Budget Amp with Optical DAC

Hey everyone,

I'm trying to figure out what amp to get. My budget is 300-400 and I'm trying to drive a pair of Usher S520s (that sound fantastic by the way). This is my first foray into amps and I could definitely use some help.

My source is going to be through a TOS link so I need some kind of DAC. I wasn't sure if there were amps out there that have this integrated other than A/V receivers. I would ideally like to get something with tubes but I'm not sure how reasonable it is with my budget. Someone recommended the Jolida line but then I have to get a dedicated separate DAC (which I wouldn't mind as long as it's within my budget).

I like listening to classical, alternative rock, and electronic music, and I have the Ushers in a mid to large room.

Any help would be greatly greatly appreciated!
I'm not sure you could find one for $400 but a Peachtree Audio Decco would give you an internal DAC with Toslink, coax and USB input, a tube preamp and a 50 watt/channel amp.
i know music hall makes a 2 channel receiver w/ digital ins and an inboard burr brown dac, but might be outside your budget. within your budget, if you don't want to go with an avr, you're probably gonna be stuck with a solid state amp (e.g. nad or yamaha) and an inexpensive dac (e.g. amc or entech). you should do nicely with such gear.
I just saw a music hall mambo on here for either 399 or 499? This would fit your bill perfectly. Built in DAC is very nice quality. This is an integrated amp. The power is 50 watts of class A power. Although it's not tubed, class A tends to sound warm and smooth like tubes without the hassels.
Thanks for all the responses so far!

Do you think that 50 wpc is enough? Someone suggested that I go up to 100 wpc to make sure that I have enough headroom since integrated amps don't do too well when you turn them up...
another to consider if you're looking for more power would be a b&k avr-202 (an older 5.1 receiver), which i'm seeing used for 300-400. lots of power, fantstic build quality, great for music. best learning remote i've ever used. i foolishly sold mine to get a denon and always regretted it.
The quality of the watts is more important than the number of them and 50 watts from a decent quality amp should be plenty for the Ushers. My daughter has the S-520's driven by a 40 watt Pioneer Elite integrated and power isn't an issue even in her fairly large living room.

I agree with Loomisjohnson that given the small number of choices and your limited budget you may be better off with an integrated or receiver from a company like Cambridge Audio, NAD or Rotel coupled with an inexpensive external DAC.
Thanks again,

I came across recommendations for the Onkyo A-9555 integrated which used runs around 350. Is there a decent inexpensive external DAC that I could pair this with?

The Onkyo is garbage compared to everything else mentioned here.
Remember that going from 50wpc to 100wpc will only gain you 3db. It takes 10db to audibly double the volume.

I like the MH. If you don't think it will have enough, you need to up the ante to 150wpc or more.
Stereophile gave the Onkyo A-9555 a rave review and my experience owning one was that it was substantially better then the NAD, Rotel or Cambridge integrateds I've owned. It's built in Japan and the sound and build quality compared to the Chinese built integrateds is very impressive.

If you can afford one it's a remarkable buy and they're often available refurbished from accessories4less.com for less than $500.

The only two truly inexpensive DAC's I have any experience with are the Valab, available on ebay from the builder in Taiwan, and the Lite DAC Ah. Both are around $200 new and between the two I would buy the Valab. I'm using one in my office connecting a MacBook to a Nuforce Icon amp and James Blue JB3 speakers.