After the huge success of the ol’ BTR5, FiiO has gone back to the drawing board to create what looks to be a new iteration of this cute and highly popular Bluetooth DAC/amp. What features can you expect from the BTR15, how much power does it have, and most important, does it sound any good?
What’s in the Box?
- FiiO BTR15 DAC/Amp
- USB-C OTG cable with USB-A adapter
- Removable plastic case with clip
This is a super sleek little device, just as enjoyable to hold as it is easy to smudge. And certainly, it looks a lot more like the BTR5 than it does the BTR7 (which technically, has the upper hand given its dual THX AAA-28 amplifiers). Everything about the BTR15 feels relatively solid and well built. The curved glass is particularly attractive, though given the breakability of this type of design, it might be wise to use the included plastic protective case.
The few buttons (controlling functions like volume, track skipping, call answering, etc.) on the right side of the DAC feel firmly in planted and are easy to navigate. You’ll also find a button that allows you to switch between Bluetooth, USB and Phone modes. At the top of the DAC, you’ll find a 3.5mm headphone output and a 4.4mm balanced headphone output. Finally, a single USB-C input is located at the bottom of the device.
DAC and Amp
Under the hood, are dual ES9219MQ DAC chips, which handle sample rates and resolutions up to 384 kHz / 32-bit. For this model, FiiO has implemented an independent power supply system for the powering the DAC and the amplifier. By separating the power supply, the BTR15 is able deliver lower noise while increasing the power output.
The BTR15 employs Bluetooth 5.1 and supports virtually all hi-res Bluetooth codecs, including aptX, aptX Adaptive, aptX HD, aptX LL and LDAC. In addition, you’ll also be able to render your MQA files.
The FiiO BTR15 delivers an impressive amount of juice for such a teeny thing. I hooked it up with FiiO’s FT3 Headphone, which has an impedance at 350 Ohms, and the BTR15 drove it comfortably with even a little headroom to spare (using the balanced 4.4mm plug). So, unless you’re planning to drive a particularly power hungry planar model, you should be ok.
You’ll get around 8 hours of use from the BTR15 before having to recharge it. It should be noted that the BTR15 does not support fast charging. So, it’s likely that some fast chargers will not work properly with this device.
Equalizer and Companion App
The BTR15 comes with a FiiO companion app that offers a fully customizable (global parametric) equalizer with adjustable gain. In addition, you’ll be able to control added features, such as distortion compensation, Bluetooth codec selection and various operation modes, in addition to a few other extra setting options.
The BTR15 comes with a pretty solid mic. The caller heard me clearly, and the mic didn’t seem to pick up too much ambient disruption.
I swapped around some headphones, and switched between Bluetooth and USB modes to get a better idea of what this little device is capable of. Unsurprisingly, the sound profile was a lot cleaner using the USB connection than it was using the Bluetooth LDAC codec, which would occasionally leave the bass sounding warmer, fatter and more present.
That said, besides the sometimes slightly “enhanced” bass, you can expect little manipulation to the balance or tuning of your headphones. At the end of the day, BTR15 is a relatively neutral DAC that retains the integrity of the original source. And once connected via USB, the presentation was immaculate and controlled, slightly improving in transparency and separation, though again, it never feels like your IEMs or headphones are getting a complete make-over. Overall, the presentation always feels natural and articulate, while avoiding any ostentatious tweaking of the sound signature.
For $120, the FiiO BTR15 checks all the right boxes. With tons of power and a clean, detailed delivery, the BTR15 is the perfect device for audiophiles who want Bluetooth on-the-go, but just can’t part with their beloved wired headphones. The microphone adds even more flexibility on your hi-fi commute to work, allowing you to make calls without switching devices. Finally, considering the fantastic resolution it delivers via USB connection, the BTR15 is also a great addition to your desktop arrangement.
Apply the Discount code to save: “majorhifi-save10”