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FiiO BTR7 Review (Portable DAC & HP Amp)

Rate this portable DAC & HP Amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 2 0.9%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 14 6.6%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 85 40.1%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 111 52.4%

  • Total voters
    212

Fofocho

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10-band PEQ is an option with the new firmware. The default is graphical EQ.
FAQ says that EQ is supported for USB sources only with UAC1. This is no worse than Qudelix 5K, which doesn't support UAC2 at all and maxes out at 96/24.
For a screenshot, check this video review:

Are you sure the BTR7 supports EQ on UAC1? Have you tried yourself or is this coming from FiiO statement?

I have a BTR5 and despite FiiO says it can, I never managed to get it work. I was about to buy a Qudelix, thinking that FiiO’s statement about EQ on UAC1 was simple not true

Thanks
 

Blorg

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Are you sure the BTR7 supports EQ on UAC1? Have you tried yourself or is this coming from FiiO statement?

I have a BTR5 and despite FiiO says it can, I never managed to get it work. I was about to buy a Qudelix, thinking that FiiO’s statement about EQ on UAC1 was simple not true

Thanks
I tested it with USB to my Android phone, after setting it to UAC1 in the menu. The pre-saved EQs do work. You can't access the app while it's connected over USB, so you have to set them in advance and then swap them on the menu. I made an obnoxious one boosting 1kHz 12dB just to be sure, it definitely works. They don't work over UAC2.

As far as I'm aware Fiio never said EQ worked on DAC mode on the BTR5. They don't have a FAQ up like they have saying it doesn't work over LDAC, but I don't see anything where they say it can work in DAC mode either. Closest I can find is them saying that they never said it did work in reply to someone else saying it doesn't, so I take that as a no.

Fiio: "It is not a issue to be fixed. Since the audio processing process of LDAC is more special than other Bluetooth formats, we are still doing related debugging, and strive to achieve the same effect as other Bluetooth formats, but it will take a certain amount of time. And we did not mention the EQ will support in USB DAC mode in other devices as well."


It does work on the BTR7 though, with UAC1.

As for "no worse than the Qudelix", the actual usability and functionality of the PEQ is a lot better on the Qudelix. Anyone specifically buying for EQ functionality, get the Qudelix. But no worse as in the Q5K only does UAC1 wired, and if you only want 1 or 2 simple PEQs (with no shelf filters) then this may work for you.
 
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Fofocho

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I tested it with USB to my Android phone, after setting it to UAC1 in the menu. The pre-saved EQs do work. You can't access the app while it's connected over USB, so you have to set them in advance and then swap them on the menu. I made an obnoxious one boosting 1kHz 12dB just to be sure, it definitely works. They don't work over UAC2.

As far as I'm aware Fiio never said EQ worked on DAC mode on the BTR5. They don't have a FAQ up like they have saying it doesn't work over LDAC, but I don't see anything where they say it can work in DAC mode either. Closest I can find is them saying that they never said it did work in reply to someone else saying it doesn't, so I take that as a no.




It does work on the BTR7 though, with UAC1.

As for "no worse than the Qudelix", the actual usability and functionality of the PEQ is a lot better on the Qudelix. Anyone specifically buying for EQ functionality, get the Qudelix. But no worse as in the Q5K only does UAC1 wired, and if you only want 1 or 2 simple PEQs (with no shelf filters) then this may work for you.
Thanks!

You mean that the EQ settings are kept while using UAC1? What I have tried is to change EQ in the menu of the BTR itself (buttons) and this does not work. You pass with the buttons from Dance to Pop (e.g.) or even to Off and nothing happens

So maybe EQ works but you cannot change it once in UAC1 and has to de defined in BT before?I will try to set an extreme EQ, connect through UAC1 and see if these settings prevail, compared to UAC2
 

Blorg

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Thanks!

You mean that the EQ settings are kept while using UAC1? What I have tried is to change EQ in the menu of the BTR itself (buttons) and this does not work. You pass with the buttons from Dance to Pop (e.g.) or even to Off and nothing happens

So maybe EQ works but you cannot change it once in UAC1 and has to de defined in BT before?I will try to set an extreme EQ, connect through UAC1 and see if these settings prevail, compared to UAC2
When I change EQ in the menu, like Dance to Pop and to User1, User2, User3, they do change, and there's a slight audible glitch switching between them. This is UAC1 on BTR7. If I am on UAC2, I get the behavior you describe, up and down the EQs no change, and nothing audible switching between them. What I mean by you have to set the EQs in advance, is you can't do in and move the bars up and down when it's connected by cable as there's no app connection. But switching between the presets (including the three user presets) does work.

