There were times when stacking your choice of DAP, DAC and Amp was the “IN” thing in the audiophile community where if you had a stack, you’re cool. While the practice is still common, it has seen a steep decline thanks to the recent surge of DAPs that are either packed with great DACs and Amps or have the luxury of attaching a variety of modules. For the audiophiles that live in the fast-paced world, the appeal of a dedicated transport that doesn’t outright play music has indeed died down.
xDuoo believes otherwise with the release of their X10Tii, the 2nd iteration of their X10T which carved a niche of its own that the X10Tii hopes to strengthen. The xDuoo X10Tii review unit that we’ll be using was sent by Linsoul Audio in exchange for an honest review. Priced at $230, you can check it off Linsoul Audio’s official website and DD Audio's AliExpress storefront.
Marketed as a “High Performance Digital Turntable”, xDuoo has high hopes that the X10Tii can at least rekindle the romance from previous stack-loving audiophiles or even stoke new flame within a budding audiophile, time will tell but for now, let’s check on this realview as to what the X10Tii has to offer that makes it even worth considering.
Specifications and Packaging
xDuoo X10Tii Spec sheet:
- Screen: 2.4 Inch IPS HD full vision, 240*320 pixels
- Body Material: CNC aluminum alloy shell with matte surface
- Battery: 3.7V/2400 mAh
- CPU: Ingenic X1000
- Built-in Memory: None
- Size: 103.3*54.3*15.2 mm
- Playing Time: >15H
- Charging Time: <3H(fast charging)
- Expansion Memory Support: TF/Micro SD Cards, maximum 256GB
- Weight: 130g
- Supported HD Lossless Audio Formats: DSF, DFF, DXD, DSD256 and ISO format, FLAC, APE, WAV, ALAC, AIFF and PCM 384kHz/32Bit
The xDuoo X10Tii came in traditional xDuoo packaging which is the white cardboard box with the product snapshot upfront and minor product details on all sides. Inside this box is a black lift up box with a lone silver xDuoo label. Lining the X10Tii unit and its black synthetic leather case are foam cut outs for added transit and on-shelf protection. Underneath this foam cutout is another white box which stored a multitude of accessories, here’s a complete list:
- Type-C to Type-C USB cable
- Type-C to Micro-B USB cable
- Type-C to Micro-B USB charging cable
- Optical cable
- Coaxial cable
- AES cable terminated with mini-XLR3 and full-sized XLR3 connections
- 2x screen protector
- User Manual and Warranty Card
Made from CNC aluminum alloy, the X10Tii does fell premium to the hand and has the heft an all metal build offers but also the tendency to retain the room temperature it’s used on, from being considerably warmer to the hand on a poorly ventilated room to being almost chilly when used in a fully air-conditioned room. While there is some major caveats to the all-metal build, the matte black paint job done on the X10Tii however equalizes some of this with its great almost scratch-resistant finish that both works for form and function. I would however strongly recommend that whoever buys this thing to right away install the supplied screen protector as its 2.4 IPS display isn’t sporting the best glass out there and easily scratches.
It’s pretty boring how xDuoo was unable to update the X10Tii’s overall design language which is completely similar to the other models bearing the X naming scheme by xDuoo. The usual vertical orientation was also used for the X10Tii with exactly the same navigation buttons configuration up front with their X3ii music player. The obvious change was made on the side contours of the X10Tii which is now chamfered as opposed the flat sides of the X3ii which made the included leather case to only fit the X10Tii, the usual placement of the SD card port (supports 256 GB cards but have personally tried using 400 GB cards that worked flawlessly) and the red power button are on the left side and nothing on the right side, the top portion houses a supposed to be plastic cover for that Bluetooth function. The OTG function works great when using the right cables and with the provided Type-C to Type-C cable, I was able to easily connect it to my laptop and have files transferred by drag and drop as well as uploading software update files. You can check the latest firmware for the X10Tii at this SITE which is currently at V1.2.
User Interface and Handling (excerpts from xDuoo X3ii realview)Turning on the X10Tii is a breeze however updating your music library isn’t a walk in the park, a 128GB SD card loaded with around 2,800 tracks took around 4 minutes to update. The X10Tii still uses the dark theme employed on the X3ii and navigation is straightforward and easy to use with zero learning curves as all options are labelled correctly and no weird layouts. I didn’t find it hard to be back with button controls since this doesn’t have a touch screen which other music players are. Cycling through the numerous music files using the forward/backward/next/previous buttons is smooth and no lags. It seems that the Ingenic X1000 processor which was also used on the FiiO M3K (X1000E version) is indeed working great so I won’t be surprised to see this on other devices as well.
