Topping BC3 review

(Disclaimer: sample of Topping BC3 provided by https://www.hificollege.net/ Aliexpress store: HIFI college store )

The Topping brand, a renowned manufacturer of inexpensive and miniature Hi-Fi components, has introduced the BC3, which is designed to get the best possible sound from Bluetooth wireless technology.

The Topping BC3 is a compact Bluetooth receiver with Bluetooth 5.0 that allows you to expand your fixed path use scenarios. The device supports all popular codecs: LDAC, AptX HD, AptX, AAC, SBC, and can be used both as a transport for a digital signal via an optical output, and as a source via an analog connector (via a headphone or line-out).

Let’s take a closer look.


Design, Features, Packaging

Topping BC3

Topping BC3 comes in a small box made of heavy black cardboard, the packaging is compact and minimalistic. Inside you will find: Topping BC3, USB Type-C cable, 3.5 optical converter, user manual, warranty card. The set is standard, nothing unusual.

Topping BC3

Design of the novelty immediately evokes positive emotions, of course, few people in our time will be surprised by a metal square, closed on both sides by 2.5D glass, but in this case, the small size of the device and excellent build quality add spectacularity.

The new BC3 is a pleasure to hold in your hand, despite collecting prints. However, judging by the way they are easily rubbed off, there is an oleophobic coating here?

Topping BC3

On the top of the receiver there is the Topping logo, three touch buttons and two indicators: volume up and down button, in the middle multifunction (play/pause) button, charging and bluetooth indicator.

Topping BC3

At the back we have: touch lock switch (this is convenient if you will use the BC3 for example in a car or as a portable receiver when carried in a bag etc.), headphone output, line out output/optical output, USB charging (also used to update device firmware).

In general, the control of the BC3 is quite intuitive: it connects quickly, the connection keeps well, even at a fairly noticeable distance (although this depends on the amount of electromagnetic interference around you).

Topping BC3

Inside Topping BC3 uses a well-established bundle in other devices of different companies, this is CSR8675+ES9018Q2C. BC3 uses CSR8675 for Bluetooth 5.0 connection and use ES9018Q2С for audio DAC (optical output will bypass the built-in DAC). It should be noted that this is the optimal solution for this price category, at the moment the device costs $69.99.


Some options for how you can use Topping BC3:

Topping BC3
Topping BC3 with Topping E30

Suppose you have a desktop DAC with an optical input (in our case this Topping e30), in this case you can plug in the BC3 through the optical output and breathe new life into your DAC. Topping BC3 will provide highest 24bit/96kHz sampling rate at LDAC transmission, you can enjoy wireless hi-res misic at your DAC.

Topping BC3
Topping BC3 with Audiosence AQ3

Thanks to the built-in ES9018Q2C DAC and the built-in 800mAh battery, your own desktop speakers easily become wireless (or any your wired headphone). The manufacturer claims up to 12 hours work with 32 ohm headphone load, which is generally true in our testing. Maybe, of course, not all 12, but 10 worked honestly, which is generally a good indicator. The built-in chip from ESS will provide quite good sound quality, given its price, of course.

Topping BC3

Another frequently used scenario for Bluetooth receivers is a car. Everything is simple here, insert the Topping BC3 into the AUX of your car audio and enjoy the music for example directly from your smartphone. It should be noted that in this case the manufacturer warns: “to avoid damaging by high temperature, remember do NOT leave BC3 in your car when you leave”.


Sound

Topping BC3

The following wired headphones were used for listening: Meze Audio 99 Classic, HIFIMAN Sundara, Audiosense AQ3.

The bass is not colored, rather neutral, attacks with decays are quite fast. This adds a bit of dynamics to the low frequencies, but to call the bass of this receiver dry – would be too strong. Low frequencies are distinguished by good resolution and high-quality texture transfer.

The bass is especially well revealed here on high-quality recordings of live instruments. But, since the bass depth is also quite decent, the synthesized bass will sound nice. However, it should be borne in mind that deep low frequencies are one of the areas that suffer with a wireless connection, and in this case the bass depth is slightly reduced, although the control remains good even for bluetooth.

Topping BC3 with HIFIMAN Sundara

The mids are also a little focused on micro details, but without bustle and dryness. They are neutral, dynamic and pleasing with good resolution. The delivery of the device is highly dependent on the quality of the recording, if the mastering and mixing are good, then the BC3 will delight you with a detailed emotional presentation with a realistic construction of an imaginary scene. With a wireless connection, the scene is average in width and depth, and in the role of a USB DAC, the BC3 builds a space noticeably larger than average, really working through all 3d nuances with high quality.

The BC3’s treble is better than any other receiver we’ve tested. Even with a Bluetooth connection, there is no length, and in USB mode, this parameter is comparable to the device even with more expensive players. Even with a Bluetooth connection, there is a short attenuation length, and in USB mode, this parameter is comparable to the device even with more expensive ones. The resolution and naturalness of the high frequencies are good, there is practically no layering, but it would be silly to expect otherwise.

The treble demonstrates a little emphasized clarity and transparency, largely due to high-speed attacks and reduced attenuation, but this accent does not go to the detriment of naturalness. Quantitatively, the treble is very well balanced here, and the brightness of the presentation depends solely on the material and the headphones. By Bluetooth, even with LDAC, some HF simplification is noticeable, but here it is less than that of other devices, probably this can be considered an advantage of this gadget.


Conclusions

Topping BC3

Topping has again made a quality device in every aspect, with excellent build quality and functionality. We lacked the power on tight planar headphones like HIFIMAN Sundara, but obviously it is not intended for them. Something lighter like the wired audiosens AQ3 plays great with Topping BC3. The wireless connection is stable and not satisfactory, HIFITAN Deva and Tronsmart Apollo Bold performed excellently with the BC3.

An excellent choice at a reasonable price. Topping, as always, deserves our highest rating.


Thanks to HIFI College Store for providing the Topping BC3 sample.
Official HIFI College site: https://www.hificollege.net/ 
HIFI College Aliexpress store: HIFI college store )


SPECIFICATIONS

TypeBluetooth Receiver
DAC
Bluetooth ChipCSR8675
Bluetooth Norm 5.0
Bluetooth ProtocolsSBC / AAC / apt-X / aptX – LL / apt-X HD / LDAC
DAC ChipES9018Q2C
InputsBluetooth
OutputsHeadphone Out – jack 3.5mm
Line Out / mini-toslink – jack 3.5mm
Output levelHeadphone Out : 2Vrms @0dBFs
Line Out: 2Vrms @0dBFs
THD+N@A-wtSortie casque : inférieur à 0.02% @1kHz
Sortie ligne: inférieur à 0.01% @1kHz
Noise@A-wt< 2.3Vrms
VolumeVolume control 32-steps
Receiving distance10m max
Battery800mAh
Batterie use@ Headphone Out 32Ω : ~12 hours
@ Mini-toslink Out: ~11 hours
@ Standby: ~25 days
Charge time : 3 hours
Dimensions60 x 60 x 17.5 mm
Weight82.5g
ColorBlack