FiiO BR13 Bluetooth DAC Receiver Review

 

FiiO BR13 Bluetooth DAC Receiver Review

 

Introduction:

The BR13 is FiiO’s latest Hi-Res Bluetooth Receiver in a very compact size. The device has a Hi-Res audio architecture that features hardware components such like an ES9018K2M DAC, Qualcomm QCC5125 BT Chip and TPA1882 OP-AMP. The BR13 offers support being connected to two Bluetooth transmitting devices at the same time. The device is equipped with various in- & output interfaces such like Coaxial In/Out, Optical In/Out, Line Out (RCA) and USB Input. It supports 7 Hi-Res Bluetooth codec’s including LDAC, aptX Adaptive, aptX, aptX LL, aptX HD, AAC and SBC.

 

Disclaimer:

I would like to thank FiiO for providing me the BR13 as review sample. I am not affiliated with FiiO beyond this review and these words reflect my true and unaltered, opinions about the product.

 

Price & Availability:

The actual price for the FiiO BR13 is $59.99, which is a quite competitive price for such a versatile Bluetooth device. More information’s can be found under the link below;

 

Package & Accessories:

The FiiO BR13 came in a rectangular cardboard box that sports the illustration of the device and some brandings on its surface.

This box contains the following items;

  • 1 x FiiO BR13 Hi-Res Bluetooth Receiver
  • 1 x USB A to USB Type-C cable
  • 1 x Print Material

 

Design & Build Quality:

The FiiO BR13 is the pretty functional, versatile and professional entry-level HIFI Bluetooth receiver, which is a more cost effective version of the popular BTA30 and BTA30 Pro. In terms of hardware, the device features a HiFi grade audio architecture that are integrated in to a very compact and lightweight solid aluminum alloy housing with dimensions of  98x96x26.5mm and a weight of approx 136g.

The aluminum housing has a smooth surface with a black finish while the front and rear part are made from plastic material. On the front of the BR13 are from left to right is a multifunctional Power & Play/Pause button a 1.1-inch LCD display with backlight and four other buttons for Volume up & Down, Input Mode and EQ Preset selection.

The 1.1-inch LCD display with backlight is behind a black Plexiglas surface. FiiO guarantees that the display is a durable so it won’t have any LCD burn-in even if it’s always on.

At the rear side of the device are various digital/analog inputs and outputs including a Left/Right channel RCA Line output, a Coaxial (SPIDIF) In/Out interface, two separate Optical connectors that are desiccated for Input and Output. Here are also the two-way USB Type-C Data & Power port and a Bluetooth antenna.

On the top of the device are the “FiiO” logo and the Hi-Res Audio / Hi-Res Audio Wireless brandings.

At the bottom of the device are four rubber feet’s the “Jade Audio” branding and some industrial certifications about the product.

The overall build quality of the BR13 is pretty decent for a device at this price level.

 

Hardware & Software Features:

The FiiO BR13 is a very compact Bluetooth Receiver with a Hi-Res audio architecture that features some pretty interesting hardware components such like an ES9018K2M DAC, Qualcomm QCC5125 BT Chip and TPA1882 OP-AMP.

DAC (Digital to Analog Converter):

The FiiO BR13 is equipped with a 32bit, 2-channel ES9018 DAC (Digital to Analog Converters) Chip of the Company ESS Technology. This DAC chip provides a higher Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) of approx 114dB and better performance in terms of dynamic range compared to the build-in DAC chip of the QCC5125 BT SoC.

 

Bluetooth Chip:

The FiiO BR13 utilizes Qualcomm’s QCC5125 Bluetooth Chip that supports the Bluetooth 5.1. This BT SoC is a premium low-power solution designed for enhanced audio applications with support for up to 24-Bit/96kHz processing. The QCC5125 is much more stable in signal strength compared to older chips, especially in situations with lots of interference.

Supported Audio Codes: LDAC / aptX / aptX Adaptive / aptX LL / aptX HD / AAC / SBC

 

Amplifier Section:

The FiiO BR13 comes with a TPA1882 series OP-AMP amplifier that is part of the Hi-Res audio architecture. This is one of the newest high supply voltage amplifiers with 15 μV low offset, low noise, and stable high-frequency response. They incorporate 3PEAK’s proprietary and patented design techniques to achieve excellent AC performance with 12 MHz bandwidth, 12 V/μs slew rate, and low distortion while drawing only 2000 μA of quiescent current per amplifier.

