xDuoo TA-20 – Review

xDuoo TA-20

xDuoo TA-20

 | Hybrid Tube Amp | Dual 12AU7 Tubes | 2000mW |



🎧 We are reviewing the xDuoo TA-20, an hybrid tube headphone amplifier from xDuoo.

The xDuoo TA-20 is the brand’s flagship desktop headphone amp featuring dual 12AU7 tubes and a solid-state + tube design.

On xDuoo’s catalog, the TA-20 sits right above the xDuoo TA-10 but does not offer DAC capabilities as the “smaller” sibling.

Some of the technical specifications of the xDuoo TA-20 include a frequency response ranging from 10Hz to 100,000Hz, +18dB of gain, 115dB SNR and 2000mW of max output power.

Inside the unit, the amp is equipped with a ELNA SILMIC (II) Japanese capacitor, Panasonic CE main filter capacitors, several protections such as output relay protection, current protection circuitry and over-voltage protection.

The tube amp series of xDuoo include also the:

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xDuoo TA-20 tubes
xDuoo TA-20 tubes
xDuoo TA-20 tubes with cage
xDuoo TA-20 tubes with cage

xDuoo TA-20 Review

Tests & Scores


AF

Advanced Features

The xDuoo TA-20 features include advanced options such as:

  • Full balanced I/O connections
  • Tube + Solid State hybrid design
  • Dual 12AU7 tubes: Among the most popular tube models
  • Tube swapping

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A

Accessories & Packaging

The xDuoo TA-20 unboxing results in 2x metal cages (to protect the tubes), a 1/4″ to 3.5mm adapter and the power cable.

The amp comes inside a brown cardboard box, that is usually used as the shipping box.

Inside, the unit is safely placed with soft and cushiony protections all-around the body and the tubes.

gramophone-256603.5/5


D

Design

The housing of the amp has very clean looks with an unibody styled design and seamless borders. The front panel also holds a 2-digit volume screen with blue-colored lights.

The form factor of the main housing has the classic brick-alike shape with protruding tubes and a squared-block sitting on the back of the unit.

The xDuoo TA-20 has the exact same footprint and aesthetics of the xDuoo TA-10. In fact, both models belong to the same series of amplificators (TA) being the xDuoo TA-10 the more affordable option of the two while the xDuoo TA-20 stands as the flagship exclusively amp model.

Differently than on the xDuoo TA-10, the xDuoo TA-20 is equipped with dual tubes, which you can easily see at plain sight.

The all-black metal build with a pearled finish and small white fonts merge flawlessly with the 2-digit front screen (blue color light), resulting in a gorgeously clean and classy looking amp.

Moreover, the dual tube design with the protective cages add up to the premium feel of the device.

The xDuoo TA-20 might not be the smallest amp on the market but is still smaller than most power tube amps on the market – the dimensions of the xDuoo TA-20 are: 23 cm x 12 cm x 10.5 cm and it’s weight is roughly 1.55 kilograms.

The top of the device also has the slots for the protective cages that comes bundled with the unit – the cages has the exact same magnetic design as on the TA-10.

xDuoo TA-20
xDuoo TA-20
xDuoo TA-20
xDuoo TA-20

xDuoo TA-20 light indicators:

On the bottom edge, the xDuoo TA-20 has 4 small lights indicators:

  • AUX1
  • AUX2
  • BALANCE
  • PROTECT

gramophone-25660 5/5


OC

Operation & Control

The xDuoo TA-20 operation is as easy as it gets; plug it in, connect the amp to a source, turn it on and set your volume. Users will get the amp running in matter of seconds.

The whole control of the unit is centered on an extremely easy to operate single volume wheel that also works as the input switcher button by pressing it – a subtle and smooth click sound will confirm the mode switching.

The volume knob rotates clockwise and counterclockwise to increment or decrease the volume setting in precise step increments of 1 level at every “clicky” feedback – the front screen shows the volume level with a range going from 00 to 95.

This knob has no min nor max end like classic volume wheels, instead it can rotate infinitely on either direction.

The button will allow to switch from AUX1 to AUX2 or BALANCE while a small light will turn on and indicate which input mode is being set and in use.

All the aforementioned lights are placed on the bottom-left edge of the front panel, with a dedicated light for each mode and highlighted above with white writings (AUX1, AUX2, BALANCE)

Exactly as on the TA-10, the TA-20 design is thought and manufactured to allow easy tube swapping by simply popping them out and replacing them with any specific tube of the user’s preference.

xDuoo TA-20
xDuoo TA-20
xDuoo TA-20 with Bang and Olfusen
xDuoo TA-20 with Bang and Olufsen

How to power the xDuoo TA-20:

The power supply of the xDuoo TA-20 is incorporated in the unit itself, by doing this there is no external power brick. Turning on the unit is a matter of plugging the power cable to the back of the amp and directly to the power outlet – a power switch is placed on the rear panel of the device.

gramophone-256605/5

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CB

Construction & Build

The xDuoo TA-20 is remarkably capable regarding build and feel due to the unit’s full build made of aluminum alloy with, even, the volume knob and protective cages inheriting equal build with the same rugged metal feel and finish.

