If you’re looking for an entry-level Bluetooth USB amp and DAC all in one device, then I recommend the FiiO BTR3K!
This receiver can offer you:
- Balanced output mode
- A great Bluetooth connection,
- Different Bluetooth codecs like aptX LL, aptX HD, AAC, SBC
- Good output power
- And a long battery life
Let’s take a deeper look at the FiiO Btr3K that audiophiles will appreciate and love!
FiiO BTR3K Overview
The FiiO BTR3K is a Bluetooth 5.0 receiver that‘s made to deliver HIGH-QUALITY AUDIO for whatever occasion you may be using it for.
I love this tiny device because it’s portable and easy to bring wherever I go.
You can use this PORTABLE Bluetooth gadget anywhere with your headphones or earphones!
What Does It Offer?
With its USB DAC functionality, the FiiO BTR3K can support decoding streams up to 16-bits and 48 kHz, so it’s not very suitable for high-resolution content.
Anything above that sample rate will be downsized.
- The volume adjustment on this device is independent of the source device, whether connected via Bluetooth or USB. This is useful for users whose device doesn’t have fine-grained volume levels.
- There’s also a microphone you can use on the right side. So if you use the FiiO BTR3K with your phone through cable or Bluetooth, you can take calls from it.
- You can also use the FiiO BTR3K in balanced mode to lessen the background noise.
- The low power output can be explained by the FiiO BTR3K using two AKM AK4377A DACs, which are made to be used for mobile applications.
Pros and Cons
Before we head to the main details about this receiver, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the FiiO BTR3K.
- Well built
- Extremely portable
- Long battery life
- Easy to use
- No NFC technology
- Clicks with the low volume content
Let’s do a Deep Dive!
Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s take a closer look at the FiiO BTR3k and how well it holds up.
Packaging and Accessories
The packaging on the FiiO BTR3K is clean and simple.
The BTR3K comes in a medium-sized, white box and is surrounded by a protective cushion roughly 3 times bigger than the unit itself.
With that, you won’t have to worry about the FiiO BTR3K receiving any cracks or other damage while it’s in transit!
You’ll also find a USB cable and a clip as part of its accessories.
Features and Specs
First things first, let’s look at the technical specifications that the FiiO BTR3K can offer you with its entry-level price.
Its power output is limited to 50 mW in its single-ended mode. However, I’ve found that it gets a bit better at 78 Mw on 32 Ω loads.
However, even then, you WON’T be able to drive super-high-impedance headphones/earphones or super-low-sensitivity headphones/earphones at all.
There’s also a built-in microphone on the right side of the FiiO BTR3K that you can use to make phone calls when you connect it to your phone and other mobile devices.
You can also use it when connected to a PC, but it doesn’t work if you use it through cabled mode.
Here are the specifications that are taken from FiiO’s website.
- USB (up to 16-bit/48 kHz PCM)
- Bluetooth 5.0 (SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX LL, aptX HD, LDAC)
Suitable Headphones Impedance
- 16 – 100 Ω
- ≤ 0.3 Ω (single-ended)
- ≤ 0.5 Ω (balanced)
Maximum Output Power
- 50 mW (16 Ω loaded)
- 25 mW (32 Ω loaded)
- 40 mW (16 Ω loaded)
- 78 mW (32 Ω loaded)
- 20 – 20,000 Hz (aptX)
- 20 – 40,000 Hz (LDAC)
THD+N (@1 kHz)
- < 0.003% (LDAC, single-ended)
- < 0.002% (LDAC, balanced)
- ≥ 119dB (32Ω A-weighted)
- ≥122dB(32Ω A-weighted)
- 73 dB (single-ended, 32 Ω)
- 108 dB (balanced, 32 Ω)
- 20Hz～20kHz (aptX connection)
- 20Hz～40kHz (LDAC connection)
Design and Build
If someone outside the world of music glances at the FiiO BTR3K, they may mistake it as a miniature model of one of those early smartphones from the late 2000s.
This device is made from glass and black metal. I like it because it gives the device a sleek and modern look.
The front and back are protected by a sheet of 2.5D glass (the glass is tapered at the edges).
There’s a status LED underneath the glass in front of the device.
It lights the FiiO logo in different lights to tell you the current Bluetooth codec being played.
Of course, you’re going to need to charge this device once in a while. You can do so with its USB Type-C port on the top of the FiiO BTR3K.
FiiO gave this device a bold look to stand out despite its size, which is a great design option, especially if you’re like me and lose small items easily.
The construction and form factor for the BTR3K is great, making this simple-looking device look nice and clean.
Nothing about the FiiO BTR3K will make you think it’ll easily break, and luckily, it won’t!
If you want to use a clip-on for your FiiO BTR3K, then this add-on accessory will do the job!
The clip is made from plastic, which may seem like a downgrade from the metal clip that the BTR5K offers.
But bear with me here! Since the BTR3K is all about portability, the transparent plastic clip makes sense.
Besides, the clip doesn’t feel cheap or fragile, so you won’t have to worry about its quality.
I’m happy to report that whether you use it in Bluetooth mode or USB DAC mode, the FiiO BTR3K’s sound quality won’t let you down.
