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Fiio R7 Android Streamer Review

Rate this streamer/DAC:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 14 6.5%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 44 20.5%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 129 60.0%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 28 13.0%

  • Total voters
    215

amirm

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This is a review and detailed measurements of the FIIO R7 DAC, media player, headphone amp and streamer based on Android operating system. It was sent to me by the company and costs US $700.
Fiio R7 Streamer Stereo Balanced Android Headphone Amplifier XLR Coax USB Review.jpg

As you see, you have the equivalent of a normal Android phone screen. It is impressive in size compared to typical small displays we see in audio gear. Physical controls are limited to power on/off, volume and selection of which ports are active (headphone, line out or both). The touchscreen itself is responsive enough. Here is the back panel:

Fiio R7 Streamer Stereo Balanced Android Headphone Amplifier XLR Coax USB back panel wireless ...jpg

There is a lot in there that I won't get into. I suggest seeking other reviews for all the feature set.

For now, the R7 has a different operational paradigm than I have seen in other streamers. For example, every input is selected by starting a dedicated app for that! For example, to get input for S/PDIF, you start the Coax app by selecting it from a Music Mode setup option. If you want Roon, you have to hit on that app as you see in the above screen snapshot. No remote is provided making switching between inputs a bit tedious.

Even the volume control seems to be implemented through an app as turning the dial takes a while to pop up the gorgeous display. There was no acceleration and given that the volume control is not very deep, adjusting the volume by large amounts was annoying.

On the other hand, things like selecting options is made much simpler given the large display and ability to quickly touch to get into those options. And having stock Android means you can download any app to it making the device much more future proof than other streamers.

Very unusual is the inclusion of external DC input even though there is a built-in power supply.

Let's see how it performs. In the interest of not spending a lifetime on this, I limited my testing to a few configurations as you see.

FIIO R7 Streamer Measurements
Let's start testing by using Coax input and XLR output:
Fiio R7 Streamer Stereo Balanced Android Headphone Amplifier XLR Coax Measurement.png

THD+N is actually better than company spec of 0.0005%. As it is, the SINAD of 109 dB places the R7 at the top of our "competent" category:
Best stereo streamer review 2023.png

Best stereo streamer review zoom android 2023.png


Reassuringly, performance is identical with streaming using Roon player over Ethernet:
Fiio R7 Streamer Stereo Balanced Android Headphone Amplifier XLR Roon Measurement.png


Note that the output level that you see is determined by the gain setting you set which is normally reserved for headphone output. It seems that the line out is sampled after that buffer. So for the above tests, I had it set to Ultra as otherwise the output drops to 3 volts and change. SINAD did not change with either setting though. We are distortion limited there as the noise performance is actually better:
Fiio R7 Streamer Stereo Balanced Android Headphone Amplifier XLR Coax DNR Measurement.png


Jitter performance is excellent in both modes of operation:
Fiio R7 Streamer Stereo Balanced Android Headphone Amplifier XLR Jitter Measurement.png


I was however disappointed by the reappearance of "ESS IMD Hump:"
Fiio R7 Streamer Stereo Balanced Android Headphone Amplifier XLR Coax IMD Distortion Measurement.png


I can't believe ESS still has not sent a bulletin and fix to every implementer on how to get rid of this despite us publicizing the fixes other companies have produced. :(

Linearity is perfect:
Fiio R7 Streamer Stereo Balanced Android Headphone Amplifier XLR Coax linearity Measurement.png


Multitone was superb indicating the THX buffer amp performs much better below its max power on this front:
Fiio R7 Streamer Stereo Balanced Android Headphone Amplifier XLR Roon Multitone Measurement.png


I was relieved that there are only three filters so I don't have to spend 15 minutes testing them all. :)
Fiio R7 Streamer Stereo Balanced Android Headphone Amplifier XLR Coax Filter Measurement.png

Fiio R7 Streamer Stereo Balanced Android Headphone Amplifier XLR Coax frequency Measurement.png


Wideband THD measurement was very good and frequency independent:
Fiio R7 Streamer Stereo Balanced Android Headphone Amplifier XLR Coax THD vs Frequency Measure...png


Fiio R7 Headphone Measurements
I limited my testing here to balanced, 4-pin XLR output and only three gain levels. There was ample power in both 300 and 32 ohm tests:
Fiio R7 Streamer Stereo Balanced Android Headphone Amplifier Power 300 ohm Measurement.png

Fiio R7 Streamer Stereo Balanced Android Headphone Amplifier Power 32 ohm Measurement.png

You should be able to power just about headphone with ease. Note that lower gain settings don't give you a noise advantage so might as well use the higher settings as to have better headroom.

