FiiO BTA30 is a DAC with a Bluetooth transmitter and receiver, based on an AK4490 chip. It is priced at 89,99USD.
Sound quality for the price
FiiO BTA30 comes in a relatively small box. Inside, you can find the BTA30 itself, RCA interconnects, USB-A to USB-C cable, and paperology. The box looks pretty standard, but it’s well-made and reliable. Cables are of basic quality.
BTA30 has an excellent handcrafting quality in this price range. It has a metal frame, plastic bottom, and Plexi top. Thanks to that, it looks quite premium and makes a great impression on the desk.
On the front, you can find the On/off button, slider with mode selection (TX/RX/DAC), and the potentiometer. Buttons are plastic, with a standard, pretty loud click. The potentiometer is moving smoothly in full range, with a silent click. I can’t feel the slider’s position, so I have to see when selecting the mode.
The potentiometer is considerably fluid, but the volume doesn’t change at the of the scale. It gets to 100% faster than the potentiometer shows it.
At the rear part, FiiO placed all connectors, so starting from the left, you can find here:
RCA Output, optical out, Coax In/Out, optical in, and the antenna. That’s an excellent set of connectors, but I’m missing some kind of selector. You’re going to ask, “wait, but which one is the preferred one?” but there’s all about the order in the manual, and I’ll explain everything in the next paragraph.
FiiO BTA30 works with almost all Bluetooth codecs except HWA as the receiver, but it also misses AptX LL when it works as the transmitter, and I miss that so much. It’s the best codec to use Bluetooth headphones for gaming. Luckily, the latency isn’t annoying with LDAC or even SBC. Oh, and if you want to use LDAC in transmitter mode, you have to connect the signal source through the spdif input, which works with 24/96 signal, while the USB supports 16/48 as the maximum quality.
FiiO Music, the application for mobile phones, allows us to set a couple of things, but it often disconnects on me. In the app, you’ll find filters, active digital inputs and outputs, the possibility of fixing volume at some level, balance, upsampling (which is pretty great), and colours of the indicators.
Without the app, the order of inputs is as follows: USB DAC, Coax and Optical. If you would like to use all connectors as the outputs for USB input, they work simultaneously.
Bluetooth range is excellent. BTA30 doesn’t break signal even if I was 15 meters away, and there were two thick walls between me and the little one. Impressive.
The sound signature is relatively neutral, without pumping any frequencies to the front. Sometimes it lacks dynamics, but hey, it is only 90USD with many functionalities, and the essential part is Bluetooth transmitting/receiving. The signal through the output is pretty flexible, so the final result depends on the used amplifier.
The bass is delicately muddy, especially with bassy headphones and speakers. It doesn’t get slow with more reference cans, but it is far from being as technical as Topping D50s. It sounds awesome in movies or computer games where it sounds natural. In music, it gets a little lost and smoothed. It is way better than most cheap DACs, like the built-in one in my Topping MX3.
The midrange is pretty harsh sometimes, but it provides an outstanding detail reproduction. It isn’t also pushed behind the bass and treble, so all vocals aren’t hidden, and performs as the main part of the sound. Even if there’s a little harshness in the mids, the midrange provides better dynamic than the bass, and it is just filled with more life. All the music genres sound great, same as the movies. Using the BTA30 as a Bluetooth receiver, the midrange is smoother and has less technical style.
The treble using BTA30 as a USB DAC is very detailed and delicately too sharp for me. It causes sibilances using AKG K702, but it isn’t brightened at all. This problem disappears after switching to the Bluetooth receiver mode, it is way more delicate then, but still provides a lot of details, they’re just reproduced in a more gentle way.
The soundstage is just wow, I didn’t expect such wide, deep, and airy stage in this price range. It truly rocks, especially with stereo setup in the movies, but also music is better separated, with an awesome distance distinction and exact sound sources in the space. It is an extraordinary thing in that budget when I showed BTA30 to my family, they said that’s the new level of watching movies.
FiiO did a great job with BTA30, which combines the great sound quality, high level of handcrafting, and one of the cheapest Bluetooth transmitters with LDAC. It’s a great companion for stereo in the living room, but also it works great as the main DAC in the listening room or next to your pc.
Gear used during this review for the sake of comparison and as accompanying equipment:
- Headphones – Philips Fidelio X2HR, AKG K702, Fyne F500, Bqeyz Spring 2, Craft Ears Four, Hifiman HE400i 2020,
- Sources– Topping DX3 Pro, Topping D50s