FiiO BTA30

FiiO BTA30

27 December 2020 0 By Petros Laskis

Bluetooth Swiss Army Knife

Pros: – Receiver
– Transmitter
– Dac
– Pre out
– AAC/SBC/aptX/aptX HD/LDAC
– High Fidelity stable signal
– Multiple inputs
– Small form factor
– App configurable
– Price

Cons: – No analogue input
– Usb limited to 48kHz/16bit

The BTA 30 was kindly provided by FiiO and is still under their ownership.
This is my honest and subjective evaluation of it.

You can get it from FiiO.eu

Introduction

FiiO BTA 30 is a long awaited high fidelity bluetooth transceiver and dac with a friendly asking price of about 99€.

Although there is a great demand for such transceivers it seems to be some kind of shortage regarding the available models or at least the decent ones.
The best rival we can think of is the iFi Zen Blue which retails for 150€ and it’s been a long time since we enjoyed the classic and out of production Crystal Audio BluDac.

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Technical and physical parameters

At the heart of the BTA 30 we are going to find the Qualcomm flagship chip CSR8675 which supports bluetooth 5.0 with the AAC/SBC/aptX/aptX HD/LDAC codecs.
An extra dedicated DSP can upsample everything up to 192kHz/24bit if we wish so.
D/A duties are handled by a dedicated digital to analogue converter the AKM4490 assisted by an OPA1662 at the output.
For full specifications please visit www.fiio.com.

The volume control of the BTA 30 is aided with ADC curve reconstruction for precise adjustment with minimal channel imbalance.
The best part is that it can adjust both the analog and the digital outputs (USB in – excluded) and this can be achieved even remotely from the FiiO Control APP.

The BTA 30 supports material with resolution up to 192kHz/24bit and DSD64 native on the coaxial input with the optical limited to 96kHz/24bit and the USB to a mere 48kHz/16bit.

Everything is housed inside a small strong aluminum body measuring 120x55x23.5mm with a weight of 115g.
Build quality is very good with a nice shiny black paint job and smooth finish.
Handling and use are satisfying but long and heavy cables might cause stability issues.

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On the front panel we can see the on/off and pair push buttons , the mode switch and the potentiometer plus an RGB light indicator.
At the back there is the RCA analog output , the coaxial combined input/output , optical in , optical out , USB type C in and the external antenna.

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Inside the box we will find a stereo RCA cable and a USB type C cable.
The BTA 30 must be powered through the USB port so we are going to need an extra power source like a phone charger.

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Functionality

The BTA 30 is a Swiss army knife with three different operation modes

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Bluetooth receiver RX

As a bluetooth receiver RX can accept incoming signals from various bluetooth devices and pass it either in a pure digital form for connecting to an external higher quality dac or convert it to analog signal thanks to the embedded dac.
Analog output volume level can be fixed or variable so we can use it either with integrated amplifiers or powered monitors and power amps.
Volume adjustment can be done from the potentiometer in front of the device or remotely with the FiiO Control app.
The BTA 30 can be connected with two different devices simultaneously and we can swap between both to play music.
All the available bluetooth codecs are supported.

Bluetooth transmitter TX

With this function we can feed the BTA 30 with a digital signal through one of the available digital inputs and transmit it to an external bluetooth receiver such as headphones or speakers.
A very useful function for example when we need to connect a TV set digital output to the BTA 30 and then enjoy the program cable free with our bluetooth headphones.
While in transmitter mode the BTA 30 can send the signal to two different devices simultaneously.
(LDAC is not supported by the USB input and the USB input can accept only 48/16)
Pairing is quite easy as we have to set BTA 30 into pairing mode and next the other device and after a while they connect to each other.

Wired or wireless DAC

The BTA 30 thanks to it’s embedded DAC can act as a pure digital to analog converter through all the available inputs including bluetooth and will output analog signal with fixed or variable level up to 3Vrms.

The FiiO Control app can offer further adjustments regarding the channel balance , four types of sound filters , bluetooth format priority , switch on/off the LED indicator and select whether the volume output will be fixed or variable.

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Performance

Bluetooth implementation is very good and the new Qualcomm chipset is an excellent performer.
The connection is very stable without any drops or lags but in order to reach the maximum performance the other paired device should be of equal quality.
With AptX HD and LDAC the transmitted/received signals suffer only a minimal loss in actual fidelity that we suppose can be sacrificed for the ease of use.
Real life working distance is of course less than the advertised 30m but still very good as we managed more than 15m in open space.
Mind you that thick walls and doors will severely affect the optimum distance so the BTA 30 is better used at visual contact conditions.

Regarding the internal dac it is a decent performer and will substitute well in cases that we don’t own something external of better quality.
It is an easy going signature that is well balanced with adequate levels of detail , clarity and dynamics.
It is not going to replace an external dedicated dac of the same price point but it gets the job well done.
Let’s not forget that the BTA 30 is first of all a bluetooth transceiver and the internal dac should be treated as an added utility.

At the end

The BTA 30 is an excellent bluetooth transceiver of high fidelity with stable connection and great ease of use.
With two modes and great functionality plus an added dac as a bonus it is very hard to beat even without considering the modest asking price.
As such it is a clear winner with the only let downs – that should be addressed in a future upgrade – being the lack of an analogue input and the usb input limited sampling rate.
A bluetooth swiss army knife that eased our lives and is going to satisfy even the most demanding user.

Copyright – Laskis Petros 2020