Responses from don_c55

XLR balanced cables, best bang for t ht e buck?
Canare quad star pro balanced from MarkerTek onlineInexpensive  and can not be beat IMO. 
Power Conditioning / Surge Protection
https://www.changlightspeed.comBest solution I have found for surge protection, and conditioning (power line noise reduction).Better than AC regenerators or conditioners with coils.No residual artifacts at all.Power factor Correction included.    ... 
Audio Research D400 mk2 amp
The amp is over 25 years old!Time for a PS cap replacement IMO. 
Am I too big of a jerk,even for audiogon?
Yes you are a jerk!You make little sense as usual.You seem to be a want to be engineer type. 
It’s a pleasure.
Good atitude!  Enjoy what you have, after all, it is the pleasure of listening that counts! 
Macbook Air to dac
NoYou need a short (1.5 meter) USB to the DAC for best sound quality.Get a DAC with Balanced (XLR) output, and run a long XLR cable to your system.Long RCA cables=poor sound quality IMO.Does the Rouge have balanced input? 
Analog or Digital and why?
Analog for recordings made before 1981, digital for after. 
Do Tonearms need servicing
If the arm works to your satisfaction you do not need service on the arm. 
Does the first reflection point actually matter??
IF you own box speakers yes.If you own panel speakers no. 
My pet peeve: "revealing" speakers
Revealing could also mean high resolution.Which IMO is a desired characteristic of a great system. 
Is Wife Acceptance Factor (WAF) sexist?
Ladies want feminine decor in the home, and do not give a darn about sound quality.Solutions are a private listening room or headphones.I view this issue as equal rights! 
Line conditioner...
I have gotten great results with Chang Lightspeed powerline filters.Lower noise, warmer sound quality, and better sound staging.Works wonders in my home theater also.Power factor correction, lightning protection, noise reduction, isolation between... 
Why was the entry level line at Audio Research eliminated?
There is plenty of older ARC product available used today.ARC and others have found there is little demand and profit in less expensive product after the loss of the middle class since the 2008 crash.IMO the new ARC does not have the richness and ... 
Solid states more accurate than tubes?
SS has higher 7th and 9th harmonic distortion than tubes and that is not as natural sounding to the ear!Tubes have higher 2nd and 3rd harmonics, however that is generally more pleasant, so there is a subjective sonic trade off between tubes and SS... 
Tubes, to damp or not to damp?
Tube dampers screw up the thermal heat transfer of the tube and should not be used!