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Pros: Build Quality
Size and Weight
Size and Weight
Thanks to Steven from Xtenik Audio for sending these my way. And ALso my sincerest apologies for them taking so long!
This thing is built like a tank! Solid and sturdy and definitely weighty, it's not incredibly heavy but you definitely feel the heft, it's not small either. While it is possible to do it as a stack and being portable, with the advent of smaller and lighter options this might be best suited as a desk model, they even send small rubber feet so it doesn't slip nor scratch up your precious surface.
The XD-05 is loaded to the brim with inputs, switches, and buttons. Loaded with front input, bass, and gain switches, the volume wheel that doubles as a power switch on the front. Digital, USB, Aux, input as well as a micro-b USB port in the back. It gives everything you want though it is showing its age with the micro USB which could be replaced with C at this point.
Initial impressions are pretty good! It's about what you expect or want to form an Amp/DAC no coloration in the sound, clean sound, good power, good enough most entry-level uses, and has a lot of battery life. Again while not my first choice for the portable crowd it will work if you want it to. There's a bass switch that does up the bass a fair amount but it's not personally my cup of tea, and the filter button doesn't really do much for me at the first listen. I'll update this soon with even more impressions. But for now, if you like what you see you can buy the XD-05 from Xtenik Audio for $209.90 (This isn't an affiliate link, I do not make ANY money from clicking or purchasing through this link, I just felt like I owe the guys from Xtenik a shout out for my inexcusable tardiness)
- Johnny Mac
- 4.50 star(s)
Pros: Great battery life, variety of input and output selections, balanced sound, stable connectivity for the BT module
Cons: Sandblasted surface paint is too sensitive to scratches, no storage case provided for both
Better to be excessive than lacking is a mantra that has been influencing most of my decisions in almost all aspects occurring in my day to day life. A great opportunity came my way to have this mantra be exhibited in this site and if you have been following my realviews, it’s clear that most of my realviews are either IEMs or Headphones that are easy to drive, a case could be made for most of which scales well depending on the source or the power pumped into them.
That said opportunity about excessive amounts came in the form of Xtenik Audio reaching out to Audio Realviews to check out the Xduoo XD-05 DAC/AMP along with its dedicated Bluetooth Module, the Xduoo 05-BL, in exchange for an honest take on the 2 items. You can check out all other Xduoo products off the official Xtenik Audio website. The Xduoo XD-05 DAC/AMP is priced at $209 which you can grab off HERE while the Xduoo 05-BL is priced at $55 which you can grab off HERE.
I've had my previous encounter with Xduoo products in the form of the Xduoo X3ii and I am yet to be disappointed from a price point perspective in relation to its performance and sound quality. With a new addition to their audiophile line of products whose combination of a wired and wireless solution bordering in a portability and desktop usage option will make one wonder if Xduoo are gearing towards an entry towards the high end market. Will these recent additions to their offerings bridge the gap from Xduoo’s niche entry level market towards their supposed leap into the higher ranks either make or break their hopes? I’m more than willing to at least give an insight on this supposed attempt with the XD-05 and 05-BL Realviews.
Specifications and Packaging
- Battery: Built in 3.7V/4000mAh rechargeable lithium polymer battery
- DAC CHIP: AK4490
- Screen: 0.91 inch OLED screen
- Body: Aluminum alloy
- Output Power: 500mW (32Ω load)
- Supported Sampling Rates: USB IN
- PCM: 16-32 Bit/44.1-384KHz
- DSD: DSD64-256(1Bit/2.8M-11.2M)
- DXD: 24-32 Bit/352.8-384khZ
- OPTICAL/COAXIAL IN
- PCM: 16-24 Bit/44.1-192KHz
- Gain: +6/+9/+15dB
- Bass boost: 0/+6dB
- THD+N: 0.0025% (1 KHz)
- S/N: 112dB
- Recommended Earphone Impedance: 8Ω-300Ω
- Battery life: 11H (USB IN), 16H (SPDIF IN), 23H (AUX IN)
- Charging time: Quick charge 5H (with charger), Slow charge 11H (Via PC)
- Size: 139.5*75*23mm
- Weight: 270g
The Xduoo XD-05 packaging was plain signature Xduoo, coming in a white cardboard box with the product photo upfront and the product specifications at the back, inside this cardboard box is a black matte box with gold Xduoo branding on the cover and underneath reveals the XD-05 unit itself resting on a foam cutout to protect it especially during its shipping journey. Just below the XD-05 unit is a white box with all the accessories stored in. The accessory set are as follow:
- USB Cable(for Charger)
- USB Cable(for PC)
- Rubber Feet x 4
- Silicone Band x 2
- CD(With USB driver)
- User Manual
- Warranty card
- 4 Allen screws
- Bluetooth Specifications and Version: 5.0
- Bluetooth Chip: CSR8670
- Bluetooth-Supported Music Formats: SBC, AAC, aptX
- Maximum Communication Range: Within 10 meters
- Distortion Factor: 0.00087%
- Output Amplitude: 0.5Vp-p
- Battery Life: ≥15hours
- Charging Time: Less than 2 hours in case of 5V/0.5V
- Size: 75*22.8*14.8 (29.3) mm
- Weight: 31g
- USB cable
- XD-05 switch protective jacket
- 4 Allen screws and 1 Allen screw driver
- User Manual
- Warranty card
Build quality, Interfaces and Handling
With a body made of Aluminum Alloy, the XD-05 is in fact more lightweight than it appears, coming in at a mere 270g weight makes the XD-05 a great portable desktop solution and with a lengthwise form factor makes it even more constant handling-friendly. I'm not a fan of stacking but with a carefully designed silhouette attributing to the rounded corners and a sandblasted finish makes the XD-05 acceptable. I can carry it around since it fits most horizontal pockets on my backpack and I'd greatly appreciate if they added a velvet pouch for it so I can store other gears on that horizontal pocket.
