Today we’re going to be checking out the new FiiO BTA30 Pro! It’s selling for $129 USD.
FiiO is one of the most popular audiophile-focused companies in the world. They design and manufacture a wide variety of audio products for different price brackets. They have been in this industry since 2007 and they are very popular with fans all around the world. They entered the Bluetooth playground with solid products and today we are looking at their new and upgraded BTA30, the BTA30 Pro. We have reviewed and awarded a lot of FiiO gear here on Headfonia over the years and you can read those reviews here: Headfonia FiiO Reviews.
FiiO BTA30 Pro Bluetooth Transceiver & DAC – What’s New?
FiiO BTA30 Pro is the upgraded version of the BTA30 that was released more than a year ago. The previous generation BTA30 had the AKM’s 4490 DAC. Partly due to the AKM factory fire and global chip shortage, Fiio has upgraded the DAC chip to ES9038Q2M in this new version, aiming for better performance and fidelity. The ES9038Q2M is a very popular DAC and we see it over and over again in successful products from various companies around the world. I don’t think it’s surprising that Fiio chose to continue the success of BTA30 with this DAC. Upon checking out the specs and the official comparison data, we immediately see the increased performance and reduced noise floor on paper. Apart from that, we see a new USB controller, this controller is also a very popular choice and present in the vast majority of DACs I have reviewed this year. FiiO chose this time-tested chip due to its stable performance. The USB PCM support was limited to 16bit-48kHz in the older BTA30. Thanks to the new USB controller, the new version supports PCM up to 32bit-384kHz. It also comes with native DSD512 decoding capability.
I am including the highlights of the new BTA30 Pro, below.
DAC: ESS Technology ES9038Q2M
Bluetooth Chipset: Qualcomm CSR8675
USB Controller: XMOS XUF208
Supported Codecs: AAC / SBC / aptX / aptX LL / aptX HD / LDAC
USB DAC Mode: Native DSD up to DSD512 – PCM up to 32bit-384kHz
SNR: ≥118dB | DNR: 112dB | Noise Floor: ≤3.8uV | THD+N: 0.0008%
Maximum Output Amplitude: 3Vrms (10KΩ)
Features: App Support, Multi-device Support, RX/TX/DAC Modes & More.
Dimensions & Weight: Approx. 120x55x25.8mm – 145 grams
MSRP: $129 USD
BTA30 Pro’s dedicated web page can be found here.
Before moving on to the review, I wanted to touch on the reason behind the price increase of the BTA30 Pro. You can read FiiO’s explanation here. To sum it up, the biggest reason behind the price increase is the undeniable damage of the covid-19 to the audio industry.
When you add the fire of the AKM factory, chip shortage, and the increased logistics fees to this, you see a very negative picture. Not to mention the increasing prices of raw materials day by day. Looking at the situation from the manufacturer’s point of view, the price increase becomes quite understandable.
Let’s get to the review without further ado.
Packaging & Accessories
The BTA30 Pro’s package is quite interesting. The outer surface of the package is covered with a coating that gives a kind of rainbow effect. We saw a similar packaging on the BTR5 2021 and in my opinion, this package looks much more appealing than the previous packaging, which was simple and ordinary.
Sliding off the cover grants you access to the foam compartment where everything is neatly packed by FiiO. I noticed the BTA30 Pro’s new aluminum top cover as soon as I took it out of the box. The extra buttons also caught my eye immediately. The DAC is compact so it certainly won’t take much space on your desk. Accessories are modest. You get a generic RCA to RCA cable, a nice USB-C data/power cable, 4 extra adhesive feet, an instruction manual, and a warranty card.
I quite liked the look and build quality of the old BTA30, I think it’s a good thing they didn’t make any major changes to the device, cosmetically. The unit looks pretty sleek and compact. It blends in perfectly with active monitors thanks to its modern design. The front of the chassis has 2 buttons and a switch. From left to right we see a power/input button, a pairing and aptX LL toggle button, RX/TX/DAC mode switch, and a volume pot. The volume pot has this textured surface and feels quite accurate.
