Originally Posted by Glitched
Ah, so you're saying the t3 is only an amp, and to improve my laptop's sq I'd need a dac? But to improve my itouch sq I'd need either a dac, amp, or both?
I lost you at your last sentence but that's ok because I definitely don't plan on buying two gadgets lol. I'm cash strapped when it comes to this hobby having recently bought the tf10's at 150$.
Since most of my serious listening is done on my laptop I'm looking for something mainly to improve my laptop's sq, thus my mentioning the uDac.
In cases like the E7 where there's that added mobility, that's nice but I'd take better sq over mobility. So if there is a discernible improvement in sq from the E7 to the uDac, I'd go for the latter.
First, let's talk about your laptop: It already has a headphone-out, but probably not very good sounding. You can connect an amp to the headphone-out but the result won't be good (crap-in-crap-out). To get the best sound, you will need an external DAC (which is basically an external soundcard), likely connected to your laptop via USB such as uDAC or E7. They take the digital signal from your PC from the USB and turns it into analog signal, bypassing your laptop internal sound card all together. You can connect another amp to uDAC as it also support line-out function, but it will work by its own.
Now let's talk about your iPhone: it has both headphone-out and line-out (if you buy a line-out dock / LOD). To get the better sound, you will want to connect your iPhone to an amp by LOD. Since iPhone doesn't have an USB port (nor support USB host function), you don't need an DAC for it. All you need is an amp, which are either T3 or E7 (as it also has a line-in, beside the DAC) in this case.
The point of E7 is it provides the benefit of a portable amp and a DAC in one package, as opposite to uDAC which is only an DAC or T3 which is only an amp. Since E7 is budget oriented, and do both jobs at the price of one, I think you shouldn't expect it to outperform an dedicated device such as uDAC or T3 - but for its asking price, I think it is a great USB DAC amp of its own. However, you should pay for what you will use the most.