Full-disclosure: Newly registered to Head-Fi, but have been reading for some time. :)
So I'm VERY new to the whole Hi-Fi audio scene and, as such, have been doing a lot of research. I have a pair of HD555s and DBA-02s and M50s, so I'm getting my feet wet with the headphone scene (not without the help of Head-fiers! :D). However, I'm looking to replace a busted set of Z5500s in my bedroom. I mainly used them for music when I was cleaning up or just reading or when I didn't want my 'phones on my head (gasp, I know...). Then they died and I'm getting the Z906s through warranty. I want to sell them and use the proceeds to get a better audio system, especially since the z906s are kind of a step down. Lame.
The main thing that I've seen suggested is to get "a good amp and a pair of bookshelf speakers" but then no one gives any suggestions as to better help the person needing advice. Additionally, there has been a lot of talk about DACs and Amps and I'm not entirely sure on the difference between the two.
- I listen to jazz, electronic, and classical (Indian and European) music. MP3 256/320; WAV 16 44.1; AIFF; FLAC
- I use a MBP Late 2008 Unibody. No audio-related enhancements
- I would also use this to watch some TV; movies more rarely, but mainly Hulu/Netflix/etc.
- Also for games, but nothing extensive. No FPSs per se (so less of a need for surround sound). Think Portal + World of Goo + Braid kind of tastes.
- If possible, I'd like it to fill up the room with sound (instead of sitting-at-a-desk-PC-speakers); that's what attracted me to the 5.1 system in the first place. I would like to be able to hear it well in more than 1 spot in the room.
- Low-level listening. No need for rocking the house and everyone around me.
- I'll be on my bed or sitting in my room with no desk. So I'll get stands to support whatever or put it on my nightstand + chest of drawers.
- Not tied to any company, per se.
- Ability to plug in iPod/iPhone or MBP
- BUDGET: $600 (not a hard budget, but would prefer to stay within it)
I've been looking at HTiB setups (Onkyo s3400; Onkyo s7400), but I don't know if those would work...
I've also been looking at just an amp, but I don't know which ones to look at. I would then like to attach a decent pair of speakers on to that. I've taken a look at the Swan M200 MkIIs, the M-Audio Bx5as, and the Audioengine A2s/A5s.
My plan was to perhaps have a 2.0 system with a pair of those speakers and eventually add on surrounds and a sub to take care of the TV/movie/game needs. That would require a 5.1 amp (right?).
Finally, I just want to be able to make it sound better than the Z5500s were (with the sub turned WAAAY down) and be able to enjoy the music without something on my head (I wear glasses, so even with the velour pads on the HD555s it eventually gets annoying).
I'm completely OK with getting barebones right now and knowing what I need to buy later. Hence, the $600 should get me up and running with plans to expand later.
TL;DR: Have MBP, want good bedroom setup. Don't know much. Looked at 5.1 A/V receivers + basic tube amps and a pair of bookshelf speakers. Budget = $600-ish. Your suggestions?