The RCA analog line output level of the BR13 is rated around 2Vrms.

 

Connectivity:

The FiiO BTA30 offers a very wide variety of connection options, from analog to digital, from wired to wireless options. This means that you can connect the BR13 with almost any sort of Audio Source or Receiver that includes PC, MAC, Tablet, Phone, TV, Gaming Console, Amplifier, Speaker, Wireless earphones and many more that do have at least a RCA, Coaxial (SPIDIF), Optical, USB or Bluetooth interface.

Unique to the BR13 is the ability to upsample low sampling rate audio signals to high sampling rates up to 96kHz/24bit using any input, allowing you to get even closer to master-level sound quality.

A. Analog:

The FiiO BR13 is equipped with a two channel RCA analog line out interface in order to connect it with an external Amplifier, Stereo Speakers, TV and any other device with an RCA input interface. The RCA Lineout of the BR13 offers up to 96kHz/24bit sampling (Frequency doubling).

B. Digital:

The FiiO BR13 offers also three types of Digital Inputs and Outputs, which are Optical (in/out), the Coaxial (in/out) and USB Type-C (in/out). The BR13 has two Optical interfaces one for Optical out and one that is dedicated for Optical input purposes.

The BR13 offers also SPDIF Bypass mode, which is a nice addition.

The BR13 can be used as a pure Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC), to convert your digital audio signal input to analog audio output. The coaxial input supports up to 192kHz/24 bit, while the optical input supports up to 96kHz/24 bit decoding.

C. Bluetooth Receiver:

The FiiO BR13 is a Bluetooth Receiver in a small package. It has the ability to connect two devices at the same time, for example a tablet and a Smartphone.

Devices like Smartphone’s, Tablet’s or Music Players with Bluetooth connectivity can be used with a wide variety of codec options including LDAC / aptX / aptX Adaptive / aptX LL / aptX HD / AAC and SBC. LDAC specifically supports samplings rates up to 96kHz/24-bit audio.

The BR13 features a dedicated low-latency mode, which is useful while watching videos, where a natural lip-sync is important. You just need to choose the aptX LL priority by selecting it from the FiiO Control APP.

The Bluetooth antenna is located at the rear side of the device. It offers a pretty stabile connection up to 30 meters, which is quite impressive for such a small device.

Software:

The FiiO BR13 can easily paired/connected to your Smartphone, Tablet of FiiO Digital Audio Players with Android that supports FiiO Music or the FiiO Control Application. This APP gives you the ability to fine tune the settings of the BR13.

The BR13 comes with seven EQ presets, including JAZZ, POP, ROCK and CLASSICAL. In addition, there are also two types of parametric EQs, which can be self-defined in the FIIO Control. These presets can be saved to MEM1 and MEM2 section that can be selected with the EQ button.

 

Technical Specifications:

  • Model                         : BR13
  • DAC                           : ES9018K2M
  • Op-amp                      : TPA1882
  • Bluetooth SoC            : Qualcomm QCC5125
  • Bluetooth Version       : 5.1
  • Supported Codec’s    : LDAC / aptX / aptX Adaptive / aptX LL / aptX HD / AAC / SBC
  • SNR                           : ≥114dB
  • THD+N                       : 0.0006% (1kHz/-0dB@10KΩ)
  • DNR                           : 114dB
  • Crosstalk                    : ≥109dB
  • Noise Floor                 : ≤5.0uV
  • Line Output Level       : 2Vrms
  • Working Modes          : USB DAC/Bluetooth Receiving/Coaxial Decoding/Optical Decoding
  • Display                       : 1.1-inch LCD display with backlight
  • Dimensions                : about 98x96x26.5mm
  • Weight                        : about 135g

 

Equipment’s used for this review:

  • BT DAC                     : FiiO BR13
  • Amplifiers                 : FiiO K7, FiiO K11, Soncoz QXA1
  • BT Sources               : Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
  • IEM’s/Headphones   : FiiO FT3, FiiO FA7S, Westone Audio MACH10

