We have so many amps and two different DACs that allow you to create your custom combination to match whatever system you have. But that can be confusing to a lot of people. I get quite a few inquiries about recommendation for the "best combo".
So here's the list. Please comment.
UPDATE (Feb 16, 2016): A well respected distributor gave me feedback that ranking them is difficult and don't make sense. Because for example, he prefers DAC-10+ 2 X STA-9 mono over DAC-10 + ST-10. Regardless of price, the performance of these products are very close so it becomes a matter of features and personal preferences. Instead of ranking, we can try to provide reasons for purchasing each sets. I will continue to update this post based on feedback from members.
System 1 - for users who prefer integrated
IDA-8 - An ideal integrated for high efficiency speakers or bookshelf system in a small room. It can also be used for near field speaker listening. Add HPA-9 for headphones.
IDA-16 - neutral and clean with adequate power for just about any speakers.
System 2 - for users who prefer warmer DAC and tube amp sound
DAC-9 + STA-9 - for people who love tube sound but want all the details, dynamic and speed of NuPrime Class-D amp. This will make an exceptional stereo system for easy upgrade.
DAC-9 + STA-9 mono x 2 - warmer DAC and tube-like amp with explosive power
System 3 - for users who prefer warmer DAC with more neutral amp
DAC-9 + MCH-K38 bridged - K38 this is not as warm as STA-9, so this is a good combo for people who like slightly warmer sound
DAC-9 + ST-10 - a good alternative to DAC-10 + ST-10 for slightly warmer sound
System 4 - for users who prefer the best possible combination we can offer
DAC-10 + STA-9 mono x 2 - a very good overall combination if you prefer a very neutral, slightly more resolved and detailed DAC but with warmer amp sound.
DAC-10 + ST-10 - Detailed, smooth and clean (ST-10 is like a mini Ref 20)
DAC-10 + MCH-K38 bridged - If you also use the system to watch movies (perhaps only in 2.1 system), then go with K38. Or if you want a 2-channel system with even more power and better sonic quality than STA-9 mono x 2, then go with MCH-K38.
System 5 - ultimate reference system
Ref 20 + DAC-10 - the good old Ref 20 with state of the art DAC.
Tell us if you agree to the recommendation. The performance of these amps are getting very close. Someone in France just told us that STA-9 mono sounded better than a 5000 Euro solid state amp that he has. This just tell you how far we have come along with mastering Class-D technology.
In the listening lab for evaluating our electronics, we use a very neutral and detailed monitor speaker (can't remember the model) as a constant (we will be confused if we keep changing the speaker). Therefore we don't have experience with many different speakers so it will be great for you to recommend speakers for those sets above.