I expected better noise performance though:
Fiio R7 Streamer Stereo Balanced Android Headphone Amplifier Power 300 ohm 50 mv Measurement.png

Best streamer headphone listening.png


Given how good the DAC was going through the same buffer, I am puzzled by these results.

Conclusions
The R7 shows off its gorgeous, large touchscreen display which should be standard on any streamer (horizontal or vertical). Likely to get around Android audio pipeline limitation, seemingly every feature is implemented using a separate app. While the actual implementation of these apps is very good, you do have to get used to using the device as if it were a phone or a computer than an AV device. I wish a remote control was included as that would paper over some of the operational cracks here.

Performance in a word is competent. It is a step below state of the art as it should be as state of the art DACs cost as much as this streamer. The one thing I like to see fixed is the ESS IMD Hump. The solution to that is rather trivial (once you know it) and is documented on this site.

Overall this is a very good attempt at innovating in streamer market and showcasing good software development capabilities. Usage of Android provides a stable and extensible platform which is good.

I am going to put the FIIO R7 on my recommended list.

R7 Specifications

Name/modelR7Hardware solutionSoc: Snapdragon 660, DAC: ES9068AS, AMP: THX AAA-788+ * 2,
USB: Snapdragon 660
Working modeAndroid mode/Pure music mode/USB DAC mode/Bluetooth receiving mode/AirPlay mode/COAX mode/OPT mode/Roon Ready
ColorBlack/WhiteWeight≈1282g
DimensionAbout 160x110x134mm(without base)
About 170x110x134mm(with 0° flat base)
About 182.5x110x134mm(with 7° elevation base)
Volume controlKnob
Screen4.97 inches (720 * 1280) full-fit screenInternal storage/Free space (ROM)64GB/≈46GB
RAM4GBGainUltra high/Super high/High/Medium/Low
Memory cardSingle SD card expansion, theoretically supports up to 2TBRecommended headphone impedancePO: 16 ~ 150Ω
Channel balanceL20~ R20 (0.5dB per level)BAL: 16 ~ 300Ω
Buttons and ports
ButtonVolume knob (it has button's function)*1
Output selection knob (similar to button's function)*1
USBType-C (USB3.0) * 1
USB A (USB2.0) * 1 (data transfer)
DC power in portΦ 6.2mm DC socketToggle switchDC/AC switch
Balanced output portsStandard 4.4mm * 1
4-cores XLR * 1
Phone out portStandard 6.35mm
Balanced line out ports3-cores XLR * 2Single-ended line out portsRCA* 2
OPT input portStandard TOSLINKCOAX input portRCA
OPT output portStandard TOSLINKCOAX output portRCA
Network port100M Ethernet port
Features
WiFi2.4GHz/5GHz, DLNA, AirPlay, WiFi music transmission,Roon Ready etc.Bluetooth Emission (5.0)AAC/SBC/aptX/aptX HD/LDAC/LHDC
Bluetooth receiving (5.0)SBC/AAC/LDACFiiO LinkWiFi and Bluetooth control for Android, WiFi control for iOS.
MQA8x decodingAll to DSD
Max sampling ratesUSB DAC: 384kHz/32bit; DSD256 (Native)Bluetooth codec indicator
(knob light)
Blue: SBC
Local decoding: 384kHz/32bit; DSD256 (Native)Cyan: AAC
USB Audio:768kHz/32bit;DSD512(DoP/D2P/Native)Yellow: aptX HD
