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Thread: FiiO BTR3k

  1. #1
    Xtreme Reviewer
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    422

    FiiO BTR3k

    Introduction

    Bluetooth is here to stay. We simply cannot avoid it any longer. Just look at how many new phones still have a headphone jack: there seem to be fewer every day. So how are you supposed to enjoy music from your smartphone now? Enter the FiiO BTR3k Bluetooth Receiver. The Chinese company FiiO Electronics Technology Co. Ltd. is a proven specialist for personal audio solutions and offers a wide range of portable headphone amplifiers that use Bluetooth to provide a particularly flexible solution for high-quality playback, especially for smartphones and tablets. This product range is called the FiiO BTR Range and is now to be expanded with the new FiiO BTR3K Balanced High-fidelity Bluetooth Amplifier. The BTR3k is coming as an upgrade for the previous-gen BTR3. BTR3k is equipped with Dual AK4377 DAC's while the BTR3 only featured a single AK4376A DAC, the latest model decodes and provides a cleaner output than the BTR3. BTR3k offers dual output ports with one 3.5mm SE port and one 2.5mm Balanced Port, while the BTR3 only offered a 3.5mm SE port for output.



    For in-depth technical information of the product, please visit the FiiO product page for more information.




    Packaging & Contents

    First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:
    The FiiO BTR3k comes in a small white box with an image of the device on the front.




    It's simple but practical packaging that isn't wasteful or unnecessarily flashy so we'll just leave it at that and jump into the actual contents.



    Since the bluetooth receivers have a simple job, they don't need more accessories, and I consider they are fairly well packaged. The accessories include a manual, warranty, short USB-C to USB-A cable (charging and USB-C DAC duties) and a black lanyard next strap for the BTR3k to hang around your next.



    The BTR3k comes with a symmetrical detachable rear clip that allows you to easily carry it around.




    A Closer Look

    As soon as you lay your eyes or hands (whatever comes first) on the BTR3k you'll know that it has a really nice build. The FiiO BTR3k is a small and lightweight device with a dimension of 58x25x10.4mm and weight of 26g (inclusive battery) that has an aluminum body with a glass panel on the front. On the front of the device is a black 2.5D glass panel, which has an oleo-phobic coating that keeps off fingerprints. This glass panel has a smooth texture and sports the FiiO Logo.



    The FiiO logo has a build in RGB indicator light that lights up in various colors, indicating various operating states and which Bluetooth codec is being used. The indicator can light up blue (SBC), cyan (AAC), purple (aptX and aptX-LL), red (charging), yellow (aptX-HD), white (LDAC) or green (LHDC) to indicate the input Bluetooth audio codec and charging status.




    The few controls necessary for operation are located on the side, such as buttons for coupling to the source device, volume control and of course the main switch.



    The Fiio BTR3k features dual output ports just like the flagship model from the brand. It features a 3.5mm single-ended port (Output@32Ω:25mW) and a 2.5mm balanced port (Output@32Ω:78mW).



    The Fiio BTR3k features a USB Type-C port which can be used to charge the device or provide input to the device for decoding and amplification.



    Starting with the D/A converter, the FiiO BTR3k Balanced High-fidelity Bluetooth Amplifier uses two AKM AK4377A DACs. The signal processing is clocked by two 22.5792 MHz and 24.576 MHz dual crystal oscillators. The DAC/AMP is featuring a Flagship level Bluetooth chip, the CSR8675 which supports Bluetooth 5.0 and all the latest hi-res Bluetooth codecs such as LDAC, aptX, aptX HD, and many more. This chip also ensures better signal transmission and a stable connection to the source device. Here is an image showing the circuitry of the BTR3k which tells us several features of the products.




