dvessel and lewislink -- you're both great head-fi'ers and I always read your posts.
I think the economics shake out this way: Ray had to have a USB DAC to stay competitive with Justin and the Pico. He decided that he could not support two models, could not offer an option. So he didn't, but the price inflation is pretty small, and no increase in size.
And the proof is: RSA ships these immediately, there is no wait list, no hassle. Yes, HeadAmp gives you the option, but you "pay" in waiting time, since no dount having the option makes the process more complex for Justin.
I don't use the DAC, but I figure well someday maybe I will. In fact, since when I travel I always have my laptop, the experiment done by mcmeyers means maybe I use the PMP while actually on the airplane, but in the hotel room plug into the laptop and listen via the DAC!
I never use the HP out jack on my big TV -- dumbest thing in the world given a typical setup with the audio of the TV plugged in to a system -- but I don't ding the manufacturer for including an option some folks might want. I don't expect to be able to order "without HP jack".
You would save less than you think if Ray offered the option -- the fact that he does not have to offer an option saves him money (he can bulk order the DAC chips, pre-make the Predator insides without having to guess, etc.); he passes the savings on to you.
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