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FiiO BTR7 Review (Portable DAC & HP Amp)

Rate this portable DAC & HP Amp

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 1 0.6%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 13 7.4%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 73 41.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 89 50.6%

  • Total voters
    176

VariousArtists

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Is there a manual for the PEQ functionalities on the BTR7?

2 things I am still trying to figure out:

1. is it possible to use low/high shelf filters, or only peak filters as of firmware V1.71?
2. is it possible to save/load different PEQ profiles?
 

ahofer

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Just got mine yesterday. Pretty impressed so far (along with the Truthear Zero IEMs). Right now I'm listening through my EQ'd HifiMan HE400i via Roon-iPhone-Bluetooth
 

ahofer

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The thing is I live in Romania so I don't have access to certain amp/dacs. I am looking for a portable amp dac that is great for both portable and desktop use. I want to use it with my macbook air m1 and with my iphone (I use Apple Music so I do not care about the MQA stuff). I have access to Fiio, Ifi, some Topping stuff but none that are portable and Chord I guess. I am currently using a Dragonfly Cobalt, and yes I know that it is kind of a rip-off but I did not know that when I bought it. So I want an acual good amp dac that is great for my HD 600 and IE 600 (my buget is max 400 euro). Thanks for your help I really appreciate it!
Perhaps some forum members would be willing to help you out :)
 

MLaranjeiras

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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.
View attachment 225265
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:
View attachment 225266

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:
View attachment 225267

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:
View attachment 225269

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:
View attachment 225270

View attachment 225271

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:
View attachment 225275

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:
View attachment 225290

Noise performance is excellent for class:
View attachment 225272

For some reason though, unbalanced 3.5mm has better dynamic range as you can see in 50 mv test:
View attachment 225273
That lands the unit in well above average placement:
View attachment 225274

IMD performance is very good for class until it saturates:
View attachment 225277

Jitter is again excellent for a portable device:
View attachment 225278

Linearity lands in the same department:
View attachment 225279

Two reconstruction filters are provided:
View attachment 225282

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:
View attachment 225280

Most important thing in this class of device is power output so let's measure balanced first:
View attachment 225285
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:
View attachment 225286

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:
View attachment 225287
View attachment 225288

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/
One more greate review. Can it be used as a Desktop DAC?
 

confucius_zero

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would this be the best BT dac-amp for unbalanced?
 

vlad.stoian98

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would this be the best BT dac-amp for unbalanced?
I'd say that this is one of the best ones; only the Topping G5 seems to exceed it in performance (I don't think that the actual SINAD difference is audible) but it seems that the Topping G5 doesn't work well with iphones, so you should take that into consideration. I own the BTR7 and it sounds really clean.
 

confucius_zero

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I own the BTR7 and it sounds really clean.
I've been debating between this guy, the btr5 and the qudelix 5k. Measurements for the btr7 are currently the highest I've seen for that form factor.

The G5 looks quite bulky in comparison.
 

vlad.stoian98

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I've been debating between this guy, the btr5 and the qudelix 5k. Measurements for the btr7 are currently the highest I've seen for that form factor.

The G5 looks quite bulky in comparison.
well, the btr7 has a higher output potential, so it depends on what you want to drive; the btr5 struggles to power the hd 600 while the btr7 does it quite well; also the btr5 does not have THX amplifiers, so it might not be as clean, but still I don't think that the difference is audible in terms of SINAD; I would say that both the BTR7 and 5k are good, with the 5k being cheaper, si if you access to it i would not waste my money
 

poxymoron

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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:

So no PEQ using LDAC. That's disappointing, I was hoping to use this instead of the SBC Bluetooth in my car.
 

