Perhaps, only just too far from the world of mobile gadgets, people could not help but notice a steady trend to use Bluetooth to output audio to modern smartphones. More and more devices are deprived of the 3.5 mm jacks, more and more manufacturers offer certain solutions to the wireless sound. Of course, the FiiO is not left behind, releasing a wide range of solutions, and today we're talking about their flagship receiver BTR3.
After a fairly well received by the market (coming, incidentally, is the third revision) and it's time to release something more expensive and functional, this model became the hero of today's review. In addition to improved design and support for almost all available codecs, he got a couple of nice innovations like the USB DAC function and NFC for quick connection. Sound meets AK4376A with which the company's engineers have been able to make friends, so audiocatalyst was also quite on the level. Price, of course, older, but in reasonable limits, asking for BTR3 about 70 dollars, but the price tag can vary a little depending on taxes and fees.
The Box looks like a standard «fine» options from FiiO, but this time it is not made of cardboard and thin plastic. However, it is unlikely that much change. Inside, besides the receiver, you will find instructions, warranty card, USB cable for charging and use as a DAC and lace to wear BTR3 on the neck or somewhere else.
About the appearance, perhaps, there's not much to say: a compact block of black aluminum with a glass front panel. Fashion «2.5 D effect» available. In the top of the panel is illuminated FiiO logo, it also acts as a universal indicator: changes colors depending on the codec and indicates the discharging/charging the battery. I must say that the idea of changing colors, mesmerizing 10 minutes I had fun, switching codecs in M7, over and over again making sure that the switch actually works.
The right side has push button on/off switch, a microphone, a separate «smart» buttons for play and pause, voice assistant and many other functions, as well as the volume rocker. Short of clicking on it, change the volume, long — surfing tracks. Here, by the way, there is one feature that to me seems quite logical, but the reviews online say that not everyone shares my opinion. The fact that pressing rocker up increases the volume, but a long detention causes a transition to the previous track, and a lot of it is confusing. For me this looks logical, since the conditional volume indicator is always growing up, and the track list, on the contrary, comes from the top down, so that the work of these keys I think it's good. However, almost certainly, with time, regulation of this behavior, add a built-in utility settings.
All the buttons are well made, they did not hang out, have a pleasant move and a clear click.
It is worth noting that BTR3 has its own volume control, without affecting the device, in theory it allows you more flexibility to find a comfortable adjustment range. Also it does not support the headset on the headset is used only the built-in microphone and control buttons. Here, however, no one promised support set, but for some, it is somehow a surprise. If we bring it closer to the face, built-in microphone works well enough, apparently, Qualcomm was not in vain developed the technology of noise reduction, but at a distance of more than «collar», odnomikronnogo limitations of the scheme are felt.
Like most modern devices, BTR3, you can connect two sources and switch between them quickly. It also supports the Fast mode in the Android Pair, to pair with a compatible phone, press and hold the control button and then tap on the notification appearing on the smartphone.
Of Course, «internal» the side of the gadget has a clip to attach to clothing, it is quite durable, with a good spring.
And a USB input and output naushnikov underneath, so the large 3.5 mm plugs are difficult to use simultaneously with a connected USB. For charging USB-C, BTR3 fully charged you 1 hour 20 minutes and this is enough for 9-11 hours of active use. Also, this port can be usedin order to connect the receiver in the role of USB DAC in the first firmware version for this it was necessary to enable a special mode manually, but latest firmware added auto-detection mode.
Speaking of firmware, FiiO couple of times already upgraded FOR this device include among other things the ability to configure BTR3 with the application FiiO Music on compatible devices. While a few settings (channels balance, filter, codecs, indicator), but hopefully with time they will be more. To install the update you need a computer with Windows, so I also hope that in the future I'll add wireless upgrade.
One of the most interesting questions, of course, is the quality of communication. Everything is relative and depends firstly from the sources, and, secondly, the amount of electromagnetic interference around you. Plus, of course, the role played by the codecs, the same LDAC modes «sound quality» «the connection» — it is very markedly different in terms of reliability. In General, I have problems with BTR3 not experienced using codecs aptX, AAC, and LDAC mode «the connection», up to 15 meters in direct line of sight, he holds easily, with the main walls with a door, the distance decreases until about 10 meters. Scripts like «receiver in one pocket, the source in the opposite» practiced without problems.
