Drop and xDuoo Collaborate to Unveil the TA-84 OTL Tube Amp/DAC


September 23, 2023

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Summary: Drop has released their first all-tube amplifier with a rock-solid DAC stage, the Drop + xDuoo TA-84 OTL Tube Amp/DAC, designed to deliver signature tube "warmth" without the excess noise that often accompanies it.

  • Utilizes Output Transformerless (OTL) topology, reducing distortion
  • Features dual ECC-82 tubes and dual EL-84 pentodes
  • Equipped with an ultra-precise stepped potentiometer for volume control and a gain switch


Drop (Massdrop), the audio equipment manufacturer, has been stirring up the industry for the past decade with its line of award-winning amplifiers. However, there was one type of amp that had eluded them until now. Introducing the Drop + xDuoo TA-84 OTL Tube Amp/DAC, their first-ever all-tube amplifier with a rock-solid DAC stage.

The TA-84 is designed to deliver that signature tube “warmth” without the excess noise that often accompanies it. It achieves this by utilizing Output Transformerless (OTL) topology, which manages the signal without the need for a transformer, effectively reducing distortion. The preamp phase features dual ECC-82 tubes, while the power amp phase runs on dual EL-84 pentodes, both popular choices in the audiophile amplifier space.

To ensure compatibility with any set of headphones or powered speakers, the TA-84 is equipped with an ultra-precise stepped potentiometer for volume control and a gain switch to further fine-tune the output level. This attention to detail allows users to find that sweet spot for their preferred audio experience.

One of the key challenges with tube amplifiers is managing the inherent noise that comes with their cathode amplification. This is often caused by the transformer used to transfer the high impedance, low current, high voltage signal of the tube to the low impedance, high current, low voltage signal required for headphones or speakers. In the TA-84, Drop has addressed this issue by implementing xDuoo-designed capacitors in the power amp, eliminating the need for a transformer. These capacitors are exceptionally quiet and linear, resulting in a clean and noise-free audio experience. However, it’s worth noting that they work best with higher impedance headphones (100-ohm impedance or higher).

In addition to its OTL topology, the TA-84 boasts several other audiophile features to enhance the tube-driven listening experience. The stepped potentiometer offers 21 defined steps for precise and reliable channel balance, while the gain switch provides 42 settings to cater to different headphones or powered speakers. The onboard ES9018K2M SABRE32 Reference DAC with 32-bit 384-kilohertz PCM sampling rates ensures seamless playback and conversion for both headphone and preamp outs.

When it came to finding a collaborator for their first all-tube amp, Drop turned to xDuoo, a brand known for its highly regarded amplifiers, DACs, and audio players. With a strong R&D team and a reputation for accessible audiophile performance, xDuoo was the perfect choice to bring the TA-84 to life.

In terms of specifications, the Drop + xDuoo TA-84 OTL Tube Amp/DAC features RCA and USB-C inputs, a 6.3 mm TRS (¼”) headphone output, and an RCA preamplifier output. It measures 10.6 x 6.4 x 4.6 inches (26.8 x 16.3 x 11.6 cm) and weighs 6.6 lbs (3 kg). The power source is selectable between AC 110 V (100-120 V) and 220 V (220-240 V). The amplifier section utilizes two EL-84 power amplifier tubes and two ECC-82 preamplifier tubes. The output power ranges from 44 mW to 93 mW, depending on the impedance of the headphones. The frequency response range is 10 Hz – 80 kHz (± 0.5 dB), with a crosstalk of 65 dB and a signal-to-noise ratio of 102 dB. The recommended headphone impedance is between 100 ohms and 600 ohms.

The DAC section of the TA-84 features an ES9018K2M DAC chip with support for PCM 16-bit – 32-bit / 44.1 kHz – 384 kHz and DSD64 – DSD256. It boasts a THD+N of 0.002% (at 1 kHz), a signal-to-noise ratio of 113 dB, and a crosstalk of 88 dB. The DAC is compatible with various operating systems, including Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, iOS, and Android.

The Drop + xDuoo TA-84 OTL Tube Amp/DAC is available for pre-order at a special price of $329, with regular pricing set at $399. Shipping is estimated to begin on October 31, 2023.Drop and xDuoo Collaborate to Unveil the TA-84 OTL Tube Amp/DAC

Drop and xDuoo Collaborate to Unveil the TA-84 OTL Tube Amp/DAC

Drop and xDuoo Collaborate to Unveil the TA-84 OTL Tube Amp/DAC

Drop and xDuoo Collaborate to Unveil the TA-84 OTL Tube Amp/DAC

Drop and xDuoo Collaborate to Unveil the TA-84 OTL Tube Amp/DAC

Drop and xDuoo Collaborate to Unveil the TA-84 OTL Tube Amp/DAC

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