The audio from the BTR3K doesn’t deviate from the track it’s replicating, giving it a neutral sound signature.
It presents the audio as it is without giving it any warm tones or subtracting from it.
The FiiO BTR3K uses the Qualcomm CSR8675 dual independent Crystal Oscillators.
- Paired with its two high-performance DACs, it makes listening to audio tracks a wonderful experience.
Another upgrade to the FiiO BTR3K is that it uses a dual headphone connector with an additional 2.5 mm headphone jack.
- With this balanced headphone connector, you can reach a 300% power output boost that can reach 78 mW (32 Ω).
However, there was a slight issue I ran into while using the BTR3K: a faint popping sound.
This could be because of wired or Bluetooth headphones or earphones with 16 Ω or less impedance, so your experience may vary.
On the top side of the FiiO BTR3K, you’ll find a USB Type-C port that you can use as both the charging port and connection for USB DAC functionality.
On the bottom, you’ll find the 3.5 mm earphones jack and the 2.5 mm balanced headphone connector.
Due to its new Bluetooth 5.0 chip, the FiiO BTR3K can support a stable Bluetooth connection that won’t frequently drop.
Luckily for you, the FiiO BTR3K works on Android and IOS devices.
However, I found it a bit tricky to navigate through the FiiO Music app.
I had to scroll through a lot of items before reaching the option to connect it to the device I wanted to pair it with.
But aside from that little ease of accessibility hiccup, the app itself is quite good! It offers customization through its native equalizer and four filters.
Operation and Control
The BTR3K has 4 buttons you can use on the right side of the device: the power button, the play/pause button, and the volume rocker.
These buttons don’t require any fancy or complex button-work to function to the fullest.
If you don’t always want to look at the FiiO BTR3K to check which button you’ll press, it’s possible to do so!
- Each button has a different and unique shape that’ll tell you exactly which button you’re pressing down on.
Here are the main functions on the buttons found on the FiiO BTR3K.
- Press and hold: Power on/off
- Double click: Switch between devices
- One-click: Play/pause music or answer/end calls
- Double click: Activate Siri
Volume Button Up
- Single press: Volume up
- Double click: Previous song
Volume Button Down
- Single press: Volume down
- Double click: Next song
The FiiO BTR3K is also compatible with CTIA controls which means you can control this with your earphones or headphone control cable as well.
Bluetooth LED Status Lights
Here are the colors and their corresponding Bluetooth codec meaning:
- Blue – SBC
- Cyan – AAC
- White – LDAC/DAC
- Green – LHDC
- Purple – aptX/aptX LL
- Yellow – aptX HD
Even if the FiiO BTR3K is tiny, its battery life is nuts!
It can stay alive for 11 hours even with continuous playback!
However, if you use it in Balanced Output Mode, you’ll be able to use the FiiO BTR3K for only 7 hours, which is still a long enough time for me.
Through its USB-C charging cable, you can even get it fully charged in less than 90 minutes.
Alternative Options Worth Checking Out
If you think the FiiO BTR3K isn’t quite the amp and DAC for you, here are some other options you can try.
If you want a similar unit compared to the BTR3k, then the UP2 could interest you.
The UP2 offers you more Bluetooth codecs like LHDC/HWA codec and a higher audio resolution when using it in USB DAC mode.
It can also provide you with a cleaner experience when enjoying your jams, and it has more volume control levels.
However, the main difference is that the FiiO BTR3K offers a balanced output mode, and the Shanling UP2 does not.
The BTR3K also has more power output with 78 mW compared to the UP2’s 67 mW.
Their battery life and Bluetooth 5.0 connection are evenly matched.
I find that the FiiO BTR3K and the Shanling UP2 don’t have a large edge over the other, so opting for one over the other is a matter of personal opinion.
On the other hand, the Shanling UP4 is a big upgrade from the UP2 unit and, consequently, the FiiO BTR3K as well.
The UP4’s output power is a good 160 mW, which is a huge leap from the BTR3K’s 78 Mw.
It also features LHDC/HWA codec and has a higher resolution for USB connections.
No background noise will ruin your listening experience, no matter how sensitive your headphones or earphones are!
The only downside I can think of to the UP4 is that it’s larger and heavier.
Because of that, you may want to forego the added power and battery life and settle for more portable devices instead.
The ES100 is the industry standard for portable audio devices like the FiiO BTR3K.
Its features include a MASSIVE power output at 300mW.
Additionally, it features a wider Bluetooth range, and its battery life reaches an amazing 14 hours, despite being smaller than the FiiO BTR3K.
You even have more options on how you want to configure this device with its own volume levels and software.
I also recommend this Bluetooth receiver because it’s got great audio as well, offering you a great time if you ever decide to take this.
Based on this FiiO BTR3K review, I hope I’ve helped you decide on whether to get the BTR3K or not.
There’s a lot to like about the FiiO BTR3K, from the excellent sound, the compatibility of its Bluetooth, the available accessories, its long battery life, the power output, and more.
So if you need an affordable yet powerful audio receiver for you and your earphones, getting the FiiO BTR3K may be a sound decision for you to make!
January 9, 2023 – minor formatting edits