Khadas Tea – A MagSafe Hi-Fi headphone amplifier to play lossless audio on smartphones (Crowdfunding)

From this side of the Internet, Khadas is better known for their single board computer, but the company has also made Hi-Fi audio products starting with the Khadas Tone in 2018 as an add-on board for Khadas VIM/VIM2 SBC, followed by Khadas Tone 2 Pro mini desktop Hi-Fi system in 2020.

The latest audio product from Khadas is a smartphone accessory with Khadas Tea being a thin MagSafe-compatible magnetic Hi-Fi headphone amplifier based on aptX HD and LDAC capable Qualcomm QCC5125 Bluetooth SoC and ESS ES9281AC Pro DAC that sticks to the back of your phone.

Khadas Tea magnetic headphone amplifier

Khadas Tea specifications:

  • Bluetooth Audio SoC – Qualcomm QCC5125 Bluetooth 5.0 audio chipset
  • USB DAC – ESS ES9281AC Pro
  • Amplifier – RT6863D (Buffer Stage)
  • Audio I/O
    • 3.5mm headphone jack
    • Built-in stereo microphone for making and receiving calls over Bluetooth
  • Sampling Rate
    • USB: up to 32bit 384KHz @ PCM, or DSD 256 (Native)
    • Bluetooth: up to 24bit 96KHz
  • Audio Formats
    • USB: MQA (Renderer), AAC, FLAC, APE, WMA, WAV, OGG, MP3 …
    • Bluetooth: SBC, AAC, LDAC, aptX, aptX Low Latency, aptX HD
  • Audio performance
    • Output Impedance < 0.3Ω
    • THD+N, 1KHz: -103dB to -109dB depending on headphone impedance
    • Noise  < 3.2uVrms
    • SNR (Signal-to-Noise ratio) – High-gain Mode: 116 dB, low-gain mode: 112 dB
    • DNR (Dynamic range) – High-gain Mode: 115 dB, low-gain mode: 111 dB
    • Max Output – 300Ω: 20.8mW (2.5Vrms); 150Ω: 42.7mW (2.5Vrms); 32Ω: 165mW (2.3Vrms); 16Ω: 130mW (1.44Vrms)
    • Crosstalk-  600Ω > 113dB; 32Ω  > 70dB
    • Frequency Response, 20Hz~20KHz ±0.05dB
  • USB – 1x USB Type-C port
  • Misc
    • Power, volume up/down buttons
    • RGB LED
    • Compatible with Apple Magsafe (iPhone 12 and later)
  • Battery – 1,160 mAh Li-Po battery good for about 8 hours of continuous music playback
  • Dimensions – 95.5 x 63.8 x 6.25mm (t-min) / 7.95mm (t-max)
  • Weight – 73.5 grams
  • Enclosure materials – CNC machined aluminum + AG glass panel (Teal Blue or Granite Grey)
  • Certifications
    • Sony LDAC, Qualcomm aptX, MQA and Apple MFi

Khadas Tea Landscape gaming

The Khadas Tea headphone amplifier works with iOS, Android (USB OTG needed), iPadOS, mac OD, Windows 7 to 11 (Khadas USB ASIO driver required), and Linux distributions as long as a UAC2 compliant kernel is used. The device will attach to iPhone 12 and later or Android phone with a MagSafe compatible cover, and it works either in portrait or landscape mode while playing gaming for example.

Khadas Tea will ship with a USB-C to C cable, a USB-C to Lightning converter, a user manual, and a 12-month warranty card. The main reason to use this amplifier is to play lossless audio files since most smartphones’ DAC can’t handle lossless audio formats according to Khadas. Contrary to most other Khadas products, It’s a consumer device, and there’s no open-source firmware or the likes.

Khadas Tea is now available through an Indiegogo campaign with a 40,000 HKD (around $5,100 US) flexible funding goal that has already been surpassed. Rewards start at $159 US (Early Bird) that 20% off the expected retail price ($199 US). Shipping appears to be free to most countries including the US and the UK, but there’s a $250 HK (about $31) fee to European countries, which might be for VAT, but it’s not explicitly stated in Indiegogo. Rewards are expected to start shipping in March 2022, although some perks are shown to ship in May 2022. Additional information may also be found on the product page.

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