My Linn/Naim system is heavily oriented towards vinyl, with an elderly Creek tuner for everyday background listening, and a CD player/recorder for occasional use (mostly by my kids). I’m now looking for an easy and inexpensive way to connect a smartphone, mostly for guests who can then stream from their Tidal/Spotify/whatever playlists. If it works well, then I might start using my own phone to expand my musical horizons, try before I buy, and so on.
I have no great interest in seriously exploring streaming at this point, I don’t wish to spend a lot of money, and I don’t have a full shelf available to accommodate e.g. a Naim ND*. A few years ago I used to see ads for smartphone docks, a sort of cradle into which you could sit your iPhone, which could then stream via a connection to the back of your amplifier. I don’t see these ads any more, so perhaps they’ve gone out of fashion, but, conceptually at least, something like that would be ideal.
I’ve seen lots of reviews of small DACs (small, as in, roughly the size of a Headline) some of which also work well as headphone amps. I imagine one of these might fit the bill. If that’s the case, then would need the usual Naim-compatible interconnect, as well as an interconnect for the phone. My ancient iPhone uses the old-school 3.5mm headphone jack. I know Apple have eliminated this in recent models. What other cables would I need to cover the most commonly used smartphones?
If there’s a solution out there that doubles as a headphone amp and is competitive with the Headline, then I might conceivably ditch my Headline which would (i) free up half a shelf and (ii) maybe bump the budget a bit.
All advice & guidance welcomed. I live in the U.S.A., btw.