This is the BTR7 though, if you have a BTR5, it doesn't work on the BTR5. PEQ on LDAC is another thing the BTR7 does but the BTR5 doesn't, it does do more things that the BTR5 doesn't do.
 

Blorg

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Yes. I have a BTR5. I have tried and on UAC1 the EQ does not work at all. So the statement of FiiO is not true


I will forget about the BTR5 and will buy a Qudelix 5K to get EQ on USB mode. The Qudelix is even more portable, apart from much more customizable in terms of EQ

Thanks
That link is from the BTR7 FAQ though, and it is true for the BTR7:


1695995081531.png


They don't say EQ is supported in DAC mode on the BTR5:

https://www.fiio.com/btr5_faq

I have all of the BTR5, BTR7 and Qudelix 5K, I definitely recommend the Qudelix 5K over any of them. I got the BTR7 secondhand to have something with a little more power into lower impedances and 4.4 for my over-ears that I have wired that way, and don't need that much EQ, just a bass shelf, (mostly- the HE1000 Stealth) and it works well with that. But the Qudelix is a much better all-round device and what I use for IEMs and higher impedance stuff (Qudelix actually has higher voltage and thus more power into 300Ω).
 

Fofocho

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I was about to buy the Qudelix yesterday, then I saw the iFi Go Blu.. This last one is the opposite, almost null options to EQ (just x-bass and x-space) but I read the sound is awesome: organic, sweet, thick, big, like a valve amp. I have an iFi Hip dac that I use as desktop amp/dac and sometimes as portable, since it is a bit big compared, but the sound is incredible with my Focal Elegia, without tweaking anything. A user owning both posted that he never managed the Qudelix to sound like the Go blu, after trying hundreds of configurations. Now I am debating between the most configurable dac and the least configurable one haha
 

Blorg

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Go Blu has a bit more power into higher impedances (5.6V vs 4V) if you need that. It's the same quoted spec power at 32Ω, and some reviewers say it has problems even with IEMs like the Final E5000 (14Ω), don't know how true that is as some people have silly ideas about power. The Qudelix powers the E5000 just fine though, I have it.

The volume knob looks nice and the one click bass boost also very simple.

It's widely reported to have hiss on the balanced out though, which would turn me off it. I get the impression it's "organic, sweet, thick, big" because it probably has high noise and distortion, a lot of iFi stuff goes this way for an "analog" low res smoothed over sort of sound.

The distortion it produces is horrific. I had it two times. The jack on both the unit i had was tilted, the wheel is not precise, the battery rattle, the plastic is cheap, the range of bt isn't even mediocre, a sweep 5-200 hz on easy to drive headphones like the srh440, on a reasonable volume was pure noise, while on my macbook was ok @ the same level. The cable is usba, very cheap, no clip included, a more than 6 volt charger can destroy the battery, the cover included covers the buttons.. this product is a joke

"With more sensitive IEMs like yours, you may notice the faintest hissing noise." - and that's from iFi themselves.
https://www.reddit.com/r/iFiaudio/comments/14rinrt
"Balanced output hiss on very low impedance loads"

However, there is very little in terms of a veil or compression except for some small amounts of residual hiss at medium to high volume levels.

Hiss is only noticeable with very sensitive IEMs but trust me when I say you can go beyond IEMs with this device because it has plenty of power and then some. One thing to note is that there is no gain control so if there is hiss you cannot do much about it.

Some hiss can be heard on very sensitive IEMs
Moreover, very sensitive IEMs like Campfire Audio Holocene or Dunu Zen Pro will exhibit slight hiss when paired with the Go Blu. It’s nothing too distracting, but some competing dongles perform better in this regard.
One caveat in this mode is the noise on the power line of the USB. The Go Blu lacks filtering of such “noise,” and audible hiss may get magnified. For example, when connected to my gaming PC, the hiss was audibly worse than when connected to my Macbook running on battery.