Livnmuskoka

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Got my BTR7 yesterday and the power measurements of Amir didn't lie: it is not more powerful than my BTR5 unless you select the "boost" option, only available through the Fiio app, where it gets a very modest advantage. SOUND IS VERY SIMILAR and possibly a bit less congested than the BTR5 in some situations.
Mine is going back to the seller but I want to be clear: it is a good product. But I am disappointed at Fiio for its misrepresentation of power output in its specifications.
Nothing like trying yourself, do a favour to yourself and forget the various YouTube promoters. If I didn't have the 5 I would have probably kept it.
However the iFi Go blu has an evident formfactor advantage and the Qudelix has that outstanding app.....

In terms of volume my experience with my Focal Clear Mg with balanced cable to reach 80db was:
BTR5 = BTR7 (40/60 volume)
QUDELIX 5K (90/100 volume)
IFI GO BLU (75/100 volume)

BTR7 with boost would need a volume of 37/60.

With my Arya v2:
BTR5: VOLUME 55/60
BTR7 boost on: Volume 45/60
BTR7 boost off: Volume 54/60
I just got a BTR7 and HD600's last week(300 Ohm). I'm using the BTR7 wired from my Samsung phone with Tidal. On high gain I had the volume between 21 to 24/60. On low gain it's similar, around 22 to 26. Although I'm not listening at 80db, but loud enough to hear every detail clearly. Above 28 it starts to get uncomfortably loud for me.
 

Elitzur–Vaidman

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I'm confused by this graph:
index.php

Am I reading it correctly/does it really indicate that Unbalanced low gain into a 300ohm load actually produces slightly more power than Unbalanced high gain?
 

Livnmuskoka

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I'm confused by this graph:
index.php

Am I reading it correctly/does it really indicate that Unbalanced low gain into a 300ohm load actually produces slightly more power than Unbalanced high gain?
If switched from low to high gain with HD 600's it definitely gets louder. Roughly the same as turning the volume up from 23 to about 28 out of 60.
 

Music1969

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Sticking with Qudleix 5K with it's similar performance and much more advanced app that allows full PEQ and ability to swap AutoEQ presets on the fly.
Does Qudlex 5K's PEQ allow multiple SHELF filters?

Or only PEAK filters?
 

Vovgan

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Ok folks, I just received mine and after updating the firmware was very happy to discover that it now has a built-in Peremetric EQ!!! They added it only in October 2022 update as I can see. No low/high shelf filters but I could program the curve more or less as how I wanted and now it sounds indistinguishable from Sabaj A20D with Audio Hijack On Mac. Plenty of volume for me on Sundara even with subbass lifted by 7 dB.

Great audio quality on iPhone via bluetooth, but for some reason does not work well on my android phone when EQ is on - distortion is through the roof. before I added EQ it sounded good, via Bluetooth and wired.

Thank you FIIO for this great product!! Please add low/high shelf filters to PEQ and also please squash the bug that leads to distortion on Android phone when using EQ
 

Phoney

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Does Qudlex 5K's PEQ allow multiple SHELF filters?

Or only PEAK filters?

Anything you want. The limit is 10 bands, that's about it. Outside of that you have all the freedom.
 

staticV3

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Great audio quality on iPhone via bluetooth, but for some reason does not work well on my android phone when EQ is on - distortion is through the roof. before I added EQ it sounded good, via Bluetooth and wired.
Uh oh, sounds like there's no preamp in place (Android BT is hotter than iOS BT)
 

Phoney

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315534652_1072309653444826_2184160479340116876_n.png


This is what FiiO had to say about EQ on the BTR7 in July. Is it really that hard to implement? Maybe in the form of hardware, but like a functional EQ on the app for example?
 
Last edited:

VariousArtists

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View attachment 244566

This is what FiiO had to say about EQ on the BTR7 in Jul. Is it really that hard to implement? Maybe in the form of hardware, but like a functional EQ on the app for example?

They updated the PEQ user interface in a recent update (iOS), it is terrible and became even more counterintuitive to use than before the update.

No one in their right mind would buy it for the PEQ feature in its current state.
 
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