 

Albums & tracks used for this review:

  • Adele – My Little Love
  • Hayley Westenra – Odyssey Album
  • Dionne Warwick – Walk On By
  • Sertap Erener – Aşk
  • Edith Piaf – Non Je Ne Regrette Rien
  • Diana Krall – So Wonderful
  • Aretha Franklin – I Say A Little Payer
  • George Michael – Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me
  • David Bowie – Heroes
  • Elton John – Rocket Man
  • Isaac Hayes – Walk On By
  • Eric Clapton – Wonderful Tonight
  • Dave Gahan – Kingdom
  • U2 – Sunday Bloody Sunday
  • Bro Safari, UFO! – Drama
  • Armin Van Buuren – Vini Vici
  • Daft Punk – Doin’ it Right
  • Massive Attack – Angel
  • Gogo Penguin – Raven
  • Gogo Penguin – Murmuration
  • Charly Antolini – Duwadjuwandadu
  • Ferit Odman – Look, Stop & Listen
  • Chopin – Nocturn No. 20 In C-Sharp Minor
  • Fazıl Say – Nazım Oratoryosu
  • Vivaldi – Le QuarttroStagioni “The Four Season”
  • Lunatic Soul – The Passage
  • Metallica – Sad but True
  • Opeth – Windowpane
  • Megadeth – Sweating Bullets
  • Slayer – Angel of Death
  • Yosi Horikawa – Bubbles

 

The Sound:

The FiiO BR13 surprised me with its pretty transparent and clean sound output that shows just a minimal coloration in the lows and the highs. The level of clarity and resolution across the sound spectrum is quite decent for such a small and budget friendly device.

The FiiO BR13 review has been written after a burn-in period of approx. 45 – 50 hours. My sound impressions below are based on my experiences paired with Amplifiers like the FiiO FiiO K7, K11 (Optical Output) and Soncoz QXA1 (RCA Line Output).

Bass / Midrange / Treble / Soundstage & Imaging:

The FiiO BR13 delivers a tight, controlled bass response that extends to a respectable sub-bass level. The bass presence is impactful and well-defined, adding depth and punch to music without overpowering other frequency ranges, which is quite impressive for such a budget device. This was especially audible with the new released FiiO K11 that has already some slightly amount of coloration in the lower frequency area.

The midrange reproduction of BR13 is characterized by clarity and a fairly natural sense of presence. Vocals are produced with good sense of precision and emotion when paired with both the FiiO K7 and Sonocz QXA1. Instrumentation in the midrange is equally well-rendered, with each instrument occupying its own space in the sonic landscape.

The treble response of the FiiO BR13 is relative neutral, crisp, articulate, and free from harshness. High-frequency details are rendered with sufficient level of accuracy. The treble extension is noteworthy, allowing for a spacious and airy presentation of cymbals, hi-hats, and other high-pitched instruments, especially when paired with the FiiO K7.

The BR13 shows a moderate sense of spaciousness, where instruments and vocals positioned fairly accurately within the soundstage. Both the depth and the wideness of the stage are on a pretty sufficient level, which fulfills my expectations from a device at this price level.

 

Conclusion:

The FiiO BR13 is a compact and affordable Hi-Res Bluetooth Receiver that offers a decent wireless audio experience. It has remarkable hardware features that supports various input and output options, as well as multiple Bluetooth codec’s for different devices including the LDAC codec. In terms of sonic performance, I can say that it shows a pretty transparent and clean sound output with a minimal coloration in the lows and the highs. It provides a tight, controlled bass response, clear midrange reproduction, crisp treble, and efficient sense of spaciousness, which makes it to a solid option for those looking for a budget-friendly Hi-Res Bluetooth Receiver with a neutral sound signature.

 

Pros & Cons:

  • + Very Compact Size
  • + Affordable Pricing
  • + Versatile input and output options
  • + Supports multiple Bluetooth codec’s, including LDAC
  • + Fairly Neutral (uncolored), Transparent and Clean sound output
  • – None (the BR13 doesn’t have any really significant drawbacks at this price point)

 

Thank you for the Read!

 

 

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