I am relatively new to the head-fi world, having used nothing but Sony V-6s for the past 10 years. After a bad experience with V-Moda LP2s (too bassy) I've settled in with these 598s.
I will use these primarily at home with my laptop (factory sound card). I listen primarily to experimental indy, some minimal electronic (e.g. Fennesz, Keith Fullerton Whitman, NOT techno or bass heavy). I like to listen closely and pick apart the smallest nuances in the sound.
I would like to get the full benefit from these cans and have been researching DACs, amps and sound cards. I will use only for music and only at home (portability not an issue).
What would your advice be on putting together a rig? (e.g. combo of amp and card, if necessary, and dac, if necessary). Let's say you had $500 to spend. Bonus points for a brief schooling on what each of these components bring to the experience.