xDuoo XA-10 Desktop DAC/AMP Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

xDuoo XA-10 Desktop DAC/AMP Review

 

 

Introduction:

xDuoo is a Chinese company located in ShenZhen, China and is specialized in production of Desktop & Portable Headphone Amplifiers, Hi-Fi DAC’s and Portable Audio Players (DAP’s).

The XA-10 is a desktop Balanced DAC & Headphone amplifier with a pretty small size that offers a “Fully Balanced Architecture” with 2x AK4493 DAC’s, Dual Class-A Buffers and Operation Amplifiers (OPA1612) for each channel.

It comes also with some interesting features like Full MQA Support & Hi-Res Codes Decoding (PCM decoding up to 32-bit/768kHz and DSD up to DSD512 natively), a Bluetooth signal receiver chip for wireless sound reception in LDAC, AptX HD, AptX LL codes, 4-Pin XLR, 4.4mm Balanced and 6.35mm connections with ouput power of up to 4000mW @ 32Ω.

 

 

Disclaimer:

I would like to thank xDuoo for providing me the XA-10 as review sample. I am not affiliated with xDuoo beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered, opinions about the product.

 

 

Purchase Links:

The actual price for the xDuoo XA-10 is about $ 479,00 USD. More information’s can be found under the link below;

 

 

Package and Accessories:

The device comes in a white box with a glossy surface that sports the some xDuoo brandings.

This box contains the following items;

  • 1 x xDuoo XA-10 Desktop DAC/AMP
  • 1 x USB A to USB B Data Cable
  • 1 x Power Adaptor & Power Cable
  • 1 x 6,35mm to 3.5mm Headphone Adaptor
  • 1 x Bluetooth Antenna
  • 1 x User Manual, etc.
  • 1 x Warranty card

 

 

 

Design, User Interface and Build Quality:

The is a pretty small/compact and lightweight All in One Desktop DAC/Amplifier with dimensions of 22 x 7 x 10cm and a weight of approx 900grams. It has a rectangular shape and features a volume wheel on the front, which has a circular 0.96″ OLED screen in the center.

On the left side of the XA-10 are the perorated xDuoo logo and 3 buttons, which are the INPUT, MENU and Bluetooth Pairing buttons.

On the left surface is a second perforated xDuoo logo.

At the bottom of the device are some fixing screws, ventilation outlets and fours stands that do have rubber isolations feet’s.

On the top of the device are the xDuoo Logo and some product related details.

The rear side of the XA-10 features various input and output interfaces, which are the USB Type-B, Coaxial and Optical Digital outputs and the analog Stereo RCA in- & outputs.

Here are also a Bluetooth antenna connector, Power input and a small Power on/off switch.

On the front of the devices are 4-Pin XLR, 4.4mm Balanced and 6.35mm analog outputs.

Here is also a nice looking multifunctional Wheel for Volume & Navigation in red color that has a 0.96″ OLED screen in the center. The main screen gives information’s about the actual Input, Volume, Gain, Digital Filter, Codec and Sampling Rates.

The all sheet metal body in bluish grey color has a quite robust appearance.

 

 

 

Technical Specifications:
  • DAC                            : 2x AKM AK4493
  • USB Interface              : XMOS XU208
  • Bluetooth Chip            : CSR8675
  • Bluetooth Version       : Bluetooth V5.0
  • Bluetooth Codec’s       : SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX LL, LDAC
  • THD                             : 0.0008%
  • SNR                             : Balanced: 120dB / Single-ended: 115dB
  • Crosstalk                     : Balanced: 108dB / Single-ended: 73dB
  • Sampling Support       : DSD64/128/256/DSD512 – PCM 32bit-768kHz MQA 32bit-384kHz
  • Output Power             : Balanced: 4000mW @ 32Ω, 1kHz SE: 3000mW @ 32Ω, 1kHz
  • Impedance                  : 16-600Ω Recommended
  • Gain                             : +18dB
  • Inputs                          : Bluetooth 5.0, 1x Stereo RCA,1x Coaxial,1x Optical, 1x USB-B
  • Outputs                       : 1x Stereo RCA, 1x 6.35mm SE, 1x 4.4mm & 1x XLR 4poles Balanced
  • Size                              : about 22 x 7 x 10cm
  • Weight                         : 900g

 

 

 

Features:

The xDuoo XA-10 has a Fully Balanced Circuit that features two DAC and double amplifier chips, with a fully output from decoding to the amplification circuit, which improves the separation and reduces the background noise.

