So I'm just getting started with the portable amp scene. I've always had a passion for good speakers and amps and I used to engineer local classical recordings so I'm generally familiar with good sound. Sadly, in the last couple of years, I've been unable to fully enjoy my stereo system because the environment (apartment in the city) is not conducive. Hence my search for a decent portable amp/dac and a pair of headphones. I'd like this rig to serve nicely at my desk, on the couch, in a coffee shop, or on an airplane. It would be nice to have the option to use with my MacBook, iPad, or iPhone.
I think I've pretty much decided on the Audio Technica ATH-M50 for the cans since they could also serve in a recording rig later.
As for amp / dac, I'm seriously thinking about the Pico Amp/DAC. I'm also drawn to the Meier Stepdance alone or combined with nuforce uDAC.
The real question I need answered is this: How will these combinations compare when using ATH-M50 headphones?
iPhone 3Gs + Pico Amp/DAC
iPhone 3Gs + Stepdance
iPad + Pico Amp/DAC + digital camera connection kit
iPad + Stepdance with analog dock sound cable
iPad + Stepdance + nuforce uDAC (v1) + digital camera connection kit (uDAC2 doesn't work???)
MacBook + Pico Amp/DAC
MacBook + nuforce uDAC (v1 or v2) + Stepdance
Thanks for your input!