- Nov 7, 2011
(5) Bluetooth DAC/Amps preview and existing product information
In FiiO's history, Bluetooth DAP/Amps were actually a little earlier than compact portable DAC/Amps (USB dongles). They are important devices for many audiophiles who use cell phones to listen to music. Since 2016, FiiO started to develop Bluetooth devices, putting heavy investments in the wireless darkroom, RF instruments and other hardware facilities, Bluetooth antenna as well as software and hardware developers. It is no exaggeration to say that in this market segment, FiiO has become the brand with the most market share and the strongest developing ability in the world.
In 2023, we will not make many improvements in portable Bluetooth DAC/Amps, mainly because the development of Bluetooth technology has been relatively mature. And limited by size, output power and Bluetooth codecs, it is hard to make a big innovation. Here we would like to share our new products and review some of our previous products.
1. BTR15 (New), expected to be available in the fall
The BTR5 is the most successful portable Bluetooth DAC/Amp in the history of FiiO. It has been more than three years since it was released in October 2019. Thanks to the moderate price, exquisite and good-looking appearance, high-end configuration and high output power, it was even difficult to find a rival. Therefore, it was always out of stock.
The popularity of the BTR5 has set a benchmark in main configuration and design for this kind of product: full Bluetooth format support, with a display, both wired DAC and wireless HiFi support, dual DACs, both single-ended and balanced outputs support, an average body/weight.
So, although FiiO released the BTR7 after that, we believe the most classic one is still the BTR5. In 2023, after 4 years since the birth of the BTR5, we will introduce an iterated model of the BTR5. The main reason for this upgrade is that the Qualcomm 8675 has been on the market for too long and Qualcomm was no longer popularizing it, so it may be discontinued. Or, even if it is not discontinued, the lead time may be very long.
The BTR15 is currently under planning, so we don't have many details to share for the time being. But the 2.5+3.5mm output combination will certainly be changed to 3.5+4.4mm following the trend, so it will have a larger body than the BTR5. The Bluetooth chip may be upgraded to the QCC series, and for other features and specifications, we will also strive to make the BTR15 another classic product according to the chip supply and feedback from our early users.
2. BTR3K (existing model)
The BTR3K is also a classic model: full format support, good performance, warm sound quality, and single-ended and balanced output support. Before the BTR5 came out, it was the main model. Although the BTR5 stole its heat, it doesn't need too many functions and doesn't need to be able to work as a USB dongle if only working as a Bluetooth headphone amp. Overall, the BTR3K is tinier and more affordable.
The Bluetooth DAC/Amp market is still mainly for audiophiles. Currently, the BTR5 is more expensive yet with more sales volumes. Therefore, we are not planning to upgrade the BTR3K in 2023. When the chip is out of stock, it would retire naturally.
3. BTR7 (existing model)
In the beginning, we had some concerns about the BTR7. Because for FiiO's product lines, we define portable Bluetooth DAC/Amps as small and compact ones to differentiate them from portable DAC/Amps with Bluetooth reception, such as the Q7.
At that time, we were still uncertain whether to make a Bluetooth DAC/Amp that is bigger, significantly heavier and more expensive than the BTR5. In the end, we followed the principle of "practice makes perfect".
The BTR7 has exceeded our expectations. This should owe to its significantly higher output power than those mobile-powered dongles, plus the higher resolution display, MQA support, and the more popular 4.4mm balanced headphone output.
As a result, the BTR7 not only extends the product line, but also manages to become the hottest-selling high-end Bluetooth DAC/Amp on the market.
This is great news. I own the BTR5 and the BTR7. Both are very good but it’s true that the BTR5 has superior industrial design and a better overall size. Sounds like the BTR15 will be an instant buy for me. I just hope it’s either metal on the back or comes with a nice protective case. I shattered the glass on the back of my BTR5 just by dropping it.