Recently got a new set of custom IEMs, and exploring around this section I got drawn into the idea of getting a portable amp for them (darn you, Head-Fi!) I tried searching, but couldn't find much info that was still recent, since there seem to be a fair number of newer products out.
Since this would be my first foray into the realm, I'm primarily looking at the cheaper models, and small size is a priority. The T3(D) and E11 are the ones that jump out at me the most, though I'm not sure if the latter is too much of a FOTM right now. The E5 is also a great size, but from what I've read it doesn't seem to make a particularly big impact.
So some questions: How do these two amps compare? One of the complaints I've read of the E11 is that you can't use it while it's charging - is this a problem with the ibasso models? How about other FiiO ones? Are there any other models in a similar price/size range that I should read up about?
I use an old Cowon model as my player, so headphone only, no line-out. Would an amp even be helpful in this setup?
As a final wrinkle, what would you recommend for devices also with DAC functionality, in a similar range, though I realize it will need to be a bit bigger. I haven't yet decided if I'd like to add that in, but I could see it as useful sometimes. The closest I've seen is the E7, which looks like it has a mixed response. Are there any other options? I saw mention of an E17 which looks interesting, but like it won't come out too soon, and will cost a bit more.
Thanks for any and all responses.