FiiO BTR7 Review
If you know anything about FiiO, you’re probably aware of the array of portable and tabletop DACs and DAPs that they offer. In 2020 they released the BTR5, a portable HiFi Bluetooth amp, which piqued the interest of on-the-go audio nerds and casual listeners alike who were simply looking to enhance their everyday listening experience. Fast forward not too far ahead to 2022, and Fiio has released the BTR7, a new and improved amplification device that takes the strengths of the BTR5 to new levels. Let’s take a look at the new and improved specs on the Fiio BTR7 before jumping into it for a listen.
What’s In the Box?
-BTR7 wireless DAC
-USB-C to USB cable
-USB-C to lightning cable (Apple)
Look and Feel
Though slightly larger than the 5, the BTR7 is still small and ergonomic and had no problem sharing a pocket with my phone. The display screen is also slightly larger, and in a very general sense reminded me of the proportions on old iPod Nanos. Its nice to see that portability considerations also went into the materials used in its build, as the aluminum housing gives it a sturdy feel and satisfying weight. Besides durability, the build structure utilizes a FiiO patented seamless metal frame antennae design which serves to further stabilize the the unit’s Bluetooth connections.
There is a lot packed into the BTR7 that is worth geeking out about. It utilizes an XMOS XUF208 chip to process audio streams in USB mode, which supports PCM sample rates up to 384 kHz and native DSD256. When wireless, a Qualcomm QCC5124 chip is used, with dual DSP and dual core CPU architecture which can support high resolution CODECS such as LDAC, aptX and aptX HD, as well as common formats like AAC/SBC.
That was quite a mouthful; those looking for something a little more straight forward to get excited about should be quite pleased to hear that the BTR7 uses two THX AAA-28 amplifiers, which pack power while perfectly preserving the quality and timbre present in the interplay between your mix and your headphones.
-4.4 and 3.5 mm outputs
-PCM 384 kHz, native DSD256.
-880 mAh battery with wireless charging support.
I tested the BTR7 using Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro headphones, because 1) they have an extremely flat sound signature and 2) I use them frequently for recording and listening alike and I’m very familiar with their sound. I’m happy to say that aside from a powerful listening experience that perfectly brought out every detail of the tracks I had queued up, there is not much more to say on the default tone of the BTR7 – and that is exactly the point. Unless you’re a listener who is into playback EQ’s, you probably will be looking at your headphones when you’re weighing the affect and coloration you want in your listening sessions. Personally, what I want from a headphone amplifier, DAP or DAC is reliable and infallible technology that can play my music loudly and as intended – not another layer of add-on sound.
Though I have my reservations about playback EQs, I was genuinely impressed by the EQ options the companion FiiO Control app offered. Though the DTR 7 comes with basic preset EQs that can be selected using the simple device controls, the app has some of the most in depth EQing options that I’ve seen on a consumer grade audio product. Not only does it let you gain all 10 octaves on the frequency band individually, you can even adjust Q levels to sharpen or soften your custom peaks and cuts. I really couldn’t help myself from playing with this feature, which can be an especially helpful tool when analyzing mixes.
The FiiO BTR7 uses some very advanced and cutting edge tech to carry out a simple yet delicate function: playing your music loudly and naturally and staying true to the quality of whatever audio file you’re listening to. With upgrades to its battery life, build and Bluetooth technology, as well as the addition of THX AAA amplification, the BTR7 is a considerable upgrade from its predecessor. $200 seems like a very fair price for a HiFi quality amp built to be taken around with you for years to come.