Hi-Res Bluetooth audio receiver/converters can turn any traditional HiFi system into a wireless one. In this article, I’m reviewing the xDuoo XQ-100. The XQ-100 is equipped with dual ES9038Q2M DAC chips and multiple outputs, including balanced XLR outputs. It also supports aptX and LDAC. The price is $389.
Disclaimer: This sample was provided by xDuoo for the purpose of an honest review. All observations and opinions here are my own based on my experience with the product.
xDuoo XQ-100 Review
An awesome device that helps you easily breathe new Hi-Res wireless life into an existing system.
The xDuoo XQ-100 has a CNC crafted aluminium chassis with a smooth matte finish. It has a fairly unassuming design but looks quite premium and should match well with your existing gear.
On the front panel are the OLED screen and device controls. The screen is clear and easy to read, even in a bright room. It displays information such as the Bluetooth status, current sample rate, current wireless codec, song title and upsampling status.
The buttons on the front panel are (from left to right) Play/Pause/Standby, Previous track, Next track, SRC (upsampling mode) and input selection. For the most part, I found myself controlling playback from the source (my computer or phone) but when using the onboard controls, I found them to be responsive and easy to use. The buttons feel robust and have a tactile click.
On the rear panel are the optical, coaxial, balanced XLR and AUX outputs. Here you’ll also find the coaxial In/Out, Bluetooth antenna, power switch and power socket.
Internals and Functionality
Internally, the xDuoo XQ-100 hosts dual ES9038Q2M DAC chips and a Qualcomm CSR8675 Bluetooth chip. The unit runs Bluetooth version 5.0 and includes all of the current standard Hi-Res wireless codecs, including SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX_ LL, aptX_ HD and LDAC.
Using the SRC button on the unit, the sample rate can be upsampled to24bit/192kHz. This will supposedly give you a more dynamic and delicate sound but your mileage may vary.
As for the Bluetooth connection, it has been rock-solid for me with all 3 of the sources I used for testing (Windows 11 PC, iPhone 11 and Sony NW ZX-300). I haven’t experienced any signal loss or drops whatsoever, even when moving around the house with my phone; obviously, your mileage may vary depending on the source and size of your house!
If you haven’t tried any Bluetooth audio devices lately, you really ought to. Wireless audio technology continues to advance and is arguably already at such a high level that in some cases, it’s almost indistinguishable from its wired counterpart.
There’s no doubt that aptX-HD and LDAC provide the best audio quality but even the AAC from my iPhone sounds great on this system. I love being able to control playback from my desktop computer while my speakers are at the opposite end of the room. It would be equally viable for a living room system or anywhere you want to set up.
The ES9038Q2M is a DAC chip that many enthusiasts are now intimately familiar with which may give you some idea of what to expect in terms of sound. Of course, the implementation of the DACs makes a difference too but at least you know what this one is capable of.
Like the other xDuoo products I’ve tested, the XQ-100 sounds muscular and confident. The sound is transparent with good end to end extension, strong dynamics and clarity. It has a strong command of rhythm and a robust yet insightful approach to music.
The fact that you can also hook up a CD Player or source via coaxial cable for true 24bit/192kHz adds another layer of versatility. The XQ-100 gives you the convenience of Bluetooth but a wired connection as well if you want to do even more serious critical listening.
The xDuoo XQ-100 is a fantastic device to have if you want to expand your current HiFi setup. You could potentially even build a completely new system around it. It has a rugged construction and a mature aesthetic and can easily integrate visually with other equipment.
But perhaps what I like most about the XQ-100 is its simplicity and the way it consistently just works. All you need to add is an amplifier and you have a great foundation for a complete system. If you’re looking for a way to go wireless, definitely check this one out.