I am considering getting an external DAC/amp and I have a few options in mind, but I am quite a newbie with this and would like confirmation that what I am looking at makes sense.
So here is my setup:
Source hardware: MacBook Pro, iPhone 5c, iPad Air
Source files: 256kbps AAC from iTunes, Spotify premium, and in the future possibly lossless streaming from Qobuz if I can hear the difference
Earphones/Headphones: Sennheiser ie80 and Sennheiser MM450 for now, and I might get a better pair of headphones at some point
I am open to any suggestion but the 2 devices that caught my eye are the Audioquest Dragonfly and the Sony PHA-1 (I know they are not really equivalent offerings, but it seems they could both fit my purpose and I am curious about the deferences between these 2 classes of devices).
And here are my questions:
1) With the setup I have, is an external DAC/amp going to bring a marked improvement in audio quality?
2) I know the Sony would work seemlessly with both a computer and an iOS device and includes a battery for the Amp part, whereas the Dragonfly is only meant to be used with a computer and powered by USB. I have howver read on this forum and others sites that using the camera connexion kit it is also possible to get the Dragonfly to work with an iOS device; and even to have the iOS device power it. Am I getting this right? If yes this sounds very tempting as the setup would be much more portable that the Sony, but I assume they are drawbacks? The main one I am wondering about is the effect it would have on the battery life of the iPhone. If the Sony needs a large battery to be powered for only 5 hours, is the Dragonfly not going to quickly deplete the battery of my iPhone when draining power from it?
3) Aside from the battery, I don't really understand the size and weight deference between the Dragonfly and the PHA-1 (as far I understand they both include a DAC and an amp). Can someone explain reason for the difference to me or what I am possible getting wrong? Is it due to the the Amp being more powerful?
Thanks a lot!