Effective Solution - FiiO BTA 10 Bluetooth Adapter for Audio Technica ATH-M50X

by - January 14, 2020

Effective Solution - FiiO BTA 10 Bluetooth Adapter for Audio Technica ATH-M50X



FiiO's little Bluetooth Adapter is made to fit precisely with Audio Technica ATH-M50X, so if you already have one of those very popular headphones, and wanted to make them Bluetooth, without a cable, and wanted to make them look trendy, this is your best chance. This review will also be a mini review of ATH-M50X and a few comparisons with other headphones, so there's more to it than the title predicts. Priced at 40 USD, it is going to be a nice entry-level product to look at.




Introduction

FiiO is no stranger to the Audiophile Scene, and BTA10 is one of the best examples of how they always keep coming with interesting and innovative products that help push the market forward. This is nothing new for FiiO, and they've been helping music lovers from all over the world improve their listening experience for years now, designing Amplifiers, DAPs, Bluetooth Modules, IEMs, and recently even headphones. 

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with FiiO, I am not receiving any incentive for this review or to sweeten things out. I'd like to thank FiiO for providing the sample for this review. This review reflects my personal experience with FiiO BTA 10. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in FiiO BTA 10 find their next music companion. 



About me

https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/about.html



Packaging

First things first, let's get the packaging out of the way:





The package of BTA10 is very minimalistic, and you basically receive the Bluetooth module and a charging microUSB cable. There's not much else you could need to use BTA 10, and the overall presentation is nice, and for the price point, I think that the offer is quite excellent. 



What to look in when purchasing a Bluetooth Adapter

https://www.audiophile-heaven.com/p/what-to-lookl.html



Technical Specifications





Build Quality/Aesthetics/Fit/Comfort

The build is made fully of plastic, but a high-quality one that really fits well with ATH-M50X, and the overall build is made to look like a piece of the original headphones, rather than an add-on. This, of course, works if you have the Black version of the headphone and purchase the black version of BTA 10, otherwise you will surely notice that they are two different objects. 

It is important to mention that BTA 10 includes both a DAC and an amplifier, rather than just an amplifier, because a Bluetooth Module must include a DAC chip, an AMP chip, and a Bluetooth receiver chip. 









The most important aspects to check for such a module are the battery life, range, signal quality, and the bluetooth supported codec list, so that it does a good job at driving ATH-M50X, for which it was tailored and designed. 

The battery life is pretty good, reaching a 8 hours out of the 8 hours it was rated, using the headphones at high volumes. This is pretty much excellent, considering that BTA 10 can drive M50X pretty loudly, and that it is pretty small in shape and size. 

There is a microphone included with BTA10 as well, and to be honest, it works pretty poorly. It doesn't have the same quality of noise rejection as a flagship smartphone, but it surely beats taking your headphones off while receiving a phone call, if you're using your smartphone as the Bluetooth Source. On the other hand, you both hear the person on the other end distant, and they hear you distant, and with noise, especially if you're in a windy location, or if you're having lots of noise around. As I said though, I prefer this to having to take off my headphones, and with the Romanian law being against driving and using a smartphone, I am used to taking phone calls with speaker mode on, so most people are used to hearing me pretty badly anyways. This being said, if you were looking to use BTA 10 a lot for phone calls, it probably won't do all that well. 

The range and signal quality are pretty much excellent, and I got to test BTA 10 from a room away, and it still had perfect signal, no dropouts, and it has a pretty much unbreakable quality. There is a little Blue/RED LED light that signals whether they are paired, in pairing mode, and if they are turned on. 

BTA 10 has support for APT-X and APT-X Low Latency, meaning that you can use it while playing games or watching movies without any delays in the signal, provided your source also supports low latency codecs. 

The charging port is not placed in a very convenient location, and you have to remove BTA 10 from M50X every single time you charge it, meaning that the 3.5mm port will wear a bit in time. 

Overall, the little Bluetooth Module is made to combine perfectly with ATH M50X, it has the same robust build quality, and makes a neat addon to the headphones. 



Sound Quality

The sonic performance of BTA 10 is something that depends on M50X, and they have quite a unique signature themselves, so it would be hard to do a separate review of BTA 10 since I cannot physically pair it with more headphones / IEMs and say whether it has a more specific sound, compared to other Bluetooth modules or sources. 

