I'm after a good, small stereo amp/DAC

Hi there, I've haunted these forums for years, hoping someone can help me out with a lower-end choice here...

I'm after a compact sized stereo amplifier. It will have a pro-ject turntable plugged into it via stereo RCA (already pre-amped) and an Apple Airport express plugged in via an optical input, doesn't matter if it's a toslink or a 3.5mm plug, I'll get whatever cable I need. Ideally it would have two sets of analogue inputs so that if I have some other device at any point I'm not screwed. It's either got to have a really good DAC for the airport express, or it has to be cheap, and I'll buy a tiny standalone DAC. I've been using a JVC 5.1 amp/receiver for a while now and it's about double the size that I want and contains all kinds of features I don't want. I don't want to venture into the world of serious business hifi, I would just like something that sounds good, looks good, does the job, doesn't cost me more than $500. It will be powering these speakers: http://uk.jbl.com/jbl-product-detail-uk/es10bk.html

Thanks for reading
It's going to be difficult to find a good, small,amp w/ DAC for under $500, but not impossible. At this budget I would recommend that you look at a used first generation Peachtree Decco. While it's not as powerful or as refined as the later Nova amp, some folks (like me) prefer the Scott Nixon-designed DAC to the ESS Sabre DAC used on the Nova and later generation products.

If you are looking for a new unit, I would recommend the Nuforce DDA-100 integrated amp. While technically this unit does not include a DAC, the clever PowerDAC design accomplishes much the same thing (but in a different way). I purchased one of these units for one of my daughters to use in her space-constrained studio apt, and she is quite happy with it.

I think that either one of these amps should work well with the JBL speakers that you indicated, although I have not seen or heard this specific model.
Both suggestions from @Br3098 are excellent. I would offer a couple more. Take a look at some of the hybrid amps from Fatman and Dared. I own the Roth MC4 (by Fatman) and the Dared DV-6C. Both are excellent amps.

If you look on eBay for Fatman you will see a plethora of hybrid options, at about 25 Watts per channel, for about $350 to $400. The Dared MP-6 amp offers 40 watts, and has bluetooth for $360.

Both of these will give you a tube buffer preamp stage, with solid state amplifier. I upgraded the tubes in both mine, and absolutely love the sound quality. This allows you some money to get an external DAC, which will likely give you better sound quality. I bought a used DacMagic off ebay for $250, and run from Airport Express via toslink into it, and then into the amps.

You could use the DAC in the airport express through the 3.5mm plug, in the beginning, until you find the best DAC for your situation. Anyways, some more to think on. :-)