Yes I read that, but I'd be very surprised if it did an A/D/A conversion, that makes little sense unless you're adding pre-amp functions like DSP. The only concern I have with it is that the output impedance is quite high at 11 ohms or so, and I've got 38 ohm Grados so the DF is ot ideal, though probably a non issue in reality.No I haven't purchased the Headamp. I'm actually really happy with the Marantz, that's why I'm going to such effort to try and get that 3.5 analog input to work for my SACD player. I also use the Marantz as a preamp to my home stereo. I'm getting phenomenal sound out of that. I'm starting to think the Marantz is highly underrated. I'm the same as you, I don't want to pay big money to get something that isn't any better and might not even be as good. With that said the comments I do hear is that the Marantz is better at being a dac then as a headphone amp. If you look a few posts up a forum member mentioned that Marantz told him the 3.5 analog input remains analog throughout the signal path. I think the rumor that it converted to digital and then back to analog might have been someone mistaking it for the Oppo headphone amp, the HA-1. I have a volume attenuator ordered that should arrive today or tomorrow so once and for all I can find out if the Marantz will take the analog from my SACD player. If that works out well the Marantz will be doing everything I want it to and I probably will be out of the headphone amp shopping market for a while. If it doesn't work out well, I will probably be looking at that Headamp amp to use with my Marantz as the dac, or the RME dac/amp combo
Interestingly, having read everything I could about it before and after buying it, I got the impression that the amp is the star part of the device, which to me made sense, as most DACs are pretty competent, so long as the filtering is executed cleanly with half decent components it shouldn't influence the SQ much, hence you don't realy get much improvement for your £££ with them.