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Desktop Bluetooth Focus – FiiO BTA30 Bluetooth Receiver

Desktop Bluetooth Focus – FiiO BTA30 Bluetooth Receiver 

 

 

FiiO BTA30 is the offspring of their successful BTR5 and BTR3K Bluetooth receivers. It also has all the bluetooth codecs, and is priced pretty pocket-friendly at 90 USD at the moment. It comes with SBC, aptX, aptX LL, aptX HD, and LDAC, and it will get compared to the Sound Artist HB-M, FiiO BTR5, and Pro-Ject Bluetooth Box E

 


 

 

 

Introduction

 

FiiO has been on a tidal wave with their bluetooth receivers and accessories, and BTA30 is the culmination of this series. It is about as interesting as BTR5 on paper, but comes with RCA outputs as its main ace, as well as digital audio output. This includes Optical and Coaxial. FiiO is not great with direct warranty, and the best way to take advantage of their products is by purchasing their products from authorised sellers or Amazon. Shipping to and from China is really pricey and it is much better to get their products from someone close to you. 

 

 

It should be noted that I have absolutely no affiliation with FiiO. I’d like to thank iFi for providing the sample for this review. This review reflects my personal experience with the FiiO BTA30. Every opinion expressed is mine and I stand by it, the purpose of this review is to help those interested in FiiO BTA30 find their next music companion. Since I reviewed many competitors as well, this review isn’t trying to sell the FiiO BTA30 to you, but rather trying to help you decide on what is the best choice for you, based on pairings, comparisons and descriptions.

 

 

 

Product Link

 

You can get mighty FiiO BTA 30 from www.amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/FiiO-Wireless-Bluetooth-Transmitter-Headphone/dp/B08LM68KN8

 

 

 

Packaging

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

BTA30 is actually packaged nicely. After a really mixed wave of products lately, some with really nice package, and some lacking, BTA30 is right in the middle, nice for the price, but not overdoing it. 

 

The package includes antennas, like little ants have. It also includes a USB cable, rubber feet, and RCA cables to connect BTA30 via line out. 

 

This is everything I could think of as necessary, and happily BTA30 works via a Type-C connector. It can work as a USB DAC too, so lots of functionality to be extracted even from such a smol pack.  

 

 

 

 

 

Build Quality/Aesthetics/Functionality

 

BTA30 feels well made in general, and is a desktop unit with one antenna at the back. It has a beautiful glassy finish on top, and it has dual RCA sockets at the back, to connect it as a pre/dac to an amplifier of a stereo system. It can even work with Adam Audio T7V and T5v if you’re creative with the setup. It has outputs for digital signal in Coaxial, Optical, it can take in Optical input too. 

 

 

We should talk about the ways you can use it, because there’s plenty this time around

 

  • The first usage scenario is the obvious one, where you take in bluetooth signal and output via the RCAs Line Out. 

 

  • You can use it as a USB DAC 

 

  • You can take in optical signal and use it as a DAC 

 

  • You can use it as a DAC taking in Coaxial Signal 

 

  • You can take in Bluetooth signal and output a digital signal (this is the best way to use it)

 

BTA30 has a really huge range for its bluetooth, and you can further extend it by getting an upgraded antenna. The antenna is the typical MMCX type, and aftermarket antennas are really easy to find. I could get a perfectly steady signal with two thick walls in between BTA30 and my smartphone, and could get reliable signals up to 15 meters. 

 

The best codec is by far LDAC, and you should keep in mind that BTA30 needs the USB in for power, so you won’t be able to use it if you don’t power it. 

 

 

At the front we have the selector for what mode it should be in, and that’s switchable between DAC, BT RX or receiver and BT TX or transmitter. It can enter pairing mode manually, which makes pairing new devices really easy, and it has a volume control for the line out, which again is really cool. 

 

For me, I liked taking in the bluetooth signal via LDAC and using the optical output, the most. This allows you to bypass the internal DAC, and use any external DAC you want. You don’t have to install any drivers, and it works by default with everything you connect it to. 

 

Powering BTA30 from a battery gives the cleanest results, and a high-quality power supply is better than connecting it to your computer. I noticed this quite a bit in my tests. Using something like iFi’s iPurifier helped a bit. 

 

 

The DAC chip is AKM AK4490, a fairly good one. With Bluetooth 5.0 and support for both LDAC and apt-X, I think BTA30 has the best overall support / compatibility from everything available on the market at the moment. 

 

 

 

Video Review

 

 

 

 

 

Sound Quality

 

 

 

The overall sound of BTA30 is really smooth, rich, somewhat compressed dynamically and the detail is fairly good for the price. 

 

But before we do this, I need to share that the Sonic Quality part of this review only applies if you’re using BTA30 via its line out. If you’re using it to take in bluetooth signal and output it via Optical, it is really transparent, clean, and clear, with no coloration that I could hear. It is pretty much a way to transport your music via bluetooth signal, without applying any signature of its own.  Perfect for any system of any size and price, if you don’t need it to decode that signal, and if you already have a good DAC / AMP. 

