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Wadia's forward-looking 170i dock with digital output for iPods via an Apple authentication chip broke the we're-stuck-with-the-iPod's-analog-output mould. But the iPod's appeal is portability. A portable i.e. battery-powered small-sized equivalent was needed. It should include both internal D/A conversion sorely lacking in the Wadia and a digital output. Enter the Cypher Labs Algorithm Solo first previewed earlier this year at CanJam but now readying production. Had I been at RMAF 2010, I could have sampled the above fully functional duo for the world's first portable self-powered means to turn the iPod into a bona fide audiophile source (the second box is ALO Audio's new RxMkII headphone amp styled and sized to match).

Whether feeding the Solo data from an iPod, Nano, iPhone, iTouch or iPad, the digital data is pulled off in async mode, then processed via I-squared-S by the internal Wolfson DAC or output digital over S/PDIF through an ultra-low jitter clock. Naturally the portable player's digital volume control is bypassed for bit-perfect transfer in either scenario.

Will any of the RMAF show reports discuss these products? Afraid that their size might have rendered them invisible, here's a heads-up that this potentially groundbreaking stuff exists. And, you needn't love headphones as I do to benefit from the Solo. It'll carry the heart of your digital library (uncompressed of course) to anywhere including dealer showrooms, audio shows and most importantly, friends. All your hosts need to provide is a quality DAC (or CD player with digital input) and a digital link (which you could bring - I recommend the $123 Black Cat Veloce). Presto, audiophile community service in action at a very high level of performance. I cannot wait for my eventual review samples!