Introduction[Editor's note: FiiO has since announced an updated version of the BTR5 that uses the ESS Sabre ES9219C DAC capable also of MQA rendering. This review is covering the current/previous version depending on when you read this and when the new BTR5 is released.]
I've recently covered quite a few audio solution in the form of true wireless (TWS) earphones, in-ear monitors (IEMs), and even full-sized headphones. Each form factor offers its own set of pros and cons, especially when going from a fully cable-free experience with TWS earphones to necessarily wired ones elsewhere, and in some cases with headphones that weigh so much that you dare not use them in any configuration other than sitting upright with strong neck muscles. Such is the world today that consumers have gotten used to wireless Bluetooth earphones and headsets, often at the expense of audio quality both in listening and with microphones. What if there is a way to experience the best of both worlds? FiiO aims to answer this with the BTR5—its flagship portable Bluetooth amplifier that has a few neat tricks up its sleeve. Thanks to FiiO for sending TechPowerUp a review sample!
Don't ask me why there is a lipstick in the image above. Instead, you should be asking me what is even going on there! If you thought the FiiO BTR5 is a Bluetooth receiver/transmitter you connect as an intermediate to the phone and then to wireless earphones/headphones, I have some bad news for you. So let's get this out of the way right now—the FiiO BTR5 is a Bluetooth receiver that also works as a USB DAC in wired mode. This means you are getting it for use with wired earphones and headphones, and the set will be wireless as it pertains to the source itself. This is the unique selling point of the BTR5, and if you haven't lost interest already, I welcome you as we dig deeper into the vast feature set of the device by beginning with a look at the product specifications in the image below. As there are far too many parameters listed to tabulate individually, click on the image twice to view it in its high-res glory.