I read this too and frankly like anything else it's his ears not mine follow me
So I have the E-1 sold, but it's a work associate and I am subsidizing the cost so out of pocket it won't hurt as much, the sale is also not final, meaning if I decide the E-1 sounds fantastic I can also decide to keep amp/Dac and not have the expense, so for me it's a win, win.
Just think when you inevitably get a better DAC, you have $500 sitting in the HDVD800 you can't sell. Some combos like WA7, there is no choice. There's no standalone amp section of the WA7. But you can get the standalone amp in this case.
The only reason I can see getting the HDVD800 is if you plan on going balanced, as there aren't many balanced DACs in the $500 range. My Emotiva DC-1 is one of the few in that price range and is balanced. Some have compared it to the Gungnir