This is my first post on Stereophile !
I am shopping for an entirely new system. Right now my only audio source is a ipod connected to a pair on Sennheiser 555. I do enjoy music and I feel that investing a bit in a audio system would be rewarding.
I have a 2000$ budget for a DAC, an amp & speakers. The music is exclusively coming from a pc with, among other things, flac-encoded files.
I would really prefer to go for a cheap sound card with a toslink/spdif output and move the processing into either a dac or an amp with a dac.
Since I have a 2000$ budget for whatever it takes to take the sound from my computer and make it sound great, I figured that the less component I needed, the higher quality these components would be. I searched for amp with a toslink input and I only found is the upcoming onkyo a-5vl (upgrade from the a-9555), which is supposed to retail around 700$ at the end of the summer.
Requiring a onboard dac limits my amp options a lot. However, if I go with the dac + amp route, I could allow 600$ for an amp & 400$ for a DAC (cambridge dac magic). That would cut 300$ from my speaker budget.
Do you have any comments on which route should I take. I feel that buying a 400$ DAC would really hurt my speaker & amp budget, but on the other hand, the stereo amplifiers that have digital inputs are fairly limited in numbers.
I look forward to get your comments,