Review : xDuoo TA-20 – Twin Towers

Design and build Quality

Casing

Like the TA-10, the xDuoo TA-20 gives a solid impression right off the bat. The case is made of black, anodised aluminium, assembled with Swiss-like precision, or close anyway. There is no gap, every port has its own hole to fit, even the front screen doesn’t look or feel cheap.

The matte-black finish is superb, even if sometimes your hands and fingers leave greasy marks. It’s the only flaw I could come with, as I own devices double or triple the price that do not look as cool as this little TA-20.

I’d love to say that there are no visible screws on the xDuuo TA-20, but that’s not true. There is four of them at the back of the amp, perfectly blending with the general I/O, and another set of five that hold the XLR and RCA line in/out.

Honestly, it’s hard to say bad things about this amp, as it gives so much more than you expect from the price. Sure, that’s what chi-if promises, but not always what brands delivers. Needless to say, xDuoo nailed it with its TA-10 and TA-20 : excellent craftsmanship on and on.

It’s a smaller amp that you might expect. Sure, xDuoo says its footprint is the same as an A5 paper, but knowing and seeing are two completely different things. The xDuoo TA-20 is 12cm wide, 23cm long and 10,5cm tall, feet included. So you should not have any issue finding a spot for it on your desktop.

Let’s take a look at the layout.

Layout

This is where the differences begin to appear. Where the TA-10 supports digital and analog I/O, the xDuoo TA-20 sticks strictly to analog. 

This is mostly due to the fact that the TA-20 doesn’t come with a DAC. To make amends, xDuoo exchanged the digital inputs/outputs for a set of XLR plugs, so you can connect your balanced DAC to the amplifier.

The back panel comes with :

  • 4x RCA port (aux in), so you can connect two DACs at the same time and switch on-the-go
  • 2x RCA port (line out), giving you the opportunity to connect another amp without the hassle of unplugging/plugging the whole thing
  • 2x XLR port, to get a fully balanced baby ! 

The front panel is the same we found on the xDuoo TA-10 :

  • 1x XLR 4-Pin, to connect a balanced headphone
  • 1x Jack 6,35mm, to connect an unbalanced headphone
  • 1x dual-digit LCD screen that displays the volume level
  • 1x multi-control volume scroll-wheel, used for source selection and volume control

On top of the xDuoo TA-20, you have the two vacuum tube ports. Working as a preamplifier, this dual set of 12AU7 tubes is surrounded by four vent-holes and protected by a small magnetic arch. I don’t know if it’s really effective, but I find it pretty cool and above all, non intrusive. I owned a few sets of Primaluna amps back in the time and the tubes were covered by a massive metal cover : safety should not mean ugly. 

Like the TA-10, the set of XLR 4-Pin + Jack 6,35mm leave no room for interpretation : this amp is made for big cans. Some would argue that xDuoo should have put a 4.4mm Pentaconn port, but I’m not one of them. Almost all of my headphones are still bundled with XLR and 6.35mm jacks, so thank you xDuoo !

Let’s check the bundle now, shall we ?

Bundle

Inside the box

The xDuoo TA-20 bundle is like the TA-10 one, D-I-R-E : 

  • 1x Power cord
  • some papers and a CD driver 

And that’s it… not even a Jack 3.5mm-> 6.35mm or a XLR cable. Nada !

I admit that some brands overflowed their products with accessories, but I still believe there is a balance between “too-much” and “nothing”.

Sorry for the rant, let’s turn on the amp now.

The article continues on Page Three, after the click here

Review : xDuoo TA-20 – Twin Towers
4.7 (93.33%) 6 vote[s]

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A nerdy guy with a passion for audio and gadgets, he likes to combine his DAC and his swiss knife. Even after more than 10 years of experience, Nanotechnos still collects all gear he gets, even his first MPMAN MP3 player. He likes spreadsheets, technical specs and all this amazing(ly boring) numbers. But most of all, he loves music: electro, classical, dubstep, Debussy : the daily playlist.

    1 Comment

    • Reply September 7, 2019

      Thomas

      Thanks for the great review. You mention Focal Clear and I have two follow up questions regarding them. Firstly do you think the amp would be a good match for Focal Clear and why is an adapter needed?

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