So my mind has started to turn to a post-quarantine life (albeit prematurely) and it’s looking like my commute may go from ~30m to ~1h30m via public transit, depending on the house my fiancé and I buy. This got me to thinking about my “ideal” (trans)portable HiFi solution which then made me curious as to what other folks might want.
I’ll kick things off by saying that my ideal portable solution would be a single, fully-balanced device with separate digital source, DAC, and AMP modules. The digital source module would be Bluetooth 5 with LHDC/LDAC as well as USB-C compatible for plugging in to my phone. The DAC module would be an R-2R ladder configuration DAC. This would then feed an AMP module with switchable tube/solid state topologies (or even just two separate AMP modules - one for Tube sound and one solid state that I could quickly and easily swap out on the go). For the headphone, I’d probably use my Sundaras or my HD 6XX, since they’re open-back so I can still hear what’s going on around me, but also aren’t too expensive if they get lost/stolen/broken.
Barring a single device that does this, I’d have 3 separate devices: a digital source, a DAC, and an AMP. It seems to me that digital sources change more frequently than DACs and DACs change more frequently than AMPs, so to me it makes sense that these should be three distinct devices.