data and one for charging, a 3.5mm S/PDIF input and the two line outputs, one 3.5mm single ended and one 4.4mm balanced.


The volume control is now a digital potentiometer/encoder in contrast to the TR-Amp which had an analogue potentiometer that was a little scratchy.
Upon powering up the unit will enter idle mode and the LED will turn white.
Plugging a headphone will trigger the output and the LED will turn into green.
Every time you power off the Angel the output volume reverts to zero in order to protect your headphones and ear from accidents.
You can mute the output by briefly pressing the volume button.
Raising the volume will change the LED color from green to yellow, orange and red so you have a rough reading of how loud you are listening.
The LED is also used for displaying battery status and income sampling rate in a rather confusing color scheme.
Engaging the Gain+ mode will make the dedicated LED to lit red.
Plugging a cable into one of the analogue line outputs will make your headphones go mute and in order to use the S/PDIF input you must have the USB data cable unplugged.
You can toggle between fixed and variable line output with the front dedicated switch.



The Angel comes together with a rather long, high quality USB type-C to C cable which is a little bulky, two S/PDIF adaptors and the manual.
I don't have a photo because I was handed the device without the package.

Power output and battery duration

The manufacturer published specs suggest that the Angel can do 7.3Vrms from the single ended output and 8.5Vrms from the balanced with the Gain+ enabled.
Subjectively speaking the Angel had absolutely no problem driving all the headphones I used into ear deafening levels with excellent driver control and spare headroom.
The Focal Clear Mg was an easy task and for the HiFiMan Arya Stealth / Sennheiser HD8XX I used the Gain+ mode.
With these headphones and from the balanced output I got about 6-7 hours of working time.
The battery needs about 3 hours to get a full charge and interestingly the recharging alarm is not so accurate because I got about two hours of extra time after the LED started flashing red.


Associated gear

The unit was burned about 150 hours prior to listening tests.
I have used various headphones but mainly the Sennheiser HD8XX, Focal Clear Mg, HiFiMan Arya Stealth and Meze 109 pro.
All headphone cables are of pure silver and made by Lavricables.
I am not that fond of laptops and Android tablets so I am using dedicated streamers and the Cambridge Audio CXC CD transport to make sure that every reviewed device is getting digital signals of the best quality.
For this occasion I used the iFi NEO Stream.


Listening impressions

The EarMen Angel is absolutely fantastic sounding, it has a balanced, neutral and reference type of tuning with excellent transparency, great linearity, supreme frequency cohesion and outstanding technical precision while at the same time it manages to be particularly musical and engaging.
As a matter of fact the Angel is the most musical sounding portable device by EarMen so far.
It is not that analogue and organic in it's timbral qualities per se but nonetheless it is phenomenally addictive, you just can't stop listening and you forget about everything else.
After a while I got bored of listening to the usual test tracks because it became clearly obvious from the first moments that the Angel was a hell of a performer without a single negative sonic flaw so I immediately switched to regular music listening.
Qobuz is enriching its classical catalog with legendary recordings from the past and I couldn't resist myself listening again to the Sviatoslav Richter Scriabin recital from Warsaw.
Hammering notes, arpeggios, long runs, micro and macro dynamic contrasts, the finest nuances, everything sounded like being there and the Angel was an ace into communicating the sentiment, the poetry and every single breath of Richter's agonizing performance.


The most interesting part is that the Angel is not only suitable for all kinds of music but it is also a great match with all kinds of headphones as diverse as the HD8XX, the Arya V3 and the Clear Mg.
Every one of them sounded at its best with the Angel offering a near desktop-like performance.

The review could have ended right here by crowning the Angel as one of the best transportable DAC/amps available in the market at time being but let's dig into the necessary (and kind of boring) sound analysis that a reviewer is expected to write.

The bass is deeply extended and full bodied, not that visceral but not lean either.
It is tight, fast and controlled with strict timing, excellent layering and reference definition.
The Angel hits hard, it sounds extremely dynamic, contrasted and impactful as long as the headphones are in its comfort zone (well most of them are).
Mid range fidelity is of masterclass level with great clarity, full bodied presentation, plenty of air around the notes and the finest articulation of the performers,
Voices and instruments alike sound lifelike and realistic with extra natural timbre and a rich harmonic variety albeit not that organic, analogue-like or lush as some of you might have expected.
Anyway, digital glare is kept at a very low level, almost absent, both in the mid-range and the treble, this is a great ES9038Q2 implementation, a proof that a given DAC chip will not always perform the same and that the best measurements will not always translate into the best sound.

The Angel treble tuning is the smoothest so far EarMen approach but with all the extension, crispness, airiness, brilliance and transient speed that someone would wish for.
Sharp and well defined, the Angel never sounds bright or harsh and it possesses a quite relaxed sound decay over time with the result that high pitched percussion instruments fade away with a realistic timing without losing in texture weight and reverb.
The Angel is absolutely dead silent and offers deep detail retrieval with the benefit that it doesn't sound analytical, sterile or boringly technical.


Pair the Angel with a good headphone and you are going to be treated with an expansive and immersive soundstage with plenty of air, accurate imaging, sharp positioning and grand scaled presentation with good depth layering albeit there is a room for improvement in holography and dimensionality.
With the Sennheiser HD8XX I couldn't stop listening to symphonies and massive choral works like Verdi's requiem in Daniel Barenboim's masterful interpretation.


Balanced vs unbalanced and line out

The 3.5mm output sound quality of the Angel is not that far behind from the balanced while it is almost as powerful.
It is not as expansive sounding as the balanced, not that well controlled, defined and technically strong but rest assured that you are getting most of the Angel's sound performance without seriously compromising if you are intending to buy it for single ended only use.
I have also used the 4.4mm line output of the Angel to feed the Cayin C9 and I can happily report that all the sound quality remained equally impressive.


Compared to the EarMen TR-Amp ($249)

Listening to the TR-Amp is almost like listening to the single ended output of the Angel but with a less technically strong performance and just a touch more treble forward presentation.
They both use the same ES9038Q2M chip but with different implementations and analogue stages.
The bass on the TR-Amp is a touch fuller and more visceral but also a little loose and not that well controlled, defined or fast.
The TR-Amp is not that extremely dynamic and impactful or open sounding, it has a touch of brighter, more treble forward approach and the timbre is not as natural as in the Angel.
Switching to the balanced output of the Angel then the sound performance leaps ahead and the comparison gets somewhat unfair considering the price difference.
But let's not forget that the TR-Amp is less than half the price of the Angel, considerably more portable and still one of the best sounding portable DACs of the respected category so it is well worth considering if you only need a single ended output, portability and your funds are limited.


Compared to the Chord Mojo 2 ($750)

The Mojo 2 is more portable and pocket friendly than the Angel while you can hold it in your palm and control it with your fingers.
It has two 3.5mm headphone outputs that work simultaneously but an outdated micro USB port for charging.
It has the benefit of docking the Poly to add high resolution wireless connectivity but it doesn't have a true line output.
It has a built-in 4 band lossless equalizer and three levels of crossfeed but it is not as straightforward and user friendly as the Angel which is also considerably more powerful and can decode MQA.


The following sound comparison impressions are between the Mojo 2 and the balanced only output of the Angel.
OK, this is a really difficult one and I am leaning towards a tie, both are great with minor differences to cater for different music listening habits.
Technicalities and transparency are equally impressive for both of them but the Angel is more crystal clear with a blacker background and a completely inaudible noise floor when the Mojo 2 can hiss a little with very sensitive earphones.
The Angel has a sharper, crisper and more extended treble with deeper detail retrieval while it presents a more open and spacious soundstage.
Also the Angel is the more impactful and dynamic of the two but with a leaner texture compared to the considerably more visceral and full bodied bass presentation of the Mojo 2.
On the other hand the Mojo 2 has the holographic dimensionality that is missing from the Angel soundstage while it can sound more musical and sentimentality strong because it has the analogue-like and organic texture that the Angel doesn't have.


In the end

Simply put, the EarMen Angel is one of the best transportable DAC/Amps your money can buy.
A desktop like experience from a battery powered, compact sized, device with a reference sound quality, excellent power delivery, great functionality and many included inputs and outputs.
If you have ever wondered how the heavenly voice of an Angel might really sound then you should definitely give the EarMen Angel a try.

Test playlist

Copyright - Petros Laskis 2022.
Last edited:
Hi, thank you very much.
Unfortunately I don't have experience with anything from JDS Labs.
Great review mate!! Beautiful images as well!!
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Thank you very.
It is of the very rare moments that I shot decent photos!


