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FiiO BR13 Bluetooth DAC / PRE – Super Connectivity

FiiO BR13 Bluetooth DAC / PRE – Super Connectivity

FiiO BR13 is a $59 USD Bluetooth DAC / Preamplifier, made under the sub brand Jade Audio from FiiO, which has a multitude of inputs, otuptus, and preamplifier function. As it is the most affordable entry-level bluetooth DAC, it currently does not have competitors, so today’s review will focus on it and its functionality / sound. 



FiiO decided to make something for those who really are on a tight budget, and BR13 is the kind of Bluetooth DAC that has it all, from a nice design, to the support of the Chifi Giant FiiO. It is good to know that you can always feel safe when purchasing fiiO Products, they are known for outstanding customer support, excellent price / performance ratio for their products, and for having reliable products that typically survive far out of their warranty periods. As an Amazon Influencer, I earn from qualifying purchases, and using the purchase links in my reviews helps me maintain this website and youtube channel. 

I’d like to thank FiiO for providing the sample for this review, in exchange for my honest opinion. We are not receiving any incentive for this review and Audiophile-Heaven has no affiliation with FiiO beyond this review. 


Product Link

You can grab one from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/3tH7z6R

If you’re in the UK, you can grab one from www.amazon.co.uk here: https://amzn.to/48HvxO2

And if you’re from Europe, you can grab one from www.amazon.de here: https://amzn.to/3Sgec9s


Build Quality/Aesthetics

FiiO BR13 has an edgy design, a clean-cut build, and exceptional selection of inputs and outputs, for the mere 59 USD it costs. We have a Qualcomm QCC5125 Bluetooth Chip, a DAC from ESS, ES9018K2M, and we also have an TPA 1822 OP-AMP. The inputs include USB DAC, with UAC 1.0, for switch and consoles, and we also have a Bluetooth input, Optical Input and Coaxial input. The output selection includes RCA (this is the main output of the unit and the way most people will be using it), but also Coaxial output (can’t be input and output at the same time, as there is just one port), and a separate optical output. 

Both the optical and the coaxial outputs support 96kHz / 24 Bit signals, and BR13 has internal upsampling / processing for all outputs. The RCA output has 2Vrms for the voltage, and BR13 has support for SPDIF and SPDIF Bypass. This means that optical / coaxial signals can be converted to optical or coaxial or even RCA signals. Spdif Bypass means that you can connect multiple inputs at the same time. 

There is a graphic EQ implemented in BR13, which allows you to get a tuning out of it, if your system requires it, and there is an app if you want to have better control over the EQ and make custom profiles. We also have support for multiple Bluetooth codecs, including LDAC, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive, aptX LL, SBC and AAC. It is important that your source supports the same codecs, for the setup to work. 

I managed to hold a stable connection with the smartphone with 10 meters in between BR13 and the smartphone, and with at least two walls in between, but if I place either near a Wifi Router, the signal gets lost and distorted. The unit also has the thing where it has global upsampling to 96kHz / 24 Bit, this works perfectly well, with no added noise or artifacts. The Low Latency mode results to about one or two frames of latency at 60fps, which is not really noticeable to the human eye / ear, and is well within what I consider negligible. To be honest, Br13 looks better on my desk than the vast majority of DACs, but it is also harder to reach after you plug in some RCA cables, so you will likely have to rely on the app. Since it is mainly a Bluetooth DAC, that should not be a problem. 

The App is really helpful, and while I generally dislike having an app for every device, FiiO actually builds usability into those, and they are not intrusive at all, whilst allowing the device to work with more features than the competition at the entry-level range. The display is LCD, with no potential for burn-in even after a lot of usage, which is nice, since OLED alternatives can display burn-in quickly, and for a device that’s supposed to be on for most of the day that can be an issue. 

The buttons at the front are super useful, you just click to turn it on or off, you click for volume, click for cycling through the inputs, and you click for EQ. I have connected BR13 to multiple systems to get a good idea of how it sounds like, including Aune S17 PRO used as a headphone amplifier, and HIFIMAN HE1000SE used as headphones, Cyrus One Cast used as a Speaker Amplifier, with either KLH Model Five or NHT C3 used as speakers, and FiiO K9 PRO, driving a pair of HarmonicDyne Zeus Elite Headphones. 


Sound Quality

Sonically, a device like the BR13 is expected to be a fair entry-level performer, but there is one aspect that actually surprised me so much I can call myself shocked. I am talking about the background noise, which is literally non-existent with BR13, and here I am talking about using it even in pairings where I add the Aperion Audio RST Super Tweeters, or using it to pair with very detailed headphones like HIFIMAN Arya Organic, you simply never notice any kind of noise when using BR13, it is dead silent in the background noise, but it has a fairly fun tuning too. The bass is slightly warm, the midrange is smooth and clean, and the treble is smooth, present, relaxed and laid back. 

The whole sound of the BR13 can be described as a laid back signature, and I think this is the best tuning FiiO could have gone for with an entry-level device, as it allows you to enjoy music with no worries for tomorrow, without having to reduce the volume, and allowing you to use shoutier sounding Class-D entry-level AMPs, or entry-level speakers that are harsher or more neutral in tuning. The bass is warm, slightly slow, and with a softer character. The bass extension is great, but there is no separate output for a subwoofer. This being said, the bass has a pleasing sound, it adds some warmth to the midrange, and the whole sound is the relaxed, smooth signature that never offends. 

The midrange is clean, warm, smooth and laid back, relaxed. We have good detail, and I never struggle to hear anything, you never have to think that it is an under 100 USD device, it just sounds natural and lean. The transients are soft, smooth, and all textures are relaxed, this makes all music super easy to listen to, the upper midrange is tuned for safety and to never hurt your ears, so even rock and metal can be smooth and fun. 

The treble continues the laid back and relaxed fashion, it sounds smooth, clean and non-offensive, we have a fair amount of detail, but the treble character is soft, with soft transients, and while detail and dynamics are not the focus of the sound, the soundstage is natural in size, instrument separation is good, and we have a fairly good extension, so the treble is smooth in texture and presentation but does not roll off. 


Value and Conclusion

Since we’re talking about a 59 USD USB DAC with PRE function, so with variable volume, the value is through the roof with FiiO BR13, this is the kind of DAC that you likely will enjoy having, good support for inputs, good support for outputs, and a neat, clean sound. 

At the end of the day, if you need a Bluetooth receiver DAC with variable volume, or something to plug in with Optical and Coaxial, and to get the signal to a pair of active speakers, or passive speakers and an amplifier, FiiO BR13 will do the job in excellent fashion, and for a really pocket-friendly price. 


Product Link

You can grab one from www.amazon.com here: https://amzn.to/3tH7z6R

If you’re in the UK, you can grab one from www.amazon.co.uk here: https://amzn.to/48HvxO2

And if you’re from Europe, you can grab one from www.amazon.de here: https://amzn.to/3Sgec9s

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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.  I recommend trying most of the songs from this playlist, especially if you’re searching for new music! The playlists are different for Spotify, Tidal and Youtube, and based on the songs I enjoy and are available on each!




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