xDuoo TA-26 Review

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Disclaimer: the xDuoo TA-26 was sent to us, free of charge, by the brand, in exchange for our honest opinion. You can find it directly on their website at around $319.

EDIT: Revision ongoing

About xDuoo 

Based in Shenzhen, China, xDuoo is now a well-established Chi-Fi representative. Like many brands, they first began as an ODM manufacturer, before producing from themselves. And, as it turned out, that was the right decision, leading to a full range of acclaimed amps, DAC, and even quirky devices like portable streamers.

We previously reviewed the xDuoo XD-05 BAL, a complete portable DAC-Amp, which replaced the previous XD-05 Plus. But, before that, we also reviewed their full set of tube-headphone-amplifiers: the TA-10 (DAC/AMP), the TA-20 (full-tube amplifier), and the TA-30 (DAC/AMP) 

And today, we have the chance to review the new xDuoo TA-26, a tube amplifier that sits just under the TA-30, but above the TA-20.

The T-Series

If the X-Series from xDuoo is entirely made of portable devices, the T-Series only hold big gear, like headphones amplifiers. As usual, let’s take a quick tour of the brand catalog.

XDuoo TA-10

The xDuoo TA-10 is a Tube Headphone Amplifier + USB DAC. As the first step in xDuoo’s desktop world, you don’t get multiple tubes, as in the TA-20 or TA-30, but just one classic 12AU7, combined with an A-Class circuit and a classic (and now rare) AK4490 DAC from AKM.

xduoo ta-10

Nowadays, a new xDuoo TA-10R is also available with a red-coated case, better DAC (AK4493), and more digital inputs. If slightly more expensive, this remains a lot more affordable than I’d expect.

Here is a quote from our review:

The xDuoo TA-10 is a great amp if you need power in a small form factor. Combined with hard-to-drive headphones or high-impedance cans, the amp never fails his duty and gave it all, at all times. This is not a clean amp like The Element (my reference in this price range) but it sounds much more musical, especially on planar headphones.

Read the full review here

XDuoo TA-20

The xDuoo TA-20 is a tube headphone amplifier. Compared to the TA-10, you lose the AKM DAC and XMOS chipset, but gain a “pure balanced analog flavor” per se. To do so, the brand added a second 12AU7 tube, one for each channel, and kept the same – exceptionally – well-built chassis. 

xDuoo TA-20

xDuoo TA-20

Sold just over $350, you have to connect a balanced DAC through the XLR inputs to fully enjoy this amp. A quick quote from our review :

A great amp […] that can drive virtually any headphone you like, or want, with a sound stage much wider than its transistor competitors. True, it’s not a full Tube amp, but that’s also what makes the TA-20 affordable (and compact). 

Full review available here 

xDuoo TA-30

Like the TA-10, the xDuoo TA-30 is a Tube Headphone Amplifier + USB DAC. But, if the TA-20 shares the same footprint, the TA-30 really looks like a bigger sibling. Topped with three tubes – Two ECC82 for process the audio a plus one 5Z3P tube for high-voltage rectification – the TA30 also gets a better DAC, the Sabre ES9038Q2M.

xDuoo TA-30

It’s a great DAC/AMP, one I still use up to this day, and it’s still fairly affordable for a top-of-the-line amp (around $700). Here is a quote from our review: 

The xDuoo TA-30 is the best DAC-AMP of the brand, to no-one’s surprise. It’s insanely powerful, supports almost every source, and will be a great all-rounder device for anyone in need of a tube-headphone amplifier + USB DAC.

Full review available here.

xDuoo TA-26

Finally, you have the new xDuoo TA-26, a newcomer that looks like the TA-30, but costs three times less. To do so, the brand completely ditched the digital-to-analog circuit and focused on headphone amplification. Enough to replace the old TA-10, available for the same price? Let’s find out!

xDuoo TA-26

xDuoo TA-26

The review continues on Page Two, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.

Page 2: Design & Build Quality

Page 3: Comfort & Specifications

Page 4: Sound performances and conclusion

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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.

2 Comments

  • Reply September 16, 2021

    Gareth

    Are you certain it takes 3 tubes? Because I’m sitting looking at one and it takes a 6sn7 and a 6as7… or are there two versions?

  • Reply September 16, 2021

    StivVid

    The other comment is correct. There are only 2 tubes in this amp– not 3. Also… In one part of the review you seem to suggest that there is a display screen in this unit. Maybe I read it wrong, or maybe some of this review is copied and pasted from the TA-30 review?

    And that square cover behind the tubes doesn’t conceal a capacitor. (It would be a REALLY BIG capacitor if it needed a cover like that.) There’s actually a transformer that lives under there.

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