500+ Head-Fier
Between Heaven And Earth
Pros: Very high sound quality. Possibly the best portable DAC/AMP I've tried in terms of sound.
- Very clean, neutral, wide, open, ethereal and pure sound.
- Great sense of stage, openness, three-dimensionality and expansion.
- High power level, especially for medium and high impedance headphones.
- Simplicity in handling.
- Intelligent, fully balanced circuitry, thermal protection, reset to zero volume in the absence of connection at its headphone outputs.
- Ability to use as a preamp, via SE and balanced outputs.
- Multi-function infinite potentiometer.
- Quality construction, robust feel and attractive finish.
Cons: The LED gives too much information by colour scheme and flashing to be easily distinguishable.
- I would have preferred a 6.3mm SE headphone output and/or gold plating.
- The potentiometer is stepwise and the volume jumps for sensitive headphones can be a bit high.
- There are no filters and no RCA inputs.
- Battery life is not as long as I would have liked.
- Both the weight and the size suggest a stationary use, however, wherever you want.
- The price is a bit high.

The EarMen Angel is the brand's second portable DAC/AMP, if we exclude the Colibri from this equation. Since that first flashy red TR-AMP, EarMen has devoted every effort to improving every aspect of that bold device. The external design is similar, changed to a deep, more celestial blue, perhaps that's where the name comes from. Now, its internal circuitry is fully balanced, a high gain knob has been incorporated, it has two 3000mAh batteries, 2 line outputs (3.5mm SE and 4.4mm BAL) and supports MQA, plus DSD 512 natively and up to PCM 768kHz/32Bits. It still uses the ESS ES9038Q2M DAC, has a built-in S/PDIF COAX/TOS input and has a dynamic range of 120dB. On the other hand, the power level has been increased to 7.2V RMS per SE output and to 8.5V RMS per BAL output. EarMen has also added other improvements, such as a multi-coloured front LED, which allows the status of the device to be reported, and has changed the volume control to a much more intelligent step control.
Angel is also my brother's middle name. And, unfortunately, it was the first name of my uncle, who died of COVID, during the pandemic. So, for particular reasons, every time I realise what this model is called, I can't help my head going somewhere else and I get memories located in limbo, in that place where this device pretends to take us with its musical quality. Let's see what happens with it.

EarMen Angel 01_r.jpg


  • Inputs: USB C for data, USB C for charging, S/PDIF COAX/TOS.
  • Line outputs: Single Ended 3.5mm and 4.4mm BAL.
  • Headphone outputs: Single Ended 3.5mm and 4.4mm BAL.
  • DSD audio formats: DoP 256/128/64. Native DSD 512/256/128/64.
  • DXD audio formats: 768/705.6/384/352.8kHz.
  • PCM audio formats: 768/705.6/384/352.8/192/176.4/96/88.2/48/44.1kHz.
Single-ended headphone output with Gain+:
  • USB input output level: 7.2V RMS 0dBFS
  • S/PDIF input output level: 7.2V RMS 0dBFS
  • THD+N: 0.004% THD+N: 0.004% SNR: >120DB (A-WEIGHTED)
  • SNR: >120dB (A-Weighted)
  • Frequency Response: ±0.2dB
  • DNR: >120dB
Fully Balanced headphone output with Gain+:
  • USB input output level: 8.5V RMS 0dBFS
  • S/PDIF input output level: 8.5V RMS 0dBFS
  • THD+N: 0.002% THD+N: 0.002% SNR: >119DB (A-WEIGHTED)
  • SNR: >119dB (A-Weighted)
  • Frequency Response: ±0.2dB
  • DNR: >119dB
Single End line output:
  • Direct output level: 1.5V RMS 0dBFS
  • Pre-output level: 7.2V RMS 0dBFS
  • THD+N direct output: 0.005% THD+N pre-out: 0.004% THD+N pre-out: 0.004
  • THD+N pre-out: 0.004% THD+N pre-out: 0.004% SNR: >120dB (0.004%)
  • SNR: >120dB (A-Weighted)
  • Frequency Response: ±0.2dB
  • DNR: >120dB
Fully Balanced line output:
  • Direct output level: 3V RMS 0dBFS
  • Pre-output level: 8.5V RMS 0dBFS
  • THD+N pre-out: 0.002% THD+N pre-out: 0.002% SNR: >119dB (A)
  • SNR: >119dB (A-Weighted)
  • Frequency Response: ±0.2dB
  • DNR: >119dB
  • Dimensions: 152x27x66mm
  • Weight: 340gr.

EarMen Angel 02_r.jpg


The EarMen Angel still comes in a black box that keeps the same design as its predecessor. On it is the view of three sides of the device, in white lines. On the underside, these views are maintained and are completed with a short summary of the specifications and the many logos of the certificates that the product complies with. The dimensions are 192x92x66mm. The box is opened by pulling the lid upwards. The first thing you see is the user manual. Then, the Angel inside a protective foam mould. Underneath is a cardboard box with a hole in the middle, which protects the lower level, where the accessories are located. The summary of the contents is as follows:

  • EarMen Angel.
  • USB Type C to Type C cable, textile covered.
  • Adapter for Coaxial input.
  • Adapter for SPDIF input.
  • User manual.

This time, there is no textile cover, nor rubber straps like the ones that came with the TR-Amp. Above all, the cover is missing. The USB cable is long and there is no short cable either. Considering the portable use of this device, I think both accessories are missing. Also, the price of the TR-Amp makes me think of a larger set of items.

EarMen Angel 03_r.jpg

Construction and Design

Again, the simple but effective design of the TR-Amp is repeated. Built to be bulletproof, the surface retains that micro-sandblasted look, but this time in a deep blue colour. The brand logo is in the centre of the upper face, in white ink. The model and its designer is near the left side edge and close to the front face. It has four metal Allen screws at the corners. Angel can be read in the upper left corner. Below it is the 4.4mm output, gold plated. To its right is the SE 3.5mm output, which is not plated. Above it is the multi-coloured LED. In the centre of the device is a small round black button for activating the GAIN+ mode. Below it is a small LED indicator. Further to the right, there is a switch to select direct line output or preamp. Finally, there is the volume potentiometer/on/off button. Underneath are 4 semi-spherical transparent rubber feet. Painted in white are the logos of the certifications the product complies with, as well as the serial number, among other information. The rear face has the same screw fixing. From left to right is the USB Type C charging connector, the data connector, S/PDIF input, SE 3.5mm line output and BAL 4.4mm line output.
The size is larger than its TR-Amp sibling, being longer. However, it is just as wide. The increase in weight is also noticeable. The volume knob has a larger diameter, although it looks very similar. Now it is no longer the classic potentiometer. The fixed output or pre-out switch is at the front, there are no more RCA outputs. But there are balanced outputs, both headphone and line outputs. There is also an S/PDIF COAX/TOS input, a gain selection knob (with LED indicator) and a multicolour LED to indicate the function.
Although it may look like a simple device, it is certainly more sophisticated than its predecessor.

EarMen Angel 04_r.jpg


It is a fairly simple device in this respect. It has a USB Type C input for connection to PC, MAC/Linux, DAP or Smartphone. It also has an S/PDIF COAX/TOS input.
In terms of outputs, it has two headphone outputs, BAL 4.4mm and SE 3.5mm. It also has the same line outputs on the rear.
ASIO driver can be downloaded for Windows connection.

EarMen Angel 05_r.jpg


The instruction manual is very schematic and simple.
The device is switched on/off by pressing the volume button for 3 seconds.
Press the volume button simply and briefly to enter mute mode. Press again to exit this mode and return to the previous volume.
When the headphones are disconnected from the outputs, the device goes into mute mode. When the headphones are reconnected, the volume status is reset to the lowest position as a protection.
The potentiometer is infinite and goes in steps. As the volume is increased, the colour of the LED changes to indicate the power (green: volume <25%, yellow: volume between 25% -50%, orange: volume between 50% -75%, red: volume between 75% -100%).
The LED also indicates other statuses: flashing red: battery below 20%. Flashing blue: battery charging. Flashing green: Mute. Flashing red three times: thermal protection, the device will be switched off.
The LED also serves to indicate the format being played: (Orange: Connected/ PCM. Purple: S/PDIF. Cyan: DSD. Magenta: MQA core/MQB. Blue: MQA Studio. Green: MQA Auth).
There is also an LED to indicate that GAIN+ is activated: If it is red, it is activated. Off, the device is in low gain.
The system has two 3000mAh batteries, but even if you are not playing music, the system consumes. Charging takes three hours with a 5V 2A adapter.
The device can be used while charging. The battery life is not very long. Although I haven't drained the battery completely, I did go into low battery mode on a fairly long afternoon of use. I don't think I'll get more than 8 hours of continuous use and without using very demanding headphones. On the other hand, that is what the specifications say.

