My first thought was you must not be from the US and from reading the rest of the thread it looks like I was correct. I was traveling in SE Asia for a month and all the squat toilets drove me absolutely flipping crazy.
X-Fi Titanium HD - $180
Audio-Technica ATH-M50 - $159
I have the X-fi HD and it is very good. Replaceable opamps will let you play around if you want to. I think if you play a lot of games you really should get an x-fi card. The software it comes with allows you to switch back and forth from gaming to music mode which is really nice as well.
I do not have the M50s but they are often recommended as the best rock/metal phones in that price range.
I'm trying to put together a headphone rig for my office but have a few questions/issues. Because I'd rather not mess with a separate player all day long my plan is to use an external dac/amp connected to my work desktop by USB. I feel silly asking this, but should I have a problem getting a digital audio signal through the usb ports on the motherboard of my generic office pc, as opposed to a sound card with a digital out? Is it as easy as plug and play? Just asking...
I played with BBE a bit but my ears tell me all it does is drop out the midrange which I'm not a fan of. I'm going to mess with the EQ a bit more but unless I stumble on something groundbreaking I'm planning to bring it back. I don't feel like I should have to mess with a $170 device to get it to sound better than my computer.