I own 2 Squeezeboxes and one Transporter. They are set up as follows:
The Transporter is connected to my main audio rig via the balanced analog outputs into my Sim Audio preamp, which is in turn connected via it's balanced outputs into my Sim Audio amp. I bought a Transporter for this set up for several reasons. First I did not own a high end DAC and second a Squeezebox/DAC combo with a DAC that has balanced outputs would not be much less money than a Transporter alone. Also the Transporter can be purchased new for less than it's $2000 list price if you shop around. I paid $1650 for mine.
The first Squeezebox is connected to my bedroom system via it's analog outputs (RCA jacks).
The second Squeezebox is connected to my home theater system via optical digital out into my Marantz receiver.
My impressions of the sound of each set up are that the Transporter playing back FLAC or APE files (both file types use lossless compression) sounds the equal of my MacCormack universal disc player playing the original CD of the same material.
The Squeezebox's analog output is okay but could use some improvement and for the one in my bedroom I'm planning on getting an outboard DAC in the near future or I may upgrade my Headroom Desktop amp by adding a DAC module to it. Right now I'm leaning towards upgrading the Headroom amp since it would mean having to add one less box to an already crowded night table.
The Squeezebox's digital output is very good and the one in my home theater system sounds equal to the digital output of my Marantz CD/DVD player.
So basically if you have an outboard DAC or a home theater receiver with digital inputs than there is no reason to get the Transporter unless you want a better DAC or a DAC with balanced analog outputs, which is what all the extra money buys you. The digital output of the Squeezebox is more than decent enough to feed an outboard DAC and capable of producing a very pleasant and highly musical sound.
And yes, the white version of the Squeezebox is available directly from Slim Devices for $249.00, including shipping until Memorial Day. Plus if you use the promotion code "LIVE365" you get an additional $20.00 off so that the final price is $229.00 for a brand new, factory sealed white Squeezebox 3.
As the Squeezbox/Tranporter tells you when you first turn it on:
Free Your Music