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Can the DAC portion of the gadget be used alone? Lets say I plan to purchase a bookshelf speaker with another matching amp, can i use it for that?
yep, line out. its a proper line out, the volume knob/gain switch dont work, its sending line signal to your amp
If you plan on leaving this plugged in 24/7 I'd suggest getting a DAC without a battery. Leaving it plugged in continually stresses the battery and will it start having issues in the not too distant future.
I sometimes(rarely) connect cellphone(usb audio pro)-nx4dsd-old amp-tall speaker.
Line out works well and no big issue.
But, if you will use permanent connection, d30 will be better or d50 will be superb.
What happens if I connect a headphone to line in / out, and connect my phone to the usb dac port of the topping?
You'll get some incredible noise levels. Much too much I would imagine..