First would be the hiss out of the 4.4mm Pentaconn connector. This has always been an issue for iFi on their devices. I’ll give the GO blu a pass since the trade off is that it has a higher volume output which means I managed to power bigger headphones like the Meze Elite and Audeze LCD-5 to high volumes just fine via balanced. I would have liked to see them include a low/high gain to allow sensitive IEMs to have less hiss. The hiss isn’t terrible and it doesn’t bother me once music plays.

Second, I don't have sensitive full sized cans for this iFi G Blu- which I suspect is where the sweet spot lies.
With sensitive IEMs such as CA Solaris 2020 there is a significant amount of hiss with 4.4mm Balanced, and even significant air using 3.5mm SE, to the point of being distracting IMO.

"i love my go blu, my only issue is that with xspace on it makes a hissing noise. it does seem to colour the sound a little bit too, makes headphones sound a little bit warmer to my ears. "
https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/v89rnp
"Wouldnt even take go blu into consideration. Measured to have weakest bt connection out of bunch of competing devices, has hiss with sensitive iems.'
https://www.reddit.com/r/HeadphoneAdvice/comments/v3do2d
"With 4.4 though, I've noticed the iem will hiss with xpsace on. No problem with xbass."
https://www.reddit.com/r/headphones/comments/prb8xm
"It works with my 64 Audio U6t (108 dB/mW) volume-wise. But using Xbass and / or Xspace will introduce a quite audible background noise."

"The Sonys are 103 dB/mW at 24 Ohms. Can I hear any huss? Yes, if I try really hard."
https://www.reddit.com/r/iFiaudio/comments/12nxw51
Do you expect these to work for super sensitive IEMs? I canceled my order(s) because of noise floor reports in early reviews. I simply can not deal with noise floors. And the Zen acts like a megaphone for noise from amps. This has been particularly problematic on BT sources.

Dunu Zen and Zen Pro IEMs. Hiss is loud on the go blu and makes music like piano guys unlistenable to me.

Recently I got my setup - iFi Go Blu and a pair of Westone W60 IEMs. With 3.5mm single-ended output I hear no hiss. But with 4.4mm balanced output, I can hear noticeable noise floor, so loud that I cannot ignore it…

Any recommendation on other portable bluetooth dac-amp that works better with sensitive IEMs?

Just received the GO blu and paired it with an iPad and plugged in LZ A7 using the stock cable. I noticed that I was getting a prominent hiss lmediately. I switched devices to an iPhone and was getting the same result. I am very surprised with this, as I thought that this was only an issue when using a balanced cable?

So i tested the go blu and the hiss and the missing of a clip made it not useble for me but i really liked the volume knob!


There's more, but there is so much reports that it hisses, I'm pretty sure it hisses. Everyone reports the hiss is really low, and I'm sure it is, some are not bothered by it, some are... but any hiss at all is just not acceptable to me on a digital device in 2023.
 
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Fofocho

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Yes I have read many reports about hiss but also many reports about outstanding sound. One thing that is appealing for me is that Bluetooth performance is almost on par with of USB performance, what for me is fantastic as Bluetooth would be 90% of the use. Also it has separate Bluetooth, DAC and amp stages, which is not common in this category
 

Blorg

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First post I quoted above was complaining about the BT range. BT range on the Qudelix is very good. It's poor on the BTR5 as well, incidentally.

Here's another:
Anyone have any experience with the range of the IFI Go Blu, I saw one person mention it's not great, but no data for what that meant.

+1 to that, the range of the ifi go blu is not that great, specically with walls.
https://www.reddit.com/r/iFiaudio/comments/16j5m3e
Another:
While I love the audio performance of the Go Blu, I am less impressed with the range of the Bluetooth reception and drops while moving about. The range is about half that of my Qudelix. I wish the quality of the Bluetooth reception was equal to the audio quality!

Several other people in that thread saying the range is worse than both Qudelix and Fiio.

Qudelix has full PEQ so you can customise the sound to your liking. You can add a nice analog hiss from your source too if that's your preference.

They all have LDAC. So they are all going to sound the same in that regard. The only factor, may be better reception you're more likely to get 909/990 consistently. Qudelix reports this and I do get 909/990 full speed LDAC with it.

I can't hear any difference between LDAC on any of the Qudelix, BTR5 or BTR7 and wired either (other than that the BTR5 is more likely to cut out).
 

