With the introduction of the new StellarGold products, combos have become more interesting because they are more affordable.
At what point does a combination DAC and preamp make more sense than a preamp or a DAC alone?
I suppose much depends on what you already have in your system. For example, in my system, there's no question my combo of DirectStream MK2 and BHK preamplifier is the best combo I know of. But, that's because I started with the best DAC I know of.
Sometimes, focusing on combinations of equipment as opposed to narrowing in on a specific piece of gear is the best ticket forward. That all depends on your starting point.
1 + 1 can sometimes equal more than 2.