Home Amps xDuoo MT-604 Review – Separating Hype From Reality

xDuoo MT-604 Review – Separating Hype From Reality

by Stuart Charles Black
>AFFILIATE DISCLOSURE: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.<

Don't forget to share if you found it helpful!

Greetings mate and Welcome aboard!

Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions, so…

xDuoo MT-604

Price: Check Amazon! | Check Apos!

In The Box

xDuoo MT-604

Power cord

AC adapter

User’s manual

Warranty card

Specifications

  • Power supply: DC12V/2A
  • Output power: 2000mW @32Ω 1kHz
  • Inputs: XLR
  • Outputs: XLR, 4.4mm balanced
  • Dynamic range: 85dBA @32Ω
  • Frequency response: 10Hz – 60,000Hz (±0.5dB)
  • Suitable headphone impedance: 16Ω – 600Ω
  • Gain: +15dB
  • S/N: 115dB
  • THD+N: ≤0.01% (@32Ω, 1kHz)
  • Size: 6.6” x 3.9” x 2.3” (17 x 10 x 6cm)
  • Weight: 1.2lbs (0.55kg)

Today we’re going to take a look at the MT-604 and find out if all the hype was warranted.

We’ll delve into the key aspects of the MT-604, including its power capabilities, DAC compatibility, the importance of balanced cables, and an impartial assessment of its sound performance.

By the end, you’ll know if you should buy one and if you shouldn’t, we’ll steer you in the direction of something you should absolutely purchase.

So let’s dive in!

What Is It?

xDuoo MT-604 Review

The xDuoo MT-604 is a powerful and versatile headphone amplifier that has garnered attention in the audiophile community for its impressive power specifications, balanced capabilities, and, well, not much else.

Power Specifications

The xDuoo MT-604 boasts remarkable power specifications, catering to even the most demanding headphone requirements.

This is something I really do actually appreciate, so bravo xDuoo.

With a maximum output power of 4000mW (4W) per channel into a 32-ohm load, the amplifier can effortlessly drive a wide range of headphones, from low-impedance in-ear monitors to high-impedance over-ear headphones.

This power output ensures ample headroom, dynamic range, and precise control over the audio signal, resulting in a distortion-free listening experience at various volume levels.

Connections and Set-Up

xDuoo MT-604 Review

Front Panel

The xDuoo MT-604 prioritizes balanced connections in its design, which could be problematic for certain users who aren’t accustomed to this type of setup.

Proceed with caution.

Regardless, it features a 4.4mm balanced output, a balanced XLR output, and a 4.4mm balanced input on the front.

Pairing the MT-604 with a DAC is straightforward – connect your chosen DAC to the appropriate input, utilizing the balanced option to maintain the emphasis on balanced connections.

For instance, if you were to use an iFi Zen, you would need a balanced 4.4mm to dual XLR cable such as this one.

Back Panel

The back panel contains your dual XLR balanced inputs, the DC 12V power jack, and the On/Off switch.

Balanced Cables

To some enthusiasts, balanced cables play a crucial role in maximizing the amplifier’s performance, offering improved noise rejection, lower crosstalk, and enhanced signal integrity.

My stance lies somewhere in the middle.

Balanced connections supposedly unleash the sound’s full potential, resulting in a cleaner and more dynamic Soundstage.

If you’re interested, we’ll touch on the balanced/unbalanced debate at the end of this article.

For now, let’s delve into sound.

Sound Performance

xDuoo MT-604 Review

In evaluating the sound performance of the xDuoo MT-604, it is essential to maintain a neutral perspective.

To begin, the MT-604 is a hybrid tube amplifier.

It supposedly combines solid-state and tube technologies to deliver a unique sonic character that blends the accuracy of solid-state amplification with the warmth and harmonics often associated with tube amplifiers.

This hybrid design aims to offer a balanced and versatile audio experience, catering to different preferences and headphone characteristics.

The problem with all this for me is that a Solid-State amp sounds almost identical to a Hybrid one, and in the case of the MT-604, it’s no different.

Honestly, it sounds about the same as most other amps I’ve tried.

The Bravo Ocean? Yup, it too is a hybrid that sounds mostly like a Solid-State amp. And trust me, I’ve heard over 65 of them at this point.

I actually tempered my expectations somewhat but was still underwhelmed.

“That’s it?”

“What was all the hype about?”

Folks, it’s literally just an amp – and, alongside a DAC, it’s meant to perform a task.

Vacuum Tubes and Transistors

The xDuoo MT-604 employs vacuum tubes primarily as input buffers, utilizing their characteristic properties to enhance the audio signal at an early stage.

These vacuum tubes, often associated with warmth and subtle harmonic distortion, contribute to shaping the initial tonal qualities of the sound.

However, it’s noteworthy that the final current amplification stage of the xDuoo MT-604 is achieved through the use of eight transistors biased into Class-A operation.

This arrangement ensures a controlled and consistent amplification process, allowing for precise and linear signal amplification without the drawbacks sometimes associated with vacuum tubes, such as higher levels of distortion or instability at high currents.

By combining the strengths of vacuum tubes in the input stage and the stability and accuracy of transistor-based Class-A amplification in the final stage, the xDuoo MT-604 aims to strike a balance between sonic character and technical performance.

This hybrid approach seeks to harness the best of both worlds to deliver an engaging and controlled audio experience.

And, I guess it does that? Honestly, it may as well just be a Solid-State amp as far as I’m concerned.

The whole thing seems incredibly counterintuitive. So you’re going to make an amp with tubes that pretty much in no way sounds like a tube amp?