FiiO has increased the number of LEDs to 7 with the BTA30 Pro. The reason for the increase in the newly added buttons and LEDs is to increase the practicality of the unit, usage-wise, and to have a less dependent device on the mobile application. I can say that they got this job done well. It feels like a complete product with these added buttons, providing you full control without the FiiO Control App.
There are 5 LEDs on the top cover and those provide you with information about the sample rate, input type, and power. High-res certificate logos and the Fiio brand logo along with the ”PRO” marking embellish the top aluminum panel very well. The top panel has a chrome border and looks shiny under a light source. All inputs and outputs are located at the back and that is, in my opinion, good to prevent cable clutter.
Fiio designed this transceiver with ease-of-use in mind. Now more than ever with the new Pro model. It is a quite straightforward product. You turn it on, set the switch to the mode you desire, and pair. It’s fast, it’s convenient.
The device is compact and it is now easier to control it using the new buttons. Its dimensions are 120x55x25.8mm. It is also light so if you want, you can slap on an adhesive under it and stick it directly to the side of your active monitors to bless them with high-res Bluetooth capability.
The overall build quality of the device is quite nice and I think it is safe to say that it will endure physical abuse up to some extend. It is not very easy to scratch the aluminum casing of the new FiiO BTA30 Pro. I would like to congratulate FiiO here, it is not easy to develop a device that is already good, but as you will see in more detail in the following sections, they have succeeded!
Features & Technology
The BTA30 Pro is a multifunctional device just like its predecessor, it has 3 modes: Bluetooth receiver, Bluetooth transmitter, and standalone DAC. Bluetooth modes support all codecs as well as the most superior, LDAC. In DAC mode, there are sample rate support differences between inputs. Coaxial input supports up to 32-384 & DoP128. Optical input supports up to 24-96 and USB input supports up to 32-384 decoding. You can find the USB driver here, on FiiO’s official downloads page. Note that this is only required for Windows. For Linux and macOS, the unit runs driverless. You don’t need to install anything if you intend to use the device wireless-only. The I/O options are rich, Fiio gave us many options, for sole audio quality, USB and coaxial are the best choices. All the I/O are located in the back, from left to right there are gold-plated RCAs, optical out, coax in & out, optical in, and USB.
The BTA30 Pro supports Bluetooth 5.0 and it has the best codecs available to audiophiles at the time of this writing, the LDAC & Aptx HD. Now it also comes with the AptX LL option for wireless gamers and low latency needs. The range is also quite good at around 20-30 meters, allowing you to freely use the device in a big living room. You also can connect up to two devices to the BTA30 Pro via Bluetooth. I tested the latency as well and I can say that it is wonderful in this regard. I haven’t noticed any major delay. A small note from FiiO here. The two device simultaneous connection is only possible when the device is in RX (Bluetooth receiver) mode. When working in LDAC and aptX LL codec in TX mode, the BTA30 Pro cannot be connected to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously.
The new bypass mode allows the device to stay connected to a speaker through the coaxial/optical output port while streaming audio signal to your Bluetooth headphones. This is also a new and highly requested feature. It is really nice that the FiiO listened to the user feedback.
The BTA30 Pro also comes equipped with a new DSP. FiiO has upgraded the old CT5302SN DSP to new-gen CT7302EL. The DSP also allows digital audio signals to be upsampled to 384 kHz. In my opinion, judging by the technology inside the BTA30 Pro and the combination of practicality and features of the device, the asked price is still easily justifiable.
I had already told you that the volume pot felt accurate, that is because Fiio made sure that we, audiophiles, have precise volume control with no imbalance dilemma. You can control the volume via the Fiio app for increased convenience. More on that next chapter.
The review continues on Page Two, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.
Page 2: FiiO Control, Testing Method, Sound Signature & Performance, Conclusion