my 2 cents:
LCD3 + a good tube amp, the best you can afford (I like a Pinnacle or RSA B52), but I'll let others recommend a good more affordable amp
(I would read the reviews of the Apex Teton, which I have not heard but I'm thinking is Pinnacle-like
as the review comments sound exactly like what I hear in the Pinnacle).
But IMHO, go for tubes whatever you do to get that inner life.
I also find myself actually liking the headphone experience above speakers strangely, especially with the modern crop of phones.
A TH900 would also be on my short list, also with a tube amp. (Get both LCD3s and TH900s if you can swing it, as 2 phones for variety and judging upstream gear I think is a minimum number.)
Last, maybe later on when you get some experience with your system, get some very good interconnects and power cords, no matter what anyone says about placebo affects.
(And also get a good power conditioner later on.)
I chose those headphones because 009s and, to a lesser extent, HD800s, are harder to get right and could send you down a wormhole of equipment trading.
I also really love Grado GS1000i phones (which don't get a lot of respect around here outside the Grado threads), but they are extremely light, comfortable
and sweet sounding with tubes, With a bass which, while not traditionally super tight and detailed, that is somehow wonderfully satisfying to me,
which also describes the entire GS1000i sound, and I can for some reason use these phones for much longer sessions than any other phone without any fatigue;
they are just plain musical and balanced for me. They have just the right combination of openness and intimacy, with especially tangible images.
(They are the pick of the Grado litter, as I didn't like the PS1Ks much, which were heavy and too hard-hitting sonically.)
Edited by rgs9200m - 3/9/14 at 11:22am