Responses from gdnrbob

Speaker cable length.
@n80 , Differing lengths will have slight impedance differences -probably not that much but it can affect the sound balance/quality. It also might affect the amplifier. I forgot the right side would have all the extra cabling, not the one under ... 
Equalizer to compensate for hearing loss - Any success stories?
My left ear hearing is similar to yours. I don't wear hearing aids, but still enjoy my music despite this.  Bob  
Speaker cable length.
I would keep the speaker cable lengths as close to equal as possible. As it is under the floor, you could add some hooks to keep it off the floor- but, don't coil it as you might introduce some electromagnetic anomalies.  Much depends upon your c... 
LPS for Optical Network Terminal (ONT)
@brskie , I am interested in your project, too. I have Fios with an ONT that, if possible, benefit from a LPS, but never considered it until now. I was going to add a LPS to the router, but your method makes more sense. Bob  
Ayre k-5xe MP
The Diamond Circuit- Twenty, makes a huge difference. Ayre always had a 'tight' sound, the Twenty status makes it even better. Bob  
Need a big favor picking a preamp
I second @stringreen, I own the KXR-R (non Twenty) and love it. But, do let us know how the Nagra performs. B  
UPS or surge protector/power conditioner? And if UPS, recommendations please under 1K
UPS are for things like computers/pc's.  As an audiophile, I would go for merchandise made for our hobby. Furman is well regarded. I would also look into the Audioquest Niagra series. Bob  
New TT : Balanced vs. Unbalanced Connection?
I suggest looking for posts by 'Atmasphere', -Ralph was one of the first manufacturers to provide a 'true' Balanced design to audiophile equipment- which entails abiding by the AES 47 standards. He often chimes in to Balanced/Unbalanced discussio... 
XLR to RCA conversion
You can call Jensen directly, they can answer your question, if Ralph doesn't do it first. When I called. they gave me a nice discount, too. Bob  
Ripping CDs
Get an Innuos Mini MkIII used, and you should be good to go. Bob  
Musical subwoofer under $2000
I hate to offer another way, as you seem to be narrowing down options, but, in my opinion, using the Vandersteen subs would be best way to integrate a subwoofer into your system. The use of a 1st order high pass filter doesn't introduce any delay... 
Ayre AX-7e with KEF Reference 1s or LS50 Metas
I would call Ayre directly and get their take on whether the AX7e can drive the Kef Ref 1. It probably should, but the 4 ohm impedance will probably make it struggle in demanding music if you play it loudly. Though adding subs with a crossover m... 
Speakers - Your "Safest" Choice
If you are near some dealers, they might be able to provide some in house demos, for a price. Otherwise, I think you are limited to manufacturers who can sell a pair with a time limited return policy. I think Zu and Magnepan offers this, and the... 
If your equipment supports the AES Standard, then your XLR cables won't make much difference. (if not, or you aren't sure just search for 'Atmasphere' or PM him directly. He can provide great info). DIY is something you probably don't want to try... 
How to proceed?
I don’t think speakers are contributing to the problem Speaker design can affect playback in many ways. Some due to crossover design. Drivers, too. B