Responses from surfmuz

Luxman Knockoffs or Counterfeits?
We all should be careful with stuff common in other countries but in US not only if we buying from abroad. I remember the story of one guy who bought 30K Burmester amp with appears to be switched EU market 220V OEM transformer to non OEM chip US v... 
Can someone help me pick out my first speakers?
Pioneer Andrew Jones Designed speakers is strong contender for your price range.   
Ali Baba
Reaserch where is original cable manufactured or parts sourced. China, the fake manufacturer may be OEM . Use prudence to decide. The Absolute Reference Audio Labs (Tara Labs) is Australia borne company moved to US about thirty years ago and al... 
Ali Baba
Not only counterfeit. It also could be hazardous due to toxic materials. Before you bring it home all that staff has to be checked for polluting elements like mercury, lead, cadmium etc.   
Direct Drive
I don’t have anything against Technics or DD. Both, the brand and technology is great and have their pluses, but I like the BD better. According to Mechanic rules (mechanic as part of physics) it is much harder to maintain balance and isolation of... 
A comparable phono preamp
+1 for Rogue Ares. Very flexible due to wide scale of gain adjustments and tube rolling friendly. Outboard linear PS. If you lucky enough you could get upgraded Magnum version of Ares for around $1500 used.   
What is the best non-conditioning surge protector
Medical/Hospital grade with metal casing.   
Where do you want your system to go when you go?
Whatever your plan is make sure your family knows real market value of your system. Just in case put good visible price stickers on the back of your components :)  
New VPI purchase
Great tt !!! The only thing I would change is weird tonarm wiring with that strange not necessary connector. I really don’t understand why to have extra barrier on signal path in form of that connector !?  
Why Purchase A CD Player or Transport ?
The reason is obvious and it’s totally worth it. Look towards Japanese issued CDs. The library is huge with a lot of rare masterpieces. The quality is amazing. Also it’s good investment. Recently i was looking for Japanese Sony issue of “The Wall”... 
Moving from integrated to separates
BAT VK-75 or 75se could be a strong contender. You could pare it with BAT VK-30 or 31se to get fully balanced brand synergy. Oh, and it definitely will be in your budget range.   
A Note For LS50 Owners
Tip: Bolts or screws could be tightened with drops of nail polish on the heads so they stay on place firmly. Nail polish unlike glue, easily breakable when you need to unscrew those screws and bolts if necessary.  
Solid state or Tubes preamp phono stage.
Get m6x. Tube rolling game always leaves place for some dissatisfaction so upgrading rush never ends.   
What say you binding posts or direct wire?
If wire made of gold or platinum it could work. Copper or silver will oxidised on air  shortly and contact will be compromised.   
Looking for a preamp with XLR connections
If you totally satisfied with your source signal quality, passive preamp could give you amazing results. Something like Bespoke Audio Company Reference.