From what I can tell, it seems to give M50X a good amount of impact, dynamics, to sound very natural, it has a high enough volume to be satisfying for games, as well as listening to music, and, to my surprise, it seems to increase the soundstage width and height when it is paired with M50X. Of course, since FiiO designed it with M50X in mind, alone, they were able to optimise every single drop of performance in such a way that BTA 10 sounds really good with M50X, but they also made it really affordable, so the main question is whether they managed to make the pairing sound as good as when you're pairing M50X with a more typical source. I think they managed to pull that off, and just like HIFIMAN Ananda BT, when a company designs a bluetooth module just for one headphone, it works out well. 



The bass is deep and punchy, just the way M50X usually portrays it. There's plenty extension, and some rumble to it, and to be honest, I'm impressed that a little BT module is capable of making them rumble and boom away. 



The midrange and treble are both as crisp and clean as they usually are for M50X. If anything, M50X is usually known to have a pretty narrow soundstage, so I was curious whether BTA 10 is there to make it a bit larger, and to my surprise, it does make them a touch larger than I'm used to hear M50X sound, especially if you're using a more entry-level source. The dynamics are also pretty good, and if you're used to most Bluetooth sources being a touch compressed dynamically, BTA 10 doesn't seem to have that issue, and music has pretty nice dynamics, so classical still sounds good with this setup. 



Portable Usage 

The portable usage of BTA 10 is quite excellent, as it is a small accessory, it has a good build quality, and a long battery life, making ATH M50X a bluetooth headphone without sacrificing comfort, quality, or adding delay to its signal. 



The thing is, I consider it a very valid way of using ATH M50X for gaming, I always liked that headphone when gaming, but it was always a bit uncomfortable, cosidering that both XBOX and PS controllers are wireless nowdays, so if you like to game while in bed, or if you just want to leave behind the hassle of cables, you can always use BTA 10 for gaming as well, since it supports APT-X LL, or low latency, which makes it perfect for games and movies. 



Comparisons 

Rather than comparing BTA 10 to other Bluetooth Modules, which I think would be a bit wasteful for this review, I'll do a short comparison between Audio Technica ATH M50X and Ultrasone DJ One PRO, which is a headphone in a similar price range, but with a good quality as well. 



Audio Technica ATH M50X vs Ultrasone DJ One PRO - I wasn't going to do much of a comparison before, but hearing BTA 10 prompted me to try one here, because I've been a fan of DJ One PRO for a long while, and I never gotten to do a formal review of them, as I started reviewing seriously after I already sold my former pair, when I was looking for an upgrade. Now, ATH M50X was never known for a large soundstage, and Ultrasone is really known for their S Logic Soundstage and effects, and you can hear that here, withDJ One PRO sounding larger, and having a more holographic presentation. This being said, the comfort of the headphones is clearly better on ATH M50X, and they sit better on the head, although they have a bit more clamping force and get hot quicker than DJ One PRO. The earpads tend to live longer for M50X, and by a good margin. There's a good selection of accessories, like BTA 10, for ATH M50X, but there aren't any for Ultrasone DJ ONE PRO, but I keep hoping that Ultrasone will resume that series, as it was one of the first headphones that made me stick to the audiophile hobby and look for an even better sound, and well, DJ ONE PRO is more expensive than M50X, but it is more expensive for a pretty good reason I'd reckon. 

FiiO BTA 10 vs FiiO BTR 3 - I just realised that I could go for this comparison as well, since I can pair BTR 3 with ATH M50X, and a lot of people are curious if the Bluetooth module does have a different signature from other Bluetooth Modules. BTR 3 is priced at 70 USD at the moment, which is 30 USD more than BTA 10, and using M50X with BTR 3 will be considerably less comfortable than using M50X with BTA 10, but BTR 3 can be used with pretty much anything, and it provides a pretty solid sonic performance, as well as a pretty solid battery life as well. If anything, I feel like BTA 10 has more overall driving power, provides better depth and impact than BTR 3, to M50X, since I cannot test BTA 10 with any other headphone. I am not sure if BTA 10 has any DSP or processing embedded, but BTA 10 does seem to provide M50X with a larger soundstage, leading to a more pleasing overall experience, so if you're considering whether you're better off with a more expensive, but more universal Bluetooth Module, then, you may be, if you have a large selection of headphones, but BTA 10 is no joking matter if you're planning on driving M50X. 



