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Fiio BTR3 Review (Portable DAC & Bluetooth Receiver)

Atanasi

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I think Topping's BC3 is a no brainer if it's Bluetooth that you want :confused:
BC3 has a larger form factor and doesn't have a carrying clip. BC3 can be used to complement a desktop DAC, but it is not as practical as a mobile device.
 

Matias

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Not to defend the poor performance of the BTR3, but the Apple dongle outperforms a surprising number of desktop devices.

View attachment 149414
And for 23 usd you have the regular Meizu HiFi DAC doing SINAD 115 (Amir's test had ground loop and resulted in high distortion SINAD 98, but running on a cell phone it goes to spec as seen here), and also more power 49 mW at 33 ohms.

As far as I know, the regular Meizu HiFi DAC is the best buy in entry level dongle DACs today.

meizu.jpg
 
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dorirod

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the Fiio BTR3 portable USB-C Dac and bluetooth wireless receiver.

Thank you for the review @amirm . This is certainly a disappointing showing. I'm one of the faithful users. I'm still happy with it. When it came out there weren't too many options of this size, price, and functionality. Nowadays that the Qudelix 5K exists I wouldn't go with Fiio. However the BTR3 I have is still running perfectly fine after several years of regular use. It has decent battery (well with that amount of power it puts out :), supports LDAC for what that matters, and is relatively stable with bluetooth connectivity (range isn't greatest though).
 

tsanguine

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I have one of their other dongles, which seems like the same device, except it connects via a mini spdif connection instead of USB.
I only got it to turn a wired set of IEMs into BT capable - meaning the IEM's don't have to be physically connected to my phone for listening.
I suspect a lot of users buy such devices for a similar scenario.
So judged solely as a BT device, it probably sounds about as good as one would expect. No one listens to BT from their phone and expects hi-end sound.

I'm perfectly happy with the Qudelix 5k or the Earstudio ES100. Those sound great with bluetooth using LDAC. I primarily use the 5k and don't have any issues driving my Aeon Flow 2 closed.
 

ishouldbeking

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Hmmm...

Does Fiio make any top-tier products? Or do I dare ask any above average? Links or product models are welcomed.
Some of the IEMs are well-loved among that crowd. My ears don't get along with IEMs so I can't comment one way or another. Overall, they seem to do a decent job of industrial design but a lot of the amp/DAC designs fall short of competitors in terms of performance.

In this particular segment (BT receiver / amp / DAC), I'm a huge fan of the Qudelix 5k even if performance isn't absolutely top of the line. (Still much better than this.) The Qudelix designers continually add functionality to the mobile app in response to user requests, and the overall package is extremely usable.
 

Theriverlethe

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And for 23 usd you have the regular Meizu HiFi DAC doing SINAD 115 (Amir's test had ground loop and resulted in high distortion SINAD 98, but running on a cell phone it goes to spec as seen here), and also more power 49 mW at 33 ohms.

As far as I know, the regular Meizu HiFi DAC is the best buy in entry level dongle DACs today.

View attachment 149422

A SINAD of 98dB is still absolutely transparent.

How did Fiio botch the BTR3 so badly when there are at least three integrated DAC chips on the market capable of 2VRMS output, including the one used in the Fiio E10k for over five years?
 
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dorirod

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I mainly use mine to listen to HE4XX (35 Ohm, 93 dB/mW), ATH-M40x (35 Ohm, 98 dB/mW), SHP-9500 (32 Ohm, 101 dB/mW), Tin T2 (16.5 Ohm, 111.56 dB/mW) and if I'm understanding this correctly, I should be able to get 106 dB, 111 dB, 115 dB, 128 dB SPL respectively. It's probably why it hasn't been an issue for me. I don't listen loud enough to need more than max. It would be nice if it could provide 1.5V though.
 

Theriverlethe

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I mainly use mine to listen to HE4XX (35 Ohm, 93 dB/mW), ATH-M40x (35 Ohm, 98 dB/mW), SHP-9500 (32 Ohm, 101 dB/mW), Tin T2 (16.5 Ohm, 111.56 dB/mW) and if I'm understanding this correctly, I should be able to get 106 dB, 111 dB, 115 dB, 128 dB SPL respectively. It's probably why it hasn't been an issue for me. I don't listen loud enough to need more than max. It would be nice if it could provide 1.5V though.

Problems start when you use -6dB gain for EQ and then listen to pre-loudness wars pop recordings or classical recordings with lots of dynamic range.
 

Vini darko

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That jitter test is one for the curiosities book. Thanks for the review Amir at one time I was considering this device amonst others. Ended up just getting a lgV30+
 

Langston Holland

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Please forgive my ignorance on this, but it appears that you made measurements using two methods:

1. Closed loop via the USB Type-C interface, which I assume requires you to install an ASIO driver for the player to interface with the APx555.

2. Closed loop using Roon. Or maybe open loop?

Or did you only use Roon as the source for music playback through the player via WASAPI?

Thanks! - Langston
 
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amirm

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1. Closed loop via the USB Type-C interface, which I assume requires you to install an ASIO driver for the player to interface with the APx555.