Front PanelTThe XD-05's front panel features a 0.91 inch OLED screen that shows a collection of battery, audio format, input signal and digital filter indicators. On the left side of this OLED screen is a 6.5mm output jack with a 500mW (32Ω load) Output power and to its right is the Volume knob doubling as an ON/OFF switch and finally, towards the bottom of the OLED screen are three toggle switches for the INPUT (OPTICAL/COAXIAL, USB IN and AUX IN), BASS BOOST (ON/OFF) and GAIN (LOW, MID, HIGH). 4 Allen screws are also present with great ease of access in case you would are open to modding the XD-05’s stock Operational Amplifier (OP AMP).
Decking out the XD-05’s side panel are horizontal vents on the upper portion on both panels except that the left side panel features 3 buttons for controlling the OLED screen (ON/OFF), SAMPLE RATE CONVERSION or SRC (48/96/192/44.1kHz) and the FILTERS option (PCM1, PCM2, PCM3, PCM4).
The XD-05’s back panel also features 4 discreet allen screws for that modding option along with 2 LED light indicators, 1 for the LINK connection which blinks blue when source is confirmed as well as another LED light indicator for the CHARGE status, red when charging and turns off when battery is full. The XD-05’s micro USB port is strictly for charging. The variety of input options for the XD-05’s is its main drawing feature. The 1st of these inputs is the LINE OUT/IN jack, the 2nd input port is the USB Audio input jack compatible with all recent Windows systems, Linux and Apple systems and also supports Apple’s Camera adapter and Android’s USB-OTG function. Lastly, the XD-05 features a DIGITAL IN port for OPTICAL/COAXIAL signals supporting up to 24 bit 192 kHz digital signals.
With an all plastic build for the 05-BL, it then and there shows you that it is indeed dedicated for that BT function although the main front panel is still metal with 4 allen screws as well. The 05-BL comes in only black which greatly compliments either the 2-tone silver/black or the all black XD-05. Attaching the 05-BL to the XD-05 makes the already versatile XD-05 to be even more of a sweet deal not to mention that each component features an independent battery system allowing for more control over your usage behaviors, not to mention that it sits snugs and makes the XD-05 even sleeker when the 05-BL is attached.
Front and Top Panel
Featuring a dual gold-plated 3.5mm jack to implement the BT function with the necessary 05-BL product details and the top panel outlining the different button controls. The 1st being the BT ON/OFF button doubling as a PLAY/PAUSE button when connection is established. A dedicated micro USB port for charging beside a charge LED light indicator (Low Power – Red light blinks, Charging – Red light ON, Charging complete – Red light off) and a BT connection LED light ( Pairing – Blue light blinking, Connected – Blue light stays on, Audio signal playing – Blue and Green light alternately blinking). The last 2 buttons on the 05-BL’s top panel controls the NEXT/PREVIOUS track options and just in case your BT signal is acting up, a discreet rest button is also present on the top panel. All buttons has great feedback when pressed and doesn’t rattle at all when shaking the 05-BL.
