Where to put the DAC?
Completely new so please forgive my ignorance. I'm looking for some sound advice *groans* regarding iPod, PCs/Macs (I'm a rare breed who uses both), Docks, DACs, Amps, and Connectors. My current audio life revolves around a dance/classical/rock music library on the PC/Mac that I transfer to an iPod (4th Gen classic) and then listen to in the car via USB, at work through the PC via USB, at home on a Bose sound dock, and direct from the headphone jack when I'm out and about. Of the four uses, the Bose at home sounds the worst and the car sounds the best (-_-'). So I was looking to upgrade my home set up, basically the best affordable route from iPod to speaker, but without using an all-in-one like the Bose.
Trawling the internet and forums, such as this one, gives you a lot of information. Most of this information, however, is spread over several years (seems to be 2008 onwards mostly), limited to one item (as per a review) and lots of talk about the different DACs being in iPods, docks, standalone DACs, and integrated amps/receivers, which leaves absolute novices like me hopelessly confused as to:
1. what we should actually be buying? A dock of some description is fundamental to charging the iPod - after that I get lost as to where the digital signal should go and what specifically (amp, standalone, part of the dock?) should convert it.
2. where we should buy it? Direct from the dealers? Internet auctions - does audio equipment suffer from cheap fakes like everything else seems to?
3, how to connect it all up? Also related to what we should buy, but what cables to use for what signal? Wireless options?
4. what to budget for what? Also related to what we should buy, but how much should go where on a modest budget of 500 - 750 GBP for the first system set up? Do I put a bigger investment in the amp than the DAC for example? Should everything get the same?
A lot to ask, but if you've got this far then great. Recommended items and thoughts/comments greatly appreciated