EarMen Angel 06_r.jpg


EarMen specifies a maximum output of 7.2V on SE and 8.5V on BAL, but does not give specific power ratings for specific impedances. It only says that it is capable of delivering 2x2.25W through the balanced headphone output. Doing the math, that power corresponds to 32Ω. We'll see what my measurements say.
From what I have been able to check, the EarMen Angel is more capable of delivering a higher voltage for medium and high impedances, than for low impedances. Although I have also found that the power for 16Ω and 32Ω delivered is very high, quite sufficient for any model in that range.
Angel has a thermal protection control, which means that when the device exceeds a certain power that causes it to generate a high temperature, it shuts down. During my measurements, this has happened to me with the 16Ω and 32Ω impedances, while I was looking for the maximum values.

EarMen Angel 07_r.jpg

No Load SE

For low gain, the output voltage reaches 3V, while for high gain, it is around 7.2V. My rudimentary measurement system goes from 7.3V at 20Hz to 6.85V at 20kHz. I don't think it's a problem with the Earmen, because I have found that this little oscilloscope measures higher frequencies worse than lower frequencies. I usually see this behaviour in all my measurements.

EarMen Angel No Load Low SE.jpgEarMen Angel No Load High SE.jpg

15 Ω SE

I have played a lot with high or low gain and volume to find the maximum voltage point for this resistor. And I have seen that the maximum voltage is obtained at low gain and it is 2.13V. That is a power of 300mW. A really high value, with 140 mA of current delivery. This implies that it is a device capable of driving any low impedance IEM that is put in front of it.

EarMen Angel 015 SE.jpg

33 Ω SE

I thought that with that level of current, the power in this section would be higher. But I find a voltage limitation for low impedances (the thermal protection). So the voltage obtained is the same, 2.13V. This gives 140mW and 65mA of current. Looking at the previous section, I expected more, although it is not a trivial value in any case.

EarMen Angel 033 SE.jpg

100 Ω SE

The surprise has been to move to this value, the Angel delivers all the voltage without leaving anything out. 7.1V is 0.5W. Very powerful.

EarMen Angel 100 SE.jpg

No Load BAL

For low gain you get 3.2V and for high gain I measured 8.36V, very close to the specified 8.5V.

EarMen Angel No Load Low BAL.jpgEarMen Angel No Load High BAL.jpg

15 Ω BAL

A little more power from the balanced output, with 2.28V, reaching 150mA and 350mW. Excellent.

EarMen Angel 015 BAL.jpg

33 Ω BAL

Fortunately, by balancing, the voltage value for this resistor rises to 3.84V, which is 450mW (almost half a watt) and 120mA. Very good.
The EarMen Angel is able to move the TinHifi P2 with ease, taking it to quite high volume levels.

EarMen Angel 033 BAL.jpg

100 Ω BAL

Again, all voltage for this value. 8.36V, 700mW and 84mA. Again excellent.

EarMen Angel 100 BAL.jpg

Frequency Response

Completely flat in the frequency range from 10Hz to 20kHz. No differences between channels at various volume levels. As expected.

EarMen Angel.png

Output impedance

The voltage measurement does not move without load or with load, both for SE and BAL. This implies a very low output impedance, clearly below 1 Ω.

EarMen Angel 08_r.jpg


My main use has been with IEMS from my collection and connected to my PC via USB-C.
As it says on the product's own website, the engineer behind the EarMen Angel is Filip Tot. Reading his story behind this product, text that can be read on the mentioned website, I was struck by some parts: "we pay a lot of attention to subjective feeling, not just measurements ". As well as his almost obsessive struggle to create a great product with the best sound, even though it was difficult: "From the beginning, the solution seemed to be at my fingertips, but even when everything worked perfectly, the sound was not what I was looking for. I didn't sleep... ". I know from my own experience that electronics is not a simple thing and that all the progress in this area has been thanks to the great minds that have brought us to today's technological level. But once at this point and within this world of portable audio, in particular, where there is so much competition, it is not easy for one product to sound better than another, even if the price is higher.
As I have always said, analysing a source is the most complex process as an audio reviewer. But when it comes to a device with the quality of this Angel, things are often easier.
Its profile is neutral, with a delicate and relatively fine note weight. Its level of clarity, transparency, resolving power and definition is very high. Because of this, the sound trend and timbre veers slightly to a brighter point, giving a feeling of being slightly more analytical than analogue.
One of the things that makes this DAC/AMP stand out the most is the purity of its sound. Angel is really clean, crisp, clear, crystalline and transparent. It is fast, dynamic, with great definition and resolution.
Its agility allows notes to be felt all the way through, from their inception to their dissolution. In vocals, for example, this path to silence is perceptible, and in strings, guitars and drums, too, this ability is distinguishable. If you have precise headphones, listening to this kind of sensation will be very pleasant. Likewise, the transitions are devilishly fast, making clear the great dynamic range and speed it possesses.
Another of the things that struck me most was the size of the scene he proposes. Angel is extremely airy and volatile, the level of separation and distance between elements is perceived with immediacy. The music appears somewhere between liquid and vaporous. With headphones capable of generating a wide scene, it will form a synergy that will elevate the three-dimensional feel of the image, as well as the overall descriptiveness. The holographic recreation and out-of-head perception will be enhanced, but without feeling unrealistic or forced.
Finally, despite the sense of musical complexity that Angel is able to unravel, the ease with which he executes the music is surprising. The fluidity of its presentation and the freedom of the notes is impressive. The perception is that the music should be as Angel proposes it, but it is clear that this level is not something that is easily achieved. Hence Filip Tot's effort.
Analysing the music by frequency ranges, it is worth noting, again, Angel's neutrality in this respect. I don't find any enhanced band: Angel is totally flat. Although, as I have already mentioned, it gives me a feeling of having a subtly bright timbre, because of its clean, transparent, luminous and analytical tendency.
Thanks to the great technical capabilities, the Angel is totally precise when it comes to bass playing. Its development is exemplary, fast, concise, precise and forceful when needed. You can feel the advanced technical feel and competence when it comes to reproducing complex bass, its ability to layer the various bases and differentiate bass lines with ease and fluency. In that sense, you notice how the EarMen is able to help the headphones improve their bass performance in difficult situations.
The middle section is exquisite, very pure, clean and pleasant. The execution of the voices is rich and full of delicacy. The ease with which he recreates them is powerfully striking, as is his ability to describe their complex composition. He has a talent for subdividing the music into very small, but individually perceptible fractions. This is a power of superior resolution that can only be achieved with the best sources and headphones. I don't feel that the mids are warm, though all this skill points to a neutral, subtle, thorough and concise musicality, thoroughly enjoyable all the same.
This delicacy has its high point in the treble, expressed with beautifully exquisite refinement, resolution and finesse, creating a sense of superior class in this respect. As can be seen in its frequency response, the Angel has no problem going all the way to 30kHz with little or no decay. Thus, its ability to extend into the high range without any problem is evident.
Finally, I would like to comment briefly on the differences between the SE output and the balanced output. I think that the feeling of transparency, cleanliness and the size of the scene is superior with the balanced output. I think that, technically, the EarMen Angel is able to express its full potential through this output. It's not that the SE output is inferior, not at all, but the balanced output brings that characteristic purity, which can be felt more easily. And, in my opinion, this is the idea it brings to the music of this device.

EarMen Angel 09_r.jpg


xDuoo XD05 BAL (Burson Audio OpAmps V5i)

