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Shanling UP4 VS Fiio BTR5 Bluetooth DAC Amplifiers | Hifigo

Shanling UP4 VS Fiio BTR5 Bluetooth DAC Amplifiers | Hifigo

Fiio BTR5 was announced on July, 30th and now one month later the Shanling UP4 was announced. After trial sales in China local market, they are both available to the international market now. Here's how they stack up.

Shanling UP4  Fiio BTR5 
PRICE (USD) US$ 99.99  US$ 129.99 
DAC Chip ESS Sabre ES9218x2 ESS Sabre ES9218x2
USB DAC / Xmos XUF208
Bluetooth Chip Qualcomm CSR8675   CSR8675  CSR8675  
Bluetooth support LDAC/HWA/aptX HD/aptX LL/aptX/AAC/SBC LDAC/HWA/aptX HD/aptX LL/aptX/AAC/SBC
Input Type USB - C USB - C
Output Type 3.5mm + 2.5 mm , AUX  3.5mm + 2.5 mm ,AUX
Output power:

3.5mm HP: 71mW @32Ω (High Gain)/91mW @32Ω (Dual DAC)
2.5mm Balanced:  160mW @32Ω

3.5mm HP: 80mW@32Ω (SE)
2.5mm Balanced: 220mW@32Ω( BA)

PCM  Up to 32bit/384kHz Up to 32bit/384kHz
DSD (Direct Stream Digital) Native DSD up to 256 Native DSD up to  256
Gain High/Low High/Low
Volume Control  Wheel  Button
App No Yes
Battery Capacity 550mAh

550mAh

Battery Life

15 H ( SE)

10 (BA) 

9 Hours (SE)

Charging Time 2 Hours

1.5 Hours

Built-in Microphone Yes Yes
Signal To Noise Ratio 120dB 121dB
Dual Hi-res certified Yes Yes
60mm*36mm*13.5mm 72mm*32mm*11.3mm
Weight 

37g

43.7 g

 

Control   

Wheel of Shanling UP4

All functions of the Shanling UP4 are controlled by the multi-functional wheel to achieve the most precise volume control allowing the tiniest volume changes with sensitive earphones, the volume control of the Shanling UP4 was split into 64 steps. Offering much more precise volume control, compared with limited 16 steps of most smartphones. Volume levels can be independently controlled both on the Shanling UP2 and the connected smartphone, keeping volume control always in reach.

 

Shangling UP4

Multi-function button of Fiio BTR5

The multi-function button does exactly as its name suggests – use it for: pairing/play/pause/accept call/hang up/cancel/force pair/open voice assistant. After disconnecting via Bluetooth from another device, simply press the multi-function button briefly to re-pair with the other device. When paired to a phone, simply double-click the multi-function button to wake up your voice assistant.

Fiio BTR5

Better battery Life of Shanling UP4

Both Shanling UP4 and Fiio BTR5 feature 500mAh battery, but Shanling claims 15 hours battery life with 3.5mm single end headphone output while BTR5 comes with 9 hours at SE output. That may be because the more output power from BTR5. 

Shanling UP4 VS. Fiio BTR5 Review quoted from the buyer

“ I'm a long time portable audio enthusiast, starting out with a cassette Walkman. From there, I've played with dozens of portable audio players and reviewed many of them on headfi, from entry-level to TOTL. One day, I saw a picture of the venerable Shanling M3. The one with a control wheel that made it look like a giant Zippo lighter. It was quirky in a charming sort of way, and the sound. Oh, the sound. For my taste, it was one of the best bang for your buck DAPs I'd heard. Full, smooth, clear, detailed. That started my love affair with shanling DAPs. Since then, I've owned many of their DAPs and the original UP DAC/Amp. Most recently though, I've started getting into streaming via Google Play Music, Qobuz, and Tidal.

At home,I could hook my Chord Mojo up to my phone, but that wasn't a good option on the go. Luckily, I came across a release announcement on the hifigo blog about a couple of new Bluetooth DAC/Amps, the Fiio BTR5 and the Shanling UP4. Both checked the boxes with good chipset and 2.5mm balanced output. So I ordered both and have had a chance you test them out for a bit now. So what do I think?

The FiiO BTR5 has a small two-line display which is Handy when changing settings. It can also connect to the FiiO app, but I've found that doing so "steals" the connection which prevents me from using it with one of my streaming apps.

Soundwise

The BTR5 is the more energetic sounding of the two. It has nice dynamics with tight bass, clear mids, and sparkly treble. The Shanling UP4 is totally controlled by the by now classic Shanling control wheel, and there's no app although Shanling said they're working on one. Compared with the BTR5, the UP4 is a fuller, smoother, more relaxing listen yet not at the expense of detail retrieval. Neither is better, and I rotate between the two depending on my mood and the ear/headphones in using that day. Do yourself a favor and give them a try. I think you'll really enjoy them! ”

Different clips

Both of them come with removable clip cases offering high practicality of clip while making it easy to narrow it down for comfortable use in pocket.

Shanling up4 clip

DD , Fiio's exclusive supplier for accessories announced leather case special designed for BTR5, but there is still no Shanling UP4 leather case on sale.

Fiio BTR5 clip

 

 

 

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Comments

Kevin Eyewanders - March 17, 2020

Unfortunately I just learned a giant limitation of the Shanling UP4, which is NOT mentioned here, and in fact just like in Shanling’s marketing and specification, the fact is glossed over to the point it is seems otherwise:
The UP4 does NOT SUPPORT playback in USB-DAC mode at resolution any higher than 16bit/48kHz. HiRes is ONLY possible using LDAC bluetooth and only when the connection (as per the codec’s own limitation) is strong enough, and there’s really no way to tell at what bitrate the device is receiving at, e.g. 330/660/990kbps respectively over LDAC.
This is a significantly important detail that seems to have been glossed over by everyone, everywhere, and effectively renders the spec you’ve listed for PCM resolution moot in many cases. That’s really too bad.

Tom - January 29, 2020

Awesome information, thanks! Does anyone know if the extra xmos chip for the USB DAC on the BTR5 has a benefit? I’m not sure I always want to completely cut the cord (and I assume if I have it plugged into my PC with usb as USB DAC, it’s also charging or at least not draining the batter).

nmatheis - January 3, 2020

Nice article. It’s always interesting to hear how different devices with the same chipset can sound,. It’s especially interesting here where they’re using the same SoC DAC/Amp but sound quite different. I’m finding I like UP4 with my more energetic ear/headphones and BTR5 with my more laid back ear/headphones.

I also have EarStudio ES100, which was purchased first. After getting UP4 and BTR5, ES100 isn’t getting much playtime. It’s much thinner sounding, not a very satisfying listen compared to the offerings from Shanling and FiiO.

I’m using these Bluetooth DAC/Amps to steam music from Qobuz and Tidal (trying to decide between the two) via UAPP on my OnePlus 7 Pro and 7T. The pro is that this leverages UAPP’s playback algorithms, totally avoiding Android’s less accurate algorithms. The con is that it doesn’t allow offline storage, which requires you to use the official Qobuz and Tidal apps

In any case, I’m really happy with how UP4 and BTR5 have both given me great sound in such small convenient packages. Awesome job, Shanling and FiiO!

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