After hours of research I have found the following 10 DAC/AMP combos to be in the mid - high end of the spectrum. Unfortunately, there are only a few reviews on each, and very few reviews which compare them to each other. Therefore, I am attempting to start a thread where people can rate them according to sound quality and value. As of today's date (Prior to Christmas 2012), these seem to be the top tier single unit portable DAC/AMP combos.
Please give your rating of highest quality sound and best value for the money. Portability, Features, and Battery life can all be easily found on each devices spec sheet.
Leckerton UHA-6S.MKII - $279 (leckertonaudio.com):
High quality AMP, mid quality DAC. Good size and good battery life. Build quality good as well.
JDS Labs O2+ODAC Combo - $285 (jdslabs.com):
Not portable. Either have 2 devices C421 + ODAC or have no battery.
iBasso D12 Anaconda - $285 (iBasso.com):
No real review yet.
CEnterence DacPort - $299 (centrance.com):
Unacceptably weird shape. Gets hot over time.
Matrix Cube 24 192 - $300 (matrixelectronics.net):
No real review yet.
Venturecraft GO-DAP X - $465 (venturecraft.jp):
High quality build. Good battery life. Sound quality seems great, but very limited reviews as it is so new.
RSA Emmeline "The Predator" - $475 (raysamuelsaudio.com):
Requires the DAC to be powered from the USB of the phone. According to Ray at RSA, this will drain the phone battery quite quickly. The DAC was intended to be used with a PC. High build quality and great sound quality. Just not portable.
TTVJ Apex Glacier - $495 (ttvjaudio.com):
I refuse to purchase a portable device at $500 with such low build quality. If the letters on the faceplate wear off so easily, what else was skimped on in the QC department.
Pico Portable DAC/AMP - $499 (headamp.com):
This requires a powered USB Hub to operate. Simular to the Predator, except the phone does not even have enough power to run it.
Fostex HP-P1 - 619.94 (Amazon as of this posting):
Very good DAC/AMP. Size and cost prevent me from owning this for my portable setup. Otherwise, reference quality.
Edited by theque - 11/19/12 at 6:54pm