Agreed, compared to the the K7XX's the K612 is more power hungry on an amp. The tube amp i use currently is $60 on ebay so its a good low cost starting point if you want to try an amp and dont mind Chinese products.
If your parents wouldn't be able to handle a computer your probably better of using a dedicated high-end CD player seeing as there is far less complication with a single unit as opposed to two. The only advantage I could see to using a cheap transport+high-end DAC would be if you had a PC as an additional source and wanted to get the best sound from both but since your not inclined to go that route you would be better served with a single unit.
How about some Shures? I doubt he'd think they look ugly and they sound good. Maybe Fostex T50rp? I'm an AKG fanboy so I'd recommend anything from them (pretty much every AKG except for the K812 I've seen for under $280).
And Finally the reigning (IMO) kings of affordable sexy headphones
Meze 73 classic