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To Burn and Glow – A Review of the XDuoo TA-20 Headphone Amp

Apos provided the TA-20 Tube Headphone Amp free of charge for the purpose of my honest review, for good or ill.

The TA-20 sells for $319.99 at Apos Audio.
Apos Audio

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
12AU7 tube
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.



Pinky Powers

Pinky Powers

Pinky is an artsy twat. Illustration, graphic design, writing. Yet music escapes him, and always has. He builds his own cables, and likes to explore the craftsmanship of others. He's a stabby one, also. At the first hint of annoyance, out comes the blade. I say he's compensating for something... in a big bad way. If we all try really hard as a collective, maybe we can have him put down.


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