 

 

For the sonic part of this review, I listened to BTA30 using an external Headphone Amplifier, like the Rebel Audio Rebel AMP, JDS Labs Atom, Feliks Echo and my current monitor speakers, which include Adam Audio T7V and their subwoofer, the T10S. I also compared it extensively with both Bluetooth receivers like Pro-Ject Bluetooth Box E, Sound Artist HB-M, FiiO BTR5, Qudelix 5K, and Triangle AIO Connect, and also with proper DACs and DAC/AMPs like FiiO K5 PRO, Singxer SDA-2, and even Earstudio HUD100

 

The bass of BTA30 is really deep and clean, with a good amount of detail. It doesn’t have the quickest bass out there, but the overall clarity and detail are excellent for the 90 USD price point. It is better for natural paced music like Jazz, Pop, Rock and Classical, than it is for Technical Metal or aggressive EDM. 

 

The midrange is smooth, clean and it is wider than it is deep. It has a somewhat holographic presentation with good dynamics, but the sound can be a bit compressed at times. The overall detail is really nice for the 90 USD price point, and the tonality is spot on, save for some extra smoothness. The whole presentation is quite laid-back and it won’t work well for aggressive metal, or aggressive music in general. 

 

The treble is likewise, smooth, rolled off in the upper treble, and relaxed. BTA30 generally makes a good pair for listening to Jazz, or Classical, and can work well with Pop and Jazz. It lacks the bite and pinch in the cymbals for metal, and it doesn’t have the latest word in details and depth. In fact, FiiO designed the one thing that has the best detail in this price range, and that is FiiO M3 PRO, which is quite analytic and clear. 

 

 

 

Comparisons

 

The main comparisons will include Sound Artist HB-M, FiiO BTR5 and Pro-Ject Bluetooth Box E, all of which are bluetooth receivers. 

 

 

I wanted to include the AIO Triangle Connect, but it has a slightly different purpose and it won’t work for the same purpose as BTA30. 

 

FiiO BTA 30 vs FiiO BTR5 (90 USD vs 110 USD) – BTR5 is much better for its sound, but it can’t output a digital signal for a full-sized system. It also doesn’t have a proper line out, and the closest thing you can do is to set its volume to maximum and use a Line Cable. It is much smaller, and BTA30 has a better overall connectivity than BTR5 (better range, stronger antenna). I prefer BTR5 for its sound, but if I just want a way to add bluetooth to a good desktop system, FiiO BTA30 is perfect. It is also great if you have a really bright-sounding system, like those with Yamaha speakers. 

 

FiiO BTA 30 vs Pro-Ject Bluetooth Box E (90 USD vs 80 USD) – The price is really close between Bluetooth Box E and BTA30, but the performance is really different. BTA30 has considerably more features, better overall support from the company as well as local sellers, and more functions. The sound of BTA30 is better, it is clearer, more detailed, wider and way less compressed than the Bluetooth Box E. In fact, even on the Optical Output, BTA30 sounds much better thanks to much newer and better implemented bluetooth protocols, which make the sound clearer with way less information cut but the Bluetooth compression algorithms. The only way I could recommend Bluetooth Box E more is if you really liked its aesthetics more, otherwise BTA30 is much better. 

 

FiiO BTA 30 vs Sound Artist HB-M (90 USD vs 60 USD) – FiiO BTA30 and HB-M from Soundartist actually walk the same ground, and they can see eye to eye in general. HB-M has considerably less features and is more basic, but it is also 30% less expensive than BTA30. BTA30 has more features, including optical output, which makes it really good for versatility, but on the Analog output, HB-M sounds better, with more substance to music, more detail and a more holographic soundstage. 

 

 

 

Value and Conclusion

 

We’re used to talk about high value when talking about FiiO and BTA30 is no exception. It is a high-quality Bluetooth receiver that can add this functionality to any system, and do it at almost lossless levels if you use the Coaxial or the Optical output. 

 

 

The package includes RCA cables of ok quality, and it comes with a good antenna. There are rubber feet to apply as you see fit, and the only two things that are missing from that package are a remote, and an optical cable. Given the price, the package is still great, and I can’t complain much about the two things that are lacking. 

 

 

 

 

In terms of build quality, it is sleek and cool, tiny so it won’t intrude on your desk and setup. Thanks to its good connectivity, you can place BTA30 behind your entire system if you want to make it disappear. 

 

There’s also the sound, which can be entirely transparent if you use the coaxial or the optical output. That same sound isn’t exactly transparent, and is smooth, laid back, relaxed and clean from the Analogue RCA output. 

 

 

Before the end of today’s review, I want to add BTA30 to Audiophile-Heaven’s Hall Of Fame as the most balanced Desktop Bluetooth Receiver I reviewed to date, and the most complete one with most features per price. 

 

 

If you’re looking for a high-quality Bluetooth Receiver with a ton of features, a nice smooth sound, good clarity, and which is both a USB DAC too, FiiO BTA30 is perfect and should serve you well for years to come. 

 

 

 

Product Link

 

You can get mighty FiiO BTA 30 from www.amazon.com here: https://www.amazon.com/FiiO-Wireless-Bluetooth-Transmitter-Headphone/dp/B08LM68KN8

 

 

 

— Please remember to stay safe, and always have fun while listening to music!—

 

 

 

 

 

Full Playlist used for this review

 

We listened to more songs than those named in this playlist, but those are excellent for identifying a sonic signature.  PRaT, Texturization, Detail, Resolution, Dynamics, Impact, and overall tonality are all revealed by those songs. We recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music!

 

If you have a dime to spare (donate), it would make my day much brighter, as it would help me improve things around the website and increase the frequency of my posts.

 

Youtube Playlist

 

 

Tidal Playlist

 

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

 

 

 

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