FiiO BTR5 2021 Review

FiiO BTR5 2021

Amplitude & Chipset

FiiO’s new BTR5 provides plenty of power for your IEMs on the go. The single-ended 3.5mm output can deliver about 80mW into a 32Ω load. The balanced 2.5mm output on the other hand can deliver about 240mW into a 32Ω load. As you can see the difference here, the balanced output dishes out much more power compared to its single-ended counterpart. Whether you need this extra power or not is completely dependent on the IEMs you’ll pair the device with. For most of the IEMs on the market, no, you don’t need to go that extra mile of purchasing balanced cables, especially if you are majorly planning to use the device wirelessly. If you’re after every single bit of the dynamic range, I would of course recommend you to get a balanced cable and I would also recommend Android users to get acquainted with the UAPP. The UAPP lets us use USB DACs in bit-perfect mode and also provides us with a number of tweaks to meddle with. Of course, the tricks I have mentioned are only valid when you use the device wired. We are going to talk more about that in the sound section.

FiiO BTR5 2021

As for signal stability, FiiO’s decision to move forward with the same, time-tested Qualcomm CSR8675 chipset can easily be understood. The feedback they got from people who use the BTR5 was quite positive, so I find this decision quite logical. The CSR8675 is a premium-grade chipset that was developed by the semiconductor giant, Qualcomm to deliver high-quality wireless audio performance. I have seen that this chipset numerous times in many products that I have reviewed before. Long story short, my experience too has been quite positive with the BTR5 2021. It provides excellent signal stability and I can control my active monitors from 3 rooms afar. That’s quite impressive. Additionally, I would like to state that I did not experience any problems in dirty environments, signal-wise, such as the subway. FiiO did a great job of isolating the device’s chipset. 

Features & Control

The device can be controlled via three buttons on the right side of the chassis. Every button offers a multi-function to make it easier for you to navigate. In the menus, you can change the filter type between hybrid and fast, toggle on EQ presets, toggle the auto charging, toggle the car mode, change the screen-dimmer options, and switch between USB 1.0 and USB 2.0 interface types. You can also adjust the gain between L and H from this menu. The full list of device controls can be found here.

FiiO lets you turn on and off the automatic charging and it’s quite useful if you intend to use the device wired. Apart from that, if you want to use the device with older devices or devices with locked operation systems, such as PS5 and Nintendo Switch, you can switch on the USB 1.0 interface for driverless operation. It is a nice feature that FiiO included to increase the compatibility of the BTR5 2021.

FiiO BTR5 2021

The BTR5 2021 also comes with an integrated NFC module. You can pair your NFC-enabled smartphone with the BTR5 seamlessly within seconds. It is a nice-to-have feature. Another nice-to-have feature of the BTR5 is the car mode. The BTR5 will power on automatically after the vehicle

engine starts and powers off when you turn off the engine.

Apart from these, FiiO also offers classic media controls. You can pause and resume the music playback, skip to the next or previous song and activate your preferred assistant. On top of that, the BTR5 2021 offers 60-step HW volume control via physical buttons. 

Let’s talk about MQA for a bit. I think everybody knows about the MQA now. It is quite popular among audiophiles, some love it, some hate it. If you want to use it with the BTR5 2021 on a windows machine, you will need to download and install drivers from FiiO for full utilization of the device. If you’re a MAC user, you don’t have to install any drivers. The OLED display will let you know when the device fully utilizes MQA. For mobile usage, Apple devices automatically utilize bit-perfect audio, as for Androids, it is a bit more controversial than that. During my tests, I found out that it does not deactivate the Android resampling process and does not offer me a bit-perfect playback without UAPP. This may change from device to device but note that I am using Xiaomi’s F2 Pro. Switching the UAPP lets me use the device in bit-perfect mode and it can play DSD256 files without any issues. It also allows me to use MQA with Tidal without any stutter. 

FiiO BTR5 2021

As for the battery, the BTR5-2021 features a 550 mAh capacity. FiiO states that it can be used for up to 9 hours. Of course, that is the SBC codec estimation. I did my own test and it took 6.5 hours for me to deplete BTR5-2021’s battery with continuous LDAC playback and meddling with the settings. The battery life is satisfactory in my opinion and it should be enough for active, on-the-go days. Note that the device takes around 1.5h to fully re-charge. 

Lastly, the BTR5 comes with a dual-mic layout. It is safe to say that it does a good job of both blocking the ambient noise and picking up your voice. I have conducted several tests and FiiO did a good job of picking up my voice through the chatter. Note that you need to hold the device close to your mouth while speaking in crowded places. 

 

The review continues on Page Three, after the click HERE or by using the jump below.

