I was only playing devil's advocate in my last post. I am a firm believer in "source first" and "garbage in garbage out." That's why I said "The addition of a quality DAC could make all the difference." I was not just talking about a standard USB DAC like in the Fiio, but the digital decoding of Appletalk as well, which I've been waiting for since I got my first portable headphone amp many moons ago. So yes, I anticipate the VAMP will tromp either of those $100 products.
However, when we talk about products online that we've never really heard before we lose track of the ultimate truth that "the proof of the pudding is in the eating." No matter what should theoretically sound better, if the VAMP doesn't sound better than the products without AppleDACs it's not worth it. That's why market research is necessary. Not to copy other people's products, but to make sure you BURY THEM and make the best product you can. The truth is, I'm confident that the VAMP will sound awesome and live up to its price tag. But we need to remember that more expensive is not ALWAYS better. And if I could find those products by googling "iphone case headphone amplifier" any product developer should be able to as well. Val is a rebel, and I totally respect that. That doesn't mean market research is unnecessary.
If my posts seem like I'm flaming the VAMP, VMODA, or Val, that is not the case. I love the M-80s, I loved the VAMP when I heard it, and (without coming on too strong) I love Val! But I'm a critical thinker and listener, and I have to play devil's advocate sometimes.
As to how I won the VAMP: raffle at a head-fi meet in Los Angeles. (actually, it was at the afterparty at Val's Beverly Hills mansion) I am indeed very lucky and very grateful.