Phew...took me a week to go through this entire thread, and i'm now more enlightened to the options available out there for an aspiring/newbie audiophile such as myself. I'm also $500 poorer, cause I couldn't fight the temptation after seeing all the gorgeous rigs! I've just gone and ordered 2 headphones (V-Moda M80 and AKG k 240), 2 DAP's (Sansa Clip+ and Colorfly C3), a Fiio E17, and a bunch of LOD/cables.
Every post/page should come with a warning: browse with care - your wallet will suffer. Gah! :)