Balanced Tube Headphone Amplifiers Face Off
In the realm of high-fidelity audio, xDuoo stands out with its innovative range of fully-balanced tube headphone amplifiers. Two of their notable offerings, the xDuoo MT-604 and the xDuoo TA20 Plus, both promise unparalleled sonic experiences. But when it comes to choosing one, how do they fare against each other?
Fully-Balanced Design: Neck and Neck
Both the MT-604 and the TA20 Plus take pride in their fully balanced design. This approach minimizes crosstalk and promises an enhanced signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). With this shared focus, it's a tie in this category.
Power Punch: An Equal Match
Both models pack a power output of up to 2000mW, driving a diverse range of headphones from varying impedances. If you're jamming to a high-impedance pair of headphones, both amplifiers have got you covered.
Tube Configuration: The TA20 Plus Pulls Ahead
The MT-604 incorporates a quartet of 6J1 tubes, delivering that signature tube warmth. The TA20 Plus, on the other hand, integrates two 12AU7 tubes for audio processing paired with 5Z4P tubes for rectification. This combination grants the TA20 Plus a unique blend of modern prowess and vintage warmth.
Amplification Showdown: Advantage MT-604, but TA20 Plus Holds Its Ground
The MT-604 shines with its Class-A amplifier status, renowned for directness, stability, and impressively low total harmonic distortion and SNR. The TA20 Plus, however, counters with its Class A buffer, combining tube and transistor technologies. This hybrid approach ensures a potent output without compromising on audio nuances.
Input/Output Versatility: TA20 Plus Steps Up
Though both units offer XLR and 4.4mm balanced connectivity, the TA20 Plus pulls ahead with an additional two RCA inputs, granting users more freedom and adaptability.
Unique Selling Points:
The MT-604 introduces a solution to sound bias with its independent left/right volume adjustment. Moreover, its built-in mute circuit promises a pop-free start. The TA20 Plus, in contrast, brings a retro flair with its mechanical VU meter, allowing users to visually sync with their tunes.
Build and Aesthetics: MT-604 Takes a Slight Lead
Both amplifiers are built to last, but the MT-604's interference-blocking, sand-blasted chassis edges out slightly in terms of functionality and visual appeal.
Tube Rolling: All Square
For audiophiles with an experimental streak, both amplifiers are tube-roll friendly. This means fine-tuning the sound signature is equally achievable with both models, given you source tubes from a trusted dealer.
The choice between the xDuoo MT-604 and the TA20 Plus is a matter of specific preferences. The MT-604 might be for those who prioritize aesthetics and direct amplification, while the TA20 Plus could be the pick for those desiring input flexibility and a mix of vintage and modern sound. Ultimately, the optimal choice hinges on individual needs and audio scenarios.