In addition to this, every connection on the front and rear panel plug firmly and securely without wobbling.

The volume knob rotates fluidly but not loose and every click feedback is always spot-on without skipping nor jumping steps.

The xDuoo TA-20 can be used with or without the metal cages, as their only function is to protect the tubes from getting damaged – unless you have a very specific reason to not place the cages, it will be highly recommended to leave them always in place.

gramophone-256605/5

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xDuoo TA-20
xDuoo TA-20

C

Connectivity

The xDuoo TA-20 has a total of 3 output and 3 input connections; the connectors include:

  • 6.35mm headphone out
  • XLR balanced out
  • RCA AUX out
  • 2x RCA AUX in
  • Left + Right XLR balanced in

The front panel’s connectors are for output (6.35mm and XLR) while the rear panel holds all the input connectors (RCA, XLR) and the RCA auxiliary out.

With a combination of standard and advanced connections, the xDuoo TA-20 opens up the possibility to expand the user’s audio system and provide a safer future-proof purchase.

gramophone-256604.5/5

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xDuoo TA-20
xDuoo TA-20
xDuoo TA-20 connectors and rear panel
xDuoo TA-20 connectors and rear panel

S

Sound

As expected from a high-class amp with quality components and top-level specs, the xDuoo TA-20 does not show any interference and nearly zero base noise.

Moreover, staying true to a hi-fi hybrid amp, the amplification provided by the xDuoo TA-20 did not show any sound quality deterioration.

Tested through all the I/O combinations possible (RCA, balanced XLR, 3.5mm), the xDuoo TA-20 always showed a delightfully clean and faithful sound.

Frequency response exhibited was flat with no noticeable increment nor decrease on any given frequency range.

In addition to this, the potentiometer does not exhibit any kind of screeching noises when dialing either up or down the volume setting and the channels will always remain perfectly balanced.

xDuoo TA-20 with AKG K702
xDuoo TA-20 with AKG K702
xDuoo TA-20 with in-ear monitor
xDuoo TA-20 with in-ear monitor

Being that the xDuoo TA-20 is exclusively an amp without a DAC, the final quality of the signal will be directly related to the initial quality of the source/DAC that is matched to the TA-20 – for example, if a noisy and low quality DAC is used, the xDuoo will amplify the poor signal.

With a max output power of 2000mW (32Ω) either through the 6.35mm or the XLR output connector and a SNR of 115dB, the xDuoo TA-20 is capable of driving nearly any popular full-sized headphone without struggling.

xDuoo informs a driving capability of 16Ω to 600Ω, which indeed during our tests showed that the amp could drive any kind of low or high impedance headphone without lowering their performance.

If you do not need the inner DAC, the xDuoo TA-20 will be the best choice over the xDuoo TA-10 as the TA-20 will enable full input and output balanced connections.

Instead, if you need the amp to be also a DAC and/or you want a coaxial output connection, you will need to get the xDuoo TA-10.

If you are unsure of which you should get or do not fully understand the difference between both models, you will be safer buying the xDuoo TA-10 instead.

gramophone-256604.5/5

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xDuoo TA-20 with Bang and Olfusen headphone
xDuoo TA-20 with Bang and Olufsen headphone

DR

xDuoo Driver

Being exclusively an amp without any USB connections nor inner DAC, the xDuoo TA-20 will work right out of the box without any drivers.


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Scores Scores

xDuoo TA-20 Scores

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Frequency Response (raw)

xDuoo TA-20 Frequency Response Curve

Headphone through direct source vs through xDuoo TA-20. Blue= through xDuoo amp; yellow= direct source

xDuoo TA-20 frequency response curve - source direct vs amp
xDuoo TA-20 frequency response curve – source direct vs amp

 

xDuoo TA-20 frequency response
xDuoo TA-20 frequency response

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Volume Precision

xDuoo TA-10 Volume Precision

The xDuoo TA-20 has the exact same volume control precision as the xDuoo TA-10, where each step corresponds to 1dB variation.

xDuoo TA-20 - Volume Precision
xDuoo TA-20 – Volume Precision

Specifications

xDuoo TA-20 Technical Specifications

Type Amp
USB DAC No
Max output 2000mW
Tubes 2x
Balanced I/O Yes, full
XLR Yes
Bass Boost No
Drive ability 8-600Ω
Frequency Response 10Hz-100kHz
USB / OTG No / No
Weight Approx. 1550g
Tube 12AU7

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Photos

xDuoo TA-20 Photos

xDuoo TA-20

9.4

SCORE

9.4/10


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