xDuoo TA-20 Balanced Headphone Amp
xDuoo TA-20 Balanced Headphone Amp
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Product Description
A powerful balanced tube headphone amp with a variety of interfaces, the xDuoo TA-20 brings classic analog flavor to your audio setup. It features a durable aluminum alloy shell designed with anti-inference in mind, and has a small footprint—about the size of a sheet of A5 paper—to save space on your desk Read More
Here's what our community has to say
All of our reviews are from verified customers.
4.9
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would recommend to a friend
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neotobeo
34
Jul 3, 2020
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Awesome amp....Wrong Power Cord.
Love the form factor; running off the DAC from Schiit Jotunheim to have a balanced alternative (tube). Clear
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Would recommend to a friend.
Jul 3, 2020
PowderReality
1
Jun 21, 2020
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Great amp, but also wrong power cable.
This is a great sounding, robustly built amp. I feel obligated, however, to add that my unit (shipped to the US) was packaged with only a Type I power cable (Australian, I believe).
Jun 21, 2020
wrto
1
Jun 21, 2020
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Nice amp, wrong power cord shipped
This is a nice amp as advertised, but was shipped with a non-US power cord, no adapter was included for US use. Not happy about that oversight.
Jun 21, 2020
G8tor
25
Jun 16, 2020
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I received the TA-20 yesterday and tried it out with sets of vintage Sylvania and RCA tubes I had on hand. Firstly, I like the solid build, no wall adapter and the matte finish with machined/beveled edges are nice.   On first powering on the unit it does take a few seconds to warm up the tubes. I’m enjoying it paired with the Grace SDAC Balanced.  Dynamic headphones, like my Fostex TR-X00 and Sennheiser 58X, both perform very well on the TA-20 which is expected with tube/hybrid-tube amps. My planars, Audeze LCD2C and Ether CX, are detailed but kind of thin sounding on it. I can verify what others mentioned in the reviews that the Hifiman HE-4XX performs very well on the TA-20 which is unexpected with a planar on this type of amp. I was thinking about selling off my HE-4XX since I have the other planars but not anymore 😊
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Jun 16, 2020
checocadena
0
Jun 16, 2020
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Sound great!
Upgraded from the schitt audio magni and it made everything sound way better
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Would recommend to a friend.
Jun 16, 2020
zenbert
116
Jun 6, 2020
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Better tube amp than I'd expected
I had been looking for portable and natural sounding dac/amp setup that would be a notch better than my trusty Chord Mojo in the bedroom, and I thought my Drop THX AAA 789 + Denafrips Ares r2r dac would just be a bit much in terms of their size to sit on the nightstand. For the longest time, I was eyeing the La Figaro 337 Dark Voice amp, but frankly I wasn't particularly impressed by the built quality of the La Figaro 339 which I owned, despite being fairly happy with it's sound quality. I had challenges with the smells, hot to touch surfaces, and weird tube issues initially. The xDuoo TA-20 was delayed in delivery, which I was ok given the current affairs with the pandemic around the world, and I didn't opened it up for a week after arrival due to the poor timing with lots of distractions. When I finally got time to listen to the amp, a couple of the JJ Electronics gold pin tubes tha I ordered had arrived, so I got to try out those also. The first dac I had paired the amp with was the SMSL SU-8 (v2), and I was quite surprised by the enjoyable listening experience after sampling through several tracks of different genres, including "First Love" by Hikaru Utada, an excellent vocal track, "Time" by Hans Zimmer, a track in the Inception movie, and "Cities in Dust" by Siouxsie and the Banshees. I had the Mr. Speakers Ether CX on in the middle composing new documents, and I had to pause to what I was hearing. Is it really that good I thought? The imaging and clarity of the music was fantastic.
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During the course of a few days, I tried other dac and headphone combinations to see what worked well for me. The list included the Denafrips Ares R2R dac, Topping D50, and the Focal Clear. It was also evident the stock Chinese tubes sounded very differently than the JJs I had sourced separately.
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Here is a summary of my experience: • The SMSL SU-8 combo with the amp produced neutral, clean sound with excellent imaging and separation • The Topping D50 was more forward sounding than the SMSL but seem to be an equally competent dac • The Denafrips Ares matched very well with the THX AAA 789 didn't perform well with the xDuoo amp. I had registered more noise artifacts and less imaging compare to others • The Ether CX headphone with the setup is sweet and smooth; as usual I have to listen more intently to find all the music but was rewarded as such • The Focal Clear matches very well with the SMSL and the amp. As expected with the Clear, the sound signature was quite more dynamic and the music is pushed toward the listener in a 'more emotional' delivery • I prefer the Chinese tubes than the JJ in terms of the sound signature despite being of poorer quality by visual inspection. The Chinese tubes sounded more airy and open while the JJs are tighter and more punchy--including more lower end • The amp never got hot; at most it got warm but never too hot to the touch I wound up leaving the SMSL+xDuoo setup in my study because of all the work from home hours. I'm thinking the quality and the availability of tube amps is now at this price point, which is fantastic. It does offer a good experience into the world of tube amps, particularly if one wishes to try different tubes to experiment. The key thing though is that xDuoo has produced a solid amp that can competently drive the two sample headphones I used (Ether CX @ 23 ohm and Clear @ 55ohm) and is a product of excellent musicality. Other notes: • tidal usb --> dac 32bit/192k (smsl/topping/denafrips) balanced out --> xduoo • ether cx required more power to register similar loudness level despite lower impedance (~52-55 volume vs ~50-52 for clear) • corpse cable on the ether, stock cable on the clear
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Would recommend to a friend.
