xDuoo TA-26

General Information

Latest reviews

The Collector 3

New Head-Fier
Exceptional Unit For The Money
Pros: Very wide open dynamic sound stage and imaging
Cons: Everything OK even the tubes were very good with unit. Only weak link was the cheap power cord supplied with the unit.
This Unit TA-26s was a complete surprise I ordered it from Amazon at $319. wow again wow. The unit came DHL with 110v for USA application. I put the stock tubes in they were Sino tubes and sound was very good in fact it sounded great. I did have NOS tubes GE 6080 for the power tube and a Westinghouse 6SN7GTB. I put the NOS tubes in the unit also replaced that cheap power cord with an Audioquest power cord 6 FT for around $100. that's fine you don't need anything more than that. Next the sound I gave the unit 45 minutes to warm up before I listened to it I put a CD in the player played it at low volume before I put the headphones on. Sound wise I was blown away the soundstage it was wide open very holographic and detailed. Now this unit does not go down to that super detailed sound you get from your Musical Fidelity V-CAN but it is a totally different sound yes it is as good as the V-CAN but different. For $319. this is a great unit but the downside it does take at least 45 minutes before it sounds great it absolutely needs warm up. The other day I did not give it much time to warm up and I thought there was something wrong with the tubes boy was I wrong after 45 minutes this unit was a pleasure to listen to. The unit gets very warm after it really warms up and sounds great again I say really warm not hot. Of course hot you'd burn your fingers etc.. will not happen with this unit. I would like to of purchased the Woo Audio WA-7 but my budget I couldn't afford but one thing is for sure I ended up with a fantastic sounding well engineered unit at a steal of a price.
  • Like
Reactions: hmscott


1000+ Head-Fier
Real Tube Glow, Real Tube Vibes
Pros: Very high power output, nice entry to tube sound, Good host for tube rolling, well done industrial look that doesn't look cheap.
Cons: IEMs hard to run due to power output, stock tubes rough, bright LED, Lacks the tube experience of higher end units.

I recently got back into checking tube amps out and I’ve also had the chance to hear other tube amp designs recently. When I did the xDuoo MT-604 a bit back, I was decently impressed but I found that a balanced only tube amp good for very specific use cases. The TA-26 has a more traditional and single ended design. The TA-26 comes in at $319 and is set up to use a 6sn7 pre amp tube and 6as7 power tube. Though 6n8p pre amp and 6n5p power tubes are what come stock.

Thanks to Apos Audio for hooking me up with a loaner unit to review. While I always appreciate stuff being sent in to test and review, It never affects the rating of my review.

The xDuoo TA-26 can be picked up from Apos Audio below

Gear used​

S.M.S.L. SU/SH-8S, Lotto PAW S1, DUNU EST 112, THIEAUDIO Clairvoyance, Moondrop Variations, ZMF Atrium, Sennheiser HD560S.

Looks and Feel​

The TA-26 is really well designed and comes in all metal casing with a matte grey finish. The paint looks really well applied and my unit has no sharp edges and every corner is rounded off. Overall the case of the TA-26 looks well done. The metal guard is a nice addition but I would’ve preferred a removable cage instead of the rails since It really only stops you from hitting the tubes from the sides. I still got close to touching the top of the tubes with cables when leaning over. The Tube placement is tucked in behind a bit of extra metal and the front rails. The red knob is a nice touch and gives it a slightly more energetic look. It also has a super bright LED that I’m not a fan of but I simply covered it with tape.

Accessories and unboxing​

Inside the box we get the main unit, two boxed up tubes and a power cable. Everything was well cushioned and it came in an oversized box. I think a smaller box would have worked fine, especially with foam to protect the unit and tubes. These come with generic tubes and a power cable so pretty much everything one would need to get going.

Power switch and volume knobs​

The power switch is on the front which I like since I usually have most units tucked away so reaching behind most of my desktop gear isn't easy to pull off. The volume knob is fairly smooth though it feels a bit too easy to turn. I’m an IEM person mostly so I’ll get into why that was a problem for me later on. I think this is a very good set up on the front!


These final impressions were done off the TA-26 attached to the SMSL SU-9 DAC via RCA. This will be what the TA-26 sounded like with all the headphones I used. This was also using a SED Winged C power tube and a standard Tung-Sol preamp tube. I’m doing the impressions this way to give the TA-26 its best shot as the stock tubes were meh to me. Things like headphone pairings, tube rolling and other source gear will produce different results and impressions vs what my ears hear on my specific gear.

I had higher expectations of this tube amp since it has a more traditional design. I was actually surprised that the TA-26 had a fairly nice “tube” sound signature to it. With the tubes I used, it has a pretty good fullness and warmth to the overall sound. The lows have a softer sound and while things like impact and slam don’t have as strong a presence like my desktop solid state stack, it has a very thick and full sound behind the lows. This is somewhat the same for the mids as well. The mids still retain a lot of their clarity but with a bit extra energy in the vocals very much like a solid state amp. The vocals are probably the least tube sounding part for me with my selected tubes. The vocals come in crisp and almost metallic sounding vs the smooth lows and treble. Speaking of treble, the treble is super warm and relaxed here as well. It does take the edge off most upper frequency sounds but still maintains most of the details. I liked the relaxed treble and I think this sound signature in general is a very good entry point for those looking to see what tube amps sound like.


