My point is even connecting your ipod to all those things and you are still having problems with it. My DX100 doesn't hiss at all on low gain, it's a black background and sounds better than those 3 piece solutions as a one unit piece. I thought you also said your ipod hisses? Sounds like everything in that set up is working against you. ipods are ok but nothing special and won't make those fit ears truly sing ;).
No, the DX100 doesn't sound as good. Yes it has a good DAC but the amp section is no where near a dedicated amp like the Continental or blackbird.