Home Amp/DAC Comparisons FiiO BTR3K vs. BTR5 vs. DragonFly Red [Which Is Best For YOU?!]

FiiO BTR3K vs. BTR5 vs. DragonFly Red [Which Is Best For YOU?!]

by Stuart Charles Black
FiiO BTR3K Review

Don't forget to share if you found it helpful!

Big shoutout to FiiO for sending this unit, and for their continued support! I am not being compensated for the review, just giving my thoughts and opinions. 

1,988-word post, approx. 4-5 min. read


  • 10/10/20. Article Posted.
  • 2/2/21. Article/link cleanup.

Before we get started, check out Apos Audio. They are a great up-and-coming distributor with a phenomenal-looking website and excellent customer service. They also offer free shipping, the lowest price guarantee, a 2-year warranty, and a 45-day return.

Is the BTR3K a sound investment for the on-the-go audiophile looking for a true wireless Amp/DAC solution? Does it make a good desktop Amp/DAC? How does it compare with the DragonFly Red sound-wise? Is it powerful enough to drive most headphones?

All of these answers and more, comin’ up!

Greetings comrade and Welcome aboard… Stuart Charles here, HomeStudioBasics.com helping YOU make sound decisions, leading to a beautiful audio experience that will make you fall in love with music .. all over again, so.. don’t want to read?!

Video Comparison

Don’t forget to leave me some love and Subscribe! <3

Table of Contents

Click to navigate the article!

In the Box, Build & Features
Final Word
Photo Gallery

Before we get started, all links to these products, as well as any articles related will be here in this post. Check out my Gear Recommendations below as well for most of my top picks, all in one place!

If you do purchase through one of my Drop, B&H, or Amazon links, I will get a small kickback depending on where you live. Your continued support of the blog and channel means everything to me, so thank you!

Quick Links:

Now, let’s talk about the FiiO BTR3K and compare it to the DragonFly Red and BTR5. Do keep in mind this won’t be a full A/B vs. the BTR5 as I haven’t received it yet, but we will talk about power output discrepancies between the 2 which is very important nonetheless.

Let’s dive in!

FiiO BTR3K Review


In the Box

  • BTR3K
  • User Guide
  • Warranty Cards
  • Hard Plastic Case for on the go
  • Lanyard
  • USB-C Charging Cable

Build & Features

We’ll start with build and features. This wireless Bluetooth Amp/DAC is a little bit longer and larger than the fan-favorite DragonFly Red, but has a glossy finish that will leave more fingerprints than a dumb criminal at a murder scene.

It’s rather glassy and sleek looking. Most people will adore its small form factor and elegant look. If you don’t, you’re probably a weenie.

People who don’t like the form factor of the BTR3K tend to look like this.^

On the front, there’s a 3.5mm and balanced 2.5mm jack for your headphones, and on the side, we’ve got a power button, volume buttons, and a mic button for calls if you need to make a ransom handoff.

On the top, there’s a USB-C charging port which you can also just plug into your laptop and listen to music with. More on that later.

Just hold the top button to power the BTR3K on. It will cycle Red and Blue to indicate it’s waiting to pair. Go into your phone’s settings and press search. It will show up as “FiiO BTR3K.”

Now we’re ready for la musica!

FiiO BTR3K Review

FiiO BTR3K Review

Glassy and classy asf.

Any time the device has been completely disconnected (i.e. your phone is off, etc.) it will flash twice every 2 seconds. Just hold the second button from the top to re-enter pairing mode.

When you plug it into your laptop, it will flash blue twice every 2 seconds and land on red for 2 seconds. Now just look for it in your sound panel, select it, and play a track. It will then turn white. If you pause the track, it will resume the blue/red cycle after about 45 seconds to a minute. Play the song again and it goes back to white.

I’m not going to get into all the rest of the technical mumbo jumbo. Just read the manual, homie!

It’s really simple and straightforward. You can take calls with this thing, and it can pair two separate devices at one time.

Say whaaaaat?!?

Yeah, that’s right you heard me correctly.

“Yo dog we heard you like listening to music at the same time someone else is on the same dac, so we made an amp/dac that allows you to listen to music at the same time someone is else on the same dac, and we made that joint wireless so you don’t even need wires neither.”

The BTR3K is super convenient for on-the-go homies as well.

You guys know me. I mostly listen to music on my desktop or when I’m at the gym, completely wireless with Bluetooth. I personally hate carrying around a phone and a DAC and pretty much never do. The BTR3K is a product that I would absolutely carry around with me, and I do when I’m driving at night.

