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Do the balanced outputs really justify such a high price? Battery life seems kind of meh for actually using the DAC. I just got the Topping NX4 and although I haven't had a great deal of time with it, I'm thinking it was a good move. It's a portable DAC/AMP with a 12 hour DAC + AMP battery life (36 Hr with AMP only). Sounds great so far and feels like a really solid, well-built piece of engineering.
It would make a good Massdrop actually. In the meantime I'd check it out over this if you're in the market for something around a bill and not $724.99.
Yes, balanced what makes this special (and because it does DSD)... It's good enough that people are spending $400+ for balanced silver headphone cables to use with it. Also, keep in mind that in audio equipment things go up in price exponentially... Remember in breaking bad where walt talks about how getting cooking his blue meth to 90% purity is easy but getting it to 98% is a battle? lol, basically the same thing.. It's not that hard to make a DAC/Amp that is pretty decent... but to take it from the 90th percentile up to the 98th percentile is ludicrously hard, and requires crazy amounts of really really high quality metals and circuits etc... People like to rip on Sony, but honestly Sony is the shit.. they are the players in the game with the money to come in and really create something new... Other people might come in and do it better within a couple of years, but Sony was usually there first, and were likely innovators... Also keep in mind, that with high quality audio equipment, each piece is not necessarily better or worse, just different... I love headphones, speakers because everything has it's own "Fingerprint"...
Hmm, I can see that.
Personally, when I'm out and about, there's usually a lot of noise either from wind or people or classes around me, etc. It makes it difficult to appreciate my music beyond a certain level. I think I would only spring for that 98th percentile when it comes to the home, because I just don't think any of my mobile situations would lend themselves to truly appreciating it. I also think that Sony is one of the best in audio and usually overlooked by a lot of people. Unfortunately their high-end stuff is usually too expensive for me.
Definitely... I think the 90th percentile is good enough for most of us... Enjoy the 90th percentile for a few years, and when you have the funds and the time, upgrade! The progression is half the fun... And I also agree about Sony being overlooked... Which is kind of hilarious considering they invented DSD and high-res audio... We can all thank Sony for where audio is today.