Well, after lots and lots of research and asking many questions (thank you to all the fellow head-fiers who have put up with me, I appreciate it), I have narrowed it down to these two.
Project ember, for $341 shipped, and the Musical Paradise MP-301 mk 3 2013 Deluxe Version for $360 shipped. Ember is a hybrid, and the Musical Paradise is straight tubes. I think they're both extremely beautiful in different ways, and I have no clue which one I want x.x Sadly, both is not an option. I'll be using Mad Dogs for the most part, running FLAC's through them, and will most likely be picking up a DAC and a niceish CD player later on. Any thoughts?