It even comes with a plastic belt clip. Just put the DAC inside the clip’s holder and attach it somewhere you know it won’t fall off. I attached it sideways to my belt loop and that seems to work really well when I’m sitting in my car seat.

Originally I tried to attach it vertically to my pants, but it kept popping out because I’m kind of fat, but only when sitting down alright!

Aside from that silliness, the BTR3K supports your standard codecs:

  • For SBC, a blue light pulsates when listening to music.
  • For AAC, Cyan.
  • For aptX or aptX LL, Purple (as in the case of my phone).
  • For aptX HD, Yellow.
  • And for LDAC, White.

FiiO BTR3K Review

But who cares about all that nonsense. How does it sound!?! Tell me how it souuuuuuuuunds!!


The sound of the BTR3K is fairly neutral to my ears but does have a touch of warmth. It mostly does sound about the same as the DragonFly, but you’ll notice the Fly is a bit more open and cool sounding.

FiiO BTR3K Review

By and large, the BTR3K bears many of the same similarities as its older brothers: E10K, K3, and K5 Pro. Just steady, solid, great sound. Detailed, crisp, lively, and clean.

The vocals on the DragonFly Red seem to be a bit more prominent than they are on the BTR. They’re pushed slightly more forward. This is still a very minor discrepancy and maybe my imagination.

Still, I find the sound of the BTR uncomfortably close to being just as good sound-wise. If I’m being honest, it pretty much is. There’s nothing about the more expensive Fly that I would say is better than the cheaper FiiO.

In fact, the BTR3K has quite a lot going for it:

  • It’s small, compact, and lightweight. You can carry it anywhere.
  • You don’t need an adapter for your phone should you want to pair it on the go. If you have a phone with aptX HD (or any other superior codec), it’s quite close to having Hi-Fi, audiophile-quality sound in your pocket.
  • It can be used with your laptop, which is my preferred method.
  • It can take calls.
  • It has a 2.5mm balanced jack. That’s a great feature for these newer up-and-coming snobs who won’t settle for anything less than the best!
  • Lastly, you can download the FiiO control app and you’ve got a super slick interface at your fingertips. Adjust the EQ, volume, and customize the DAC in many other ways just using your phone.

It also utilizes volume control separate from your source’s volume. From Soundphile:

Volume adjustment is independent from the source device, whether the BTR3K is connected via Bluetooth or USB. In both cases it keeps its own volume that’s distinct from that of the source; this is especially useful if your device does not have fine-grained volume levels.Riccardo Robecchi, Soundphile

The only thing I can think of that the Fly provides that the BTR doesn’t is more power unbalanced. Soundwise? The 3K sounds just as good at roughly $130 less. It’s pretty astounding actually. Yes, the Red is a bit more refined; female vocals sound a tad more fleshed out and articulate. The overall sound is a little more revealing and clear, like a cold water splash in the morning.

But like I’ve said a thousand times in other articles and videos, you’re not going to know or even care. I’m afforded the luxury of being able to discern these marginal differences because of all the gear I have at my disposal.

Even so, with the 3k you’ll mostly want to stick with lower impedance, higher sensitivity cans like the Philips SHP9500/9600, Koss KPH30i, M50x, etc.

FiiO BTR3K Review

The gang’s all here.

Even with the Koss at a somewhat higher 60 Ohm impedance, you’ll notice yourself pushing the volume more so than you would with something in the 32 Ohm ballpark. With the 9600, I’m at 28/32.

I tried the HD600 with it, and while it does get loud enough, you’re maxed out with no headroom. Not the most ideal scenario, as you’ll most certainly want to raise the volume some more.

  • The 3K pushes 25mW at 32 Ohm.
  • Balanced is 78mW at the same impedance.

For comparison’s sake, the BTR5 provides 80mW at 32 Ohm, and 220mW balanced. For that, you’ll have to spend an extra $30-40.

Even for people who don’t utilize the 2.5mm jack, the 3K is still a tremendous value and will work with a plethora of different headphones and IEMs. With a balanced cable? What more could you ever ask for at a measly $70 (approximately). It’s a snap purchase if I’ve ever heard of one.

Final Word

There are many products I’ve come across in my time demoing audiophile gear. There aren’t many that I could see myself owning and using for long periods of time.

