Responses from buff

best recordings for a sense of scale
Cowboy Junkies Trinity Sessions is the best non-classical or orchestra example that comes to mind.Recorded in St Peter's cathedral I believe it has a very good sense of the space and the environment in which the recording took place.There was also... 
Ultimate pre/power amp for Sonus Faber Memento
You should add Plinius to your list of potential choices also as they offer at least 2-3 models which would meet all of your criteria. 
Sim Audio i-5 or Bel Canto s300id integrated
Go with the Sim. more powerful sounding, ability to drive a wider range and better bass.Also consider Plinius.Type of speakers you are driving would be helpful. 
Dire Straits Brothers in Arms Comparison
The XRCD and the SACD are both very, very good. On a great SACD player the SACD may have a slight edge. 
Room Setup Question
I have faced a similar situation as the listening position in my reference room is nearly on the back wall.ASC makes a panel called the matrix panel which is good for rear wall with close listening position applications.good luck and happy listening! 
Which cd players have digital INPUT?
Esoteric SA50 has multiple digital inputs and sounds exceptional.(disclaimer: I am a reseller)Anyone in the Charlotte area wants to hear one shoot me an e-mail. 
Upgrade with best price/performance ratio
Furutech fuses make a surprising difference for the small investment whcih they require.(disclaimer: I am a dealer)Jim Smith's book Get Better Sound for $25 or $30 is great also. i do not sell that though :-) 
What makes a Cd player a Great cd player
General rule of thumb is 3x your vinyl rigs cost should make your ears pretty comfortable.The closest to vinyl that I have heard lately is the Esoteric X-05.(dealer disclaimer here) 
Recommended acoustic recordings
Check Atkins/Mark Knopfler Neck and Neckvirtually any Holly Colevirtually any Diana KrallNirvana Unplugged 
Review: Jim Smith Home Consultation & Set Up Speaker
Very nice.Congrats and thank you! 
Favorite 5 Hard Rock albums Driving Music
Metallica Ride the Lighting & Master of PuppetsPearl Jam 10Nirvana NevermindSoundgarden Badmotorfinger 
Most unusual/mesmerizing female voice.
Hope WaitsHolly Cole 
Question about MH-770 Ultralinear II speaker cable
It can be effective with non spectral gear also.The only thing you would absolutely not want to use it with would be certain tube amps.It should work nicely with most solid state designs 
More female vocals
Look for Hope Waits. I could only find it on Amazon - great female vocalist.Linda Eder is exceptional as well. 
Best Match for Dynaudio Contour S3.4?
Stick with Plinius.