Ok, so I'm fairly new to the world of hifi and all the audiophile tech but so far I am loving it. Unfortunately my whole setup right now is old hand me downs, simply because I don't have the money to buy a whole new system. I'm currently outputting from my vaio laptop via an optical cable, into an optical to digital coaxial converter, into an old kinshaw dac, then that to a really old jvc amp (a-x30?) And that's all playing through a pair of Linn Index speakers.
Well now you know the setup, on to my question - I understand this equipment is all rather old, and I'm looking to upgrade particularly the dac+amp. I have a couple of questions, the first being this: is it better to get a separate dac and amp, or perhaps an amp with built in dac like the nad d3020 or marantz pm6005? I'm leaning towards this option for 2 reasons - the first being cost, the second being that in my head it seems better to use less equipment, surely running it through half a dozen boxes with all the cabling in between must deteriorate the sound?
And my second question is what output to use on my laptop? To stick with optical (straight into a dac without having to convert it to coaxial because I'm sure it's ruining the sound) or to go for a dac with USB input?
Just want to say I'm hugely pleased with the Linn index speakers, they're fantastic and I'm sure the weakest link in my system (besides the optical to coaxial converter) is the jvc amp. 30 watts per channel is enough volume, but it just seems so old and battered.
Thanks in advance for any and all help and advice!