Connectivity and Stability
With a weight of 270g for a portable DAC/AMP and you’d automatically expect a plethora of connectivity options to match any need you’d be having when the need arises and the XD-05 doesn’t disappoint. I am yet to experience an instance where the XD-05 wasn’t able to address my occasional need for that audiophile sound. The AUX IN/OUT function works well when I’m needing that amplified power while the USB audio input allowed me to connect it to my laptop as well as via USB-OTG with my mobile phone and DAPs. The Digital IN port allowed me to even have that SPDIF and Optical connection towards my consoles. That’s a complete solution in my opinion, unless when you are needing a connection for your desktop and standing speakers.
With the 05-BL utilizing the CSR8670 BT chip, it enables the 05-BL to support up to Bluetooth 5.0 as well as aptX with a maximum stable range of up to 10 M which upon actual usage is accurate except when walls are present which I tried and BT signal tends to cut off occasionally but still stays connected nonetheless. Using the 05-BL with XD-05 is as stable as it gets with no connection issues whatsoever for all the usage time that I had with it. Pairing time was stellar and appears appropriately as Xduoo 05-BL and not some weird random name which I have encountered on different CN-based BT products. One thing however that knocks off a big chunk of style and portability points off the 05-BL BT module is the fact that it uses dual 3.5mm plugs for connectivity which isn’t storage friendly at all.
Sound Quality and Battery Life
Finally, the part where all these audio stuff either breaks it or makes it, Sound Quality. But before we dive into that, let’s check out the XD-05’s battery performance, with a claimed battery life of around 11-23 hours depending on output and format used, the XD-05 is a stellar performer. It indeed gets past the 11 hour minimum threshold when using it solely connected via USB IN with 16/44 FLAC playback and the usual NetFlix and Steam game marathon. SPDIF IN was a little suspect with an average battery life of 13-14 hours while the AUX IN gets way past that 23 hour threshold and even touches 30 hours. The form factor is indeed justified by packing a reliable battery on it without any heat issues.
The XD-05 uses the AK4490 DAC Chip which is used widely from entry level audiophile products such as the Zishan Z2 to mid tier audio players, Shanling M5 and Cayin i5 to high end DAPs such as the AK KANN and Questyle's CMA400i makes the XD-05 very versatile on paper. It however translated well with an overall balanced sound signature with emphasis on the low-end frequency performance. Sub bass drops has greater impact feel and bass body being fuller especially evident on the Sony CD900st which arguably lacks that low end kick despite possessing a midrange that is well-defined and has great clarity. The variety of filters accounted for a much more intimate feeling imaging performance especially with the PCM1 and PCM3's sharp roll-off capability. I found the PCM4's Short delay roll-off filter to be the most accurate but lacks energy and life towards tracks rendered. The XD-05 handled the ATH-AD900x and Meze Audio 99 Neo with ease and made them more than sufficiently powered even at the 9'oclock volume knob level. Sensitive IEMs such as the BGVP DM6's which was notoriusly hissing on almost all my other DAPs sounded clean and hiss-free. It however synergized best with balanced sounding IEMs like the Tin Audio T3 and the Magaosi K5 v2, the low end rumbled cleanly while still rendering a lush midrange and fatigue-prone treble.
With a BT 5.0 and aptX combo, the Xduoo 05-BL BT module for the XD-05 was a godsend, it enabled the XD-05 to match up with recent releases of wired/wireless DAC/AMP offerings from Fiio to iFi Audio. Battery life was standard though with an average of 10-12 hour performance, it clearly gets behind the XD-05's stellar battery life which made me use the BT connection 1st and make sure that I still have that wired solution ready and locked when the 05-BL decides to rest.
Sound Quality was great and commendable especially for a wireless connection, there's a noticeable dip on the low end performance for the 05-BL which is the XD-05's greatest strength and a recessed treble, good thing though was that the midrange was left intact and still retained great clarity and extension.
ConclusionThe Xduoo XD-05 looks exactly what a portable desktop DAC/AMP solution should be. Its great battery life cancels out its weight drawbacks. It's inherent ability to not color a respective IEM's and Headphone's sound signature with the option to mod its op-amps adds up to its noteworthy features yet still being able to provide that needed power bump and respective frequency kick and extension makes for an even greater value for money. Did I forget to mention that it has a dedicated Bluetooth Module? Oh yeah, the 05-BL! Now that's how you keep XD-05 users happy, a thing other manufacturers of portable DAC/AMP manufacturer's should learn except for those that made portable DAC/AMP with built-in BT support, that's a topic for another review. And one last thing, Xduoo, if you're reading this, please do include any sort of carrying pouch or case for your portable DAC/AMPs because you know, portable?
