Thanks guys for all the info and insight.
Unfortunately, there was a home theater accident this weekend that necessitated buying a new receiver. Ironically, it was my fault, not the wife or kids. Always check cable slack before moving anything! What an idiot I can be at times. Anyway, replacing the receiver set me back quite a bit more than my headphone budget, so headphone stuff will be on hold for awhile. :(
On the plus side I can use the wait time to develop more of a long term plan. With all the great discussion here, I'll be able to reference this thread for a long time to come in my planning.
Oh man I'm sorry to hear that :[
It's accidents like that, that usually lead us [or lead my self] to wind up getting something like teh Fiio E17 or E07k as a temporary step up, At least until you can save enough to get a nice step up again. THere's noting wrong with going with a tempoary solution like the E07k or E17, gives you time to carefully plan for a bigger step up in teh future! Plus you can re sell that E07k or E17 here on head fi for about 75-90% of what you paid for it.