Responses from jamnesta

How much should I spend on a new DAC
The Gustard R26, something I’m definitely interested in has a rival in the family; the Gustard A26 with the new AKM chipset that’s getting some positive attention.  
Cat Scratch Fever?
This thread needs to go away...and here I am like a rubbernecker at a traffic accident. 
MHDT Orchid or Lampizator Amber 3?
What a well reasoned sensible post ghasley....a breath of fresh air  
Sadly missed manufacturers
walter becker Rest in Peace
This one hurts, my go to band since the beginning. 
Should high-end shops be "OBLIGATED" to advise about component matching for best sound?
Much overthinking going on here, system matching is to be expected and central to what any serious audio store has to offer. 
Should high-end shops be "OBLIGATED" to advise about component matching for best sound?
Yes, it's the best argument for paying retail along with warranty support and providing a venue for demonstration. 
Tinnitus and its affect on listening enjoyment
 There might be  a solution....I followed a fellow audiophile's thread, who had to sell a new set of speakers he otherwise loved, and repurchase his last pair. He felt that the new speakers  excited his tinnitus ultimately making them unlistenable... 
Mcintosh ma6900
I have the 6900, which interconnect did you settle on? 
Cerious Technologies NEW Graphene Cables
The poured (Graphene saturated Liquid Ceramic) conductor is referred to as the "secondary conductor" explained in the link as Ozzy says. 
Cerious Technologies NEW Graphene Cables
Speaker cables: 10 gauge copper/silver conductors woven around carbon fiber, then injected with Graphene saturated Liquid Ceramic to fill every gap and void, apparently quite doable when the product is one atom thick.....whew! 
I have seen some Interesting comments about Mcintosh lately
Come back Skelton, we've got these Mac haters on the ropes......help us finish off these nincompoops! 
Where to go from here...
French_fries has made some good suggestions, hopefully others will chime in. I see that your vintage JBL's have a lot of devotees and seem to be particularly suited to your listening tastes. You have some great gear, maybe you are done. 
Where to go from here...
Sorry now to have jumped on this tangent.  Can someone offer the OP some helpful advice....jeez, it's his first post! 
Audio Research Ref. 3, Ref. 5, or the Ref. 5se.
ARC REF 6 priced at $14,000, a $1000 increase over the 5SE. With the early reports coming in so positively an upcharge of 1k seems reasonable, at least in that context.