I’m a huge fan of FiiO. I bought the Q5 a while back, and my health and intimate relationships have improved significantly. Great sound and a huge bang for your buck is what defines this brand. So, I was super excited to try out their newest release, the BTR3. With a USB-C DAC connection and a freqload of codecs, I’m expecting to be blown away by the upgrades FiiO has made to it’s latest Bluetooth AMP. Let’s hope this new new toy doesn’t disappoint us in our FiiO BTR3 Bluetooth Headphone AMP Review.
If you’re a sucker for codecs, this will make you happy: AAC, SBC, aptX, aptX Low Latency, aptX HD, LDAC, and LHDC. The BTR3 will flash different colored lights depending on the codec you are using. So, in terms of wireless connections, the BTR3 is as high-res as it gets.
USB DAC Connection
To optimize the sound quality coming from your DAC, FiiO has implemented a wired USB-C connection as an alternative option to its Bluetooth function. USB-C is considered to be superior to micro-USB with respect to durability and ease of use. You can connect a USB-C with either side up. So, it’s flippable, while the more flimsy micro-USB needs a little fiddling, especially after a couple of beers. In terms of sound, the wired route should produce better sound. But we’ll put this to the test below.
To me, what’s most fun about a little Bluetooth DAC like this, is that you can turn your antiquated stereo system into a wireless design and control your playlists from your couch. And you can do the same with your car stereo. This setup will also make your ride safer, as it allows you to accept calls with one touch of a button.
The BTR3 offers 11 hours of playback. But the fine print says that this only applies when using the AAC codec. You’ll probably get a couple of hours less using other codecs.
FiiO uses noise cancellation technology to minimize ambient sound when making calls. To put this to the test, I called my mother. Her complaining came out crystal clear. In fact, the sound was clearer than any other Bluetooth headphone or device I’ve ever tested.
Volume and AMP Power
For the control freaks out there, FiiO has implemented independent volume controls. This means you can adjust the volume on the BTR3 separately from the volume control on your phone. So, you can rest assured that you’ll find just the right level without any huge jumps in volume.
To see just how much power this baby can produce, I connected it to a 150 Ohm headphone. Ambitious, I know. But it provided enough juice to allow me to listen at a civilized volume. Not enough to blow me out of my chair, though. Indeed, the BTR3 is ideally suited for an IEM or low impedance headphone, like the Beyerdynamic DT 770 or Audio-Technica M50x.
Pairing was quick and easy. And the BTR3 offers NFC for Androids. This means once you’ve paired the BTR3 to your phone for the first time, you simply touch the device to your phone, and voila.
3 buttons allow you to activate a host of functions: Play, pause, skip and volume control. The BTR3 also allows you activate good for nothing, Siri. She’ll help you make a hands-free call to the wrong person. I don’t have an Android phone, so I can’t comment on whether Google Assistant will work. FiiO conveniently left her name out of the instruction manual. Hmm.
The BTR3 also allows you to switch between 2 input devices by double clicking the power button.
Because of FiiO’s awesome DAC, the BTR3 will definitely give you a cleaner sound with more crystalized highs than a direct connection from your headphones to your phone, even in Bluetooth mode. Will it widen your soundstage? Hard to tell. Switching between the BTR3 and a direct line to my phone took too long to make and AB comparison with respect to soundstage. But in general, if you have critical ears, you should notice an improvement in overall sound quality in addition to the boosted volume from the AMP.
What sets this Bluetooth AMP from the rest? More high resolution codecs, a wired USB option and the best call clarity we’ve heard to date. For 70 bucks, you won’t get a better deal.