I really dont see this formula is portable anymore.
Even if we can use a better DAC to squeeze every piece of detail out of the source but doesn't mean the iem have such performance to deliver. IMHO.
I know what you mean, but for $600.00, you are getting line perfect digital signal out of the Ipod/iphone/ipad products with the option of connecting to both Dac and/or Amp. I stil think it's worth the price in pursuit of the best SQ from the Apple platform. God only knows when we spend much more than that for less SQ return. For instance, good LOD or hp recable can easily cost you almost that much and to some people they cannot even hear the difference.
Yes, it would be nicer if the Solo can be a little bit thinner. But it is definitely in the portable domain. It is not that much difference from people that use the Imod/Vcap/amp combo, Hifiman801/amp combo, Ipod/DB1/PB1 combo, and/or any DAP/DAC/amp combo especially w/ the stepdance (it's not that small). But for the sound it produces, I thought it is a worthwhile tradeup. Remember we are talking about bringing serious desktop level sound into portable realm. If I really want to go after size and weight, it will be Ipod nano and Pico slim and you'll be done. But when you are sitting in an airplane across the continent or worst yet across the ocean with 14- to 18 hours while watching movies, concert on the ipad or listening to your favorite ipod classic, it will be a shame if all the while there is a running thought in the back of your mind that tells you it could be better, it could be better, it could be better... and then that $600.00 doesn't seem so bad after a few thousand hours of enjoyment. As for those who just want to use a portable setup for walking around, at the gym etc, these are not critical listening time anyway, so a nano/pico slim will do the job.