The 3K happens to be an Amp/DAC that would get a ton of use from me outside of my studio, and for that it’s invaluable. In fact, the only thing I could think of during my time listening with it was: “Man this packaged with a KPH30i would make a fantastic Christmas gift for my family and friends.” People who don’t really care about hard-to-drive audiophile headphones.Those looking for an incredible overall package and value. It’s just a match made in heaven, really.



For less than $100, you’ve got a pretty insane setup that rivals a lot of higher-priced gear. Please though, do NOT buy this unit if you plan to power more demanding headphones. For that, look at the BTR5.



So, what are you waiting for? Click on over to my store and check out some of the idea lists. I’ll have this BTR3K and KPH30i linked there as well.

Well, that’s about it for today my friend! I hope you’ve enjoyed this FiiO BTR3K vs. BTR5 vs. DragonFly Red comparison/review/shootout thingie-ma-bob, and are better equipped to make a purchasing decision!

If you love what I do here and want to support the blog and channel in a more personal way, check me out on Patreon and discover all the value I have to offer you.

Questions? Comments? Requests? Did I miss the mark on something? Please let me know down below or Contact me!!

Could you see yourself with a BTR3K? Why or why not? I would love to hear your thoughts. Until next time…

All the best and God bless,





Can’t decide which headphones to purchase? Interested in a complete buyers guide outlining over 40 of the best options on the market? Click on over to the best audiophile headphones to learn more!!

Be sure to also check out my Reviews and Resources page for more helpful and informative articles!


Photo Gallery

Click to see it in action!

FiiO BTR3K Review
The gang's all here.
FiiO BTR3K ReviewFiiO BTR3K ReviewFiiO BTR3K ReviewFiiO BTR3K ReviewFiiO BTR3K ReviewFiiO BTR3K ReviewFiiO BTR3K ReviewFiiO BTR3K ReviewFiiO BTR3K ReviewFiiO BTR3K Review








Sound Quality




Power Output



  • Neutral, clean sound
  • Extremely versatile
  • 2.5mm and 3.5mm options
  • Convenient and easy to use
  • Pretty insane value for the price


  • Power output a bit low unbalanced

Don't forget to share if you found it helpful!

You may also like


C July 12, 2021 - 10:12 pm

Wow, great article. I had bought the HD6XX due to one of your youtube videos and had bought the Dragon red. I started reading your articles and they seem a lot more in-depth. Now I have 2 days to return my dragon red if I wanted to. So for the HD6XX and future proof I wanted to run it by you if that BTR3 is the best choice. I was thinking of BTR5K to get the best out of the HD6XX but unsure if that is even necessary. Also, read on Reddit the BTR5 doesn’t connect to the PS4 or Nintendo Switch, unlike the BTR3? Hopefully, I’ll get a response soon enough.

Stuart Charles Black July 13, 2021 - 1:35 pm

Hey C!

Thank you so much. Means a lot as I’ve been working diligently to craft better articles and content. This article will actually be updated/made better. The camera is kind of on its last legs but hopefully, I’ll be getting a new one soon.

The 3 definitely has less power than the Red. If you’re going to switch, I’d go for the BTR5 for sure. I wouldn’t take any chances with a 6XX although you could probably get away with it. I don’t have the 6XX on hand now but I plugged in my HD600 into the 3k and it’s comfortably loud enough but you won’t have any headroom. A lot of people including myself can stand no headroom lol. If that sounds okay to you, go for it, but I’d get a 5.

For PS4 and Switch, have you considered a G6?

C July 13, 2021 - 9:12 pm

O.K that’s what I thought. I was hoping the 3 would do fine for portability purposes with a Switch. I saw your other videos and made the G6 my top pick for desktop/semi-portable amp/dac; Mainly for my laptop. Don’t remember from the article/video if can connect to a receiver though? Overall I think it will still fit my main needs and price area. But, popping that puppy out on the plane and carrying it around can be a bit much lol. But returning the DFR and getting the BTR5 gives me a $100 savings. BOOYA!

Stuart Charles Black July 14, 2021 - 2:27 pm

Haha yeah! I may actually start recommending the BTR5 a bit more as it’s more versatile and affordable than the Red, but I still love the Red. Both share the Sabre ESS chip IIRC which is interesting considering FiiO mainly opts for the AKM varieties but there was that whole thing with the fire as well lol (at the AKM manufacturing facility). I think that happened after if I’m not mistaken.

Keep me posted on the G6! It’s actually super easy to carry around because it’s small, light, and completely plug and play. That’s one of the main reasons I love it so much.


Leave a Comment