I have leather and felt. I also have DuPont White polycrystalline (.25 micron), This Site Not Allowed Here.com chromium oxide (.5 micron), black diamond boron carbide (1 micron), silicon carbide green (2 micron).
Edit: my 1200 stone is bester not beston as precise listed.
Bare leather or leather and diamond spray
At this point, it is clear to me that the ideal edge is essentially a 500 grit edge or so done with light pressure. My favorite is Gesshin 400 but almost any will do. I also use a Sigma Power 400 since it is splash n go. I refine that briefly on a Gesshin 5k and if I really want to go overboard, I will strop on leather loaded with 1 micron diamond. I've blind-tested this edge on many people and get the best feedback on western style knives from this type of preparation. Any of the high quality stones listed by folks above will work fine (Superstones, Chosera, Bester/Beston, etc.). For a one stone solution, I like the Gesshin 2k. For traditional Japanese blades, I generally start with a 1k Gesshin or Sigma Select II and do a bit more refining at the 5k level (Suehiro Rika, usually) and finish on the Takeshima Awasedo, I got from Jon a year or two ago.
I have gesshin 400, 2k, 4k. Almost never use the 400, the other two are plenty for me. Finish by throwing down some newsprint on the 4k for a quick strop. Easy, simple, fast