But before I go off on a rant, let’s discuss the volume controls and then the balanced/unbalanced debate so that you’re better armed to make a purchasing decision.

Independent Volume Controls

The xDuoo MT-604 features independent volume controls for the left and right channels.

While this design can offer a level of precision in fine-tuning the balance between channels, it’s important to consider potential drawbacks over time.

Some users may find the separate volume controls to be a minor inconvenience, as they may need to adjust both sides individually to maintain an accurate stereo balance.

Over time, this process could become repetitive and potentially lead to frustration, especially for those who frequently switch headphones or audio sources.

While the independent volume controls can provide meticulous control, users seeking a more streamlined and user-friendly experience might find this feature to be a double-edged sword.

It’s essential to weigh the benefits of channel-specific adjustments against the potential hassle of ongoing adjustments for both channels.

Balanced or Unbalanced?

Balanced cables have been a topic of debate within the audiophile community, with some enthusiasts advocating for their benefits, while others consider them to be more of a placebo effect than a tangible improvement in sound quality.

It’s important to explore both perspectives to gain a well-rounded understanding of the issue.

Advocates of Balanced Cables

Reduced Noise and Interference

One of the primary arguments in favor of balanced cables is their potential to reduce noise and interference.

This is absolutely true and scientifically sound – thus why I remain somewhat neutral on the matter.

Balanced connections use two signal conductors and a separate ground, which can help cancel out common-mode noise that might be present in the signal.

More on that in a jiffy.

This is particularly beneficial in professional audio setups where long cable runs are common, as it can minimize the introduction of unwanted artifacts.

Lower Crosstalk

Balanced cables are designed to minimize crosstalk between channels, which can contribute to a cleaner and more accurate audio signal.

This can be especially relevant in high-end audio systems where maintaining separation between left and right channels is critical.

Enhanced Output Power

Balanced connections can allow for higher voltage swings, potentially resulting in increased output power.

This can be advantageous for driving headphones with higher impedance or demanding power requirements.

Critics of Balanced Cables

xDuoo MT-604 Review

Subjective Perception

One of the main arguments against the benefits of balanced cables is the potential for a placebo effect – similar to the “Burn In” argument.

Human perception of audio quality is highly subjective and can be influenced by psychological factors, including expectations and biases.

If someone believes that using balanced cables will improve their listening experience, they might perceive an improvement even if the actual impact on sound quality is minimal.

Limited Benefit in Short Distances

Balanced connections are most beneficial over longer cable runs, where noise and interference are more likely to be a concern.

In typical home audio setups with relatively short cable lengths, the advantages of balanced cables may not be as pronounced.

Quality of Components

xDuoo MT-604 Review

The impact of using balanced cables can also depend on the quality of the components involved, including the source device, amplifier, and headphones.

In some cases, the improvement attributed to balanced cables might be overshadowed by other factors in the audio chain.

The Bottom Line

While balanced cables do have certain technical advantages in terms of noise rejection and crosstalk reduction, their benefits may be more noticeable in professional audio environments with extensive cable runs.

In typical home audio setups, the perceptible differences introduced by balanced cables may be subtle and difficult to discern.

The debate over balanced cables underscores the complex interplay between objective technical measurements and subjective listening experiences in the realm of audio equipment.

As with any audio-related decision, it’s important for individuals to critically evaluate their own needs, preferences, and equipment before investing in balanced cables.

With that, should you actually buy an MT-604 because it offers only balanced connections and has some neat-looking tubes?

My vote is no.

You can get a FiiO K7 which has a balanced jack and be perfectly fine.

There’s nothing inherently special or life-changing about the 604.

It’s just an amp.

With that, let’s wrap this baby up.

Final Verdict

xDuoo MT-604 Review

While the xDuoo MT-604 has garnered attention for its power specifications, “tube” prowess, and DAC pairing options, it’s important to critically assess whether the hype surrounding it was or is truly warranted.

In reality, the MT-604, while certainly a capable amplifier, ultimately functions in a manner similar to many other amplifiers on the market.

The extensive focus on its features might overshadow the actual impact it has on your listening experience.

Instead of getting caught up in the allure of the MT-604, audiophiles seeking a balanced solution with an Amp/DAC combo might find a more practical alternative in the FiiO K7.

The FiiO K7 offers a balanced jack along with integrated DAC capabilities, providing a streamlined and convenient way to enhance your audio setup.

It’s also miles more versatile in that you can connect it to many different things in a home studio or even a gaming environment.

By combining both amplification and digital-to-analog conversion within a single device, the FiiO K7 eliminates the need for multiple components and complex configurations.

The FiiO K7’s integration of amplification and DAC functions simplifies your setup, offering a straightforward path to improving your audio quality without the complexity of managing separate components.

While the xDuoo MT-604 boasts certain features that might have garnered attention, it’s worth taking a step back to evaluate whether its performance aligns with the hype.

For those in search of a balanced solution that offers both amplification and digital-to-analog conversion, the FiiO K7 presents itself as a compelling alternative, delivering a user-friendly and impactful upgrade to your audio journey.

Learn More:

 

Well, that’s about it for today folks! I hope you’ve enjoyed this xDuoo MT-604 Review and gained some valuable insight.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.

Just want to make a one-time donation? Click here. Your support is greatly appreciated and helps keep this site running!

Thoughts on this amp? Was it overhyped? I’d love to hear from you. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,

 

 

-Stu

[Xtr@Ba$eHitZ]

Be sure to check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!

Don't forget to share if you found it helpful!

You may also like

Leave a Comment