Value and Conclusion

The price of BTA 10 is very low, as it is priced at about 40 USD, making it a very affordable option for turning your ATH M50X Bluetooth. This being said, there are other bluetooth modules, so the main advantage of BTA 10 is having something that's designed for M50X, both in aesthetics, and in matching the size with the best overall performance for this headphone. Not to mention, they are using the same plastic, so they do look like they are one piece together.




With a sonic peformance to match the name of ATH M50X, and with enough battery life to last you a normal day of usage, you can turn this already portable headphone into an even better one. And if you ever wanted to take phone calls with M50X, BTA 10 enables you to do that as well, although not with the best quality to the microphone. 



At the end of this review, it is really easy to recommend BTA 10 for those looking for a high-quality Bluetooth Receiver Module for their ATH M50X and for a way to use them outside, or even inside, but without the hassle of cables, as BTA 10 offers both a good sonic performance, but also a pretty awesome aesthetic for your ATH M50X. 



Full Playlist used for this review


While we listened to considerably more songs than those named in this playlist, those are excellent for identifying certain aspects of the sound, like PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you're searching for new most, most of them being rather catchy. 




Youtube Playlist


https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL_cjBXGmwSHSdGcwuc_bKbBDGHL4QvYBu




Tidal Playlist


https://listen.tidal.com/playlist/64555551-ec3c-4279-ae44-248fdfcf6c4b




Song List


Bats - Gamma Ray Burst: Second Date

Eskimo Callboy - Frances
Incubus - Summer Romance
Electric Six - Dager! High Voltage 
Kishida Cult - High School Of The Dead 
Dimmu Borgir - Dimmu Borgir 
Breaking Benjamin - I Will Not Bow
Thousand Foot Krutch - The Flame In All Of Us 
Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
Infected Mushroom - Song Pong 
Attack Attack - Kissed A Girl
Doctor P - Bulletproof
Maximum The Hormone - Rock n Roll Chainsaw 
Rob Zombie - Werewolf, Baby!
Escape The Fate - Gorgeous Nightmare 
SOAD - Chop Suey
Ken Ashcorp - Absolute Territory
Machinae Supremacy - Need For Steve
Ozzy Osbourne - I Don't Wanna Stop  
Crow'sclaw - Loudness War
Eminem - Rap God
Stromae - Humain À L'eau
Sonata Arctica - My Selene
Justin Timberlake - Sexy Back
Metallica - Fuel
Veil Of Maya - Unbreakable
Masa Works - Golden Japang
REOL - Luvoratorrrrry
Dope - Addiction
Korn - Word Up!
Papa Roach - ... To be Loved
Fever The Ghost - Source 
Fall Out Boy - Immortals 
Green Day - Know The Enemy
Mindless Self Indulgence - London Bridge
A static Lullaby - Toxic
Royal Republic - Addictive
Astronautalis - The River, The Woods
We Came As Romans - My Love
Skillet - What I Believe
Man With A Mission - Smells Like Teen Spirit
Yasuda Rei - Mirror
Mojo Juju - Must Be Desire
Falling Up - Falling In Love
Manafest - Retro Love
Rodrigo Y Grabriela - Paris
Zomboy - Lights Out
Muse - Resistance
T.A.T.U & Rammstein - Mosaku
Grey Daze - Anything, Anything
Katy Perry - Who Am I Living For
Maroon 5 - Lucky Strike
Machinae Supremacy - Killer Instinct
Pendulum - Propane Nightmares
Sirenia - Lithium And A Lover
Saving Abel - Addicted
Hollywood Undead - Levitate 
The Offspring - Special Delivery
Escape The Fate - Smooth
Samsara Blues Experiment - One With The Universe 
Dope - Rebel Yell
Crazy Town - Butterfly 
Silverstein - My Heroine
Memphis May Fire - Not Over Yet




I hope my review is helpful to you!





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