I know it's an eternal debate, now that AVR are cheap enough. There may be a lot of threads about this on the Internet, but everywhere I see a lot of conflicting information, and no real blind test for this kind of situation. However, there is one thing I quite don't understand in that matter: Why do integrated amps cost more than AVR? I know manufacturers may cheap out on certain components in the AVR so you can get a lot for less, but is it also because integrated amps are less in demand (thus, affecting it's overall price)?
FIY, I currently own an entry level 2 years old Yamaha AVR with two Polk RTi6 I got for 200 CAD here new (pretty much better than the 450 or so CAD MSRP, even if they are discontinued). I know my speakers aren't that great, but I want to change my AVR for something specialized in 2 ch, because even if I like to listen to some movies in bluray, I don't even have or want a 5.1 system. I mostly listen to music... However, I know that to play my bluray or my music collection on my PC in FLAC, I will have to buy an external DAC which isn't given anyway.
In your opinion, what is the best for a certain price to drive bookshelf speaker and have quality sound over "quantity"? Lets say we have a budget of 600 bucks. Will an AVR be able to compete with an integrated amplifier at this price range, if you exclude the cost of an external DAC? Or would it be better to put that money into speakers, get something better and keep my AVR?