Page 1: FiiO, FiiO BTR5 2021, Packaging & Accessories, Design & Build Quality

Page 3: App Support, Performance, Wired Performance, Shanling UP5 Comparsion, Last Words

4.4/5 - (218 votes)
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Long time Tech Enthusiast, an ambitious petrol-head, Yagiz likes his gadgets and always finds new ways into the tinkerer's world. He tries to improve anything and everything he gets his hands onto. Loves an occasional shine on the rocks.

11 Comments

  • Reply November 2, 2021

    Steven

    I had the original and it was great.

  • Reply November 2, 2021

    Aron

    Did they fix the problem with the original BTR5, where it breaks the device if you use it as an external DAC plugged in to your laptop? It was still using the battery and it overcharges it. I still have my original in an unusable state, and the internet is also full of posts about this, so I’m not alone…

    • Reply November 2, 2021

      Yagiz

      Yes, you now have the ability to turn off the auto charge feature.

      • Reply November 2, 2021

        Aron

        You could turn off charging in the original BTR5 also, but it was still using the battery and turn off when depleted. This is the only way I can use it… Turning charging on when battery is low and off before it gets full. If I miss it and it gets overcharged, I have to wait a week or two until I can turn it on again. I’m so annoyed by this! An otherwise flawless product, great design, great sound, it does everything so we’ll, and then this…. I don’t know what they were thinking….

  • Reply November 2, 2021

    Sayed Rayan

    I wonder if the Bluetooth performance is better than the original BTR5. I did have connectivity issues over LDAC when my phone was in my pocket

    • Reply November 2, 2021

      Yagiz

      This is highly dependant on your phone, environment and such.

      The new version still uses the same chipset as the original BTR5, so no, upgrading the device will most likely not solve your problems.

  • Reply December 10, 2021

    Anon

    No one ever talks about the BS EQ. How it only works in wireless mode and NOT for LDAC on top of it. Its ridiculous. Even wired mode, no eq? Come onnnnn. You fail fiio

    • Reply December 10, 2021

      Yagiz

      I never use the EQ companies provide. There is a much better alternative. I use poweramp EQ app on Android, it is detailed and provides additional Bluetooth settings to meddle with. Unless we get hardware EQ, this is the best alternative.

  • Reply July 25, 2022

    Pierre

    Hi,
    Please can you have a look at this process, that allows to use the BTR5 2021 within the very light audio structure i have, as sound enhancer. My audio features are:
    – Samsung A12
    – BTR5 2021
    – 2 x SRS XB43

    Process :

    Fiio BTR5 2021: New way to use it at home. My own experience.

    How to improve/increase the sound of your Hi-Fi in stereo thanks to the Fiio BTR5. Audio devices used: Samsung A12 – BTR5 2021 – 2x Sony SRS-XB43

    Pre-requisites:
    – Wi-Fi network
    – Separate application sound function (“son d’application séparé” in french) on your smartphone
    – NFC functions on smartphone and portable columns.

    1) You must be in the same Wi-Fi network to operate
    2) Disconnect bluetooth on smartphone
    3) Connect bluetooth on smartphone
    4) Connect one of the loudspeakers with smartphone bluetooth
    5) Open app “Sony” Music Center
    5) Press + at the bottom right of open page
    6) Connect by NFC smartphone to the 2nd loudspeaker
    6) Then operate the group of loudspeakers in Music Center
    7) Once the loudspeakers are joined, turn off the loudspeakers
    8) Connect one Jack 3.5 cable to each loudspeaker
    9) Turn on the 2 loudspeakers
    10) Turn on Fiio BTR5 with the power button-Apply the settings-Let the screen turn off-Press the multifunction button until the “pairing” mode engages
    11) Go to Smartphone settings – Sounds – Separate application sound – Choose the same audio player or app chosen previously – Press device and choose the connected bluetooth device (other than the smartphone)
    11) Pull down the control window (as for bluetooth) and press media
    12) Make sure the connected configuration is Chosen App/Player – Fiio BTR5
    13) Select the title or playlist to listen to
    14) Play

    For information only. May not work with other audio than the one tested.
    Enjoy your enhanced music

  • Reply January 11, 2023

    Liam Wedd

    Hi saw this article and noticed it said the the BTR5 2021 worked with the PS5 have seen many mixed comments on this as I have been searching for an answer. Have you personally used it with the PS5 or asumed that it would work based of compatability?

    • Reply January 11, 2023

      Yagiz

      Hello. I gifted my PS5 away but let me try to enlighten you. The PS5 works with devices that feature UAC 1.0 USB. A.k.a. USB Audio Class 1.0. It is a standard dating back over 20 years. The BTR5 can be switched to UAC1. After connecting it via USB, Go here on the PS5; Settings → Devices → Audio Devices → Output Device → USB Headphone (yes it will likely be listed as headphone).

      The PS5’s support for external DACs are messy, it can limit USB Audio output volume. So without an actual PS5, I can’t really answer your question as comprehensively as I’d like.

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