After all of my researching, I've found that the M-stage might be best for my uses. The right price-range, warm signature, internal upgradability, and very positive impressions.
To my despair, however, it did not have an internal USB connection. I'm really hoping I won't have to deal with the clutter of having two devices, I much rather have one device that does both.
Would the Matrix Cube be the answer? something else entirely? or just suck it up and buy another device for DAC? (which i really hope to avoid x])