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xDuoo TA-02 Tube Amp
xDuoo TA-02 Tube Amp
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If I were to hook up my Beyerdynamic DT990 to this with an adaptor (preferable one with as little cable between my cans and the RCA inputs to preserve fidelity), would there be much quality lose. Also, I listen to a lot of melodic and symphonic power metal ( ie Nightwish), so there is a massive amount of fast instrumentation. On my ODAC/O2 its still feels somewhat difficult to distinguish between instruments and such because of the sheer intensity of the playing and I was wondering since they mentioned speed and clarity as being benefits of this device. If I put this into my un amplified port of my DAC and played my dt990s through it, do you think I would get the better clarity out of the metal, since they mention EDM and I would imagine that the general issue with these generes would be similar as far as having so much going on at once and such. It is hard for me to articulate my listening properly since I am still pretty new, so I do apologize and appreciate the help!!
Short answer, most likely no. The ODAC/02 combo and separate units are very good.
I am sure you read about them and NwAvGuy enough to make you buy them from one of the various sellers.
Most likely the xDuoo TA-02 will add additional distortion with it's THD+N of 0.1% at 1kHz (which means that distortion will only increase when pushed further).
Now usually this value does not matter too much. The reason being is that the load values often stated by the manufacturer if listed at all, and are useless as they often do not represent real world loads, for example the listed "1kHz" which is not a real world usage value.
To provide a real world spec sheet test would need to be conducted on the full audio range that the device can output at several ohm loads.
Now as for speed of audio output and clarity of output. Unfortunately I can't say too much as I have never used this particular amp. However what I can say is that you should not expect much from a tube amp that is 1. Under-powering the tubes, and 2. Tubes aren't necessarily designed for clarity or speed. Yes tubes have evolved from their muddy very, very warm sounding predecessors, however they still have their downfalls in terms of closeness to the original sound.
Now if you wanted a warm sound tube amps would be a great place to look to (if they are properly powered). However according to some reviews the particular tubes used lean a tad towards the highs rather than lows leading to a slightly harsh sound signature. This would be especially true if you paired it up with you DT990's as they already have a slight bump in the highs. If you know of ZeosPantera then you may have seen his video review of the 990's or have read one of the many reviews on the Interwebs and know what I mean.
So in my personal opinion the TA-02 is probably not a good idea in terms of what you want it for as the O2 does a pretty damn fine job.
Now on a separate note if you believe your ODAC/O2 is under-powering your 990's (which i highly doubt) then a good power step up would be the Fiio E09K but I don't think that is necessary or advisable if you do not have a separate ODAC. If you haven't seen it already ZeosPantera released a video where he compaires his E09K and the TA-02
In the review he compares the TA-02 to his Fiio E09K and reports that there is little difference between the two in terms of sound. This has to do with the tubes not really being used properly in their implementation as input stage tubes. Where op amps take over for the output stage.
Sorry for the long post to answer your question but it look at the bright side it could have been longer. \\(@_@)//
Also if anyone wants to point out where I am wrong please do so. I always like to hear anyone else opinions on matters as long as they are not flame war like or insulting.
Oh no, I really appreciate the information. I am having to use the gain switch for some quieter music, and classical is simply not loud enough with full volume and gain. I am one of the people that got the 600ohm instead of the 250ohm in the last drop (which was a free upgrade so I am not complaining) but I have read that for loads of 600ohms, the O2 is adequate, but not quite ideal. I do have an um amplified output from my ODAC/O2 that I used to have out to a little dayton audio speaker amp and of course the speakers, so if I bought another amp, it would have a place to go. I could probably get better recordings and see what I can do with the clarity. (It has been a world of difference with each hardware upgrade, so eventually XD) Its really the nature of the music more than anything.
Okay that changes things. 600ohms often changes the game. If you need to use the gain switch and high volume on the 02 and the volume is still a bit low then you definitely need a dedicated amp. Would I suggest the TA-02 for critical listening, probably not, for the same reasons I mentioned before.
Personally I think you may be better served with something like the Fiio E09K.
Here is Zeos's review.
Yes it does cost more because it isn't a Massdrop sale item, however it has far more connectivity options than this in terms of Line outs and pre-outs. It is also a solid state amp and therefore not prone to tube decay. <-- I kind of forgot to mention this before but here goes.
Unfortunately tubes slowly decay and mess with the sound as they start to get to the end of their life time. Tube decay is less like one light bulb which all of a sudden stops working, tubes are more like an entire score board of 100 bulbs that slowly start to die out one at a time. You may not notice the first 10 or so bulbs, but it will get to the point where something feels wrong. Unfortunately each tube is different and sometimes they may work great for months or a year or two, but they will inevitable fail. Not to mention tube matching where each tube (even if they are from the same batch will have minor to large audible differences in their amplification of the sound.
Solid state amps do not have this problem fortunately.
With the TA-02 currently sitting at $90 + shipping ($9.68 to the US) basically $100 and with the Fiio E09K at $109, my personal buy would probably be the Fiio just for sheer outputs and longevity in terms of no need to roll tubes (which can set you back a number of penny's for some of the better tubes).
That is really not that expensive, although, if I wanted to spend the money would I be better off looking at the element from JDSLabs (that's where I got my odac/O2 from) Thank you very much for all the information though!.
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