Although they are not in the same price range (€430 vs €799), both are portable DACs/AMPS with batteries. The dimensions are very similar in length, almost equal in chassis, with the Angel being slightly larger, although this harmony is broken by the potentiometer. The XD05 is wider and slightly lower. The xDuoo is a Swiss Army Knife, has a small, very informative display, is a Bluetooth receiver, has a 6.3mm SE headphone output and a 4.4mm BAL headphone output, both gold plated, a potentiometer on the side. It has a selector switch to switch between battery and external power. There are AES, USB, coaxial/optical and 3.5mm SE inputs, as well as USB-C. In addition, there is a choice of 7 filters and a boost button that changes the voltage of the Op/Amps. The packaging is bigger and more complete, with more accessories and 2 spare Op/Amps. One of the advantages is just this: it allows the change of OpAmps. For this test I chose to install 2 V5i from Burson Audio. It also has a low/high gain selector and a separate input for load or power. It can be used as a DAC via a shared 3.5mm SE output. If there's one thing the Angel does better than the XD05, it's those outputs, because it has a balanced 4.4mm output, in addition to the same 3.5mm SE, but not shared. There are S/PDIF Coax TosLink inputs and separate USB Type-C inputs for data and charging. There is no power selector. It can be used as a preamp via a front selector. There is a low/high gain selector knob, balanced 4.4mm (gold-plated) and 3.5mm SE (non-gold-plated) headphone outputs. The potentiometer is multi-functional, step-operated, infinite. It has an LED that indicates the status and resolution of the played files, among other things. There are no filters. The battery charges faster, but has less autonomy. It also supports MQA in all formats.
The xDuoo XD05 BAL is more powerful for low impedances reaching 5V for 33 Ω per BAL, while the Angel "only" reaches 3.84V. However, the EarMen is more powerful for high frequencies, giving 7.2V per SE at 100 Ω and 8.5V at 100 Ω per BAL, while the xDuoo gives just over 3V per SE for 100 Ω and almost 6V per BAL for 100 Ω.
Note that the Angel has a thermal protection system.
It seems that the xDuoo is a more versatile product in its inputs and handling, as well as having Bluetooth, while the Angel is more geared towards outputs and simpler use, with no frills or superfluous features. While the EarMen has a multi-function potentiometer that advances in steps, the XD05 has a side potentiometer that is not very easy to operate and is less suitable for use with sensitive IEMS, as the location is not the most accessible and easy to operate. In this respect, the Angel is better.
After such a long introduction, what about the sound? Well, both are great sources, while the Angel uses a single ES9038Q2M DAC, the XD05 BAL uses two ES9038Q2M. The THD specs on the xDuoo are lower, while the SNR is higher on the EarMen. But what about the sound? Well, in a quick summary, I think the xDuoo is more analogue and dense, while the EarMen is more refined, delicate, clean, pure, transparent and open. The Angel is delicate to the point of showing it in the sibilances, executing them in a more exquisite, even soft, less marked way, it manages to represent them in a more volatile and refined way. Whereas the XD05 is a little more natural and sharp.
The XD05's bass sounds tighter and more compact. Whereas the Angel's reproduction follows that path of superior refinement, sounding more vaporous, a little more dispersed, but also with great punch. While the reproduction on the xDuoo seems more natural, the Angel has a more ethereal and expansive presentation. The bass gumminess on the XD05 is more realistic and perceptible, while on the Angel there is a fuzzy smoothness to its finish that gives it a less concise, but more special feel. It's about that vapour I mentioned, it's as if the notes end in a more diluted way, while the xDuoo does it in a more concrete, more defined and concise way. That makes the decay less in the XD05 and it sounds more visceral than the Angel, where the gumminess is smoother and lighter.
In the mid-range of the XD05 there is a comparative simplicity. While the notes seem to be tighter, denser and thicker, in the EarMen it is more docile, subtle and graceful. The extension and descriptive feel of the elements is superior. The xDuoo reproduces the sounds in a simpler, but real, more traditional way. The EarMen unravels them in a more precious and complex way, blowing air into them, to generate more volume and expansion, as well as a more lasting extension and travel of the notes. The result of this ability in the treble is softer and sweeter, while in the XD05 they are finer and more penetrating. This more pleasant and volatile feel makes for a more harmonious musicality, allowing for a very enjoyable listening experience, even at higher volumes, because the sound is not as forceful and tight as on the xDuoo. As a result, the XD05 has a more analogue, more tangible, denser, tighter and more cohesive sound. And while its presentation, soundstage and imaging is quite large, the volatility, vaporousness, extension and expansiveness of the EarMen's sound means that it provides a larger, three-dimensional, open, holographic and ethereal soundstage, with a more perceptible out-of-head sensation. In terms of separation, it's different, the XD05's more finite and concrete sounds offer a more defined separation, while the EarMen's overall distance is greater for the size of the scene, although the existing vapour itself doesn't seem to leave as much room for silence, despite being more analytical.
In short, the xDuoo XD05 BAL is a concrete, direct and punchy sound machine, as well as being musical and analogue. The EarMen Angel generates a more special sound, if I may use the comparative, somewhere between divine and angelic. A more elevated, gaseous, delicate and subtle sound, a more ethereal and softer reproduction, to the point of being more harmonious, transparent, clean, open and big.

EarMen Angel 10_r.jpg


I don't know whether Angel's name was chosen because of his celestial status or for some other reason. What is certain is that if so, the challenge to live up to it was a difficult one. The history behind the product suggests that bringing this device to market has not been easy. But once finished, I can see that EarMen have achieved what they set out to do: a huge, clean, pure, delicate and very elevated sound, as much as where their namesakes live.
The EarMen Angel is a technologically advanced DAC/AMP. Externally, it has maintained the presence of its little brother TR-AMP, adding an automated logic and a necessary balanced output, but keeping the simplicity already characteristic of the previous model. It seems that the effort of the design team has been based on looking for the best sound, as well as offering great power to drive medium and high impedance headphones, without losing sight of the low impedance IEMS/Earbuds, to which it offers a voltage and current level totally sufficient for any model on the market. The result is a high-end device that sounds as good as the heavens.

EarMen Angel 11_r.jpg

Earphones and Sources Used During Analysis

  • NiceHCK F1.
  • BQEYZ Winter.
  • Dunu Kima.
  • TRI i ONE.
  • Letshuoer S12 Pro.
  • TinHiFi P1 MAX Giant Panda.
  • Rose QT9 MK2s.
  • Yanyin Aladdin.
  • ISN H40.
  • Takstar Pro 80.
  • SoundMagic HP150.

EarMen Angel 12_r.jpg


  • Construction and Design: 95
  • Packaging and Accessories: 65
  • Connectivity: 80
  • Operability: 80
  • Sound: 95
  • Quality/Price: 85

EarMen Angel 13_r.jpg

EarMen (Thank you very much, Miroslav) offered me this model, in exchange for writing an honest review. I want to make it clear that all my opinions written in this review have not been conditioned by this fact, nor will I ever write anything that I do not really think or feel here. I will only write about my personal opinion in relation to the revised product.

EarMen Angel 14_r.jpg

Purchase Link

EarMen Angel 15_r.jpg

You can read the full review in Spanish here

EarMen Angel 16_r.jpg
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Headphoneus Supremus
EarMen Angel
Pros: Fully balanced design
Ease of use
The sound
Cons: Battery time not super long
EarMen Angel
I would like to share my impressions of the EarMen Angel. I have had my eyes on the Angel right from the beginning when it was launched and I wanted to buy it as an upgrade from TR-Amp, from the same company EarMen. I was hoping the Angel had more of that wonderful lifelike character as the TR-Amp. The TR-Amp has been my daily portable DAC/Amp in the office and also at home, since I purchased it back in February 2021.




Before I purchased the TR-Amp, I had the ifi hipdac and the first version of the Chord Mojo. But the TR-Amp, even though it was cheaper than Mojo and just a bit more expensive than the hipdac, made me sell both of them. Neither of them could compete with the lively and engaging sound of the TR-Amp. Some time ago, I also purchased a Cayin RU6 dongle, hoping to find something more portable, but I handed it back to the store. I might have been naive to think that a dongle could challenge the TR-Amp, but it was not even close to the performance of the TR-Amp and even with the smaller size of a dongle, I just think the TR-Amp is worth the extra space in my bag to get the better sound quality.

Together with the TR-Amp, I have been using Etymotic EVO at the office or portable use and either Grado Hemp, SR225e and Beyerdynamic DT1770 Pro at home. All of which, I always felt had a good synergy with the TR-Amp.

At home, I also have my old trusted Meier Corda Classic sitting on my desktop. I used to also have the Meier Daccord Dac but it stopped working some time ago and the Epiphany Acoustics E-Dac has taken the place for converting the USB-signal from my MacBook. 95% of my listening is happening from USB from my MacBook or sometimes from my iPhone using the lightning to USB-A camera connection. I use Apple Music mainly as streaming service but also have a harddrive with high resolution files for critical listening.

Now that I have an EarMen Angel in the house, my question is whether an Angel is a suitable upgrade from the TR-Amp and whether it can compete with the E-DAC and Meier Classic for desktop use.

Adjusting the volume
One difference between the TR-Amp and the Angel is that the Angel has a digital volume control. The analog volume control of the TR-Amp is nice because it reacts quickly and you can see if the volume control is at 9 o’clock or at 12. But unfortunately, my TR-Amp had a loud (natural for analog potentiometers) scratching sound when adjusting the volume. It can, for the most part, be worked away with a little motion by turning the volume (without headphones plugged in) from 0-100 40-50 times. But with the Angel having a digital volume control, that is no longer a problem. On the other hand you will not be able to see the volume level on the physical knob because the Angel volume adjuster can turn forever in both directions with no stop.

The problem with a solution like that is that you could accidentally plug in your headphones and without knowing it get SUPER loud music in your ears. I normally remember to not wear the headphones when plugging them in. I learned that from when I had an old tube-amplifier that always gave a loud “PLOP” when plugging in.

The Angel just shows that it is designed by an intelligent person, because it will always turn down the volume to 0 if you unplug your headphone and you will have to turn the volume up from 0 whenever you plug in a new set of earphones. For someone like me, who often change from one set to another, this is really nicely thought. For those who listen at very loud volumes and change headphones often it can be irritating and will cause a lot of turning to get to the desired volume.