The Last time FiiO has begun to actively explore new codec LHDC, a competitor LDAC from Huawei. Its support appeared in BTR3 and the FiiO players. According to the results of experiments he «resistance» turned out to be somewhere in between LDAC «sound quality» and LDAC «».
To listen To the device used the following headphones: , , , , , , and others.
This time I'm not going to paint the sound in detail, in view of the low meaningfulness of such studies. BTR3 plays smoothly, with no pronounced coloration or noticeable problems. More precisely the problem he has is basic is in the wireless transmissions. The same BTR1 as the primary problem had some synthetical on SC and HF, there is less of it, but it largely depends on the codecs used. So, I think it is better to talk about them.
Immediately say, that for comparisons of codecs you want to use only blind test, otherwise psychoacoustics plays a significant role, much «adjusting the sound» in one direction or another depending on the codec.
SBC The «base» a codec that is with us for many years. The sound is roughly similar to MP3 in 128 bitrate quality compressed codec. Lost release, the scene is flat, HF give the synthetics. Almost any music, except the very very badly written, the difference is well noticeable even on cheap headphones. Although in fairness, it should be noted that a lot of phones over the wire sounds or worse or not much better.
aptX Perhaps the most significant step forward relative to the SBC. Imaginary scene acquires depth, release the lower half of the spectrum appear, but not all, the synthesis in the upper half less, but on good headphones it is still noticeable. The gap in quality of 3.5 mm output of most phones becomes more noticeable.
AAC a Signature codec is Apple, in many ways suffering because of the trend of the company not to disclose their technology. Despite its lossy nature and quite strong compression in the upper part of the frequency response, using some of the brand developments on the hype of hearing that allows him to sound better than aptX, especially in the lower half of the range. However, for normal music, with decent headphones there is a noticeable difference is still there.
aptX HD the Increase of bitrate is about 2 times makes itself felt especially benefit from this RF, which almost «real» naturalness. Release still is not all, especially those that have «grasp», but then in order to hear the difference need to listen.
LDAC Standard Briefly compare the three modes of operation LDAC I decided in the final blind taste test to limit it to the average, as the most effective in daily use, as the regime «the connection» the sound towards aptX HD, and the regime «sound quality» gives a not very large increase, compromising the overall reliability of the connection. In General, if LDAC is expected, the difference is even smaller, but interestingly, it is noticeable more than anything USC, there appears to be some simplification. But to simulate the overtones of this codec umerennoi close to a wired connection. Also noticeable is the lack of length of the upper treble, but other codecs it is still visible.
LHDC the Codec that is almost comparable to LDAC, during the tests I was not able to determine, it is worse, or just different. He's probably still a little easier LDAC for the study of the LF and MF range, but the upper half of the range it does a little better. However, in most genres still, «bottom half» plays a more important role, so for «mass» music LDAC is preferable, and for «high art» the choice will be determined by the tastes of the listener.
Very well BTR3 shows itself in the mode of the DAC, almost all the artifacts go wireless transmission, and remains neutral dynamic sound with a balanced weight and naturalness. Of course, expensive portable DACs are much better but as a budget solution for your smartphone or laptop, the hero of today's review shows perfectly.
If we talk about compatibility, BTR3 is focused primarily on the «gag» and sensitive panoramer, which makes sense — making large capacity in a compact unit little sense, better to provide more working time and less noise. Of course, the absolute «black background» in BTR3 no, but even with sensitive IEM, it remains quite listenable. Also good work with megadrivers models contributes to low output impedance.
More and more people choose the convenience of wireless connectivity, the technology is not in place, sometimes it comes to funny, modern players via Bluetooth work longer than when wired headphones are connected. It is not surprising that the receivers are also developed, in the market there «flagship» the device with maximum functionality and BTR3 on the right is here is one of the leading places.
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