There 6 main UI categories being Music Browser, My Music, Now Playing, Music Settings, System Settings and Bluetooth Settings. It houses all the expected sub-categories with notable options such as, Play Mode, DSD Output Mode, Breakpoint Play, Gapless Playback, USB DAC mode, Folder Skip and Car Mode. The presence of an EQ is also making its appearance on the X10Tii which I personally didn’t tinker on but here’s a list of the 10-band EQ presets that are preloaded on the X10Tii:
- Rock, Classical, Jazz, Pop, Dance, Vocal, Sentimental, Metal and of course, Custom
Connectivity and StabilityThis is where the X10Tii makes or breaks its case, touted as “High Performance” with the sole purpose of being able to output Hi-Res quality audio to the user’s choice of DAC and Amp. A multitude of connectivity options are present on the X10Tii and they are all located on the bottom side of the device. The X10Tii possesses a USB/Coaxial1 port, AES output and an Optical/Coaxial2 port. The Bluetooth connectivity is signified by the discreetly designed black “plastic” component at the top-back portion of the X10Tii.
I have paired the X10Tii via USB-C to the Zorloo ZuperDAC-S, via Coaxial2 to the xDuoo XD-05 and via Coaxial2 to the iFi Audio iDSD Micro Black Label, all 3 connections did great and encountered no issues. I have also paired it with via Bluetooth to my OnePlus 3T device and used the Hiby Link function to stream the music on my phone and it did pair excellently and encountered no interruptions.
I haven’t experienced a single signal cut-off or a device lag/hiccup during the whole duration of the realview and all the ports were secure enough as well, I would have preferred a reinforced USB/Coaxial1 and Optical/Coaxial2 port since this device will be heavily used on such ports and an issue on these very parts will spell doom. They could have also provided a much longer AES cable or even a longer Coaxial cable to be used on desktop setups.
Battery Life and Sound QualityThe X10Tii packs a 2400 mAh battery pack and is marketed to last 15 hours of continuous usage. My personal experience with the X10Tii fully charged battery lasted me around 11-12 hours of continuous use when connected to the Zorloo ZuperDAC-S with various MP3, FLAC and DSD files on cycled playback. Charging time is dependent on the charging adapter used but I tried it with various phone adapters and average charging time took around 3-4 hours for a full charge from zero. Intermittent usage was great on the X10Tii as it can last me a full week when using it at either 30 minutes to 1 hour a day at twice or 3 times a day.
The X10Tii stays true to its form with its sound quality performance. It outputs a clean and full-bodied sound which allows different combinations and pairings to be maximized to its full potential. Pairing the X10Tii with the Zorloo ZuperDAC-S delivers a lush sounding midrange with mediocre bass impact and a soft sounding treble presence. The iFi Audio iDSD Micro Black label and X10Tii combo provided a much more engaging and livelier midrange performance with extended upper midrange, the bass impact is considerably better and thumps as expected when the X-Bass feature was enable, highs were distinct and had great clarity and detail retrieval. The xDuoo XD-05 and X10Tii pairing had an overall softer approach as compared to the iDSD Micro Black Label, the bass impact is still great being full-bodied and the midrange engaging with a much more pronounced lower midrange delivery, highs were still distinct and much easier to the ears. I personally enjoyed using the X10Tii with this various pairings except when navigating solely on the X10Tii as the supplied connection cables were indeed too short for the fact that the X10Tii was supposed to be a dedicated audio transport, you better organize your playlists on the X10Tii or let it go full shuffle for that radio feel.
ConclusionThe audiophile community has a lot of things going for it lately and that results to a highly competitive market ranging from DAPs, DACs, Amps, IEMs, Headphones and even the accessories department doesn’t shy away from the competitive nature that the hobby entails. What the xDuoo X10Tii as a dedicated digital turntable transport offers is an exclusive feel which has been abandoned by most audiophiles, pure actual stacking. The X10Tii has a solid build and a slew of connectivity options that fits the current trend that enables it to pair with notable stand-alone DAC/Amps while still being able to harness and exhibit a clean and detailed sound in a stable and lag-free experience. There sure is room for improvement on the X10Tii but with no real competition popping up, the X10Tii is indeed a must-try device, if not a must-buy.