COAX IN: 192kHz/24bitWhite: LDAC
OPT IN: 96kHz/24bitOrange: LHDC
COAX OUT: 384kHz/24bit; DSD128 (DOP)
OPT OUT: 192kHz/24bit
EQ10-segment dynamic EQ (±12dB), 8 preset EQ, custom EQ,PEQ supported.Sampling rate indicator
(knob light)
Blue: lossy
Operation modesSupport gesture operation, two-button navigation, three-button navigationCyan: SQ
Screen saverYellow: HR
Firmware upgrade√ Local upgrade, OTA upgradeGreen: DSD
Double-click to wake upMagenta: MQA
Power parameters
Power supplyDC 12V/3A OR AC 100-240V~ 50/60Hz
Audio parameters
Phone out performance parameters (6.35mm, USB DAC/OPT/COAX, Ultra high)
Output powerL+R≥1850mW+1850mW (16Ω,THD+N<1%)Output impedance< 0.5Ω
L+R≥1250mW+1250mW (32Ω,THD+N<1%)Crosstalk≥77dB
L+R≥160mW+160mW (300Ω,THD+N<1%)Peak voltage18Vp-p
SNR≥ 124dB (dbA)THD+N< 0.0005% (1kHz / -8dB@32 Ω)
Frequency response5Hz~ 50kHz: attenuation < 1dBNoise floor< 4uV (dbA)
20Hz~ 20KHz: attenuation < 0.3dB
Phone out performance parameters (6.35mm, USB DAC/OPT/COAX, Super high)
Output powerL+R≥1450mW +1450mW(16Ω,THD+N<1%)Output impedance< 0.4Ω
L+R≥750mW +750mW(32Ω,THD+N<1%)Crosstalk≥73dB
L+R≥80mW+80mW (300Ω,THD+N<1%)Peak voltage14Vp-p
SNR≥ 124dB (dbA)THD+N< 0.0005% (1kHz / -6dB@32 Ω)
Frequency response20Hz~ 80kHz: attenuation < 1dBNoise floor< 4uV (dbA)
20Hz~ 20KHz: attenuation < 0.3dB
Line out performance parameters (RCA, USB DAC/OPT/COAX)
THD+N<0.0005%(1kHz/-0dB@10KΩ)SNR≥ 118.5dB (dbA)
Crosstalk≥112dBNoise floor< 2.7uV (dbA)
Frequency response5Hz~ 80kHz: attenuation < 2dBLine out level2.2Vrms
20Hz~ 20KHz: attenuation < 0.1dB
Balanced phone out performance parameters (XLR4/4.4mm, USB DAC/OPT/COAX, Ultra high)
Output powerL+R≥1000mW+1000mW (16Ω,THD+N<1%)Output impedance< 0.5Ω
L+R≥3650mW+3650mW (32Ω,THD+N<1%)Crosstalk≥116dB
L+R≥630mW+630mW (300Ω,THD+N<1%)Peak voltage39Vp-p
SNR≥ 122dB (dbA)THD+N< 0.0005% (1kHz / -8dB@32 Ω)
Frequency response20Hz~ 50kHz: attenuation < 2dBNoise floor< 7.5uV (dbA)
20Hz~ 20KHz: attenuation < 0.3dB
Balanced phone out performance parameters (XLR4/4.4mm, USB DAC/OPT/COAX, Super high)
Output powerL+R≥800mW+800mW (16Ω,THD+N<1%)Output impedance< 0.5Ω
L+R≥3000mW +3000mW(32Ω,THD+N<1%)Crosstalk≥116dB
L+R≥320mW+320mW (300Ω,THD+N<1%)Peak voltage27.7Vp-p
SNR≥ 122dB (dbA)THD+N< 0.00048% (1kHz / -6dB@32 Ω)
Frequency response5Hz~ 80kHz: attenuation < 2dBNoise floor< 7.5uV (dbA)
20Hz~ 20KHz: attenuation < 0.3dB
Balanced line out performance parameters (XLR3, USB DAC/OPT/COAX)
THD+N<0.0005%(1kHz/0dB@10KΩ)SNR≥ 125dB (dbA)
Crosstalk≥121dBNoise floor< 2.5uV (dbA)
Frequency response20Hz~ 50kHz: attenuation < 2dBLine out level4.5Vrms
20Hz~ 20KHz: attenuation < 0.1dB
Audio format support
Lossless:DSD:DSD64/128/256(".iso”,".dsf”,".dff”),DST iSO
DXD:352.8K/24bit
APE FAST/High/Normal:384kHz/24bit(MAX)
APE Extra High:192kHz/24bit(MAX)
APE Insane:96kHz/24bit(MAX)
Apple Lossless:384kHz/32bit(MAX)
AIFF:384kHz/32bit(MAX)
FLAC:384kHz/32bit(MAX)
WAV:384kHz/32bit(MAX)
WMA LOSSLESS:96kHz/24bit(MAX)
DTS: 192kHz/24bit(MAX)
MQA:Full Decoderer
Lossy compression:MP3,OGG,WMA,AAC and other formats