I adjust the volume quiet often, so it is super nice to not have that scratching sound from the analog potentiometer in the TR-Amp anymore. The volume control is super fine and I can easily find a suitable volume without moving too many “clicks” it just feels nice to use. Another cool feature is that you can quickly mute the sound by pressing the volume button. A feature I have found very convenient a number of times already when the wife is communicating about some unimportant practicality - and that happens way too often while listening to good music. When you then press the mute-button again, the music will fade slowly back to the former volume and not just start immediately at full volume. THAT is super cool!

3 different digital input options
The Angel has 3 different input options. It automatically detects between USB-C, Optical and Coax S/Pdif. I am using USB most of the time but since my Meier Daccord stopped working I have not been using my CD-player at all. With the Angel I have had the option to listen to CD’s again and I really missed that.


Using coax cable from my NAD CD-player, the Angel sounds great, though I feel like it is a bit more dynamic and the stage is bigger when listening from USB. But that might just be the difference between 16bit/44.1 kHz CD resolution to high-resolution streaming.

In the following, I will only be talking about the sound from the Angels USB interface.

What about the DAC alone?
On the back of the Angel, there is both a balanced and single ended line-out. On the front there is a switch for selecting pre-out or direct line output. I do not have a balanced amplifier, so I can only use the single ended output. I also let the Angel be set on direct output. The Pre-out will let you control the volume of the output.


My old Epiphany Acoustics E-Dac has stayed with me for years for transportable use in a stack together with a Meier Quickstep. It has also as of lately been put back to use in my desktop set feeding my Meier Corda Classic. It sounds clean and does not add anything extra and since most of my music listening is streaming from my MacBook out through USB I have tried to compare the DAC alone to both the TR-Amp acting as DAC alone and my old E-dac. The Meier Corda Classic is then being used as amplifier for this.

The output from the Angel has the edge here. The sound is more relaxed and a tiny bit more controlled. None of these DAC’s add anything extra or color the sound in any way. The biggest difference is a relaxed feeling, a calmer background behind the music with the Angels DAC. It also sets the soundstage more clearly in front of me than the other two.

Balanced vs. Single Ended
It is super hard to quickly A/B-test these two outputs, when I have to change the cable from balanced to single ended each time. I am not sure I would be able to spot the difference in a blind-test. If I hear and remember correctly, the bass seem to hit a bit harder with balanced.


The Angel is my first fully balanced amplifier and the first time I have a 4.4 balanced output available. Just to make sure I am not missing out on what the balanced output has to offer, I had to purchase a balanced Linum SuperBAX 4.4 mm TRRRS cable for my Etymotic EVO.

All I can say is that my EVO’s play wonderfully well on both outputs. Clean and open. But I am not really able to say if balanced is so much better than single ended? But it might come down to the long time it takes to change the cable and the difference - when pairing with the EVO’s - not being big enough for me to detect it? I am not going to spend a whole lot of time A/B testing this right now but maybe in the future I will get more balanced headphones and time will tell if balanced is the future. At least it is is good to have both options if I get more balanced gear one day.

How does it sound?
This Angel has a TIGHT grip of everything. Bass sounds very tight and fast. That was my first thought when I plugged my Hemps in, wow! This is the first time I think I hear what my Grado Hemps can really do. There’s more SLAM in snare-drums than with the TR-Amp and there is a dryness in the midrange that stroke me immediately from the first listen. I hear more details with the Angel.


Within the first 10 minutes of using the Angel, I came across this track: “It’ll Never Happen Again” with Lady Blackbird. Her voice sounds more rough and edgy with the Angel, clearer and more intimate. The Angel is very neutral. No extra bass added, no superficial flavour of any kind.

Another example of where the Angel really shine is in making saxophones come to life. I play the saxophone myself, so I really like when I can hear the reed and I like when I can hear the airflow through the horn. In the following track, the Angel has more information put through than both the TR-Amp and my old ODAC does for all the instruments on the recording. The piano strikes with tighter definition and does not scream, there is a tendency for some of the piano notes to scream a bit when they hit very loud. The saxophone reed sounds more wet (the players spit on the reed is heard with the Angel) and the background percussion has a wonderful room and stage around it. The acoustic bass is just so satisfyingly tight and mellow on the Angel. It is never bloated and it sounds better than my Meier Corda Classic, that I normally use as my desktop amplifier.

Another example, where the Angel really gets to show off its pace, rhythm and timing - and brilliant musicality is in the following track. Here everything sounds more messy and not as controlled with the TR-Amp, which otherwise has been my go to portable amp until now. There is a wonderful musicality in the Angel that I have only heard on desktop amplifiers up until now. But with my balanced cable and the Etymotic EVO’s the instruments on this track is just so lifelike and defined. The air in between everything is astonishing. The finger snapping in the beginning of the track you can clearly hear the hand snapping and a variation between each snap. Even when the music kicks in the vocal is still clearly in front of the band - with room around it.

My favorite headphones for blues and metal are the Beyerdynamic DT1770 Pro. I normally prefer my Grados for jazz and vocal music. But the Fear Innoculum album from Tool has some well recorded drums and again the Angel just has such a tight grip and everything sounds clearly laid out in front of you.

One last example is a blues-track I really enjoy with the Angel. There is a high definition crispness to the guitar sound and the Angel just make the guitar strings sound like - yeah like guitar strings on a real guitar… it comes to life! At the same time that kick-drum is super tight, the rim click on the snare-drum that rings out in the room, it all sounds REAL through the Angel. To me this is what music is all about and more than anything all of this is in a small portable blue metal box connected with one USB-C cable to my laptop. It sounds edgy, defined, tight and lifelike. “Tin Pan Alley” played by Stevie Ray Vaughan.

The EarMen Angel has impressed me from the first day I had it. I have primarily used the single ended out with either DT1770 Pro, Hemp or SR225e. I can clearly say, that all of these headphones come to LIFE with the Angel. The crisp and detailed sound of the Angel sounds fantastic with Grados.

The (balanced)Etymotic EVO + Angel combination is going to be my portable reference sound from now on. Everything is so dynamic, musical, spacious and lifelike in every way. That extra power and control, that extra dynamic and calmness from the Angel is super satisfying. Angel just plays the music with ease and authority.

Compared to TR-Amp, the Angel is a good step up in every way. The Angels soundstage is larger and more expansive, both to the sides and in front/back of my head. This is really nice and makes headphone listening relaxed. I easily get listening fatigue if the music is not relaxed or if it is too much in my face/skull. I never experienced that one time with the Angel.





Who am I?
I am a 45 year old headphone- and music-lover. I have been using this forum since 2008 and even before that I started collecting headphones for music-pleasure. I ran a little web-shop, selling headphones and amplifiers for a while between 2006-2008. I used to work in the quality department at the Bang & Olufsen TV- and speaker-factory in Denmark. I am in no way a sound-engineer. I was selected to be a part of the B&O employee-listening panel for speakers, after going through multiple listening tests. Today I work in the quality department of LEGO System in Denmark. I only have very little interest in measurements of headphones, DAC’s and amplifiers. I do recognize that, measurements will tell something about the quality and design of a component, but I use my ears to tell me what I hear and how equipment plays the music I love to listen to. Please take my impressions as one hobbyist trying to share his impressions with other enthusiasts. I have had a lot of headphones and earphones over the years and my favorite brands (and models) are Beyerdynamic, Grado and Etymotic. I tend to prefer brighter, open sounding, airy, edgy and midrange centric sounding headphones. I never aimed for ultra-high end products/brands or the most expensive gear, but I have always tried to find the middle ground with getting best possible sound for the money.

I used the following playlist:

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How does it compare to the ifi micro iDSD Signature or Diablo They look similar in size?
I have not heard any of those two ifi models but there is a comparison with the Diablo here:


Headphoneus Supremus
EarMen Angel portable DAC/Amp – A Taste of the High End
Pros: A high-quality neutral sound, clean and clear presentation, spacious soundstage, very versatile thanks to its low noise and high power output, excellent build quality with attention to detail
Cons: Some waterfall hiss with the most sensitive IEMs, 4.4mm headphone out compatibility issues with some plugs
EarMen Angel

I would like to thank Miroslav from EarMen for providing me with the EarMen Angel portable DAC/amp for this review. No incentive was given for a favourable review.

