Thoughts on the best bang for the buck

Hi All,
I am looking to put together a system that will provide the best possible sound for the dollar (probably a common request) I am sold on the primary source, Apple TV and the speakers, Magnepan MG 12's but I'm not sure about the best DAC and amp.

My short list includes the Peachtree Decco or the Cambridge DACMagic & 640A integrated.

I have listened to the Decco with Apple TV and a pair of stand-mounted B&Ws and was really impressed with the sound. I love the design and the tube pre-amp, my concern is the 50wpc. I don't know if that will be sufficient to get the most out of the Maggies. I know the Decco has pre-outs but a stand-alone power amp to accompany the Decco would blow-out the budget. (most of my listening will be at low to moderate volumes)

I have not auditioned the Cambridge stuff (I don't think it's available locally) but I have read nothing but glowing reviews.

I would really appreciate any feedback; thanks in advance!
You need to ask Maggie people. Efficiency is poor but it's not a point source so it gets better than normal 6dB drop for twice the distance.

Best bang for the buck might be class D and Benchmark DAC1. I bought Rowland model 102 equivalent to Bel Canto S300 and Benchmark DAC1 plus inexpensive (<$100) Sony DVD player. I'm not worrying about transport failure anymore and also have great HDTV/DVD sound. DVD players play MP3 that I sometimes use for old recordings mix where quality is poor to start with. I don't have any analog sources.
The Decco has a 80w/ch big brother called the Nova.

Probably the best bang for least amount of money.
i have owned the maggie, i have owned the is a great unit, but more pricey than the cambridge, which i now on and think for the money, you won't beat it. i would buy the cambridge , reasonable at audio advisor or ther places and get me a rotel int. will need aleast 150 watts to drive the maggies to moderate levels, with the money you save buying the cambridge vs the decco, which is around 4 to 5 hundred dollars you can put what you where going to spend on an amp and add that 4 hundred and buy you a great powerful amp...the maggies will love you...dwhitt
If you like to crank it up, more than 80w/ch may be needed for Maggies.
yes, you need power for maggies, the more you get the better...
reasonable priced power....rotel

mid priced......musical fidelity

one of the best either new or used with maggies, bryston
150 watts for any amp
Thanks very much for the feedback. If the early consensus is the MG12's really benefit from the extra horsepower, I think the question becomes Cambridge v. Rotel v. NAD; integrated amp-wise. I've heard great things about all the brands and have owned a Rotel 965 disc player (and loved it). Some of the threads here (and elsewhere) talk about a more sterile sound from the Rotel amps (I'm paraphrasing, but the gist is they're brighter, etc than some may like) @ $399, the Cambridge 640a looks to be hard to beat. Do I pick up a lot more amp by extending the budget to $700 or so? Or would I be better-off to spring for top quality interconnects & cabling, etc with the $400 Cambridge?

Again, I really appreciate the help

i don't think the 640 will drive them very well, it is 75 watts i don't think you will get the volume you would may be driving the amp too hard...maybe another maggie owned can get in on this but i just dont believe 75 will satisfy you....maybe a 740 cambridge ..yu can buy cambridge reasonable on this site and at audioadvisor new reasonable
A second hand Musical Fidelity A3.5 integrated would do well I think.

Consider picking up something second hand here on A'gon. You'll surely get more bang for the buck and not take a loss if you decide to upgrade further later.
i agree with the 3.5 great amp and plenty of power for the maggie
I would also go for a second hand Musical Fidelity, either A3.5 or the 150w/ch A300.
I have been wondering about the Decco amp as well. I have just purchased a pair of Vandersteen 1C's and am looking to replace an old Onkyo amp. This is a secondary system that will have a Squeezebox attached to it.
Someone suggested a little NAD integrated amp - those of you who are familiar with DECCO - would this be a good match for the Vandys? I do like the idea of a built in DAC as mine is a very old Theta.....
I don't know if it has enough power for the MG 12's but I've been very happy with the Decco I bought. It replaced some more expensive gear in an attempt to simplify things and the combination of sound quality and versatility are really impressive for the price.

I used it by itself during warm weather but am using it now as a DAC and preamp to drive a separate tube amplifier. The DAC is connected to both a DVD used as a transport and an Airport Express for streaming audio. I upgraded the single tube in the preamp section to a NOS Tesla 6922 and that made a slight but noticeable improvement.

I've owned integrateds from NAD, Rotel, Cambridge and Audio Refinement and I'll take the Decco over any of them. The build quality isn't as good as the much more expensive gear the Decco replaced but is comparable to the NAD and Cambridge gear. The DAC in it isn't quite as precise as the Benchmark it replaced but it's close enough and the price is amazing for what you get.
BAsed on what sfar said, it looks like the Decco or perhaps eve Nova as pre-amp outputs that enable it to be used with a separate power amp. That would excellent!

You could start with Decco or Nova and then upgrade with a separate high power power amp later if needed.

In this scenario, I could easily also recommend the Musical Fidelity A3CR I use in my system or other MF power amp equivalent as the amp upgrade if needed.
Yes, the Decco has preamp outputs and the Nova will have both preamp and line outputs so that it could be used as either a preamp and DAC or as a stand-alone DAC.

There's currently a lot of buzz about the quality of the DAC in the Nova but its introduction has been delayed until at least March so there's not much information about it yet. With more power, more inputs and outputs and the possibility of using the DAC separately, all for just $400 more than the Decco, it's bound to get a lot of attention when it does hit the street.
I was thinking the same thing. I could build the system in steps. My current speakers are a pair of Acoustic Energy Aesprit 300's (bookshelf, 6.5" woofer, etc) which would likely be a very nice match for the Decco. I could run that combo for a while then look for a used bargain on a power amp to accompany the Maggies-

thanks again for the help-

Sounds like a reasonable plan.

Good luck!
I doubt you'll find the Decco discounted anywhere and would recommend buying locally if you have a dealer. If you do need to buy online there are two dealers for the Decco I've had great experience with, MusicDirect and Underwood HiFi.

I ordered mine from MusicDirect because they had a refurbished unit listed. When it arrived the packing slip indicated it was a new unit rather than a refurbished one. When I called them about it they said it turned out they didn't have a refurbished in stock any more so they just sent a new one at the refurbished price. Most other places would have cancelled my order and asked if I wanted one at the new price. They didn't even contact me, just shipped a new one without asking.
So for the price of a refurb unit $500 does the decco then become a great buy? I am interested in one and was wondering about the dac
Best bang for the buck - you've got to try the 7520 Beresford DAC.
"So for the price of a refurb unit $500 does the decco then become a great buy? "

That would seem to be the case.
Good post,I just ordered one and should get it any day to hook up with my computer. Just a side note question it says the decco is a great companion to the wadia i-transport. Will the sound from a laptop on lossless files be the same?
The reason the Wadia-transport exists is to be able to bypass the internal amplifier and digital to analog converter in the iPod. When you're playing from the hard drive of your laptop and sending the signal either from USB or from a digital output you don't have that problem. If you use an analog output from the laptop, like a headphone jack, it will have already gone through a digital to analog conversion and some amplification and you won't get the advantage of the very good DAC in the Decco.
Thanks again for all the feedback. I ordered the Nova last week (and I've decided on the Maggie 1.6QRs instead of the MG 12s)

have a great day-