    Performance

    Pairing amplify to a smartphone is a quick and easy process that only needs to be done once. It will automatically detect the best audio codec that the smartphone supports, or a codec can be manually selected from a suitable Android phone. It's even possible to pair two amplify units to one phone so that two people can listen to the same music but set their listening levels independently. Once it's been paired, amplify works like a charm. It sounds amazing, producing a bold and detailed sound that has a spacious and exciting soundstage. I was surprised at the amount of bass amplify was able to reproduce. I was listening using a pair of earphones that I'd been trying out with my iPhone, they'd sounded a bit lightweight and lacking in the bass department with the phone, but the moment I plugged them into amplify, the sound was transformed. This is one great-sounding headphone amplifier with an excellent volume level and crystal clear audio and no signal dropout. The performance is genuinely impressive. Android phones supporting LDAC and aptX HD have a distinct advantage here. We simply listened to better sounding music from handsets supporting those codecs. FLAC and WAV files from a computer came through really crisp. We even watched a movie to gauge performance that way, and liked the results. Fiio rates battery life at 11 hours, but we never hit that number in our tests. Depending on volume levels and which codec was streaming, we were in the ballpark of 10.2 hours most of the time. Using the included USB-C cable the device can be fully charged in just 1.5 hours. You can also use the BTR3k DAC amplifier while charging. The BTR3k comes with a microphone so you can take calls without pulling out your phone. All the remote control options worked great. I made some calls using the BTR3k as well. People on the other end had no problem hearing me.



    FiiO is also has an app, "FiiO music App", that will let you control remotely this tiny device. At the moment it's avaiable both on Android and Apple in their app stores, and on the FiiO website. The FiiO Music app has a wide range of audio formats compatibility including DSD, WAV, FLAC, APE, AIF, ALAC, MP3, OGG, WMA and all three transmission rates of LDAC including 330kbps, 660kbps and 990kbps, plus a lot of small yet useful add-ons, like gapless playing or an efficient sorting system, similar to other famous music apps online. With FiiO Music app, I am able to hear more details with FLAC file and you are really missing out with mp3 file. Most importantly no ads.




    Final Thoughts

    The new FiiO BTR3k Balanced High-fidelity Bluetooth Amplifier is based on the FiiO BTR3 Bluetooth Amplifier. The new generation is to be seen as an upgrade, taking the virtues of the previous model, but optimizing and expanding the features in key areas, such as new DACs with very accurate clocking and now balanced signal processing. LHDC stands for low latency and high-definition audio codec. Comparing to the Bluetooth SBC audio format, LHDC allows more than 3 times the data transmitted. AK4377a is big upgrade over AK4376A DAC and I can definitely hear a difference compared to the Fiio BTR3. There are mountains of great wired headphones that make perfectly fine Bluetooth ones with this device. With a 11-hour battery life, amplify has sufficient stamina for a lengthy transatlantic flight, and the Li-Polymer battery can be topped up in just 1.5 hours by using the USB C charging port on the base of the unit. The BTR3k come with a companion iOS and Android app that will allow you to customize the receiver's sound and EQ settings. The buttons offer all the controls needed so it's possible to pop the smartphone in a pocket or a rucksack and then control the music from amplify. The device is no bigger than a stylish cigarette lighter (remember those?). It's supplied with detachable rear clip that let's the wearer attach it to a shirt pocket or lapel. Thanks to its aluminum housing, BTR3k is lightweight and sleek. I would have loved to see a Screen Protector and Case in the Box cause the device can scratch easily.



    BTR3k portable DAC amplifier has opened up a lot of potential avenues. It is not only looking like a really smart device to have around for more demanding audiophiles but it is also suitable for all people who like music only if you have a smartphone. If you own a good pair of wired earphones or headphones, and if your smartphone lacks a headphone socket, the BTR3k amplify could be the answer to your prayers. This is a superb Bluetooth receiver and it feels so good in the hand and is nicely put together. The sound is excellent, thanks to the high-quality AKM DAC and Class G amplifier. The price is competitive also at $69.99.

    Last edited by testman78; 04-25-2020 at 01:43 AM.

  2. #2
    Overclocking Guru
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    May 2002
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    Can you overclock it

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