 

A) Dual AKM AK4493 DAC chips:

The xDuoo XA-10 features 2 (Dual) x AK4493 DAC (Digital to Analog Converters) of the company Asahi Kasei. AK4493 is a new generation Premium 32-bit 2ch DAC with VELVET SOUNDTM technology.

The AK4493 integrates a newly developed switched capacitor filter “OSR Doubler”, making it capable of supporting wide range signals and achieving low out-of-band noise while realizing low power consumption. Moreover, the AK4493 has six types of 32-bit digital filters, realizing simple and flexible sound tuning in wide range of applications. The AK4493 accepts up to 768kHz PCM data and 22.4MHz DSD data.

The DAC of the XA-10 offers 5 (Five) digital filters which are the Sharp Roll-Off, Slow Roll-Off, SD Sharp, SD Slow & Super Slow filter.

 

B) Amplification:

The xDuoo XA-10 features three headphone output ports, one single-ended 6.35mm, and two balanced outputs, which are the 4-pin XLR and 4.4mm ports.

Here are some output specifications;

  • 6.35mm Single Ended Headphone Output   : 3000mW @ 32Ω, 1kHz
  • 4.4mm & XLR 4 Poles Balanced Outputs     : 4000mW @ 32Ω, 1kHz

The recommended output impedance is 16 – 600Ω.

 

PS: I have noticed a low but audible amount of white noise when paired with sensitive IEM’s like the Campfire Audio ARA & Solaris 2020.

 

  • Class A Amplification Buffer:

The XA-10 utilizing high-quality transistors as a class A buffer that keeps the circuit in the best working condition at all times. The device is able to deliver low distortion even at heavy loads with demanding headphones. It provides a relative clean output with low distortion levels of 0.0008%.

 

  • Built-In Relay Protection:-

xDuoo XA-10 has a built-in relay protection design to avoid POP noises when the device is turned on. This feature protects the connected headphones/earphones and the device from sudden voltage fluctuations or other abnormal conditions.

 

C) XMOS XU208 for Native DSD:

The XMOS XU208 is a 32-bit multicore microcontroller that brings the low latency and timing determinism of the xCORE architecture to mainstream embedded applications.

The XMOS XU208 Chip inside the XA-10 supports up PCM formats up to 32bit/384kHz and Native DSD up to 512x.

 

D) MQA Support:

MQA stays short for “Master Quality Authenticated” that is a new way to experience high-resolution audio.

MQA encoding folds studio-quality audio into files that are small enough to stream (or store in large quantities on a portable device). But the encoding process doesn’t just make hi-res music files smaller.

The xDuoo XA-10 supports the new MQA Audio standard with maximum support of 8 times expansion, which is 32bit / 384khz.

You can buy a limited selection of MQA downloads now. They play through any equipment that can decode lossless file formats (WAV, FLAC, and ALAC).

 

 

E) Wireless (Bluetooth) Connectivity:

The xDuoo XA-10 comes with Qualcomm flagship CSR8675 Bluetooth chips, which is able to support Bluetooth 5.0 which ensures a stable Bluetooth audio experience.

  • Supported Bluetooth Codec’s are SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX LL, LDAC.

The Bluetooth connection is pretty stable up to a distance about 8-9 meters.

 

 

Equipment’s used for this review:
  • Sources                                  : xDuoo XA-10, iBasso DX220 MAX, Ausu TUF 505
  • Earphone/Headphone          : SIVGA P-II, iBasso SR2, Meze Rai Penta, FiiO FA9

 

 

 

