I got the xpa700 for the balanced out. I'm not going to lie, I also got it because it looks so cool. Once I listened to it I was sold. It's warmer and less clinical than the dap alone, and that's before balanced out. Balanced out its really open and warm but still has the brightness. Separation is phenomenal balanced. I've said it before, if I had to do it over again I'd get the onkyo. I use the pioneer as amp line out. Digital out from dap to amp, while it sounds better, the dap's battery dies out in under 2.5 hours, but yes digital out from dap to amp sounds even better.