xDuoo Link2 Bal Overview — Headfonics

Deal Score0
Deal Score0

It is a evaluate of the xDuoo Link2 Bal which is a twin SE and balanced output dongle-type transportable amp/DAC with as much as 270mW of output energy. It’s priced at $149.

Disclaimer: It is a pattern despatched in trade for our sincere opinion. Headfonics is an impartial web site with no affiliate hyperlinks or standing. Thanks to Shenzhen Audio and xDuoo for this chance.

Click on right here to learn extra on xDuoo products that we have now beforehand lined on Headfonics

Observe, that this text follows our newest scoring tips which you’ll be able to learn up on here.

xDuoo Link2 Bal

The xDuoo Link2 Bal is a dongle that lacks an app and among the options that carry the same price ticket nevertheless it provides the client a superb listening expertise. Though it’s not essentially the most highly effective in output, it has good technical talents.

Slide right here so as to add your rating on the gear!17 Votes



Spacious Soundstage

Good decision

Sturdy design


Chunky type issue

No accompanying app

xDuoo has entered the dongle DAC market greater than as soon as earlier than they usually apparently promote their inventory out shortly and that’s a superb factor. It solely means their dongles have a superb basic attraction. However changing a superb vendor is a difficult enterprise these days.

Every xDuoo dongle as they’re launched carries some small enhancements however nonetheless lacked refinement in sure areas. For instance, Hyperlink V1 and V2 had hooked up wires, much less energy at 32mW/82mW respectively, and a single-ended topology. The Link2 had a removable wire and raised the ability output to 150mW however nonetheless, it had no balanced topology.

So, if their older fashions had such attraction then their flagship dongle, the Link2 Balanced, (Bal), will even have a excessive degree of attraction and may naturally be a step above their previous dongles.

The Link2 Bal does present on the floor many visible cues that inform me extra work was put into this mannequin for sure in comparison with their earlier fashions.

xDuoo Link2 Bal Review
Copyright xDuoo 2022

Tech Highlights

There’s nothing progressive a few dongle that makes use of twin SOC DAC chips as a result of it appears to be the frequent norm these days. The xDuoo Link2 Bal additionally employs this idea.

Two Cirrus Logic CS43131 DACs sits on the coronary heart of the Link2 Bal which is actually a typical configuration these days and used on different fashions.

The distinction right here is that xDuoo added a separate amplifier stage. The Link2 Bal has included a Texas Devices LM27762 chip which is a cost pump LDO that claims an influence conversion effectivity of 85% which is a quite excessive declare.


DSD DOP native is finished on the Link2 Bal from DSD64 all the best way as much as DSD256 and PCM 16/24/32 bit all the best way as much as 384kHz. This dongle DAC does hardware-level rendering if the Cirrus Logic chips specs and options have been accurately utilized and applied and I imagine it’s so.

The xDuoo Link2 Bal has no MQA capabilities however that’s wonderful with most listeners these days and myself included. In fact, it will be good to have the format functionality for TODAL followers and people who use native storage MQA codecs.

All these codecs are able to operating no matter supply because the Link2 Bal is appropriate with iOS and MAC, Home windows, Android, and even Chromebook appropriate. However in case you discover it to be incompatible with a supply simply swap it over to UAC 1.0 and it ought to work.

xDuoo Link2 Bal Review
Copyright xDuoo 2022

Efficiency Numbers

One of many specs that xDuoo pushes is the Link2 Bal low distortion and excessive SN ratio numbers that are quite good. The SN ratio for instance is measured at 127dB.

The DAC chip alone carries a 130dB spec by itself manufacturing unit spec sheet. So, it appears the circuitry is a well-implemented one that doesn’t mar that specification.

The Texas Devices LM27762 contained in the Link2 Bal manages 270mW off the balanced 4.4mm connection and the single-ended 3.5mm manages 125mW, each measured at 32Ω. That’s sufficient energy for some headphones on the market however with dongle DACs, I might largely keep on with utilizing IEMs for portability’s sake.

That quantity of energy is delivered with a THD-N of 0.001% on the single-ended aspect and 0.007% on the balanced aspect. Additionally, one apparent be aware within the specs is that crosstalk improves significantly on the balanced port which is rated at 120dB versus the single-ended 77dB ranking.

xDuoo Link2 Bal Review


The xDuoo Link2 Bal is a handsome dongle and feels sturdy far as construct. It feels good within the hand nevertheless it’s quite chunky. The xDuoo Link2 Bal physique is constructed from a single piece of aluminum, CNC formed, medium gray anodize completed, and completed off with 2 items of tempered glass.

One piece of glass shows the corporate brand and mannequin quantity on the underside portion whereas the highest portion sports activities a format indicator quick strip LED. The flip aspect shows the xDuoo web site, a made-in-China declare, and a few certifications laid in gold letters that are seen throughout the pitch-black tinted glass.