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JeremyFife

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Thanks for the review.

Competent performance, I like the looks but no remote and fiddly volume control would put me off.
Surely being able to control this from an actual android phone (i.e. as a remote!) would have been a better experience?

It does look cute though, my kids would like it. There are better options for me.
 

jcarys

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I would like to see a review of one of their recent DAP models, especially the smallest, most portable option.
 

krabapple

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Oh darn, another stereo-only device....


their website says you can use a 'Fii0 Music App or Blutooth remote control' with it, though perhaps the remote is still in the works?

About halfway down the page here:

 

D700

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Still waiting on a Squeezebox 4 with my squeezebox.com bit perfect integration for all major music services.
 

phoenixdogfan

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Would be a great, all in one solution but for the lack of a remote. That's a true deal breaker, IMHO. A shame b/c it would otherwise be an ideal solution for someone looking to get into the hobby who wanted to make his initial purchase his final one as well.
 
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amirm

amirm

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Surely being able to control this from an actual android phone (i.e. as a remote!) would have been a better experience?
My issue with phones is pulling out the thing, having it unlock, then go to the app, etc. It is all too much bother vs an always on display on a streamer.
 

gvl

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Don't really see the point in having a crippled phone attached to a DAC when everyone already has a presumably nicer phone at hand at all times these days
One would hope they were able to somehow bypass the OS mixer and mandatory resampling in Android for all apps that it can run.
 

gvl

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So, how do you control this thing w/out a remote? Are you at the mercy of an app you use to provide a remote control interface, eg Spotify Connect?
 

ta240

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Don't really see the point in having a crippled phone attached to a DAC when everyone already has a presumably nicer phone at hand at all times these days
I realize I'm probably not the norm with it, but I put my phone on the kitchen counter and don't look at it for hours at a time. I like having other options for controlling my music.

And even if I have the phone handy I agree with amirm that there are often too many steps to get to the music controls. That is what I don't get about a lot of smart controls. Here, let me just unlock my phone, launch the app, get to the the right screen... and there I turned the light on for you.

That is why I still love my squeezebox touch hooked up to a good DAC. I can control the music on the touch screen, by ir remote (the writing on the screen gets bigger when the remote is used), on my phone, on a tablet or on my computer.
 
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nerdemoji

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this device makes me wonder, is there a device that allows you to actually walk around while wearing DCA headphones? a portable battery powered streamer, DAC, High power headphone amp. I suppose a phone and a really high power dongle (if one exists) would work
 
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amirm

amirm

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So, how do you control this thing w/out a remote? Are you at the mercy of an app you use to provide a remote control interface, eg Spotify Connect?
I am not sure about spotify but with Roon I had to open the corresponding app on R7. Otherwise it would not even recognize it as an endpoint.
 
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F1308

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Voted POOR.

Smartphones are great and everywhere.

It is August 2023.
 

coolajami

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Looks very nice (it matches in appearance the new Fiio speakers) but the SW implementation looks very suboptimal. Possible they were in a rush to get the product in the market and will try to improve the SW with upgrades?
Anyway, for those who care Fiio has introduced a wired keypad that can be paired with the R7 (also with the K7 and K9 Pro) named KB1. Supposedly, it adds physical playback keys and a volume knob to the R7 but can also perform custom actions. It costs something like 15$ so it won't break the bank.


Also, there is a BT remote made for the R7, called RM3. Again, it costs something like 15$; I don't understand why it is not included in the R7 box.


 
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