xDuoo TA-30 Quick Review: Rich and Lush Tubes!!
Earlier this year xDuoo released their TOTL desktop tube DAC/AMP, xDuoo TA-30. The xDuoo TA-30 comes as a flagship to their tube lineup “TA” series. It features a three-tube design for sound rectification and amplification. On paper, the xDuoo TA-30 has all the glitters to itself featuring flagship chipsets like ES9038Q2M DAC chip, CSR8675 Bluetooth Chip, Dual crystal oscillators, and whatnot. I have got a unit about a few days ago and I am going to share a quick review and a quick sound quality comparison with the Topping D90.
You can check technical specifications and more at our store page here.
The xDuoo TA-30 is packed with the utmost care, All the products are in different cardboard boxes. The three glass tubes are packed in a cardboard box with sitting firmly in their own respective foam cutouts. One box carries metal protectors, a USB cable, a Bluetooth antenna, and a 6.35mm headphone adapter. Another big box carries our unit with a power cable and a user guide and warranty card. Though the packaging is quite plain, everything is packed securely and tightly as was needed with glass tubes.
The xDuoo TA-30 has a heavy metal build. It is not huge and can be placed in a corner of my table. It is built with thick metal sheets, the case is made up of aluminum alloy material that provides a strong build and better heat management as compared to the metal casings. With tubes applied it looks like a transformer providing us with a powerful crisp sound output. The front side has an OLED display that displays active input type, active file sample rate, and PCM or DSD active data stream type. It also has four buttons and an analog volume knob. The buttons include an input selector button with 5 positions, a filter button to choose between various filters, a Bluetooth button to pair or unpair the Bluetooth device, and a language button to choose between English and Chinese language. On the backside we have got several input ports including USB, coaxial, AUX IN/Out, and Bluetooth antenna port. It also has power on/off switch and an AC220V power socket on the backside. The entire unit looks quite strong and sturdy. As a plus point, we all know how cool a tube looks while active, and here we have got three tubes. One Adopt 5Z3P tube for rectification and two Adopt ECC82 tubes for amplification.
I used several chains here with the xDuoo TA-30 to check out various features on it. I connected it via USB on my PC and gave output via the headphone port to my Sivga P-II and Sennheiser HD6XX headphones. I also used it as a preamp and provided output to my Avcrowns AV3000 Amplifier to give output to my huge set of speakers from the same brand. In another chain, I connected it to my iBasso DX160 via Bluetooth and gave output to my headphones using the headphone port. And the xDuoo performed really well, the 300 ohm HD6XX was being powered easily and I had to put just a little bit of volume and my headphone was at desirable sound levels.
I would like to tell you that I gave an entire week of burn-in time to this powerful device before deciding on the sound quality. The xDuoo TA-30 has a warm tonality with crisp detailing and engaging sound signature. It has a sweet tonality with acoustic music while fast metal songs sound engaging and fast-paced. The vocals feel lush and meaty full of emotions. The output is very clean too, some older recordings showed me hiss with my DX160 only but the xDuoo handled them well. The output is completely noise-free, it doesn’t sound grainy at all, instead they sound very smooth and soothing on the ears. Instruments show a sense of airiness, guitar strings feel heavy and detailed. The instruments carry a natural tonality and timbre. The overall sound representation here is very energetic and fun.
The xDuoo TA-30 provides a full body and punchier bass. My planar magnetic Sivga P-II showed a controlled and clean bass response with good punch and quick speed. Listening to drums, the thumps are perfect with good depths. There is good slam in the lower end with the TA-30 with a powerful sense of energy. Bass showed good extensions and doesn’t roll off quickly. The sub-bass part is also detailed well with a powerful rumble. Listening to EDM by Daft Punk surely gave outstanding thumps and felt just perfect. Bad Guy by Billie Ellish has an amazing sub-bass response. The xDuoo TA-30 will surely be an instant love for bass lovers with a quick and punchy bass.
The mids section is musical and heavenly. Acoustic details are rendered magically with a sweet soothing tone. Vocals are meaty and lush. Listening to I Cry by Yao Si Ting is an amazing experience with melodious soothing vocals. Voice of lead singer in The Blower’s Daughter by Damien Rice sounds just perfect. Listening to acoustic songs from cover sessions by Boyce Avenue is simply magical the TA-30 renders the details so beautifully that I am in love with it. Pop songs like those by Charlie Puth, Camila Cabello, Taylor Swift showed a natural response with good detailing. I personally loved the vocals and mids section here as compared to my other DAC/AMP’s that I previously own.
The xDuoo TA-30 retrieves brilliant details from my music. Fast-paced songs like In Mist She Was Standing by Opeth the instruments sound fuller and detailed with a good amount of airiness present around on the stage. I just couldn’t believe the crisp detailing of drums and cymbals from Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. The representation is warm and detailed, none of the instruments sounded sharp whether it be violins in songs by Tina Guo or electric guitars in Sweet Child ‘o’ Mine by Guns ’N’ Roses. The treble portion is well textured and shows good extensions.
Soundstage and Imaging:-
The xDuoo renders an airy soundstage, it feels wide and deep. The Sivga P-II already has a wide soundstage and with the TA-30 it opens up really well. While with the HD6XX we all know it needs good amounts of power to open up completely and with TA-30 it gets much more than enough juice and sounds just exceptional with an open wide soundstage representation. The xDuoo renders all the instruments beautifully on its wide stage and shows outstanding imaging capabilities.
Let me tell you this thing straight if you are looking forward to buy a desktop DAC/AMP, this right here will fulfill all your needs in a single package. The xDuoo TA-30 is an extremely powerful device, it has a strong and sturdy build quality. It has a clean and detailed sound output with a warm tonality. The TA-30 sounds musical and enjoyable device, it powers my headphones and speakers with ease. As a DAC/AMP, it has humongous amounts of power to drive whatever you throw at it.
You can find some technical details and order one for yourself at our store here.
Comparison between xDuoo TA-30 & Topping D90:-
>The xDuoo TA-30 is priced at 710$ while the Topping D90 is priced at 699$, if you buy the upcoming MQA version of D90 it is priced for 799$.
>The xDuoo TA-30 is a complete package a powerful DAC/AMP while the Topping D90 is actually a DAC/Pre-AMP.
>The xDuoo TA-30 uses an ES9038Q2M DAC chipset while the D90 is equipped with an AK4499 DAC chipset. Both the DAC's are flagship-level DAC chips from their respective brands.
>They both are equipped with flagship Bluetooth chip from Qualcomm, CSR8675 that provides Bluetooth 5.0 transmission with all hi-res codecs support.
>The xDuoo TA-30 sounds more musical and enjoyable while the Topping D90 sounds more analytical. The TA-30 sounds warm and soothing while the D90 has a bright output. The sound output is not harsh in any of them.
>Both the TA-30 and Topping D90 reproduces an outstanding bass response with a full body slam and outstanding sub-bass rumble.
>The vocals are lush and smoother in the TA-30 female vocals sounds better with the TA-30 as compared to the D90.
>The xDuoo TA-30 surely looks more interesting with a tube setup while the Topping d90 has a simple and elegant look.
>Both the Devices can act as a Preamp, but the xDuoo TA-30 can also act as a standalone headphone amplifier with RCA Line IN port.