The I/O connection set consists of a typical USB-C port for the only enter. The 2 output ports are a 3.5mm single-ended and a 4.4 balanced Pentaconn connection.

On one aspect you’ll find a twin button sort quantity management and a purple button which is used as a multifunction button for pause, play, and telephone name acceptance plus different capabilities.

The opposite aspect panel sports activities two switches, one is a UAC mode swap and the opposite is a turbo mode swap. This might have been carried out with a simultaneous press on each quantity buttons to toggle the turbo mode.

The UAC might have been carried out with a protracted press of the purple button whereas connecting to a USB supply. I might have most popular one thing completely different on these switches like filter selectors and, or a bass enhancer.

xDuoo Link2 Bal Review

Packaging and Equipment

I’ve to provide reward the place reward is due and though I’m not an iPhone person and personally use Android cell gadgets the xDuoo Link2 Bal features a Lightning terminated cable which is quite uncommon with dongle DACs these days and it shouldn’t be so.

In fact, you additionally get a USB-C cable and a full-size USB sort A adapter that matches each included wires. I might take into account this setup of included connectivity to be the usual however dongle DAC makers haven’t rectified this for my part. Not often do they embrace any Lightning connectivity leaving that group to enterprise out to get their very own cable.

The dongle DAC, the cables, the adapter plus a person’s guide and a guaranty card make up the entire package deal listing that comes within the field which isn’t too giant. The contents come properly protected inside and individually positioned inside some customized molds.

xDuoo Link2 Bal Review

Sound Impressions


The primary character I observed in regards to the Link2 Bal sonically was the full-bodied spectrum sound that’s broad and tall, quite expansive however with a impartial however slight mid-centric character. It portrays general a tonality that’s quite giant in scope.

The nice and cozy bass tonality tends to calm down the bass and presents it in a tamed method however with a superb quantity of physique and low-end extension nonetheless.

The midrange takes entrance and middle stage right here, nonetheless. The excessive frequencies additionally appear to be managed and barely timid, by some means held again from crossing over into distortion ranges.

This specific dongle DAC does properly within the element retrieval division, particularly across the midrange part. You can hear distinct nuances exceptional with previous dongle DAC iterations and solely surpassed by modern-day fashions with beefier {hardware} implementations and naturally greater costs.

I might point out a couple of tracks that the Link2 Bal allowed me to pick clearly sure particulars when different dongle DACs made these particulars nearly absent or exhausting to determine. For instance, I might select particular person notes from a piano inside an enormous orchestra very distinctly in a selected track, that type of element.

Staging and Dynamics

The Link2 Bal tends to be soft-mannered as to not emphasize something inside a recording nevertheless it’s no mister softie both. It appears to make use of a relaxed tuning however a quite spacious one and nonetheless might pack a punch at instances. It additionally hardly ever sounds rushed, confused, or congested.

Imaging is sort of spot on with only a very small quantity of underfill however placement makes up for it and the Link2 Bal portrays an curiously expansive functionality, significantly throughout the midrange and excessive frequencies. 

The balanced aspect does certainly have a small sonic enchancment over the single-ended aspect, particularly within the general staging which provides credibility to the virtually double and far greater crosstalk specification. It additionally tends to supply extra element so I might think about using the 4.4mm connection solely.

xDuoo Link2 Bal Review



The xDuoo Link2 Bal truly has a pair, not solely in reference to twin outputs but in addition that it may well push my T50s and my Hifiman Arya properly and I’ve the second launch which isn’t as environment friendly because the newer stealth version.

The balanced connection not solely will provide you with higher staging and imaging as a result of quite giant distinction in crosstalk specification however dynamics appear to enhance significantly. You get extra punch and fewer distortion at greater quantity ranges.


I did need to kick the Link2 Bal into regular mode each time I used IEMs because the turbo mode did produce a really slight quantity of hiss with very delicate IEMs however nothing main and was barely noticeable. With the acquire setting on regular, there was an absence of hiss with all my IEMs.

The primary IEM I used to show this character which was the FiiO FD7 which isn’t too vulnerable to hiss however I additionally observed some hiss with different IEMs and the treatment each time was the conventional acquire mode switchover.

With full-sized headphones, this wasn’t a problem on any headphones I used, and positively not when the dongle is in regular mode however I usually kicked in that turbo mode on full-sided cans. The not-so-sensitive cans positively most popular the turbo setting.

The Link2 Bal excessive acquire appears significantly set for full-sized headphones and there’s an app on the market nevertheless it’s only a 63-step acquire management.

Nevertheless, I couldn’t discover it within the app retailer and it will be simpler to seek out it on their web site, obtain the equipment from their web site which incorporates the APK, and manually set up it.

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