EarMen Angel Specifications
  • Inputs: USB-C (Charging), USB-C (Data) and S/PDIF (COAX/TOS)
  • Outputs: Single End 3.5mm, Balanced 4.4mm
  • DAC: ES9038Q2M
  • Audio: DSD 256 DoP / Native DSD 512, DXD Up to 768 kHz, PCM Up to 768 kHz, MQA Rendering, MQA Full decoding, OFS, MQA, MQA Studio, MQA Auth
  • Battery: 2 x Li-Po 3000mAh
  • Charge : Use 5V >= 2A adapter
  • Dimension: 152 x 27 x 66mm (L x H x W) 6" x 1.05" x 2.6"
  • Weight: 340 gr / 0.75 lbs
  • Price: US$799/€799

Headphone output
Single-end with Gain+
Balanced with Gain+
USB input​
S/PDIF input​
USB input​
S/PDIF input​
Output Level
7.2Vrms 0dBFS​
7.2Vrms 0dBFS​
8.5Vrms 0dBFS​
8.5Vrms 0dBFS​
Freq. Response

Line Out
Single-end output
Fully Balanced output
Direct Out​
Pre Out​
Direct Out​
Pre Out​
Output Level
1.5Vrms 0dBFS​
7.2Vrms 0dBFS​
3Vrms 0dBFS​
8.5Vrms 0dBFS​
Freq. Response

Links: (distributor)

For some time now I have been moving into desktop audio, starting almost two years ago with the purchase of the venerable Sennheiser HD650, reviewing an entry-level desktop stack and getting lucky with Dune Blue (the Dutch distributor for brands such as EarMen) lending me some cool stuff to try out. I must however admit that it has only been with baby steps since that time because of budget-related issues. Or perhaps I should say “Barnie-related issues”, as that is the name of the canine culprit quite literally eating away my budget. I guess that is why I have been interested in intermediate solutions that sit somewhere between a DAP and a full desktop setup. Those offer the advantage of portability, while adding the power usually reserved for a desk-bound setup. They always seem like an affordable and very versatile alternative. The recently released EarMen Angel is a perfect example and when I saw it, I immediately contacted EarMen who kindly sent me over a review unit to satisfy my curiosity.

EarMen is a relatively new company, but comes with some serious ‘pedigree’ behind it (pardon the pun, I have dog for brains). That is because EarMen is a sister-company to Auris Audio, which is renowned for its super high-end amplifiers, DACs and turntables. Most of their products are well out of my reach even without taking Barnie’s dinner into account, but they have been firmly on my radar for their ‘Euterpe’. The Euterpe is a beautifully designed all-in-one headphone tube amp and DAC that also functions as headphone stand and I love that design. Indeed, Auris Audio creates gorgeous products often using natural materials such as wood and even leather. That does of course come at a price and this is where EarMen comes in.

EarMen’s products are designed different from Auris Audio in that they are meant to be accessible to more people. EarMen seems to aim at bringing the Auris house sound down in size and price so that everyone can enjoy it anywhere. That last bit is also a key difference. EarMen started with a focus primarily on portable use and producing products that cater to the needs of modern users. Even though I used to pride myself on my ability to avoid streaming music (such blasphemy!), I have now become a full convert and feel lost if I don’t have access to my precious Tidal. It is a new way of experiencing music and that requires new tools for the job. EarMen set out to produce those tools by combining quality and convenience. They have branched further out recently with the release of a very interesting series of desktop products. These include the CH-Amp, Tradutto DAC and Staccato streamer, to make up for a very capable stack. Of course, EarMen are still best known for their portable solutions such as the TR-Amp and Donald DAC, as well as the pocket-sized Eagle, Sparrow and Colibri DAC/amps. The Angel is the latest addition to their portable solutions and seems to be a bigger brother to the TR-Amp.

The Angel was designed by Filip Tot. I know that because it says so on the Angel itself. Indeed, on the EarMen website you will find his story of the development of the Angel. It is a personal touch from what seems to be a company where its employees are encouraged to explore and innovate freely. I greatly appreciate that because all too often we (audiophiles) tend to forget that behind the products we use there are passionate people working long hours. I know from experience what it is like to dedicate an unhealthy amount of time and energy to achieve a result, only to be forgotten by those who benefit from it. Acknowledging Filip Tot’s many hours of work to develop the Angel is a wonderful gesture of appreciation.

Those who know me, know I generally prefer a simple unboxing that gets straight to the good bit and that is exactly what you get with the Angel: A no-nonsense black box that opens up to reveal the user menu with underneath the Angel itself. A few accessories are included as well. Two adapters for use with the COAX/TOS input, as well as a USB-C to USB-C cable.

The cable is a little bit stiff and I did not find it the nicest cable to use when I connected the Angel to my MacBook Pro. I prefer a more supple cable so I can push the cable to lay exactly how I want it. Or more accurately, how my OCD wants it because I need my workspace ordered just right to minimise distractions. My guess is that most people will consider it just fine for desktop use, but perhaps not ideal for portable use where a shorter, suppler cable is more practical. Still, most cables I have seen included are USB type A to type C and with increasing standardisation to type C, this cable is more future proof.





The design of the Angel is very nice. The housing looks like it is the same type of CNC machined, high-grade aluminium housing as was used with the TR-amp, except that the Angel is a larger size. It makes for a sturdy feeling design. It also looks gorgeous with that blue colour. I have a soft spot for blue and love this colour. Darker would be perfect for my own personal preferences, but this gets close and probably better compliments the red of the TR-Amp.

On the bottom are rubber feet for secure placement, but it is of course the front and the back where all the action happens. At the front, from left to right are: The 4.4mm balanced out, the 3.5 single ended out with above that a LED indicator (with a surprisingly large number of things it can indicate), the Gain+ button with its dedicated LED located below, line out switch and finally the volume control that doubles as the on/off switch. On the back there are (again from left to right): The USB-C charge port, USB-C data port, S/PDIF (COAX/TOS) input, 3.5mm single ended line out and finally the 4.4mm balanced line out.



In terms of practical use everything feels very satisfying to use. Funny to use a word like “satisfying” here, but every aspect of the Angel gives that sort of feedback when I use it. Like someone -I’m looking at you Filip- spent a silly amount of time fiddling with buttons and dials until he found the ones with just the right kind of feel. Even the noises the Angel makes sound like it was done with great care and attention. Switch to Gain+ and the Angel gives this pleasing ‘click’ to confirm you made the right choice when you pushed that particular button. Even when switching off, the click the Angel makes seems to gently say “goodbye”. I dare say Filip, you need to get out more and work on your vitamin D production.

Another thing I noticed was that whenever I changed something, like switching headphones/IEMs or the Gain+ setting, the volume seemed to reset. It might not seem that important, but this is such a key feature to me. I previously reviewed the Dethonray Honey H1 DAC/amp and with that one I had to turn the volume wheel after pushing the gain button to activate the higher gain, which all too often caused a significant volume jump with sensitive IEMs. I got so traumatised by it that I still don’t dare keep my IEMs in when switching anything on any other piece of gear. Because of this feature, the Angel has now become my therapist, helping me recover and become confident again in pushing buttons while wearing IEMs.

Is the design of the Angel flawless? Not quite. When I used the DITA Dream XLS with the 4.4mm balanced plug, I found that the left side cuts out if the plug is fully pressed in. Basically, it needed a small spacer to fit correctly. It could be argued that this is down to the plug, not the Angel, and indeed I have come across cable manufacturers who included such spacers with their cables. Equally, I have not had this issue with other devices myself. I therefore share this observation free from judgement. Which is a posh way of me saying I will spare you the audio equivalent of a philosophical ‘chicken or egg’ debate.


Under the Hood
The Angel is a fully balanced DAC, headphone amp and pre-amp with a battery for portable use. The battery is a two-cell battery with 2 x 3000mAh, which will give you - I am quoting the website here- “many hours” of use. That is not a very specific specification (and the box actually states “up to 8 hours”), which I expect is because the battery life depends on how you are using it. That is at least my own experience. With IEMs and Gain+ on I could get a fair number of hours use, around 6 to 8 hours, which is consistent with what is on the box. With the HD650 that seemed to have reduced quite significantly. Mind you, I did not keep a timer at hand and simply used the Angel. Based on that experience I feel that for on-the-go use with sensitive IEMs or easy to drive portable headphones, battery life is good. With harder to drive headphones it might be somewhat limited, but then it is more likely that it will be behind a desk with ready access to a charger. Charging should be quick, less than 3 hours, when using the correct charger, i.e. one with a 5V >= 2A adapter. I used one from Apple that stated it was 5V and 2.1A, but for some unknown reason that took much longer to fully charge the Angel.

The DAC section is based around the ESS ES9038Q2M chip and decoding goes up to PCM 768kHz/32, DSD256 via DoP (Native DSD512) and full MQA. The amplifier is fully balanced and the signal from the DAC to the headphone out is only amplified to minimise distortion. As expected, the Angel can provide plenty of power with 7.2 Vrms from the single ended headphone out with Gain+ on and 8.5 Vrms from the 4.4mm balanced headphone out with Gain+ on. If my calculation is correct, that is up to 2.2 W. With the line out it is the same for the pre-out, 7.2 Vrms SE and 8.5 Vrms balanced, with direct out at 1.5 Vrms SE and 3 Vrms balanced.

All that power means that in use the Angel runs a little warm, but certainly not hot. I felt it was more like a nice and cosy handwarmer. (Does it show our energy bills are up this Autumn?) You will unlikely be able to fit the Angel in the pockets of your jeans, but should you have jeans capable of accommodating it, then the temperature will not be a threat to any parts of the anatomy.

