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Looking for very good portable DAC + HP amp unit like FiiO BTR7

mike7877

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Like the title says. I've been looking at the reviews here, and so far, performance and feature-wise, the FiiO BTR7 looks like what I want, and is near the top of the range I'd like to spend.

I usually use Shure SRH1440, though sometimes some more sensitive in-ear monitors.

Usual use will be Tidal, and usually over bluetooth, and usually driving the SRH1440s (price: ~$400CDN ~4 years ago).

Since there are so many devices available in the space, I'm wondering - is there another that's better for the price? I don't want to buy the thing and then a week later find something and be like: dammit! That's so much better! Why'd I buy this dang thing?!

Needs to have:
- >8h battery life
- >80mW clean output
- ability to drive down to 40 ohms
- >= -100dB THD+n @ 2.2V
- Bluetooth 5, with latest lossless audio codecs support
- MQA
- 24 bit / 192kHz

Like to have:
- 16h battery life (so I can 64-14% it and increase the total charge able to be transferred to/from it by five times (vs 100-0) before degradation inevitably rears its hideous face and frightens the battery to death (and by extension the device I like so much, because some genius decided to use single-attach-zero-detach clips for the chassis)
- DSD support
- ability to drive down to 16 ohms
- customizable filters with one of them rolling off to at least 12-20dB by 1/2 sample rate
- balanced output
- >= -106dB THD+n


Sometimes the DAC will be connected to the phone or PC with USB, and its output, not to headphones, but the input of a power-amp. The fronts of my Denon AVR-X3700H.
Note: there isn't an actual "power-amp" input on the rear panel of Denon's 3700H (or any of their recent receivers AFAIK), but, if a set of speakers is enabled (meaning the power amps of those channels are on), you can connect a pre-out/HP out of an external source to the Denon's multi channel preamp output on the back (as counterintuitive it might seem), and the signal will reach the receiver's power amplifier section! (For Denon owners interested, this should work back at least two generations prior to last (eg 3500) and (I believe) on every model down to 2700H [and equivalents]).

Why do this? Most (if not all) AVRs use very affordable multi-channel volume controls which are 8 channel op-amps. They're very... affordable. Datasheets I've seen have always given THD+n specs very close to or exactly -100dB.
You might say: "well that's not great, but it's not bad either!"
And I'd say: Add some noise from gain mis-match, slap on (or not) some less than ideal capacitors, and then power it from the same rail as the HDMI and display boards!
I'm not saying that's how Denon's receivers implement their volume ICs (from my understanding of their understanding, they're smarter than that...), but even perfectly implemented they're not transparent in the chain of a good source on a good DAC to a good amp driving good speakers in a good room to a person with good ears who knows what to listen for (long chain lol)

So yeah, basically, is there something better for about the same price? Or something as good for less?


Review of FiiO BTR7
 

Rja4000

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Rja4000

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Needs to have:
- >8h battery life
- >80mW clean output
- ability to drive down to 40 ohms
- >= -100dB THD+n @ 2.2V
- Bluetooth 5, with latest lossless audio codecs support
- MQA
- 24 bit / 192kHz

Like to have:
- 16h battery life (so I can 64-14% it and increase the total charge able to be transferred to/from it by five times (vs 100-0) before degradation inevitably rears its hideous face and frightens the battery to death (and by extension the device I like so much, because some genius decided to use single-attach-zero-detach clips for the chassis)
- DSD support
- ability to drive down to 16 ohms
- customizable filters with one of them rolling off to at least 12-20dB by 1/2 sample rate
- balanced output
- >= -106dB THD+n
-
The Topping G5 specs are
- 10h-25h autonomy
- > 100mW power
- DSD support
- > 8 ohm (measured at 12 ohm)
- NO customizable filter
- NO true balanced output (but far enough power)
- < -106dB THD+N
- BT 5 with LDAC
- 32 bits 768kHz support

It DOES NOT supporr MQA though.
And it's more expensive than the Fiio.
 
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mike7877

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The Topping G5 specs are
- 10h-25h autonomy
- > 100mW power
- DSD support
- > 8 ohm (measured at 12 ohm)
- NO customizable filter
- NO true balanced output (but far enough power)
- < -106dB THD+N
- BT 5 with LDAC
- 32 bits 768kHz support

It DOES NOT supporr MQA though.
And it's more expensive than the Fiio.
I just ordered it! A bit more than I wanted to spend, but the specs!
Even though the filter isn't customizable, it's configured to what I want 99+% of the time!
-0.6dB at 18.1kHz?
down ~-70dB by 22.05kHz?
Yes!! Please!!!
My ears can juuuust hear up to 18.4kHz, and I'm very sure if 18.1kHz was projected to them at 76dB, then adjusted to 75.4, I wouldn't be able to say when the transition happened to save my life.

If this thing turns out to sound half as good as it looks on paper, I'd still thank you for helping me not making the mistake of buying the FiiO.

Nothing against the FiiO, but the savings (~33%) from choosing it over the G5? Not worth it
Not worth it at allllll

Thanks for the suggestion!!

I'll post here with my experience in a few days.
Do you have one by chance?
 
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mike7877

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So I've been busy and haven't had too much time with it yet, but so far I can say for sure its sound is extremely clean. And it's capable of very, very, very high power! - Especially with low impedance loads. For example, I have a 3.5mm headphone to speaker terminals adapter I made, and connected to 8 ohm / 91dB/w speakers, comfortable quieter listening levels (but not quiet by any stretch) can be reached in a medium sized room (14x17x8ft) with zero disortion. Subjectively it goes 3ish times louder than I expected it would, and even at the highest gain setting, it takes past 4pm for distortion to begin (rock, kicks peaking around -10dB, VU ~-20))

I'm wondering... when the internal battery finally dies, is it replaceable? Taking good care of the battery (not charging it past 70% (or thereabouts - there's no meter), battery lifespan is increased to 3-4x compared to charging to 100%, so I expect at least 5-7 years before replacement is needed (barring a substandard battery used in construction, but even still, 3 years minimum).

Warranty will be done by then for sure, so I'm not worried about that. I'm just not seeingwhere the thing comes apart. Will I have to rip off the nice (p)leather backing?
 

fishergod

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The Tempotec Sonata iDSD, Sonata HD Pro, or Sonata HD III are all well under $100 and are as good as, if not better than anything else you can get for under $100 bucks. If you want bluetooth included the Qudelix 5k is $109 if you can find it in stock, but the FIio BTR3 or BTR3k are also great options for quite a bit less and the Hidizs H2 is also a nice little bluetooth dac/amp that is light weight, but powerful enough for most applications on the go and sounds great as well. I got mine on sale for $40 bucks quite a while ago so I am sure you can find one for cheap now.
 
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