There is no confusion. Just follow the Amp Comparison guide.
People get confused because they want to get "the best". So they go back and forth over one model versus another.
For customers who know what they like to hear, they can quickly pick what they need.
If you have a <=$1000 budget for integrated and want "the best", then IDA-8 has no competition on the market.
If you want the most powerful, flexible and warmth system, then go for DAC-9+STA-9 x 2, with HPA-9 for headphones enthusiasts. And this is the best value for money component set.
If you are looking for very smooth, detailed, dynamic, pretty much near perfect system that is neutral, then ST-10 and DAC-10H. Or go with IDA-16 for lower price but just less that what ST-10 offers.
If you want something similar to ST-10 and DAC-10H, but toward warmer side, then STA-9 x 2 + DAC-10H.
If you have deep pocket and want the best stereo amp and willing to pay more than double the price for the extra edge (it cost exponentially more for the last 5 to 10% extra in all these areas), then Ref 20
I can go on and on but all the above selections are just based on the Amp Comparison.
If you have no idea what you want, then just make your decision on: 1) Your budget and 2) your music preference
From budget and music preference, you can also easily find the components that you need from the Amp Comparison chart.
Ya, I think we should publish another chart using Music preference and budget as a guide!