Responses from mesch

PrimaLuna HP Integrated vs. Raven Blackhawk 3.1 - Head to Head in my system
+1 jond.   
Bryston Bda-3 and Audiophilleo
I am one to agree with spatialking. I also had the A/wPP and the BDA-1. When I purchased a new DAC the USB input was improved over the one in the BDA-1 (asynchronous). Sold the A/wPP and the BDA-1. Never did a comparison between the A/wPP and the ... 
Who is ditching their shiny disc spinners?
I would keep the Oppo for the few SACDs you own and purchase a dedicated CD transport. I remain in search of a steamer for background music and to discover new music (CDs) to purchase.  
Need a DAC Recommendation.
Well, the replacement of the Qutest with the Pontus might prove an upgrade if the Pontus provides a sonic signature that better suits your friends sonic tastes as presented within your friends system. The presentation may (likely will) prove diffe... 
Need Help Finding the Right Component
The digital front end of my system is the same, transport into DAC. Would be interested in a component like this. In my case if it served as a streamer and a server that would be ok. The units I am aware of have onboard DACs.   
Desktop single-driver speakers?
Check out the Tannoy Autograph Mini. I heard a pair driven by a Luxman 10wpc tube amp (model 150 something), wonderful.   
Basic NAD Vs. Bells/Whistles Marantz Int. Amp
I agree with loomis. The little NAD integrated would be a good fit. Keep your digital components separate.  
Yes, if you have receipts for purchase of items and same items were sold st a loss then you can declare the loss. If many was made then must pay tax on profit. I was provided a 1099 by Paypal. Took a loss. To me this is a hobby. I am not in it for... 
Preamp/Integrated with Loudness button
Check out Vincent Audio Preamps and integrateds. Sold by Audio Advisor. 
First tube preamp recommendations (under $5k)
It would be worth your time to give a call to Aric.I am very happy using a earlier version of his Special 6SN7 driving a Pass XA25. I understand the Mother Load to be outstanding. It is not in my price bracket however. 
Need Preamp Recommendation
Well, I use a Aric Audio tube preamp with a Pass XA25 with great results. He makes one that retails at your price point. As with the Quicksilver mentioned by yogi, his preamps have low output impedance for a tube pre.  
Beginner looking for guidance into tube sound.
I purchased my Special from Aric via AG. It was 2 years old at that time. Aric took it to shows and thereafter had it at a dealer ship where it was never sold, thus his sale. I have been in contact with Aric since. Great guy to share thoughts with... 
Desktop DAC/Amp
Many good suggestions have been offered. The PS Audio Sprout retails at $700.  
Audiophile Loudness Wars—Too Much again!?
I agree. Many digital components have too much gain for many systems. Many amps are designed to be very sensitive, having too much gain. 
Beginner looking for guidance into tube sound.
Congrats on your purchase. You got me thinking about talking to Aric about upgrading my Special (precursor to the Transcend). Mine is about 3 1/2 years old. Thinking about the resistor gain approach.