There is a fuller sound from the TA-26 so this gives off the sense of a wider and deeper soundstage to my ears. This is exactly what I want from a set of tubes. To get a little extra something from the staging. Imaging was fine, a little murky at times to find details but I found myself “listening” more often than analyzing and I think this is gonna be the same experience for those who want to enjoy tubes.

Input and output​

On the back of the TA-26 we get RCA in and RCA pre outs. On the front we get a single quarter inch jack. I think this is fine for a standard tube amp.

Personal grips with the xDuoo TA-26​

I have two main complaints and one nitpick with the TA-26. The first being the bright LED on the front of the unit. I covered it with some tape but it's hard to enjoy the very pretty tube glow when you’re being blinded by a bright blue LED.

Second thing would be output volume/power. Most people are gonna use full size cans and not IEMS but even with the 150ohm Senn HD560S or 300ohm ZMF Atrium, I can’t hit 30% volume without wanting to die from how loud it gets. This makes IEM usage mostly useless due to the standard volume potentiometer imbalance from the first 15% of volume adjustment. I would have liked to see a lower output as I’m not sure what normal headphone would use the last 70% a volume. Even a switch on the back of the unit for a lower gain would have been nice. My solution to this was to use the volume output on my dac and setting the TA-26 to 40% volume to avoid the higher output impedance..

My nitpick would be the stock tubes. The tubes they include lack any detail, sound super neutral and feel dead overall. I didn’t get any of the tube sound I was initially seeking and I was very bummed on first listen. I did let the tubes pre heat for a solid two days on and off before testing the stock tubes. I have a hard time with this as most companies in the CHi-Fi scene are using probably the same stock tubes but for the price of the TA-26, it's better than no tubes at all. I would recommend spending $60-100 on a set of pre and power tubes assuming you can do some research in advance to not get ripped off since tubes are expensive in 2021/2022.

IEM pairing opinions​


Most people tend to avoid using IEMs with tube amps due to the fact that power output from tube amps can be too much for IEMs. While I didn’t have any IEMs that clipped or had issues, volume at lower levels produced imbalance from the potentiometer. After turning down output volume from the DAC, I figured I would test at least one IEM.

The EST 112 had a slightly warmer tone though it felt fairly soft sounding overall. The width however was fairly wide and there was a nice warm and sweet sound with a more relaxed upper mids. I wasn’t able to really find any IEMs I really liked with the TA-26 but I did have better luck with the full sized over ear headphones below.

Over ear pairings​

Sennheiser HD560S​

The 560S had a really nice warmth but with added width to the staging. The 560S comes in a little bright for my tastes but off the TA-26 with my selected tubes, this was really a nice combo with less sibilance up top. The bass has a softer hit but it has a deeper presentation. It has a nice thickness that makes it feel more powerful than it actually is. The mids still sound super clear with a slight loss to resolution. The vocals come in smooth but with a slight loss to the focus. It blends in more than it stands out which doesn’t happen when I listen to these from solid state amps. The treble is also toned down a bit and the edges are all rounded off in terms of detail retrieval. I still got a little sparkle up top, just with a little less decay. I liked this combo alot and I found a favorite amp to pair with my 560S.

ZMF Atrium​

The Atrium wasn’t an experience like the 560S with my testing. I believe the main reason is due to the tuning of the Atrium. The bass was different between solid state and the TA-26. The tube amp had less impact but the deeper bass notes had more quality to them. Specifically bass guitars were more noticeable with stronger focus vs my desktop solid state amp. Mids were mostly the same between both types of amps but the TA-26 has a more solid state clarity to it. The treble was a little more tame from the TA-26 but I would have preferred the mids to be calm as it made the Atrium sound like it had little in terms of treble response when paired with this specific tube amp.

Overall thoughts​

I really like the TA-26 overall but this is assuming one is willing to invest a little extra money to tube roll into something better than the cheap tubes they ship with. This is a good entry point for most people who want to experience tube amp sound on full size headphones or even active speakers. The TA-26 gets a full recommendation from me. I would definitely look at my gripes with the TA-26 to make sure that this tube amp is something that you can deal with. Thanks for reading!


Reviewer at Sound Perfection Reviews
Formerly affiliated with HiFi Headphones
Excellent value, perfect step in to tubes on a budget
Pros: Excellent build quality
Great tube rolling capabilities
Price to performance is superb
Cons: Stock tubes hold it back
LED on the front is very bright
Firstly I would like to thank xDuoo for sending this sample for review.

