Tablet as Digital Audio Hub?

As we've just moved back from living overseas, I have virtually no entertainment equipment. As I'm piecing out different systems, I'm thinking about how best to enable high-quality audio in my home. My dad is giving me his old Accuphase P300/C200 amp/preamp combo, so I'm set in terms of a great quality stereo system. Speakers will follow...

As for what will be serving the audio, I'm considering a few different options:

* Tablet computer of some kind (Kindle Fire, iPad, Surface)
* Proper reciever/tuner
* Squeezebox or Sonos or Grace Digital device
* Xbox

Of all of these ideas, I kind of like the tablet idea the best, because it could serve music and be a digital photo frame and useful gadget in other ways. My only question is in relation to the audio quality I'll get out of the headphone jack, or - in the case of something like the iPad - if I can connect a higher quality audio output (with RCA jacks). For music I mainly use Spotify and iTunes, so this seems like it would be a pretty reasonable idea...


Don't Sonos systems have AirPlay compatibility now? I don't know about the others.

This is how the wife and I do it:

Just kidding...sort of.


Music Service: MOG
Living Room: iPad on a charging stand with a line out
On-the-go: iPhones
Bedroom: Roku (HDMI)

I like MOG because it offers the highest bitrate. I also like that it can be run on iOS, Android, and the Roku. The Roku interface is bare bones, but the service runs just fine on it.

A tablet is the way to go and since you are using iTunes as well, you should go with iOS devices (iPad or Apple TV).

Does anyone know much about the Dock to Composite/RCA connector cable? I don't quite understand what's happening there - there can't be a DAC build into the cable, so it must be an analog connection using the DAC already built into the iPad? Even so it might be better than the headphone output...

You have it right. You want to connect your device via the line out on the docking station when running the sound to an amplifier. The sound quality will be far superior than if you run the miniplug to RCA cable from the headphone out.

There is no way I know of to bypass the DAC inside a tablet or phone. You would need a coaxial or optical output, which is common on desktop motherboards, but not on tablets and phones. I have seen some laptops with optical outs, but it is very rare to see on portable devices.

Reviving this thread for some additional input...So I'll be in the market for this device in the next few weeks - probably around $200-300 I have to spend. I'm open to suggestions - I am considering something like a netbook, Win8 tablet, or similar. I sort of like the netbook idea because I could potentially get a higher-quality DAC for it via USB...I'd like it to run Win 8 so I can choose Spotify, Xbox Music, or iTunes once I settle on a format.