Well, I never said anything about dedicated DAPs. I enjoy my K550 quite a bit out of my X5, much more so than from my iPhone 5s.
I simply think it's not fair to say that people who enjoy better amplification are "conned" in to it. Perhaps the attitude was not required on my part.
I still think that the output from a mobile phone won't match an external amp/DAC, or DAP, in clarity and soundstage. IMO. If it's good enough for others that's cool, I'm glad for them. Just don't tread on others for their choices.
To contribute to the question about the Pan Am, I can say that I like the sound and it's good when I want that tube sound. For clarity I actually prefer the sound from the X5 with the K550 over the Pan Am. The X5 paired with the e12 to the K550 is even better for soundstage and dynamics. The bass is also better as well as the instrument separation.
True. You didn't mention DAPs. But the X5 is hardly representative of most DAPs. And there are mobile phones that can match (or improve upon) the clarity, soundstage, and dynamics of many consumer DAPs.