Of course, all the specs and all that power need to translate into sound. These days I work on my reviews in a less analytical way than I used to and much more actual use. I find that by doing that, I get to know the products I review better and actually still notice subtle differences. As such, I have used the Angel extensively with a wide range of different earbuds, IEMs and headphones on order to get a good feel for how well it performs.


Overall, I think the Angel performs very well and is a highly versatile DAC/amp. EarMen describe the sound they are after as “neutral, natural and clean” and that is exactly how I would describe the Angel. It is a very neutral and clean presentation with a natural and realistic feel to it. Music comes alive without the Angel imposing its own characteristics onto it too much. There are still some characteristics that do come through. Most notable for me was a very tight bass. There was still plenty of depth and texture to the bass, but it was kept very well controlled. The mids felt super clean and natural, and for me this was the main strength of the Angel. Not that the mids are somehow overemphasized, rather that they were very accurate and realistic. The treble had a hint of energy to it. Nothing offensive or anything like that, just a really well-balanced touch of sparkle.

I expect that a lot of people will love this tuning. For me personally, I tend to prefer a hint more warmth and an ever so slightly smoother treble. That is however because I am used to the Lotoo PAW Gold Touch, which is a $3k TOTL DAP and it is unrealistic for the Angel to perform at that level. Considering the price difference though, I feel the Angel actually gets a long way there and has its own strengths. The presentation feels crisp and clear without becoming dry, which is not easy to achieve. With everything I tested the stage felt large and airy with excellent positional information.

As indicated, I tested a wide range of different pairings from ultra-sensitive IEMs to hard to drive headphones. It was only when I brought out my most challenging IEMs that the Angel started to show the first signs of limits to its versatility. The Empire Ears Wraith are both ultra-sensitive and demanding because they need a lot of power to fully engage their estat drivers. The Angel drives them wonderfully well, but there is some waterfall hiss in the background. It is hardly noticeable while the music is playing and only becomes apparent in silent sections of the music, so not ideal for (for instance) classical music. The Empire Ears Phantom also have a little bit of hiss, though less than the Wraith. Beyond those two all other IEMs I tried, such as the 64 Audio U18s and DITA Audio Dream XLS, had a clean background. Earbuds paired great, from the easy to drive FiiO FF3 to the 300 Ohm TGX Ear Serratus. The power of the Angel is also sufficient to drive the HD650 comfortably. All this shows the Angel is suitable for a very wide range of pairings, making it highly versatile. Of course, that versatility is increased by the wide range of sources you can pair it with. Heck, because the Angel has an optical input (far too many DAC/amps only have optical output, which doesn’t make sense to me) I have been able to pair it with my PS4 and game with the HD650.


The EarMen Angel is a highly versatile, portable DAC/amp. The sound is a high-quality neutral that in my opinion gives a taste of what truly high-end neutral sources are capable of. It is a clean, neutral sound that avoids becoming dry and maintains a natural and realistic feel. It offers a lot of power and a clean background with all but the most sensitive IEMs. The Angel has a solid build quality with great attention to detail in its design.


Reviewer at Ear Fidelity
EarMen Angel
Pros: Powerful
Built like a tank
Great looking
Neutral yet analytical
Insane dynamics
Fantastic detail retrieval and resolution
Natural timbre
Snappy, fast and clean
Sounds like a stationary device
Can be used while charging
Great for both IEMs and headphones
Very good value
Cons: Some sharp edges
Too large for pockets in your pants



EarMen products have been reviewed many times here, always scoring great. Their Tradutto DAC is still my favorite after months of using it. EarMen is always spot-on when it comes to timbre, sounding both technical and musical at the same time.

It’s just one of these brands that never disappoints. Their products are just great to listen to, never sounding too extreme or too laid-back. This is probably due to the fact that EarMen origins from Auris Audio, a high-end manufacturer of tube amplifiers and such. They truly know how to tune a product.

Let’s go back in time for a second. In May 2022 I was visiting Munich High-End show. EarMen obviously has been there, and I was very excited to meet and greet with some staff that I haven’t met yet. I’ve known Miki Trosic for many years now, as we’ve met a couple of times at the Warsaw Audio-Video Show.
I was very pleased to meet Miroslav and Filip from EarMen, they are so friendly and kind, always open for a chat! Seriously, I could have go grab a drink or ten with them, they are so friendly, but I’m not sure if I’d survive that.

After checking out their new CH-Amp amplifier and Staccato streamer, Miroslav asked me to wait a minute. He then came back with something in his hand. He handed me this mysterious package and said “This is for you, feel free to review this when the time comes”. You guessed it…inside was the brand new Angel.
I immediately asked Miroslav if he has any demo units at the show to try right away, and he had. It was paired with Meze Elite, so I gave it a go. This brief test made me even more impatient to get back to Poland and try the Angel more.


I’ve received the Angel with no packaging and accessories, so sadly I cannot comment on these. Knowing EarMen, the packaging will be of great quality and you’ll be getting some USB-C cables in the box, and maybe some other accessories.
You’ll have to wait for other reviews or some unboxing articles to get to know what you’ll be getting with the Angel.

Design and Build Quality​


The Angel looks like a bigger brother of their TR-Amp (review here). It’s quite large, blue, and built like a tank.

Let’s start with the design. While I’m not personally a fan of colorful devices, the Angel just looks brilliant. It’s painted in metallic blue and it doesn’t look too flashy at all.
The photos on the internet show the Angel having a big, black volume knob. My unit has a shorter, silver one. I don’t know which one you should expect if you’ll be ordering this device. My guess is that it’s going to have a black volume knob, and the silver one was just a prototype in my case.

Let’s get to the build quality. The Angel is literally a tank. It feels dense, well-made, and very substantial. The only thing I don’t really like is that it has some sharp edges. Nothing too extreme though, you won’t be cutting your hands while using it.


The Angel weighs 340g and it’s not the lightest device you’ll find. If you like to put DAC/Amps in the pocket of your pants, I think that this will be an overkill. However, if you want more of a transportable device for your trips, hotels, trains, etc, the weight and size of the Angel will not be a problem.
On the back of the device, you’ll find two USB-C connectors. One is for charging, and the other one for data, so you can definitely use the Angel while charging, or just leave it plugged in all the time if this will be your desk scenario DAC/Amp. Next to the USB-C connectors, you’ll find a digital in, an unbalanced line out, and a 4.4mm line out for your balanced devices.

On the front, apart from the volume knob, you’ll find a Direct/Pre Out selector, a button activating Gain+, and two headphone outputs (3.5mm and 4.4mm). The volume knob works well, it has a lot of steps, so you’ll be able to find a perfect volume for yourself.



The EarMen Angel is impressive when it comes to technology.

First of all, it’s fully balanced, offering a balanced headphone out as well as a balanced line out. It packs a lot of power, thanks to using a 2-cell battery. How much power you’d ask? 8.5Vrms out of its 4.4mm headphone out with gain+ with a dynamic range of 119dB. This is very impressive.

Its DAC section is built around ES9038Q2M chip and it’s capable of playing DSD256 and it also supports MQA Studio.

Let’s get back to the battery for a second. The Angel has a two-cell battery 2x3000mAh, so you’ve got plenty of playtime with a lot of power available. As I said previously, it has a dedicated charging USB-C port, so you can use it while charging, or just keep it plugged in all the time for infinite battery life.

The Angel also has a Gain+ option, giving you crazy flexibility when it comes to pairing with different headphones. It doesn’t matter if you’re using sensitive IEMs or some power-hungry planar-magnetic headphones, the Angel can run both without breaking a single sweat.

Lastly, you can use the Angel as a Pre Amp for your big boy stereo setup, and you can choose between single-ended and balanced, which also improves its functionality. I’m currently rebuilding my stereo setup so I wasn’t able to test it though, but seeing the performance of the Angel via headphone out, I’m pretty confident that it’ll sound incredible as a Pre Amp.



At the end of the day, EarMen products have always been about sound quality. This brand just really knows how to create devices that sound impressive and natural at the same time. The Angel is their most ambitious device so far, so I was very excited to see how high can they score when it comes to sound quality.

Luckily, the Angel is not just about the numbers and impressive tech. It also sounds incredible with a very natural timbre, also offering enough power to drive most headphones in the world.

The bass is hard-hitting, big, saturated, and just extremely tight. Because of that great power output, the Angel is capable of taking full control over the headphones’ driver, resulting in a highly detailed and crispy bass delivery. Low frequencies are big and bold, but there’s no muddiness whatsoever. The Angel is a portable DAC/Amp that truly sounds like a stationary device, with that powerful sound packed with resolution. A couple of years ago, portable devices always sounded like portable devices, but these times are gone now. With the newest technology, portable (or transportable) devices can have a lot of power at their disposal, leading to sound that is by no means small or weak.
Back to the Angel though, the bass delivery sounds just about perfect with every headphones I tried it with, IEMs, planar IEMs, planar full-sized headphones, etc. It runs the Final D8000 Pro and HEDDphone with authority, not leaving anything to be desired, especially considering it’s a portable device. IEMs like my Fir Audio XE6 or Campfire Supermoon sounds incredibly tight and big at the same time, giving you a very physical and clean bass response that sounds just impressive.

