I have an Optonica SM-7305 integrated amp from the late 70's that I LOVE. I use it as my speaker amp in my bedroom. It is a nice piece of kit and built like a tank. I bet the SA-5901 sounds great and it sure is a looker too!
+1 If your patient, you could probably find a used Schiit Bifrost with USB for $300 or less. I think pushing this budget gives a few advantages: 1) Better source to begin with 2) More functionality in case you want to add sources, hook into home stereo, etc. 3) With the Bifrost (and some other DACs) there will be future upgrades avaiable as technology improves. That being said, you may be totally satisfied with a less expensive option. It really depends how...
If you are going to have a desktop DAC, you will either need an "all-in-one" DAC/amp combo or separate DAC and headphone amp. In your price range, you are probably going to do the best with a DAC/amp combo.
Two combos I have experience with in your pricerange are the FiiO E17 and Aune T1. The Aune is the better combo in my opinion, but the E17 has the option of portability if you want to use it as a portable headphone amp for mp3 player, phone, etc.
Just came across this on the deals thread:
"Originally Posted by Whitetriton
Schiit Lyr is on Amazon, sold by Schiit Audio, for $399 +$18.75 shipping (3 left in stock at time of posting this). On the Schiit website, it sells for $449.
Any chance their clearing out old stock for a Lyr II release?
Hopefully someone else confirms this, but I think your tubes should be fine. I imagine most of the NOS tubes have been sitting in similar conditions for decades. If they were in good shape when you boxed them up I wouldn't worry.