I will give you a little background on myself and my company. I have been doing direct A/B testing on audio products for over 40 years. I have personally auditioned 400 plus different speaker models in my home, slightly over 400 different cable models as of Jan 2018, 72 different digital front ends including 30 plus servers, 60 plus different conditioning systems, tons and tons of amplifiers and preamplifiers. Here is my opinion; speakers are personal preference and you should find a great amplifier that matches the efficiency of that speaker while deciding what genre of music you play most of the time.
I believe that the system starts from the wall receptacle out or if you go one step further, your panel out. Quality receptacles do make a difference and the power cable from the receptacle is one of your most important cables in your system. I prefer a passive conditioner plugged into a quality receptacle and a quality power cord from that receptacle to the passive conditioner. Then I like my Akiko Corelli plugged directly into the first receptacle of the passive conditioner. All other conditioning I have tested, including regeneration, balanced conditioning and capacitance based conditioning had positive attributes but also many negatives, so I do not recommend plugging your quality electronics into these type of conditioning systems. If you have a hum or buzz in your system, isolate that piece of equipment where the hum or buzz is coming from and solve that problem but do not mask it with conditioning.
I now prefer a digital front end versus an analogue front end but again this is just preference. The music players I have tested include all Sonore products, all the Lumin products up to $12900 USD, top 2 Antipodes players, DS and DX models, 3 Aurender players but not the top $20K unit, Total dac player (very nice but only when using the matching Total dac) and several units like Cocktail and Auralic that were very average. My favorite players I have tested are the Sonore products, with the Sonore Signature SE being my favorite player. If you want your audio system completely off your computer than I highly recommend the Sonore product with the sonic Transporter i5 or i7.
In regard to cables; I believe most cables are a pure scam unless the cable manufacture builds their cables from the ground up with some sort of proprietary technology. You might think this is harsh but most cable manufactures, including many well marketed cable manufactures, just buy a roll of cable and put a pretty sleeve on that cable and then add some expensive ends to the cable, while calling it “The Ultimate Cable”. Truth is, it is just a dressed up roll of very average sounding bulk cable.
Inakustik cables, manufactured in Germany, is my personal favorite cable manufacture. Inakustik cables has sold over 15 million cables worldwide and last year Inakustik cables sold 7000 Reference cables with virtually no Reference Inakustik cables on the used market. This tells me people are buying and keeping Inakustik Reference cables. The Cross Link Super Speed waveguides technology, say that twice in a row, is very unique and is actually a huge advancement in cable technology. In this technology individual conductors are not touching each other within the cable structure. The copper wires, which are razor-thin and lacquer coated for each individual cable strand has extra insulation and are braided around a PE core. This design considerably increases stability inside the waveguide by effectively preventing the formation of eddy currents. (These are caused by the very high currents transmitted on the speaker cables – actually the highest ones within the entire audio path.) There are several other technological advancements that make Inakustik cables proprietary but the only thing that matters is, you can audibility hear the difference. Here is a link to Inakustik proprietary cable design.
As you can see I have real opinions and after 40 years of A/B testing I feel it is OK to give you my opinions based on my research. I am not jumping on some forum and giving you an opinion on what my friend heard or some other person thought but rather real, live A/B testing. Am I biased towards the brands I represent, absolutely but this is based on many years of research and owning far too much equipment. Although there are some great well marketed products in North America like Sonore I have decided to distribute only a few audio lines, rather than sell the widely marketed North American audio products because I feel that there are some real “hidden gems” in Europe and we as audiophiles should experience the next level.
I hope this has helped you to understand me and the brands I represent.