(Edited)
Jun 6, 2020
Mendy770
80
Jun 21, 2020
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Hi! on the same topic, how does the hd 6xx sound on the 789 vs TA-20? i have the 789 with the d70
Jun 21, 2020
zenbert
116
Jun 21, 2020
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sorry but i don't a similar dac or headphone. i had a hd58x and a hd595 in the past which i had enjoyed. the d70 utilizes ak4497 chips, and i don't know how they sound like. the d50 i have runs on saber ess chips. the dac/amp combo you have should work well with pretty much any headphone i think.. able to drive pretty anything with good musicality. really depends on your taste at that point. the amps 'should' produce similar results with the tests i did with the smsl SU-8, d50, and the gustard x22; based on reviews on the d70, it appears to be a fairly dynamic but neutral across the spectrum. as a generalization, you're likely to register more mids and vocal with the TA20, and it may sound more analog. granted the TA20 isn't as analog as other tube amps i heard like the woo fireflies. if the hd6xx has tuning to the highs, then you're likely to hear more highs with the 789. if not, both amps may sound similar. however, the TA20 should be warmer. i prefer the TA20 for vocals while the 789 as generally a more resolving amp
Jun 21, 2020
synfinatic
27
May 29, 2020
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First experience with a tube amp, and liking it so far
Picked this up since I was interested in giving tubes a try and didn't want a full on OTL since I love planars which are a bad combination and I run everything in full balanced, so a reasonably priced balanced tube amp with tubes which are readily available without having to auction your first born seemed like a good match. Anyways, haven't had the TA-20 for more than a few days now and haven't a lot of time for critical listening, but had some initial thoughts I figured I could share. Build quality is fantastic and I love there is no wall wart/AC adapter. Just a standard NEMA 5-15P power connector. The little tube guards are a nice touch and are held by magnets. I plan on picking up some socket savers so I'll probably need to 3d print some extensions or replacement guards so there is enough clearance for the tubes. My only real complaint is the volume knob. I get why a digital knob can be better than an analog for L/R tracking purposes, but I really dislike the feeling that the knob is only vaguely connected to the actual volume because it can't keep up when you turn it quickly. Really wish this has the volume knob on my Jotunheim. Nit: WTF is with the labels on the headphone outputs: "BALANCE-PHONE" and "PHONE"? No idea why they felt the need to label them at all, but those names are particularly bad. Going from my MBPro-> USB -> Bifrost2 -> XLR -> TA-20 -> balanced out As stated by others, the stock tubes are pretty meh. Sterile. Sounded more like a cheap solid state amp. Ended up pulling them almost immediately. Picked up some reasonably priced RCA's (~$35/NOS matched pair that were recommended by others here on Drop) and things improved dramatically for the better. Haven't had enough time to buy/try other tubes. So far I've tried 3 different headphones:
  • LCD-2C. Depending on the music, the difference is subtle to night and day vs. my Jotunheim (A/B testing with a switch). Still trying to figure out which amp I prefer with the LCD-2C's.
  • Focal Elex. Wow, this is a great combination. Generally prefer listing to the Elex on the TA-20 over the Jot.
  • DT177x Go. This is a horrible combination. At zero volume and well above zero (normal listening volume) there is a _very_ notable hiss/background noise that does not ever go away. Doesn't happen with the Jot or my Fiio Q5. Didn't even really spend anytime listening.
Plan to update the review more after I get more time to compare and try with a few other headphones. UPDATE:
  • Listening with the LCD-2C is really fatiguing and uncomfortable. Hard for me to express in words- something about how the sound pressure hits? Basically, given up with this combo and the LCD-2C's are now only on the Jot at my desk.
  • HE-4xx: Was afraid I've have a similar experience as the LCD-2C, but these are great all day listening. Generally listening with these or the Elex now.
  • Meze 99: Not as bad hiss as at the DT117x Go, but bad enough that I pretty much gave up on this combination.
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Would recommend to a friend.
(Edited)
May 29, 2020
thehuddlexpert
13
May 27, 2020
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Seconded. Hifiman HE-4xx has never been paired better.
Super specific review, and get this tube amp. My Arcam RHEAD pales in comparison to supplying Hifiman HE-4xx with power and detail. My current dac is a Schiit Modi 3. Waiting on an order for for a Toslink to mini Toslink cable. Going to supply my GRACE SDAC BALANCED dac with an optical input. And complete this balanced experiment. I expect my ears to enlighten.
May 27, 2020
mtomaszewski
16
Apr 10, 2020
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This Tube Amp is my first good companion with my MassDrop x Hifiman HE-4xx (S/N 22283)
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Would recommend to a friend.
Apr 10, 2020
5plum12
0
Mar 28, 2020
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Amazing
Incredible smooth sound, very impressed with this product.
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Would recommend to a friend.
Mar 28, 2020
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