| Bluetooth receiver | USB DAC | 2.5 balanced | Type-C OTG | glistening appearance|
BTR 5 is the newest Bluetooth receiver of the Chinese company FiiO. Compared to the former BTR models, this small but exquisite device has a movable clip and a wonderful 2.5mm balanced output.
I pre-ordered this attractive little toy 2 weeks ago on taobao (Chinese online shopping website), and received it today, along with a black leather case as a pre-ordering gift. The price of BTR 5 is actually as twice as the previous member of BTR series, BTR 3. Will this BTR 5 deserve this double up?
BTR 5 has a curve-edged glass front panel, with a small OLED screen and an NFC logo on it. It has frosted aluminum borders. The back panel is the same with the front one, decorated with Hi-Res golden marks. However, those shiny curved glasses are not protected with oleophobic coating. Maybe the manufacturer believes all BTR 5 customers would well preserve the small toy in the attached leather or plastic case. Nevertheless, as long as it has a glistening appearance, why should we always keep it in a dull case?
BTR 5 is easy to use. When connecting it to my Android mobile (with snapdragon 835), the default audio codec is set to LDAC. As an optional choice, you can switch to Qualcomm aptX (native, HD, and Adaptive) and LHDC. Besides, you can connect the device to another mobile, just pressing a single button for a while. All operation is convenient even without FiiO Music application. What has amazed me most, is that I can hardly hear any background noise even. Other than using as a Bluetooth receiver, BTR 5 can serve as a wired DAC & AMP. When connecting to a computer with USB Type-C cable, I use Fiio modified ASIO for fb2k to enjoy music. Both connections work well.
The biggest highlight for BTR 5, beyond all question, is the balanced output. And perhaps BTR 5 is among the cheapest devices with a balanced output, considering that BTR 5 is a ‘portable’ DAC & AMP. Generally, BAL has a larger output capacity, making it possible to drive some ‘picky’ headphones. Does the BTR 5 with a tiny body give out powerful or melodious sound? I use several headphones to test this receiver, containing Sennheiser HD700, Phillips SHP 9500 and FiiO FH1 hybrid earbuds. Unfortunately, I don’t have a BAL cable for my HD 700, I can only using FH1 to test the balanced output. For FH1, the balanced output is significantly better than the unbalanced output. Not only does the former bursts out much more bass, but it reveals more details as well. However, To be honest, BTR 5 has no advantage over other players with the same price in unbalanced output. I can only comfort myself with the reason that BTR 5 is so small, even much smaller than FiiO mk3. So carrying such little toy can never be burdensome.
There are still several inconveniences, the biggest among which is that the 3 buttons have a really hard hand feel. I think this strange feature is designed for the leather case, in order not to miss control. Besides, there is no NFC feature at all! Neither in the machine menu nor in the instruction book. Maybe they will update this feature in the future.