Originally Posted by gsusser
I'm in the process of updating 12 or 13 year old equipment. I have a 200 watt per channel Monster amp and Rotel pre-amp. I want to go the route of an integrated amp and am looking for the same clean, crisp and powerful sound I have now. I want 2 channel, at least for music, and am willing to live without surround for TV. Ideally, the amp will have a phono stage. It will be used with my TV, music (source = hard drive on computer and iTunes), TiVo, DVD player and turntable. My budget is under $2000.
Speaking of connecting my computer, it's a fairly simple connection now. A cable running from my computer to a cheap DAC to the receiver. How important is the DAC? What is recommended for under $500?
Meanwhile, what the heck do I do with my old equipment? Some of it is quite heavy (I can't even lift the Monster amp!) In addition, I have 2 working Rotel pre-amps, B&W center speaker, quality subwoofer (I forget the make) - all about 12 or 13 years old.
Forget about integrated amplifiers, they are relics of the past, just as much as your old monster separate pieces of equipment.
If you want a simple,clean powerful modern 2 channel system, then you will set up a 2.1 channel system based on a modern AVR. This will give you the best sound quality at any reasonable price, and certainly for the $2000 or less that you are budgeting.
DACs are usually totally unimportant as separate components in modern audio systems. The only reason to have a separate DAC would be if it were impossible or impractical to obtain a good AVR that has one built in. To the contrary, finding AVRs with good built in DACs is very easy.
In the old school people obsessed over details like amplifiers and DACs. We now know that the most critical parts of an audio system from a sound quality perspective are the room, the speakers and how the electronics are used to optimize them.
If I were budgeting $2000 for an audio system I would budget $500 for electronics, $1000 for speakers, and leave a $500 allowance for optimizing room acoustics. Of the $1,000 for speakers, at least half of it would be for a good subwoofer.
Once you wrap your mind about that, we can talk about specifics.
As far as disposal of the old gear goes, if it is in good shape, what about Audiogon or eBay?