• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Best DAC headphone dongles with Bluetooth

carlmart

Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2018
Messages
65
Likes
5
I'm looking for affordable, portable DAC headphone amps with BT option. What are the amps you would recommend?

On my short list, for now, there's only the FiiO BTR5 (not tested yet in ASR) and Qudelix-5K. Are there others in their price range that deserve considering?

My next limitation is availability: Aliexpress is the only reliable supplier to Brazil, and usually buy everything from them. Unfortunately they do not sell the Qudelix.

Please feel free to recommend anything you have or is using now as your first choice for my requirements.

I wonder how I would convert my Sony unbalanced large caskets to the balanced output all now seem to prefer.
 

Blorg

Member
Joined
Dec 16, 2020
Messages
25
Likes
35
The BTR 5 uses the same ESS chip in a dual configuration as the Qudelix 5K, I suspect they sound identical. Most reviews I have seen that compare both suggest they sound the same, and measurements seem similar as well. Functionally the Qudelix 5K seems to have a better app with parametric EQ and the PEQ works in both cabled DAC mode and LDAC. The BTR5 has only graphic EQ, and it does not work in DAC mode or LDAC, only lower BT codecs. But if you don't want to use EQ, this isn't particularly relevant.

The Qudelix is also smaller and lighter, has better battery, and better BT range. The BT range on the BTR5 is objectively poor. It's fine if you are near the BT source but it cuts out quicker going to the next room than any other BT device I have. The Quedlix from everything I have read doesn't suffer from this, likely the all-plastic case helps with the signal.

The BTR5 has the screen and menu on the device, which is nice for changing things or seeing the volume number, and better buttons. It probably feels more "premium" with the glass/metal construction but this also makes it heavier and more fragile.

I have the BTR5 and I'm happy with it; if all else was the same, I think the Quedelix 5K probably is the better device but sound-wise specifically I suspect they are equal, so if the BTR5 is easier or cheaper to get it's a good option.
 
OP
C

carlmart

Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2018
Messages
65
Likes
5
There's a 2021 BTR5 which seems to be better, but it's more expensive.

I'm hoping AE lowers its price for the Black Friday's offers. Maybe they do that.
 

ZolaIII

Major Contributor
Joined
Jul 28, 2019
Messages
1,855
Likes
1,070
Tooping BC3
 
Last edited:

Andyr

New Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2021
Messages
2
Likes
2
I've owned the Qudelix 5K and the BTR3K. I haven't used the BTR5, but I would expect very similar performance to the 5K.

The 5K sounds incredible - I was amazed at what it can do with my Aonic 4 with a balanced cable. It's a definite upgrade over the BTR3K. It's also a smaller package when you take the BTR3K's clip into account.

The main reason I'm not head over heels in love with the 5K is it's very awkward to use. It's difficult to know if you've switched it off properly, hard to switch on, and the button combinations don't always stick. The buttons also don't always register key presses.

The dealbreaker with the BTR5 for me is the size. The BTR3K is as big as I'd want to go for something clipped to my shirt.

Provided you can live with with design quirks, I'd try to track down a 5K.
 

abdo123

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Nov 15, 2020
Messages
5,661
Likes
5,502
Location
Brussels, Belgium
Provided you can live with with design quirks, I'd try to track down a 5K.

Really? the companion app is 10/10 and it pretty much turns itself off after like 1 min of inactivity (and automatically turns itself back on when there is input).

if you want to turn it on manually just for the companion app you can just hold the button below the notch for a few seconds and viola.
 

Andyr

New Member
Joined
Oct 27, 2021
Messages
2
Likes
2
Really? the companion app is 10/10 and it pretty much turns itself off after like 1 min of inactivity (and automatically turns itself back on when there is input).

if you want to turn it on manually just for the companion app you can just hold the button below the notch for a few seconds and viola.
The app is great, but for me my phone isn't always accessible (or I'm too much of a rush to check). A few times when I thought I'd turned it off with the physical button, I found it had stayed on in my bag all day.

All they really need is a properly audible power off and power on message (the swish sound is easy to miss). I should also add that there only seems to be an android and ios app.

I forgot to mention that the 5K is incredibly stable if you're going to use it somewhere with a lot of interference like a busy train station.
 
Top Bottom