EarMen Tradutto is the newest release from EarMen: a fully balanced desktop DAC with MQA and Bluetooth functionality. The built quality of the Tradutto is exceptional, starting with the housing of the DAC. It is made from a full block of aluminium Tradutto is built around the ESS Labs ES9038Q2M sitting on a Gold Plated PCB to ensure a clean, low resistance contact. This chip is capable of doing 32bit/768kHz or DSD512 without breaking a sweat. The Tradutto DAC offers full MQA support when using Tidal and has built-in Bluetooth support. It uses a Qualcomm QCC5124 chip for Bluetooth thus meeting requirements for robust, high quality, wireless Bluetooth listening experiences in small devices with low power consumption for longer audio playback and lets you conveniently connect wireless. A XMOS with 16 cores (XU216) is used as the base for hardware decoding in the D/A converter, also for MQA. Earmen carefully adjusted the clock to minimize jitter. Special attention was given to the separation of the circuitry for digital and analog signals due to placement of the power supply. To achieve the lowest THD Wima capacitors and electrolytes combined with MELF low noise resistors were used. Also Soundplus OPA1642 opamps were chosen for their neutral sound.
In the tradition of Earmen, Tradutto is a desktop small and compact design, but in performance a full-size fully balanced D/A converter. To obtain a fully balanced configuration into such a small package Earmen cleverly used a 4.4mm Pentaconn output, next to an RCA line-out. Although Pentaconn is not regularly used as an output, you can have a cable manufacturer make a custom cable to connect it to a full size pre-amp with XLR inputs.
Lieven from Headfonia has quite some experience with Earmen and in the past they have already done many reviews of products like the TR-Amp, Sparrow, Eagle, Donald DAC. Headfonia was one of the first to review the Tradutto DAC and explain in detail about the unpacking, its build quality, connections and more. The interesting part of the review for us starts on page 2, where the sound profile and subjective listening starts. The Tradutto has been used in a setup with an Auris Audio Headonia amplifier, Violectric V590, Ferrum OOR and Chord ANNI.
In the description of the sound, also every connection is thoroughly reviewed as Lieven found out that in his setup there are slight differences in quality. The final conclusion of this review:
“For me the four key points to remember are the neutrality, transparency, linearity and musicality” …. “The EarMen Tradutto is a lovely device. It’s not the cheapest on the market but you get a nice delivery and incredible build quality in return. Tradutto offers all of the most common digital connections and it even has a balanced analog output. Fans of Bluetooth will love the Tradutto as it offers the best possible wireless “transmission” on the market”
The Tradutto DAC from Earmen also received the 2021 Award from Ear Fidelity for Best DAC, which is a great honor. The review leading up to this award is described here. Pawel from Ear Fidelity starts the review with the unpacking of the product and an elaborate description of the technical details of this desktop D/A converter. The description of the sound is done with various headphone amplifiers from Ferrum OOR, xDuoo TA-26 and the XI Audio Broadway S and also paired with different headphones such as the Final D8000 Pro, HiFiMAN HE1000SE and Susvara and Audeze LCD-X. Pawel describes the Tradutto DAC as:
“The easiest way to describe the Tradutto is incredibly natural, non-fatiguing, and full-bodied, with great detail reproduction and superb resolution…… In terms of the headphones, there hasn’t been a single pair that I didn’t like with the Tradutto. Our choice for the best headphone of 2021, the Audeze LCD-X 2021 sounds incredible with it, even though they do share some similarities in their tuning. It sounds great with my Final D8000 Pro, HiFiMAN HE1000SE, or the Susvara, giving me a great musical journey every time I turn it on” – Ear Fidelity
A highly recommended label and of course the 2021 Award is the bonus of hard-work and craftsmanship from Earmen.
Swedish hifi-magazine Hifi & Musik performed a grouptest with the Earmen Tradutto, Cambridge Audio DAC Magic and Merason frérot. The full group test in Swedish is available in PDF. The group winner of this test is clearly the Earmen Tradutto, where the reviewer Jonas Bryngelsson states in the end conclusion:
“With all the above caveats and clarifications taken into account, I still think that the EarMen Tradutto plays one or two levels above its weight class, and thus gets the award Good buy!” – Jonas Bryngelsson Hifi & Musik
Earmen Tradutto DAC MSRP €799