UI & Usage
To connect the xDuoo TA-20 is a child’s play. Plug the power chord, connect your source through the RCA/XLR input et voila !
To choose the right input, just click the control wheel and the according LED will lit up, just under the XLR output. Simple and straightforward, as every amp should be (honestly, they are almost all simple as that). The volume level is clearly displayed on the screen, going from 00 to 99, there is no 100.
If you want to connect another device, the AUX out can be linked to another amp, or a set of powered speakers.
There is not much to say about the XDuoo TA-20 in terms of ergonomics. No UI, no battery and no switches for gain or bass-boost.
The volume knob is kind of a mixed bag. There is not enough resistance to really “feel it” but at the same time, you can’t miss your steps, thanks to the fully digital assets. It “clicks” yet it could be a bit more weighted, like in a Burson amp for example. Thankfully, this is a minor inconvenience and all you should remember is the fact that you can finely tune the volume.
This volume knob is clickable and allows you to switch through the three available inputs : Balanced / Aux 1 / Aux 2. The two headphone outputs are very sturdy and you should not have any issues inserting/removing your headphones plug.
As a whole device, the xDuoo TA-20, is delightfully well adjusted and it “clicks” every time. Like I said before, the balanced port is a XLR 4-Pin, it’s cool for my Audeze and Sennheiser or even Hifiman but if you got a Meze Empyrean or a Focal Clear, you should get an adapter.
Hybrid amplification : Tube + Transistors
As a hybrid amplifier, the xDuoo TA-20 combines vacuum tube pre-amplification and mosfets amplification. Where the TA-10 only used one tube, the TA-20 enjoys a set of dual 12AU7 that can be easily swapped when you need/want. Power output is rated at 2000mW @32ohms in balanced and unbalanced mode. Gain is rated at +18dB, so you can rest assured this amp should be able to drive almost every headphone in your possession.
The big plot at the back of the top panel hides two pairs of three Japan ELNA SILMC capacitors. Each set takes charge of one channel, whereas the 12AU7 directly output a stereo signal. Distortion is fairly high at 0.01% so expect some noises along the road. Nothing to be ashamed as tube amplifier always sounds noisy compared to classic mosfets amps.
This amp is designed to drive big headphones, xDuoo states it could “easily drive 8-600 ohms, high resistance and low resistance headphones.” I can trust them on the first part, but I’m fairly dubious regarding sensible headphones..
Dual 12AU7 – sweet sweet tubes
The audio circuit is relatively simple. There are no digital entry and no D-Class chips, so everything from the entry point to the headphone is purely analog. The only IC chipset comes from the volume control, which is very cool by the way.
The capacitors are announced to be “professional grade” and most of them are provided by ELNA SILMC, a Japanese brand of capacitors. The whole setup is a step-up from the TA-10, if not really different. Yet, we get better performances, if connected to a proper DAC.
We’ll see that on the next page, but first, let’s check the fulls specs.
As usual, here are the full specs of the xDuoo TA-20. If you’re not interested, just scroll down !
- Type : Headphone amplifier
- Tube : x2 12AU7
- LPF : Ti OPA1612
- BUF : 2x Ti OPA926
- Outputs : 6.35mm headphone out / XLR 4-Pins TRRS out / Line Out (RCA)
- Input : XLR / RCA
- Volume Knob : full-digital
- Drive Ability : 8-600 ohms
- SNR : > 115dB
- THD : < 0.01%
- Frequency Response : 10Hz – 100kHz (+/- 1dB)
- Line level : 2.1Vrms
- Output Power 6.35mm : 2000mW 32ohm
- Output Power XLR 4Pin : 2000mW @ 32ohms
- Voltage Swing : 15V
- Power input : 100-240V 50-60Hz
- Size : 23cm*12cm*10.5cm
- Weight : 1550g
The article continues on Page Four, after the click here