2. Closed loop using Roon. Or maybe open loop?

Or did you only use Roon as the source for music playback through the player via WASAPI?
All of the above. :)

With wired USB connection I tested both in closed loop with AP and open with Roon using WASAPI. With this class of device, the ASIO emulation layer I am using (ASIO4ALL) for AP software (it doesn't support WASAPI) gets confused and truncates to 16 bits causing spurious tones. Roon doesn't suffer from this since it is using native WASAPI but for some reason it created those dual tones in the extreme.

For Bluetooth testing, it was open loop with Roon player on my Samsung phone streaming content to it.
 

don'ttrustauthority

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o BTR3 Bluetooth Streaming Measurements
Since many people will use this with Bluetooth, let's stream some bits to it using the best codec available, LDAC:

index.php


It says 'same as wired' but it's not, well, AUDIBLY it is, but on the response curve as it approaches 20kHz it suddenly decreases where the bluetooth removes signal.

Since LDAC is not 'lossless' it cannot be 'same as wired'. This had me stumped so I searched for what Amir missed ... a tiny fragment but it's there!
 

fieldcar

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it says 'same as wired' but it's not, well, AUDIBLY it is, but on the response curve as it approaches 20kHz it suddenly decreases where the bluetooth removes signal.

Since LDAC is not 'lossless' it cannot be 'same as wired'. This had me stumped so I searched for what Amir missed ... a tiny fragment but it's there!

The noise floor and harmonic distortion are pretty essentially identical. That's why he said it. As far as LDAC being lossy, that's true, but it's not the weak link here. LDAC is damn near lossless though. Look at the topping bc3!

index.php
 

Madlop26

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Sorry to hear about the BTR3
I think the BTR5 is even more popular than the BTR3, I have one, and sound great in my limited opinion.
According to Fiio spec the BTR5 produces 1.6V (Single-Ended) and 2.8V (Balanced) at 32 Ω loaded. Seems not too bad, if we are lucky Amir may have a chance to review this one, crossing my fingers.
 

Atanasi

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It would be interesting to measure the SINAD of LDAC with musical content. Starting with a music file, let's add a synchronization mark at the beginning and play the file through LDAC. Using the synchronization mark to align samples, compute the difference.
 

don'ttrustauthority

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The noise floor and harmonic distortion are pretty essentially identical. That's why he said it. As far as LDAC being lossy, that's true, but it's not the weak link here.
Totally agree it doesn't matter, I love LDAC, have it in two headphones and two portable devices. I was just wondering where the lossy was since LDAC is lossy.

And I like poking at Amir and his "objective" point of view (human beings are not capable of objectivity, around here they confuse objective and repeatable measurement. They think something is objective just because it is measured. They don't realize as soon as you define a set of measurements as having meaning, you've become subjective.

So, since your statement is that they are "pretty essentially identical" I simply want to welcome you and Amir to the subjectivist club. Meetings on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 pm.

It would be interesting to measure the SINAD of LDAC with musical content. Starting with a music file, let's add a synchronization mark at the beginning and play the file through LDAC. Using the synchronization mark to align samples, compute the difference.

I know no person who can hear the difference using high quality sources and transducers.
 

Madlop26

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Totally agree it doesn't matter, I love LDAC, have it in two headphones and two portable devices. I was just wondering where the lossy was since LDAC is lossy.

And I like poking at Amir and his "objective" point of view (human beings are not capable of objectivity, around here they confuse objective and repeatable measurement. They think something is objective just because it is measured. They don't realize as soon as you define a set of measurements as having meaning, you've become subjective.

Wrong my friend, not much familiar with the scientific method i see, if you define a set of objective measurements to have a meaning gives you much more chances to show true reality, than using subjective measurements.
Again, human hearing is great to enjoy music but lousy tool to make precise measurements.
Does it really matter if we can not hear the difference? well not all ears are the same and some people may hear subtle differences that other don't, anyway in my case and many i suspect, if i will buy a gear for music, why not to get the best, even if it questionable i would hear the difference.
 

don'ttrustauthority

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Wrong my friend, not much familiar with the scientific method i see, if you define a set of objective measurements to have a meaning gives you much more chances to show true reality, than using subjective measurements.
I agree. Except I'd point out that 'more chances' is not '100%' is not objective. Easy to show to people have two different sets of measurements, which is objective?
 

Madlop26

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I agree. Except I'd point out that 'more chances' is not '100%' is not objective. Easy to show to people have two different sets of measurements, which is objective?

Again, you should get more familiar with scientific method, is quite rare to have a 100% certainty in science, but if you get a above 95% of confidence it is accepted what your claiming is extremely unlikely to be wrong. So when scientist start to talk about scientific fact it means that fact is above 95% interval of confidence. Also it will be a foolish If you decide to believe only the things that have 100% certainty, that absolute thinking is not only constrictive but wrong, most of the humankind great scientific achievements has been made upon facts that were less 100% certain.
if you have 2 set of measurements in contradiction then you have to check the Methodology of the studies, that is another big field in the scientific method
 
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