Fiio – uBTR Bluetooth Receiver Review.

The Fiio μBTR aka uBTR was purchased by yours truly for about 29€ without any kind of discounts on the Fiio Aliexpress official store.
Fiio has many official distributors but I prefer to buy directly from the source.

The Fiio uBTR (I’ll drop the “μ” because no one writes it anyway)  is a small Bluetooth receiver mainly used for in-ears/earbuds but that can be connected to any gear that provides a line in via a 3.5mm TRS plug cable or adapter, a rather good way to update those old computer speakers you got laying around which probably sound better than most Bluetooth ones being sold these days.
As long as your source unit can be connected to Bluetooth headphones the uBTR will work with it.

Testing rig
I tested the uBTR via aptX on a Sony L1 (G3311) smartphone and Spotify on the higher quality setting without any EQ, normalization or any other gimmick.

I also connected via aptX to a Sony Walkman A-45, with both lossy 320kbps Mp3’s and lossless 16-Bit 44.1Khz Flac music files (Doesn’t really matter with Bluetooth but it was what I had at hand)

The selected in-ears for this test were the Yinyoo HQ5 and BGVP DMG, both great models in the 100 to 200€ price range. The DMGs are harder to drive thus a good test for the Fiio.

A look inside the box

The Fiio comes inside a plain yet stylish white box, on the top section you got the uBTR receiver and on the bottom box, you’ll have the manual, warranty leaflets and a short USB-A to USB-C cable for charging the unit.

Built quality & specifications
The uBTR is very lightweight but the white plastic has some quality to it, both the 3.5 jack and USB-C connector are solid.
The buttons use and feel are OK for such a small unit, I wouldn’t use them all the time because I’m not sure if they would handle the stress.
The back clip should be handled with care, looking at the way it’s assembled, sooner or later the pivot metal bar will break the plastic on the clip or base.
I think Fiio couldn’t do much about it, mostly because the rest of the body is also made of plastic.

Everyone likes specifications so here are some I could find:
Qualcomm CSR8645 Bluetooth 4.1 chip with NFC
– aptX, AAC and SBC audio codecs
Texas Instruments TPA6132A2 amplifier  (25 mW into 16 Ω)
– 120 mAh Lithium polymer battery for up to 9 hours listening

Daily use
Well, Bluetooth receptors are pretty straightforward to use and the Fiio uBTR is no different. After the pairing process, it’s rather easy to reconnect to the selected source.
In fact you can jump between sources as long as you press the on/off button of the uBTR and the source is playing (tested with my Sony L1 and Sony A45), when you jump to another source the later one will stop.

The volume of the uBTR is independent of the source (tested in android), this means that it’s possible to do some micro adjustments.

I had some dropouts in sound (aptX), when there was lots of interference from other devices (tested near a school), or if there wasn’t a direct path between source and receiver, this means it will have sound dropouts if you put the source in the back pocket and the receiver on the front one, as your body will be absorbing most of the radio radiation. This depends a lot on your smartphone Bluetooth transmission capabilities, but something tells me the Fiio isn’t a very good receptor anyway.

The provided microphone on the uBTR was sensible enough for clear calls.
In-line microphone/remote on the headphone cable will not work if connected to the uBTR.

Driving the BGVP DMG at high volume with metal music, the uBTR lasted me between 6 to 7 hours, recharging was fast so I can’t complain too much.
Anyway, before the battery dies you will hear a verbal cue.

As noise floor goes the uBTR was fine with both the Yinyoo HQ5 and BGVP DMG,
I didn’t hear digital artifacts on the uBTR but some users have reported them on very complex classical music passages.
Sometimes there is a slight high pitched sound interference before the receptor starts decoding music for the first time, it’s rare but it does happen.

The lower end is often the Achilles heel of this kind of portable receivers, given the price the Texas Instruments amplifier does a good job with a good and fast bass range.
I didn’t notice any kind of bloated bass. “Van Halen – Hot for teacher” drumming introduction was full of impact and dynamics.

The mid and high ranges sounded correct when compared with my Sony A45.
The Texas Instruments TPA6132A2 amplifier was made to drive headphones and if not pushed by higher impedance gear it will remain on spec without apparent coloration or distortion.

The good & the ugly
Good sound quality for an aptX receiver.
The inbuilt amplifier will go loud enough without distortion and has good bass.

Not the best Bluetooth reception, especially if your body is in the way.
Clip feels fragile in the long run.

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