Greetings mate and Welcome aboard. Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music (NOT gear), all over again, so…
Shoutout to Apos Audio for sending this demo unit for review!
They also sent me a pair of balanced cables for my Sennheiser HD600 and 58X!! I am not being compensated for this review, but if you buy something from them (which you should), then I will make a commission. Your support is much appreciated!
Now let’s dive right into the xDuoo TA-20 and find out if it’s worth a purchase. We’ll also perform some select comparisons with a few other Amps & DACS that I have here at the pad.
With that, what’s in the box?
In The Box
Specs & Pricing
- Price: Check Apos!
- Power Supply: External power (AC100-240V)
- Output Power to PHONE: 2000mW (32 Ohms); XLR: 2000mW (32 Ohms)
- Frequency Response: 10Hz – 100kHz (+1dB)
- Gain: +18dB
- Distortion: < 0.1% (1kHz, 32 Ohm load)
- Signal to noise ratio: 115dB
- Adaptable headphone impedance: 16 – 600 Ohm
- Size: 23 x 12 x 10.5cm
- Weight: 1.55Kg
- Accessories: Power Cable, Manual, Warranty Card
What about build?
As you may have probably guessed, this all-black aluminum alloy amplifier is pretty mammoth in size, and being a tube amp, it’s fairly heavy. It’s actually a tube hybrid, meaning it uses solid-state transistors and vacuum tubes.
If I were you, I’d probably clear some space for this gargantuan Super Mutant-sized Behemoth. It’s large and in charge like the Nutty Professor has no shame. Seriously, it’s big.
It’s not very wide and doesn’t have a lot of girth, but it’s long. It’s definitely a shower and not a grower.
The front panel reveals your balanced 4-pin XLR input, 1/4″ single-ended input, the Volume Potentiometer, and the LED display for volume.
Turning the knob fast results in the volume level behaving quite erratically; something I haven’t really experienced in other amps.
Instead of going right to where you set it, it kind of goes backward. Stick to slow or medium. I know this is sort of a weird quirk of the amp, and it’s not really a complaint. It’s really just something I noticed on accident when I turned the knob fairly quickly.
The Volume Pot also doubles as the input button. Just press it to toggle between sources. I’m using the DragonFly Red as the DAC into the TA-20 via 3.5mm to RCA. If you are for whatever reason unfamiliar, the TA-20 is just an amp and needs a DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) of some sort to function. Beginners Guide: What is a USB DAC?
On the back, we’ve got 2 sets of auxiliary inputs, 1 set of auxiliary outs, 2 balanced XLR inputs, and the AC100-240V power jack.
The TA-20 also acts as a preamp, meaning you can connect it to a separate set of unbalanced speakers if you want, as well as connect it to any DAC that either has a line out or RCA outs.
The manual states that this amp supports 16-600 Ohm Headphones, and yeah, there’s more than enough here.
The great thing about having an AKG K240M at the pad is that you can quickly determine whether a company is exaggerating its claims.
This Austrian-made original is indeed 600 Ohm and fairly difficult to get pumpin.’
I’m at 65 out of 95 on the TA-20 and I’m finding the volume comfortably loud, meaning, it’s just right for long-term listening sessions without blowing your ears out.
I would have liked some actual power output numbers, but alas, you can’t have everything I suppose.
Let’s get into sound.