- 4.50 star(s)
REVIEW: xDuoo XD-05 - The All-RounderxDuoo Website
XD-05 page and full specifications
Price: U$D 210 (MSRP); $200 From Gearbest
The XD-05 arrives in the usual xDuoo package, outer paper box and cardboard inner black box. At the top, there’s the device itself and underneath a small box with the accessories, which consists of a USB cable for DAC use, micro-USB for charging, 2 rubber bands, manual and mini CD for driver installation (if needed).
Design & Interface
Build quality is excellent on the XD-05, made of very thick aluminum body which is not only very solid but also shows its extra weight. It is not a really portable device nor does it have a very ergonomic shape to carry around on the go with a portable player or phone, but it is still very transportable.
The XD-05 is a very versatile device that supports different types of input options for both the DAC and pure amplifier use. At the rear part are located the ‘Device’ connection for DAC usage through a USB port, the ‘Digital’ connection for both coaxial and optical and the ‘Aux’ for common 3.5mm amplification use. There’s also a micro-USB port for charging use alone, so it can be used while charging. It is worth noting that the Device input needs a female USB cable to be connected (which is included in the box); however for other sources like phones or tables there’s need to get an extra OTG cable.
At the front panel, there’s the ‘Phone’ for headphone output, though it is a 6.3mm jack (less common for portable amps) so there’d be need to use the 6.3mm to 3.5mm adapter for other headphones. In the upper middle there’s the OLED display that shows some info such as sample rate, current selected input, battery and filter (for DAC use). Below are 3 switches, the ‘input’ to set between the different sources, ‘bass’ gain (low and high) and the amplification ‘gain’ (low, mid, high). And on the other corner there’s the volume knob that works as on/off switch as well.
The battery rates different length depending on the use of the XD-05, as an amplifier or DAC and the gain level. In the worse scenario it can hold around 10 hours, so can last even longer in a less demanding usage, at least 15hrs.
Power, Gain, Hiss
On the specifications, the XD-05 states being able to handle 8~300 ohm headphones, which means it can power from very sensitive IEMs to much more demanding portable headphones, and from practice it proved to be a quite accurate statement. With most sensitive IEM/CIEMs like multi-BA and hybrids, on the low gain setting, the volume know reached around the half way, and for the higher 150+ ohm earbuds or full-size over-ears the high gain was more than enough to drive them to a reasonable listening volume without showing distortion or lack in dynamics. However, if the source volume level is set to max, the XD-05 will be too loud for sensitive gears, so it’s recommended to lower the player volume for such cases.
Differences between the low and mid gains is very small, but much pronounced when switching to high gain. The Bass gain works fine, though doesn’t give a very strong boost, just some extra kick on the lows and a subtle sense of warmth to the overall tonality but doesn’t mix up with the upper frequencies. It reminds a bit of the Topping NX5 in that regard.
Hiss is noticed mostly with in-ear sets or low impedance earbuds, and some background noise can be picked up when switching between tracks.
Main sources used: Xduoo X10 (w/optical output), Hidizs AP200, Notebook (Win 10), Aune M1s, PAW Pico. A variety of IEMs, earbuds and headphones (on/over-ear).
Overall, the XD-05 brings a well balanced sound without a certain hint of coloration. It’s pretty much a very neutral amplifier and focuses primarily in what an Amp/Dac should do, give a cleaner output signal and improving the dynamics range and other sonic characteristics.
The sounds is improved being tighter, more controlled and with better depth and surrounding stage effect. It does shows a more forward and effortless presentation with some extra energy on the upper frequencies, having more natural detail retrieval.
The bass has better layering and definition, with more speed and sub-bass reach. With warmer headphones the mid-bass is cleaner towards the lower midrange, though can be a bit dry and less engaging for vocals. The bass boost can do the trick adding some needed warmth and richness to the lower instruments; not my preference with IEMs or closed-back headphones, but a nicer match with open-back sets or earbuds.
Midrange is cleaner and mainly has better separation and resolution. It’s more articulated and liquid, but the stronger point lies on the higher transparency and imaging the XD-05 can bring. For the treble, while it shows a stronger sense of detail the texture is a bit plain; it has the good extension, but lacks a little bit of reach. Nothing to complain for its price, and actually can rival more expensive options.
Nonetheless, this device is a great all-rounder and definitely attempts to bring the best balanced possible. Moreover, the op-amp rolling option is a great feature; for instance, the Burson V5i (dual) is a perfect match for the XD-05 and can bring the sound quality to a higher level, mainly in the midrange and treble regions.
The xDuoo XD-05 is simply an all-rounder device. It can be used with any source, acts as standard amplifier or DAC option. The op-amp possibility is also a plus. The build quality is very solid, and while portability is not the strong characteristic, in terms of sound quality it’s well worth the price, and even a better deal when found at a discount for below the $200 mark.