I guess one argument for not putting DAC & AMP in the Cans is that the Iphones/ IPADS / tablet PCs etc already have them.
Although it does transfer cost from those manufacturers to the manufacturers of cans.
Although Apple et al might like that such a change would probably have to come from the Can manufacturers.
So Apple might do it as a niche product for all of the Apple "fanboys". Why would even they bother?
But why would Senn/Sony/mass market manafacturers.
That world is more about cost-cutting.
Weight should not be a problem (an Ipod has both), but heat dissipation might. Forget class A.
It seems to me that Apple is moving down a path to hi(er)rez music - at the exact same time they are downplaying owning music and pushing streaming. Talk about owning both ends...
Apple recently hired Peter Eastty of Oxford Digital, with expertise in DSP and 24 bit audio, after buying Beats, which most people agree was done partly to get the streaming service and partly to get Iovine/Dre for their music industry connections. The headphone business was a convenient adjunct to that.
Apple is obsessed with reducing weight while increasing battery life. Higher rez DSP chips take more power... so it makes business sense to leave 16/44 chips in their devices for the vast majority of people for whom stock earbuds are fine. China/3rd world customers are much less likely to buy after market cans or hi-res tunes anyway, so why cater to them in the phone? Apple can then put 24/96 or whatever into the headphones instead for those that care.
Oh, and there's no reason the 'phones should be powered by the device - LiOn rechargeables are cheap'n'cheerful, NiMH even more so.
Going back to the Eastty hire, he seems to have expertise in surround DSP as well. Maybe the whole thing is to get "surround" sound out of headphones rather than hi-res stereo. That makes more sense to me - you can already rent and watch movies on your iPhone/iPad/MacBook, but all you get is teeny tiny tinny speaker(s), or stereo out of the jack. If you can sell "surround" headphones so you can listen to your rented movie in 5.1, that is no longer a niche market just for Apple fanboys.
As for why would Senn/Sony/etc. care about this? Well, I just did a search on Amazon for 'surround headphones' and got 20 pages of results - many from companies I'd never heard of, but including Sennheiser and Sony as well as Logitech and Plantronics.
If Apple is publishing specs to put surround DSPs into headphones, you can bet all of those companies and more will be making them, probably even including Monoprice.
And as for Class A in headphones? Why do you even bring that up? Nothing battery powered (with the exception of some very $$$ boutique gear) tries to run Class A off of batteries. Class D and T are here for that…
If Behringer can put a DAC, an ADC, a headphone amp, a volume control, and a USB to SPDIF converter into a box for $45 MSRP/$30 street, you can bet China can churn out headphones with a 24/96 DAC, or a 5.1 DAC, amp, rechargeable batteries, transducers, cable, enclosure and headband comparably cheap. Your Senn/Sony/etc. will follow along with less cheap. In fact, going back to that Amazon search, I see Sades brand 7.1 for $24, right next to a Sony 9.1 for $500.
Again, this is not a sandbox I see Schiit playing in. Jason has said he doesn't want to get into the mess that surround licensing leads to.
Edited by valiant66 - 11/5/14 at 9:42am