Albums & tracks used for this review:
  • Sonya Yoncheva – (Giuseppe Verdi) II Trovatore, ActI (Flac 24bit/44kHz)
  • Dionne Warwick – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Randy Crawford – On Day I Will Fly Away (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Diana Krall – So Wonderful (DSF)
  • Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Deezer HiFi)
  • Sting – Englishman in New York – (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Barry White – Just The Way You Are (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Isaac Hayes – Walk On By (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Dave Gahan – Kingdom (Deezer HiFi)
  • B.B. King – Riding With The King (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Laura Pergolizzi – Lost On You “Live at Harvard and Stone” (Deezer HiFi)
  • Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu (Live) (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season” (Deezer HiFi)
  • Otto Liebert& Luna Negra – The River (Deezer HiFi)
  • Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Lorde – Royal (Flac 24bit/48kHz)
  • Massive Attack – Angel (Flac 24bit/192kHz)
  • Twerl – Lishu (Deezer HiFi)
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Portishead – The Hidden Camera (MP3 320kpbs)
  • Metallica – Sad but True (Flac 24bit/96kHz)
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets (Deezer HiFi)
  • Rush’s – Leave That Thing Alone (Flac 16bit/44.1kHz)
  • Slayer – Angel of Death (Deezer HiFi)
  • Tom Player – Resonace Theory “Album” (Deezer HiFi)
  • Liquid Tension Experiment 2 – Acid Rain (Deezer HiFi)

 

 

 

 

The Sound:

The xDuoo XA-10 is a desktop DAC/Amplifier that shows a pretty balanced presentation with a close to neutral tonality. There is a low amount of coloration that that is not overdone. When it comes to the frequency response, I can say that it has a bass that shows good authority and extension, the midrange is fairly transparent and detailed, while the treble range offers an above average performance in terms of clarity, control and extension.

 

Bass / Midrange / Treble / Soundstage:

The lower frequency region of the xDuoo XA-10 offers a good sense of authority and shows in general a good level of depth and intensity with all my paired earphones and headphones.

For example, the SIVGA P-II that is a planar headphone have had a pretty linear and fast bass response with good amount of transparency and fairly natural decay.

The subbass region of the xDuoo XA-10 shows a good level of depth and extension along with a nice sense of control when paired with both the Meze Rai Penta and FiiO FA9 that are quite easy to drive IEM’s. The midbass area on the other hand has a fairly natural and neutral character, which shows an efficient amount of impact with instruments like drums and good sense of body and fullness while listen to acoustic guitars.

The midrange of the xDuoo XA-10 shows a transparent and smooth character, with good detail retrieval and clarity for a product at this price range. The SIVGA P-II 1 has shown a good lower midrange depth and extension. Male vocals did sound slightly warm, moderately thick and pretty musical, while female vocals did sound in quite intimate, lively and detailed.

The upper midrange of the xDuoo XA-10 is pronounced and smooth in its tonality. The upper midrange extension is very good for a device in this price range, while everything from female vocals to violins sounded crisp, clear and detailed when paired with both the FiiO FA9 and Meze Rai Penta.

When it comes to the instrument performance of the xDuoo XA-10, I can say that IEM’s like the FiiO FA9 and the Meze Rai Penta did sound pretty detailed and airy and have shown a good level of separation and clarity.

The treble range of the XA-10 is able to produce a good level of airiness and sparkle with all earphones and headphones I have paired with it. The treble range of the SIVGA P-II has had a good level of intensity, extension, while the overall sparkle and airiness was much better compared to the combinations with a DAP like the FiiO M11 Pro.

The xDuoo XA-10 offers a pretty good performance in terms of soundstage realism. The soundstage sounds airy, spacious and offers a good sense of wideness, while the depth was in general on a moderate level with all earphones & headphones I have paired the device.

 

Conclusion:

The xDuoo XA-10 is a powerful and solid sounding Desktop DAC/Amplifier with a compact size that offers a very wide variety of connectivity options. Moreover, it comes with some interesting hardware features and specs like a 2x AK4493 DAC Chip, Class A Buffer, Fully Balanced Circuit and supports Native DSD up to 512x and MQA with 8x unfold.

 

 

Pros and Cons:
  • + Solid Overall Sound Performance (Authority, Clarity, Detail, etc.)
  • + Powerful (4000mW @ 32ohm)
  • + Rich Connectivity Options (both Wireless & Wired)
  • + Fully Balanced Circuit

 

  • – No RCA, Coaxial or Optical Cables included (Only USB A to USB B)
  • – Slightly amount of white noise with sensitive IEM’s

 

Thank you for the Read!

 

 

 

 

 

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