*disclaimer: This sample was provided for the purpose of writing a review, no incentive was given to write a favourable review. All opinions expressed are my own subjective findings

Gear Used:
JDS Labs Element II (DAC mode) > TA-26 (stock) > Mainly German Maestro GMP400 (alongside Audeze LCD-X and others)


Tech Specs:
Tubes - Preamplifier: 6N8P / Buffer: 6N5P
Input: 1x Stereo RCA
Outputs: 1x Jack 6.35mm headphone output + 1x Stereo RCA
Output power: 500mw @ 600/300Ω
Frequency response: 10Hz-30kHz (±0.5dB)
Gain: +16dB
SNR: 110dB
THD+N: ≤ 0.1% (1kHz)
Recommended headphone impedanc: 60-600Ω


Packaging, Build Quality and Accessories:
The TA-26 comes in a brown cardboard box, no fancy packaging but it is strong and sturdy helping keep the amp safe and secure during shipping. The amp is held neatly in place with foam inserts and all the accessories are tightly packaged to prevent damage - I really like how well packaged the amp was during shipping, even if it means there are no fancy graphics on the Xduoo box.

Build quality of the TA-26 is excellent, the metal chassis is solid and well finished, it's narrow footprint is welcome for desktop setups and the small metal rails help protect the tubes whilst still leaving them easy to swap out for those tube rollers out there. It's a modern yet industrial looking amp which I really like, the metal volume knob looks great and is smooth in its operation, the front on/off toggle switch has a nice positive click to it and the 6.3mm headphone output feels solid too. On the back you have RCA inputs and outputs so you can use the TA-26 as a pre-amp, along with the power cable input socket.

Accessory wise you get a power cable, that's it, but again whenever I'm reviewing a headphone amp that really is pretty much the only accessory needed, occasionally brands will throw in an RCA cable but that's something most of use have laying around anyway. No issues here, it's a desktop amp and doesn't need any fancy accessories.


The TA-26 is an OTL tube amp, this means it will pair best with higher impedance dynamic headphones and easier to drive planar headphones, they are not really suited to sensitive IEM's due to their output impedance and potential noise issues. The rated output of 500mW(300/600 Ohms) is quite impressive and should easily drive most high-impedance dynamic headphones.

The TA-26 uses a 6N8P tube for the pre-amp and 6N5P for the power tube - both of these are easy to find replacements for. The 6N5P can easily be substituted for a 6AS7G or 6080 tube of which there are plenty out there, whereas the 6N8P can be swapped out to a 6SN7 tube of which there are also plenty of options. This is good news for tube rollers out there, you can easily tune the sound to your personal preference by changing out the tubes on the TA-26.

Whilst I haven't opened my unit, you can see some of the PCB inside and it looks to be populated with good quality parts and uses high-temperature capacitors which is essential for an amp like this. There are pictures on the Xduoo product page too which show some of the internals.


The TA-26 is a powerful little OTL amp, using my German Maestro GMP400's I only need to have the volume at around 9 O'Clock to get normal listening levels out of it, and at these levels there is absolutely no background noise from the amp. I have to have music paused and turn it up over 12 O'Clock before any noise is noticed, which is great. The TA-26 isn't an overly warm tube amp, whilst it does impart a little bit of colour it doesn't take away from the headphones original signature too much which to me is the best trait of a good OTL amp.

The TA-26 has very low reaching bass, it adds a slight sense of warmth and body to the whole sound without sounding bloated, there is a little bloom in the low end but again it isn't over done and the sound is full yet tight and doesn't take away any of the finer detail.
The midrange comes across with great clarity and control, it is slightly forward in its presentation but still has good layering and power without sounding edgy or harsh. There is a sense of openness in the midrange making the TA-26 sound deeper than some flatter amps, but again without any too obvious colouring.
The treble is clear and well extended, this isn't an amp that is going to suddenly make harsh headphones listenable, but it does have a slight smoothing effect up top that, coupled with the slightly warmer bass, makes brighter leaning headphones a lot easier to listen to. But it also seems to work well with darker headphones like the HD650 - which just shine when use with tubes - for some reason they stop sounding dull and come alive with better dynamics and a much more open soundstage.

Even though the TA-26 is an OTL amp, it still has impressive layering - this does of course somewhat depend on what headphones you are using too but having an amp that is controlled yet with a hint of that tube warmth is great. If you are looking at this review, you should know a little about what you are looking for and if an OTL amp would be suitable for your system. The TA-26 doesn't have the most expansive soundstage out of the box, playing around with different tubes will likely help here, but it is an amp that has a slightly more direct delivery, it does so without sounding closed in though and there is still a good amount of width to the sound.


If you have a set of high impedance dynamic headphones and want to dip your foot in to the OTL world without spending a fortune, the TA-26 is somewhat of a steal at its price. It offers up a lot of what you would expect of an OTL amp, without costing much, you can tube-roll with ease and find some pairing that you enjoy and it is a brilliant piece of kit. Don't forget it also doubles up as a pre-amp, so should you want to impart some tube-goodness upon another system the TA-26 will allow you to do so. It's well built, has solid sound quality that is clean yet has a hint of that smoothness and fullness that many want from tubes, and is a joy to use - go grab one if you've been on the fence about tubes, you won't regret it with the right headphones.

Sound Perfection Rating: 8/10 (well built, and sounds excellent for the price, the stock tubes let it down but are easily replaceable)


There are no comments to display.