There are two big portable wireless DACs on the market right now, and one of them has only been just released. The iFi Go Blu has been one of my personal favorite Bluetooth DACs to use but with the recent launch of the BTR 7, this tiny device now has some big competition. When I reviewed the BTR 7, I praised it for many different reasons, including its power and build. It calls the Go Blu into question for me, and I need to decide which one I prefer.
What You Get
|Fiio BTR 7||iFi Go Blu|
In terms of the shape and size of these devices, the Go Blu might be more appealing at first due to how surprisingly small it is. The BTR 5 was also a similar size, but the BTR 7 significantly bolsters the quality of the materials used for its chassis. It increases the size of their device considerably but is still slim enough to fit in your pocket. Even with its extremely durable, DAP-like build, the Go Blu still matches its quality, and I even prefer the volume knob over the traditional buttons. You get a nice indicator screen on the BTR 7, which tells you information about your streaming quality, but overall I think the Go Blu’s more simplistic and compact style does it more favors.
Both units have well-constructed circuitry that helps develop its intended sonic profile and resolution. The BTR 7 combines THX-AAA 28 amplifiers with an ES9219C*2 DAC chip, while the Go Blu simply uses a miniaturized version of its cirrus logic DAC. They both do a great job eliminating unwanted noise and delivering an overall smooth performance. They also both use Qualcomm chipsets for Bluetooth, with the BTR 7’s QCC5124, and the Go Blu’s QCC5100. With both devices, the Bluetooth signal is strong, and I never experienced any dropouts or interference.
I raved about the sound fidelity of both devices in my reviews. They both do a fantastic job delivering their profile with an unfiltered performance, giving you a big sound for your headphones and IEMs. The BTR 7 specifically packs a serious punch with the help of its THX -AAA amplifiers revealing an accurate sound signature with a ton of drive. While the Go Blu can match its power, there’s more of a warmth to its output, and that is even without its XBass feature. Fiio’s BTR 7 has more of a neutral profile that highlights more of the purity in the details in your headphones and IEMs, while the Go Blu is more concerned with providing texture to spice things up.
You also have XSpace with the GO Blu which helps open up the soundstage of any headphone or IEM you put through it, no matter if it is closed or open-back. This makes any soundstage feel more holographic, and depending on the headphone or IEM, the imaging can really benefit from it by giving sound elements more dimension. With the BTR 7, you get a more natural extension of the soundstage that works with a wider selection of headphones and gives you more customizability with the help of Fiio’s companion app EQ.
I think this works more in the BTR 7’s favor, as iFi still does not offer a companion app at the time of writing this comparison. Fiio’s EQ for the BTR 7 can be a bit more complicated for some listeners though, as it has more options than just boosting and attenuating certain frequency bands. In that sense, the Go Blu might have the only necessary options for the sound personalization you’re looking for, and XBass is a great way to satisfy that need.
When both the iFi Go Blu, and the Fiio BTR 7 go for the same price, the decision on which one to go for can get complicated. What it is going to come down to are the sound and the personalization, and with its THX amps and companion app, the BTR 7 is slightly more worth it to me. I love the Go Blu for its warmth and simple miniature design, but in comparison to the BTR 7 it isn’t as versatile. However, for those who might not be as savvy with EQ, and just care about fun, colorized sound, the Go Blu will be the one for you.