Apos provided the TA-20 Tube Headphone Amp free of charge for the purpose of my honest review, for good or ill.
The Headphone List has a new sponsor, the Apos Audio HiFi store here in America. They are a US subsidiary of SHENZHENAUDIO. When they asked if there was anything from their store we wanted to review, Pinky grew lusty. I had to quell my darkest urges. It would not do to be seen as greedy. I turned my gaze away from the truly top-tier stuff, and studied the thoroughly mid-range gear. And indeed, I found something which captured my imagination.
The XDuoo TA-20 is my first proper tube amp. Well, first headphone tube amp. There were vacuum tubes in my old Maverick Audio DAC, but only for the pre-amp outputs. The TA-20 is all tube, all the time! Although, it is still a hybrid. Which means it uses modern solid-state transistors as well as vacuum tubes.
Anti-interference aluminum alloy shell
Removable aluminum alloy tube guardrail
Class-A transistor expansion
Customized hi-fi capacitor
Professional volume IC
Balanced input and output
2 sets of aux input interfaces
Power supply: External electricity (AC100–240V)
Output power: Phone: 2,000 mW (32 ohms); XLR: 2,000 mW (32 ohms)
Frequency response: 10 Hz–100 kHz (+/- 1 dB)
Gain: +18 dB
Distortion: ≤ 0.01% (1 kHz, 32-ohm load)
Signal-to-noise ratio: 115 dB
Headphone impedance: 8–600 ohms
Footprint: 5.8 x 8.3 in (14.8 x 21 cm)
Weight: 3.4 lbs (1.55 kg)
Achieving 2Watts per-channel, this amp is fully balanced, using 2x 3-pin XLR inputs. You also have RCA inputs, as well as RCA pre-amp output. Black aluminum is used for the casing, which acts as a nice Faraday Cage against rogue signals, and the overall feel of the TA-20 is one of toughness. It’s sturdy and handsome, bold and efficient. It’s also quite small, which is good for a crowded desk like mine.
It’s a useful little amp that has integrated well into my desktop system. But it’s also cool for those who don’t have a complete system and just want to hook up their mobile player for extra power and tube-y goodness. The iBasso DX220 made a fantastic DAC with which to feed the TA-20.