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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
This is a review and detailed measurements of the FiiO BTR7 portable battery operated USB & Bluetooth DAC and THX balanced headphone amplifier. It is on kind loan from a member and costs US $199.99.
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A bright, high contrast IPS LCD greets you with lovely/star-trek style fonts which I liked very much. I was also happy to see detailed information about the bit rate (24 "Bits" above). I would have wanted a larger volume level though. And acceleration in the volume control:
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The rocker up/down volume control provides much finer level adjustment than that built into the operating system which was nice. On the left there is a very useful button to tell the unit to charge or not over USB input, eliminating having to have two such connectors:
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The companion Bluetooth app provides nice control of the unit including the ability to "boost" the balanced output by fair bit. Alas, choice of DAC filters is not exposed so you have to use the unit's own UI to change that.

The unit is quite light with dimensions that are about 2/3 the size of a typical smartphone.

There is a ton of functionality in the unit including parametric EQ and wireless charging! I even appreciate the very flexible silicone USB-C wire to connect to your phone (which operated well with my Samsung).

There is a ton to measure here between multiple outputs, low and high gain plus balanced boost. I tried to navigate through the matrix without going crazy.

FiiO BTR7 Measurements
Let's start with our dashboard of unbalanced 3.5mm output at max volume:
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Nice to see over 2 volts meaning you have a shot at getting decent output from high-impedance headphones. Performance degrades some though from the optimal 2 volts that pushes SINAD to 100 dB. You do get that in balanced mode however with and without boost:
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This lands the unit in "very good" category of all DACs tested and is especially good for a portable product. Here is Bluetooth wireless using LDAC at 0.6 mbit/sec datarate:
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Note that this involves Android OS resampling so can't quite say it is the native performance of the unit (I used my Roon player).

Multitone performance is quite good as well:
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Noise performance is excellent for class:
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For some reason though, unbalanced 3.5mm has better dynamic range as you can see in 50 mv test:
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That lands the unit in well above average placement:
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IMD performance is very good for class until it saturates:
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Jitter is again excellent for a portable device:
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Linearity lands in the same department:
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Two reconstruction filters are provided:
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Default is the red one which I do not recommend. It almost looks like it is using the filter for 48 kHz sampling.

THD+N vs frequency could be better:
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Most important thing in this class of device is power output so let's measure balanced first:
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I measured but do not show low gain mode as it only reduces output power but doesn't do anything else. Might as well use high gain. I like to see 100 milliwatts in desktop headphone amps. It is nice to see BTR7 coming so close to that in this small enclosure.

Here is 32 ohm:
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This is tons more power than a headphone dongle. Devices with internal battery are inherently more capable in producing higher voltages and current needed.

You naturally lose good bit of power with unbalanced/3.5mm output:
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But you get lower noise floor so better fit for IEMs.

FiiO BTR7 Headphone Listening Tests
I tested the unit with both Sennheiser HD650 and Drop Ether CX. In both cases there was plenty of volume, bass and detail. With HD650 I could almost get my ear lobes to resonate at max/unsafe volume. With Ether CX, deep bass with max volume would cause some distortion but you could back off and still have very usable volume. This is level of performance that you just can't get out of a typical dongle.

Conclusions
Features and look of the FiiO BTR7 alone would set it aside from competition, justifying its price premium. Add desktop class performance and you get a complete package that puts a smile on your face. Well, it did on my face. :)

I am happy to recommend FiiO BTR7.
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As always, questions, comments, recommendations, etc. are welcome.

Any donations are much appreciated using: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/how-to-support-audio-science-review.8150/
This is mostly excellent but why do we once again get a poor reconstruction filter, actually 2 of them: poor and very poor? Oddly, this seems to be all that the ES9219 provides <https://www.esstech.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/03/ES9219-Datasheet-v1.1.pdf>. Is it possible that it is ignoring the sample rate?
 
I'm still in the return period for my Qudelix...worth the extra money for this?
 
I'm still in the return period for my Qudelix...worth the extra money for this?
Not at all imo. It has more power but not that much more. What the Qudelix can’t power can probably not be powered by the BTR7 either. Both are audibly transparent and the Qudelix has the much better PEQ
 
Both are audibly transparent and the Qudelix has the much better PEQ
So I can't find any details about the EQ functionality on Fiio's website or the user manual. Can anyone please chime in? Is PEQ supported? If so, how many bands? A screenshot of the interface would be worth 73 brownie points!! Any other EQ types available (and how many bands)?

Thanks!
 
So I can't find any details about the EQ functionality on Fiio's website or the user manual. Can anyone please chime in? Is PEQ supported? If so, how many bands? A screenshot of the interface would be worth 73 brownie points!! Any other EQ types available (and how many bands)?

Thanks!
The fiio app has a PEQ now but it’s very limited. You only have 1 preset and 10 bands or so
 
Does the app with the PEQ work on an iPhone? Because I have the Fiio KA3 dongle, which also has an app, but apparently does not run properly on an iPhone.
 
10 bands PEQ should be sufficient, AutoEQ or oratory do not use more than this.
I would not get the Fiio if you need PEQ. The fiio app is extremly buggy and crashes all the time on iOS. For PEQ, nothing is better than the Qudelix
 
You get what you pay for. A&K SR25s delivers much better specs and is a complete system that runs for over 20 hours on its internal battery. Quality of construction is also levels above Fiios. Yes... it's more expensive, and should be.
 
You get what you pay for. A&K SR25s delivers much better specs and is a complete system that runs for over 20 hours on its internal battery. Quality of construction is also levels above Fiios. Yes... it's more expensive, and should be.
The SR25 is a DAP while the fiio is a bluetooth DAC Amp. Two completly different kind of devices
 
Nice to see Fiio still in the game! I still occasionally rotate use of my older (2012?) Fiio E7 dac/amp for office use. It only goes to 16/48 but still works well. battery still holds a decent charge too after 10 years, though I normally use it powered with USB connected to a laptop. It has a nice clean screen too.

Wow, just looked at their web page on it. The new device sure packs a lot into a very small form factor. Amazing. Nicely done.
 
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Another device along with the minidsp Flex that shows the endless stream of dac/headphone amps from Topping and SMSL has become redundant in the extreme. Well done, Fiio - puts you at the top in this class.
 
You get what you pay for. A&K SR25s delivers much better specs and is a complete system that runs for over 20 hours on its internal battery. Quality of construction is also levels above Fiios. Yes... it's more expensive, and should be.
The A&K SR 25 is a DAP and not extremley expensive ($750). But their flagship model costs $3,500, so it is a very bold statement to say that you get what you pay for. Bling bling? I haven´t seen any measurements of a A&K device, but there are many transparent alternatives around, which do not have this outrageous prices.
 
Let's rewind this a bit... HiBy R3Pro first CS43131 based version and end future pollution talk about DAP's that are overall better than this and for a same price.
 
Can someone tell me a couple of uses for this item? I’m at a loss.
 
So I can't find any details about the EQ functionality on Fiio's website or the user manual. Can anyone please chime in? Is PEQ supported? If so, how many bands? A screenshot of the interface would be worth 73 brownie points!! Any other EQ types available (and how many bands)?

Thanks!
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:

 
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:

Thanks!

Are the bands user-selectable?
 
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