Frustrated with the sound of my system

Here is my system:
Rotel RCD-965BX CD Player as transport
MSB Link 2 DAC
Sonic Frontiers SFL-1 Signature preamp
Classe 10 amplifier
North Creek Audio Borealis speakers (Custom built kit speaker...something close to a Proac Response 2.5 design)
M&K V-75 sub
Kimber and Cardas interconnects
Kimber 4TC/8TC bi-wire speaker cables.

Here is my frustration:
The sound, regardless of music, sounds stringent, hard, really lacks air, and is anything but relaxed. It is fatigueing. I can listen to my Grado 60 headphones on an iPod and the sound is frustratingly more relaxed and has what I would call air.

I don't think that my system is that outstanding, but it really seems like I should be more pleased with what I am hearing.

I would be interested in your thoughts on where the most likely opportunity is. I really like the individual components of the system (OK the Rotel/MSB set up is old and just OK), but all together they seem to be underwhelming. I am thinking it is either in improving the digital front end (new player or DAC) or moving to a planar speaker to get the sound I desire. I have thought about new player like an OPPO 93 or 95, perhaps a tube based player or DAC, or else looking at something like a used pair of Maggie 12's or 1.6's. I have always enjoyed the Maggie sound.

In either case I am thinking that $2k is the absolute max I would want to spend on any solution. Thanks in advance. If there are other questions I would be glad to supply details.
Having had the MSB Link III, Kimber 8TC, and Kimber Silver Streak, these components can definitely sound strident and hard. I highly recommend a tube DAC -- MHDT Paradisea is a GREAT choice for offering warm, natural, relaxed sound at < $400 used. MHDT Havana is even better, about $700 used.
If you want to use up more of that $2k budget the Calyx 24/192 DAC is amazing value at $1500 new. Trust me, going from an MSB Link to one of these DACs will make a huge difference.

PNF or MAC are good budget choices for cables that exhibit these qualities as well. Audience AU24 (e) even better at a higher price point. Cardas Cross I didn't care for. JPS may be a little vivid for your system as well, depending on how polite you like your sound.

Your amplification should not be factors in that type of fatiguing sound. Speakers I am not familiar with.
Take all the equipment out of your listening room and bring it all to another room that has proper dimensions and allows for symmetrical placement. Otherwise you are just wasting your time and money. Don't spend a dime until you do this.
I thought I would give you some updates in terms of what I have been trying. Based on your input I moved around the room. The speakers are now centered on a wall, about 3 feet off the back wall and about 9 feet apart. The listening position is stil about 12 feet from the speakers. I had to remove the Kimber speaker wire from the mix. I used a single run of Tara Labs Prism Klara speaker wire (really inexpensive). I also changed the tube in the SFL-1 Sig to a Dutch Amperex SQ 12AT7. It has always been my favorite tube in this pins and pinched waist.

Finally I messed with the sub settings(cross over, volume and polarity) and also unplugged the ports on the speakers. The designer had advised me to plug the ports if mating with a sub.

The sound has imroved and opened up significantly. Not there yet, but a real step in the right direction. I still believe I have two challenges. First the digital front end is quite old and probably outdated, and then secondly the speakers are not a great fit. Prior to these speakers I had a pair of Monitor Audio MA-700 monitors. They were great speakers and I only replaced them because one of the woofers went bad. I still miss those speakers.

Anyway, thanks for all the input and help....very much appreciated.
Good for you! No specific recommendations, however FWIW, I'll pass on a couple of things that helped me find the 'music' in digital, and to find a benchmark set of IC's and speaker cable, i.e. cost vs performances.

A tubed CDP! What a difference this can make! And you can roll tubes 'til you get the tone your want. For the price the Raysonic 128 is great! Great dynamics and warm tone but still retaining clear/clean highs.

I had settled on some Cardas IC's and speaker wire after having Nordost, Kimber, etc. Well out of curiosity, based on recommendations of others on this forum, I needed some long runs so I bought some Canare Quad 4S11 speaker and some Blue Jean IC. Very inexpensive stuff and I had no great expectations. I sub'd out the Cardas stuff. Considering the price I was amazed, but I get a much more neutral and effortless sound with out the excessive brightness or tone control introduced by the more expensive stuff. Who knew........Now I use the Cardas when I want tone adjustments. :-)

If you feel you must replace your speakers, of which I have no knowledge, be sure to consider that the sound of any speaker is the result of its electronic interface with your amp. Some speakers need good SS amps to drive them properly, others love tubes. And if your lucky, speakers with a flat impedance curve of (or close to) 8 ohms has the potential to sound good with either.

Lastly, considering the nulls/nodes you experience (I assume from the room dimensions that they exist, you might like to pick up a SPL meter (Radio Shack) and a test CD with pre-recorded test tones from 20 hz to 20k hz. It will help you find the optimum positions for your listening chair and speakers, at least to the extent that you can avoid the most severe nulls/nodes.

Keep it up................
Another suggestion. Move your listening seat forward in increments of 3-4 inches until the sound locks in. I think you are sitting too far away. Sit as close as you can until you lose the coherence of the drivers, then back up just a little. The closer you can sit, the more you remove the room from the equation. Ideally, I think you should be about 1 ft. closer to the speakers.