recommendations for newbie

I have dedicated 2 channel system which i am happy about (though may experiment a bit w/ speakers again, that twitch u know..) and have another HT set up. The room with the 2 channel set up also is a study....and I love using itunes/IPOD (i travel a LOT) so have music stored in my PC in Apple lossless. At times at night, there is need to use headphones. So what is the best and simple way to get the PC to headphone listening?

I have read about Headroom's USB DAC headphone amps and also heard great things about the benchmark DAC which has a headphone amp though some say the amp section ain't that great. Anything someone can recommend which is simple, not too large in size so I can simply place it on my desk?
Actually, I think the Benchmark's headphone jack is excellent. You can also get a headphone jack mod done at Empirical audio along with other mods.

Where are you using the headphones? If it's next to your two channel setup why not go from your computer into the Emm dac via a usb converter and then connect a great headphone amp? In other words, why are you choosing another dac with the headphone amp as opposed to the headphone amp only?

I've gone through my headphone phase and found that the Stax amps/cans are my favorite so if you buy something like the Headroom you'll be 'stuck' with using dynamic headphones. Make sure you prefer dynamic cans over electrostats first.
I agree that the Benchmark Headphone amp can be excellent, although I still prefer listening to headphones through a tube headamp, modded of course.

Steve N.
Empirical Audio
It may be a bit large for your purposes, but the Berning Micro-ZOTL is wonderful head-amp. I used mine for much the same purpose as you describe - I brought mine on an extended road trip and it made for a great companion for my iPod and a pair of Sony MDR-3000 cans. Line-out of iPod via iDock into inputs of Berning. WAV files - not a bad way to pass the time in a hotel room when you're alone. As I mentioned, only downside is size.

LOL! Jax2! Dude, you are a hard core audiophile if you brought the microZotl with you to a hotel. I have the biggest damn smile on my face right now. You are IN-SANE!

I've owned the Berning so I know how big it is. I didn't think Henry was asking for a portable.

Henry, there are a few new products meant for portability that contain a dac and headphone amp in one cigarette pack sized unit. Ask at - I forget the brands.
Thanks guys. I do have portable, the Hornet from Ray Samuels. This more about at home at my desk, at night when I don't want to disturb others in the family. Playing the 2 channel system at low volumes is possible and at times certainly has it merits, but some times u just want that volume (though certainly not at levels where it will impair health!). Connecting a headphones/headphone amp to the my DAC is certainly possible but it would mean cables all over the place throughout the room and I just don't want to. So just looking for simple set up using PC-DAC-headphone set up at my desk. I also have the MSB IPO dock and modded IPOD so that music files in the IPOD can be transferred to a DAC in digital form....far better than other docks. So if I have DAC, and headphone amp that is not too large in size, I can use it with the MSB dock/IPOD and take it to other rooms, bedside etc I figure.

headphones wise...I do not have a lot of exp apart from IEMs...did get a AKG 701 which I like but probably not doing it service by simply connecting it to the Hornet so far.

the modded Benchmark sounds like a good idea as manageable is size and one unit solution though I am open to other ideas