Originally Posted by GreenLeo
Is the SD playback from 801 better than or equal to the IMod 5.5G + PVCAP?
Could it be that SD playback from 801 better than or equal to the IMod 5.5G + VCAP?
It's probably a close race for sound quality between the 801 <-> iMod/Pvcap <-> iRiver/D10. I don't want to speculate more without having compared them.
As far as cost and features, since sound is probably close:
(1) The iRiver H140/D10 was only $600 including opamp upgrades and cable, but it needs more power for HD600. Having line out to a desktop amp is a nice feature, but the 801 for $50 more also has a line out, plus a coax and USB input to connect to PC, Mac, CD or DVD players, although no optical like the D10. I get about 10 hours out of the iRiver before I have to charge it, so even if the amp lasts 25-30 hours I have no music. I need to find one of the USB charging cables, and it could extend the battery with an external USB pack. EDIT - to add, the rockboxed iRiver does play Apple Lossless files, and wont choke on 24/96 like an iMod, although it down-samples them. Like the 801, it doesn't do video like the iMod.
(2) The iMod/Pvcap without an amp or cables was $850 - then add my 3MOVE, LOD and mini-mini and you are up to $1300! But, you also get a video player and iTunes syncing. The 3MOVE drives the HD600 better than the D10 or 801, for about $75 less than a D10 with opamp upgrades. And, because of the 3MOVE it can connect via USB to PC or Mac. And with the line out of the Pvcap it can connect to a desktop amp. As a line out source the iMod is close but slightly behind my Apogee mini-DAC in sound quality, and about like the D10 line out quality. The iMod will run out of battery after 12-14 hours if untouched and just left alone to run, but changing songs and playlists drops it to below 10 hours. So even if the amp lasts 50-100 hours, I have no music after 10-12 hours (I finally found an external battery with LOD pass through and will have to test it, but it's not pretty and pokes out a bit).
(3) The 801 has an advantage over both because it is a 1-piece unit without a bunch of cables, and you can also use it as a coax DAC from your CD or DVD player or PC, and it still has a USB DAC like the other two rigs above. All it is missing is the optical input of the iRiver/D10. However, it can play 24/96 FLAC from the SDHC card or coax input, and my iMod can't play 24/96. The rockboxed iRiver simply down-samples the 24/96 files. 801 still has a line out for a bigger portable or desktop amp like the above two. The 7-8 hours of battery life can be extended by popping in an extra battery, and the internal capacity can be replenished with a second or third SD card. And, the amp can be supplemented with a nicer external portable, or someday an upgraded internal module.
So, that's why I say it could replace my iRiver/D10 someday. If it was available before I had the iMod I would not spend $1300 on the iMod/Pvcap/amp/cables. Even to carry the iPod for video and 801 for music would be less bulky than the whole iMod rig.