High quality portable server/player/dac for car
Folks - I wonder if any of you can point me in the right direction.
I'm struggling with the quality of audio/interface I can get in my car - I've a BMW with the Harmon Kardon "upgrade". I can attach my iPhone via either the lightening, line out or bluetooth connections but a) none of these sound that great, and b) I can only get a fraction of my library on such devices. Alternatively I can use a 1TB drive connected via USB with my library on which sounds a bit better (though still disappointing), however the car's library management, search functionality and idea of random leave an awful lot to be desired. So much so that it rarely gets used.
It could well be that the car system as a whole isn't that great and there's nowt to be done other than either live with it or look at wholesale replacement (which I'd really really rather avoid), but I suspect there's a gain to be had by bypassing the car's DAC and library management by having a high quality, line level, device connected via the 3.5mm jack. I'll try to come up with some way of testing my hypothesis prior to purchase but assuming this is the case.....What type of device should I be looking at?
My first thought is a high end portable player but I've no need for an amplifier or most of the features that these come with. Are there such things as portable sources that 1) have decent storage (about 500gb), b) library management, and c) high quality dac and line level output?
I do have a pair of LCD3's and GS1000 so there's a slim chance that I might use the additional functionality of an A&K/Cowon type unit but ideally I'd like a solution where all the £££ go into improving the SQ in the car. I wouldn't want to part with more than £1k or so but no need to go mad/overboard - inky black backgrounds and channel separation might go unnoticed driving down pot hole ridden roads with kids screaming in the back!!!