The midrange is very clean and neutral, and everything sounds incredibly natural. There’s no coloration, leaving the room for your headphones to dictate the timbre of vocals. The entire midrange is packed with details and resolution, and the separation is outstanding. Once again, it doesn’t sound like a portable device whatsoever, it’s that impressive.
If you’re following Ear Fidelity for a while, you know what’s coming now…my flagship vocal text, a song called “A Thousand Shards Of Heaven” by Lunatic Soul. Mariusz sounds lifelike and very airy with the Angel, so the final outcome will depend mainly on your headphones of choice. Luckily, the Angel is transparent sounding, so it won’t make your headphones sound “different” than they should. Of course, there are some people that prefer a warmer or brighter tonality, but they won’t find it here. There’s just a hint of warmth in it, but I definitely won’t call the Angel warm-sounding. What’s very important though, is that everything is well separated and there’s a lot of room in the sound, so it doesn’t sound unnaturally condensed, like a lot of portable devices a few years back.


The treble is superbly clean, extended and rich sounding, without being peaky or sharp. The amount of resolution it outputs is so high, that there’s basically no grain or splashiness. Of course, if you’ll pair it with a sharp pair of headphones or IEMs, the final sound will be sharp as well, as the Angel doesn’t hide anything. Its treble is not smooth, or delicate, it’s just packed with details and transparency. I always found portable DAC/Amps to sound grainy and boxy in the treble, but the Angel definitely doesn’t follow that trend. Also, the transition between the midrange and the treble is very consistent, leading to female vocals sounding beautifully natural and rich. Additionally, the entire treble response has a proper weight to it, so percussion cymbals sound natural and thick, just like they should.

The soundstage is pretty much limitless. Depending on your pairing, you can get a more intimate experience, or a vast soundstage with huge depth. The imaging and separation are both accurate and natural, not sounding crowded at all. It’s not a DAC/Amp that will increase the size of your headphones soundstage, but it will not limit it either. Its job is to ensure that you’re getting as much realistic experience you can. Because of its fantastic resolution, the Angel is able to give you a great staging in both music and gaming, so it can also be used while doing some competitive gaming sessions.


Hifiman HE-R9


I have to make a confession: I’m a little bit obsessed with the R9 ever since getting them. These are fun, huge, vivid, and just epic-sounding headphones. My current pick when listening to electronic music or metal, because of that full-bodied bass performance.

The HE-R9 is not a power-hungry headphone, so the Angel can easily make them fly off your head (please don’t try it). In this pairing, you’re getting such an extreme bass delivery that it’s hard to stop listening to it. It sounds huge and rumbly, but it’s very crispy and well-defined at the same time.

I feel like the Angel has the perfect tonality for the R9 to sound their best. Because of its neutral and natural sound that is technically impressive, the R9 can just do what they’re best at – provide a hugely fun sound that is still detailed and accurate.

Meze Elite


Just as I wrote at the beginning of this review, the first pair of headphones I tried the Angel with was the Meze Elite, during the Munich High-End show. After playing with this pairing more, I realized how incredibly wise the guys at EarMen are for choosing these headphones.

This pairing is just brilliant. Everything about it just sounds right, the tonality is neutral and sweet at the same time, and the detail retrieval and resolution are both fantastic, just like the Angel was designed to go with the Elite. Also, this DAC/Amp is everything the Elite needs when it comes to power output, so you’re getting an incredibly vivid, dynamic, and full-bodied sound that is hard not to love with the Elite.

This setup sits right in the middle between technical and relaxed sound signatures, it’s just in the right place. It’s never tiring, sharp, or forced, yet it has an impressive technical performance, while also being highly involving. This is definitely my favorite.

Final Audio D8000 Pro


Both the Angel and the D8000 Pro are pretty neutral and great when it comes to technical performance. In this pairing, you’re getting a fantastic detail retrieval and resolution with a flat frequency response for a very natural type of sound.

The soundstage is huge, imaging very accurate and the instruments have a natural tonality throughout the whole frequency response. While you’re still going to get better results when pairing the D8000 Pro with a high-end stationary amplifier, the Angel lets you use them for trips, bedside listening, or just simply walking around the house. This is a very good combo for everybody looking for a very neutral and snappy type of sound performance.

Fir Audio XE6


The Fir Audio XE6 is the best IEM I’ve ever heard and owned. It has that huge and incredibly physical bass response and a beautiful tone throughout the entire frequency response, and it’s also absurdly detailed.

The Angel is a wonderful device to pair the XE6 with. This pairing sounds fun, impressive, and lifelike. The timbre is dictated by the XE6, so you’re getting that natural, rich sound, while the Angel is just making sure that these IEMs are getting all the information from the recording. The dynamics, detail retrieval, and pace of this pairing are unreal, one of the most epic and fun experiences I had with IEMs.

Campfire Audio Supermoon


This pairing is just a dream for detailheads. The resolution and detail retrieval are both spectacular, giving you an incredibly clean, crispy sound with A LOT of information.
What’s worth noting – I stated in my review of the Supermoon that this CIEM is quite demanding when it comes to power, and they tend to sound warmer and smoother when underpowered. Totally not the case here, the Angel makes these things fly, so you’re getting all that goodness from that great planar-magnetic driver.

The sound is also highly texturized, so it totally won’t satisfy you if you want a smooth and relaxed type of sound, because this is quite the opposite. If you want to experience the music through textures and details though, this is just marvelous.


EarMen Colibri


Let’s compare the Angel to its smaller brother from the same mother, the Colibri.
The Angel is basically the bigger and better Colibri. It has a lot more power, it’s more detailed, more engaging, and just better in every aspect. The tonality is similar, but the Angel has more body and is more natural sounding, also because of its much better dynamics.

It’s easy to hear that EarMen sticks to their house sound, as their only device that really sounds different when it comes to tonality is the fantastic Tradutto DAC. The rest of their devices are neutral and musical sounding, and both the Angel and the Colibri are no different. It’s actually surprising how much better the Angel is when compared to the Colibri, but looking at the size difference, it shouldn’t be, to be honest.
If you’re using some efficient IEMs only, the Colibri is probably everything that you need, but if you’re into some more demanding stuff as well, the Angel is an obvious choice, as far as the price difference is manageable for you.

Burson Playmate 2 (V6 Vivid Opamps + Burson Supercharger)


Let’s compare the Angel to a big-boy stationary AIO that is fully packed with upgrades. The Burson Playmate with V6 Vivid Opamps and the Supercharger is a force to be reckoned with, offering a fantastic detail retrieval and a thick, musical sound signature from its Class-A output.
First of all, the Playmate 2 is more powerful than the Angel. While the difference on paper might not be that substantial, the Class-A output of the Playmate 2 is just very powerful. Still, when comparing a big, stationary device with something as portable as the Angel, we have to give credit to the latter.

When it comes to tonality differences, the Playmate 2 is definitely warmer, thicker, and bigger-sounding than the Angel, while the Angel is more about neutral tone and crispy midrange performance. As far as detail retrieval and resolution are considered, these two are not vastly different, I would say that they play in a similar league when it comes to technical performance, with a slight advantage to the Playmate 2. Still, we’re comparing two different types of products, so it’s still very impressive to see the Angel being a worthy opponent to such a brilliant, stationary AIO.



I’ve never been a fan of portable DAC/Amps, to be honest. They always sounded like portable devices, and I didn’t see the point in using them regularly.

This changes today, as the Angel sets the bar for me when it comes to portable DAC/Amps under $1000. Its impressive technical performance, neutral sound signature, brilliant build quality, and incredibly vivid, lively sound make me want to use it more and more. It has enough juice for most headphones, yet it’s still great with IEMs. I use it a lot with my MacBook Pro, whether I’m listening to music, video editing, or just consuming content online. If you’re looking for a portable device that sounds like a proper stationary amplifier, the Angel is your guy.

Highly Recommended.

Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as an accompanying equipment:
  • Headphones – Final D8000 Pro, Meze Elite, Hifiman HE-R9, Fir XE6, Final A8000, Campfire Audio Supermoon
  • Sources– MacBook Pro 2021, Yulong Aurora, Burson Playmate 2 (V6 Vivid + Supercharger), Earmen Colibri
Big thanks to EarMen for providing the Angel for this review. I wasn’t paid or asked to say anything good or bad about this product, all of the above is just my personal, unbiased opinion. EarMen hasn’t seen this review before publishing it.