Fofocho

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The best way is to try, rather than reading comments about hiss. If the sound is as good as many have reported and the hiss is not such a thing, it will be a keeper. But must try
 

Blorg

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If you can try, sure... if you can't try I would not be going out of my way to buy the one device reported to have hiss, poor Bluetooth range, higher noise and distortion, cutouts and strange noise problems though.

I'd also say, compare with the others. Because to be honest I suspect they all sound virtually the same, the Qudelix, BTR7 and BTR5 do, the only difference is cutouts, the BTR5 is more likely to cut out.

I suspect the Go Blu sounds pretty much the same as well, when it's working, just with a bit of added hiss for atmosphere.
 

Fofocho

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The sound of my iFi Hip Dac has nothing to do with the BTR5. The hip dac sounds amazing, bigger, organic, deep, warm, extended, sweet. The BTR5 sounds fine as well, maybe cleaner and more analytic, but never gave the sense of analog sound but digitized and somewhat more artificial

If I can get the sound of the hip dac on a portable device over Bluetooth, I am done searching
 

Blorg

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This is iFi's special sauce, they go for that analog sound with added hiss and distortion.

I can tell you at least if you have the BTR5 that the Qudelix 5K sounds identical. Ignoring EQ and that it's more likely to run full bitrate LDAC and less likely to drop out. Purely comparing sound, when they are both working well, they are identical. So if you have the BTR5, that's exactly what the Qudelix is going to sound like, the BTR5 at its best. They use the exact same DAC chips in the exact same dual/balanced configuration, and in this case the headphone amp is also built in to this particular ESS DAC chip, and that's what both are using, it's the same amp on the same chip as well, so they don't vary on that either.

You do get all the EQ options, which are a huge benefit, and obviously they can affect the sound. But the base sound, it's going to be the same as what you are used to with the BTR5, it's not going to give you anything different in that regard.

The Go Blu uses the Cirrus Logic CS43131 which also has an integrated amp, and most devices with it measure very well (better than the BTR5 or Qudelix) but they say they use their own discrete amp stage (which would make sense, as I don't think they could get 5.6V off the CS43131, everything with just that maxes at 4V). There's more room to be different there, measuring worse, for sure, but different. So if you like the Hip DAC and want something more in that direction, the Go Blu might be worth checking out.
 

Fofocho

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I have spent one hour switching from BTR5 to iFi Hip Dac (Tidal on iPhone and on iPad so I just need to change the headphones jack to one and other). I like the iFi sound more, it is bigger, warmer (booming sometimes with x-bass enabled), more organic, more analog. I do not know which one to buy, the Go Blu or the Qudelix 5K. I have already given away the BTR5 to my teenager daughter and she is quite happy to go wireless with her senns HD598. I could go with the Qudelix for powerful EQ and use hip dac when I want iFi sound, having both options, or I just could buy the Go and enjoy iFi sound always
 

Atanasi

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So if you have the BTR5, that's exactly what the Qudelix is going to sound like, the BTR5 at its best. They use the exact same DAC chips in the exact same dual/balanced configuration, and in this case the headphone amp is also built in to this particular ESS DAC chip, and that's what both are using, it's the same amp on the same chip as well, so they don't vary on that either.
I measured BTR5 and Qudelix 5K some time ago. It seems that BTR5 has a better output stage, so if you are going to use the device purely as a DAC, BTR5 has better implementation:
Here are a couple of measurements of 5K compared to BTR5. They are measured using a balanced connection to MOTU M4, using the maximum volume on the DAC and adjusting the input gain to a reasonable level. DACs are feeded though USB, and the pin 1 of MOTU M4 is tied to the USB ground.
 

Fofocho

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Thanks, finally I will go for the 5K. I prefer the EQ powerhouse vs the iFi sound, that anyway I can get by using the hip dac when wantes
 

toxotis70

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is there a way to have bit perfect from any app in iphone 15 pro with btr7 ?
I connected with usb c but all i get from all aps (vlc, fiio music, flac player etc) is 44k/32b ... !
 

staticV3

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is there a way to have bit perfect from any app in iphone 15 pro with btr7 ?
I connected with usb c but all i get from all aps (vlc, fiio music, flac player etc) is 44k/32b ... !
IIRC, the default Music App played my 96 and 192kHz .wav/.flac files that I loaded onto it using iTunes/Music without downsampling.
 
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