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Just curious, what's the benefit behind the E09K, other than being a charging "base" for the E17?
Fair question. To be [really] honest, the use case doesn't seem all that compelling, particularly if you're [being smart &] using the E17 for its optical input. It's almost purely a convenience/aesthetics play that IMO is normally way overpriced. That said, it *can* serve as a standalone desktop amp, or it can serve as the USB hookup for the E17 in 'dock' mode, if USB is your go-to source output method. Plus you get a great volume knob and, as you mentioned, an E17 'charging base'.
Bottom line, still worth pursuing. The $70 last bracket / commitment level I first suggested might've still been a bit high - $60 would probably be where I'd jump in 'no-questions-asked'.
That makes a lot of sense, thanks for the excellent response.