Mid-budget setup with active speakers

Hi everyone, first post here, greetings from italy!

My audio system at home, which my brother and wife gave me as a present some 10 years ago, is composed by

  1. M-Audio M3-8 three way audio studio monitors (active speakers: ouch, I know…)
  2. Behringer XENYX Q1202USB mixer (poor quality: second ouch)
  3. An old average Pioneer turntable (inherited from my father, does its job)
  4. A VP29 Phono Preamp by Rolls (I love Rolls stuff!)

I am not very much concerned with perfect sound quality, even though as a musician I appreciate it, but at the moment I do not have the budget for it, so I am trying to avoid to change the speakers, even though I am well aware that that’s my bottleneck.

Recently, some problems with the mixer and the turntable started making me wonder what could I change in my setup, although staying in the semi-budget range. I bumped into this [1] amazing post that helped clear my mind about my problem, but still I am in need of advice.

This is my idea, tell me if I am somehow totally wrong: I could replace the mixer with a stereo mixer like the one suggested here [1] (Rolls Minimix II, again: thanks Rolls!) and with a DAC. With this setup, I could:

  • connect the aux cable I use for my iPad/computer to a DAC
  • connect the DAC and the phono pre amp to a mixer
  • connect the mixer to the active speakers

I make a great use of digital sources (iPad, laptop, TV, mobiles…), hence the DAC. Plus, I won’t be dealing with the behringer mixer settings and everything on the mixer-side will be reduced at level contro.

As an alternative, I think I could buy a line pre-amp, but afaik those are way more expensive than the mixer+DAC solution I have in mind.

Whenever I will own a house, I’ll probably sell the active speakers, buy some passive ones and a proper receiver.

What do you think? Any suggestion is appreciated.

I would also love some suggestions about budget DACs and, in case, pre-amp. I really like the Douk Audio DAC-Q1 PRO and the Douk Audio HiFi 12AX7 Vacuum Tube Preamp. What’s your opinion?

[1] Looking for a Simultaneous Multi-Input DAC