Mark: It's probably the room that is holding back the Monitors. I've always been a fan of Monitor Audio, so I have a pretty good idea of their quality. If I were you I'd use the money you were going to spend on a new integrated and put them toward some room treatments. I know that's not as exciting as getting new gear, but honestly, treating the room makes a huge difference...far more than new gear will make. I've always used GIK treatments, but there are lots of great options out there if you decide to go that route.
Just my $.02 :)
I'm open to suggestions (me being distracted)
My set up is all in a small spare bedroom/office. I've got a budgetish Onkyo receiver and Montior BR-1 shelf speakers. Now, they are a clear upgrade from my ancient circa 1990 Pioneer box system speakers and sound much better.
But, they don't sound as big and full as they did in the showroom (kind of an upscale home theater/sound system place), or quite as good as my Grado/Asgard-2. I'm wondering now how much was the acoustics vs the amplification in the store? Since my Grados sound great with the HP amp, I was thinking it might be the quality of amplification that's missing from my speaker system.
I had been thinking of either getting an integrated amp or an upgraded DAC for my Sonos system or both in one. Sonos has its own DAC, it doesn't flat out stink...but it's not great ether. Peachtree makes some nice looking DAC/amp combos-which would out price my speakers by a few hundred and be the most expensive component I would have....I would go for it if I thought it would make a noticeable difference. PT also has an external DAC (Dac-It) comparable in price to the upgraded Bifrost w/ USB, coax, etc. that has been well reviewed I've been considering...but that's a different thread
I'll look into GIK treatments. Certainly, I've heard of room treatments, but haven't given it too much thought.
Edited by markm1 - 6/29/13 at 12:30pm