thought it was pretty clear myself....
well whether you intended it or not (hard to see how you cant see this …), a poll suggests an either or choice very clearly, as have subsequent posts. as I see it there is no choice between the 2 options, they are different things and one does not serve the needs of the other. the all in one has many alternatives, the transport, none. odd choice yes? one people are familiar with, the other many will not even realize its what they actually need.
a person who wants an all in one device will not consider a transport only device as it wont suit their needs, a person who wants a transport only device will not consider an all in one, unless they dont have a choice but to buy the rest of the dap just to have the transport (which is all that has been offered till now).
actually if done properly an all in one device is the better alternative for signal quality, but i'm yet to see it done. On the down side it limits the market and makes for a very expensive item that still may not suit everyone. a transport plus dac/amp is the next best thing but allows more choice for the consumer to mix and match. It also makes it easier to separate/isolate the high slew rate, high speed digital circuits of the CPU/MCU from the more sensitive analogue circuits. these can exist up in the RFI bands, making for radiated noise that can literally leave the PCB and become airborne
a dac/amp in one box is comparatively easy, most dacs will allow the existing output stage to simply have some voltage gain added and a buffer to drive the headphones with minimum extra components and optionally no extra power supply over a dac only. many of the new breed of dac chips have internal 32bit+ digital volume control, or well implemented digital volume control at 32->64bit floating point could be done in the transport (optionally bypassed).
Edited by qusp - 8/29/12 at 7:11am