I wouldn't get too hung up on the component costs, my musiland usd async device from china cost about the same as the v-link. Its the software we are paying for with these devices, so a 20 dollar clone without the contents of that eprom would simply not work. On the musiland forum software updates were the main issue when it came to the sound signature of the device, many preferred earlier drivers to later ones. All we need is a device that reduces jitter, not a device that manipulates the data stream to suite the ears of the software designer, its worst than using jittery usb IMHO.
What strikes me, about the v-link, is that the discrete components are through the hole type, I am used to seeing SMD components almost without exception in the digital domain esp that involves high freq signaling.
Strange as well, although the v-link sounds very nice, very analogue (balanced) to my ears, where are the two 'super accurate clocks' to account for this? Who is hyping who?
What ever is going on, either marketing bull, or some breakthrough design, its sounds pretty good to me as a substitute hq cdp esp for that price. It will,do the job for a couple of years until the next greatest device pops onto the market. In the meantime the v-link has injected new life into an old dacmagic 2 that was otherwise collecting dust.
This is a digital device, more computer that audio, and so like everything else in computer land I guess we will have to get used to upgrading these type of components every 2 or 3 years