I'll try to keep this as short and simple as I can.
I've read through tons of similar old threads looking for info on this, and have found what I think is a good idea of what I'm looking for. But I know there are always new products and methods so before I spend my cash I thought I should ask for some final guidance.
I currently use shapton glass 1 & 4k stones, with a DMT-c for rough work and flattening. My previous stones were a few of the king 800/4k & 1k-6k, which always gave me edges that I was perfectly happy with and felt pretty good (maybe except the 4k which feels greasy to me). I bought the Shaptons as an upgrade to "better" stones. Turns out I just don't like the feel of them at all (although the +/-4k range is where i like to stop). Way too hard for my taste. Last week I actually pulled out my last King and tried to eek another use out of the last mm because it feels so much more natural.
I'm looking to find two stones to be a quick and efficient sharpening lineup. I've got a couple simple carbons, a couple vg-1, a new Kono HD, and a few old Germans to sharpen, no single bevels or need for serious polish. I like the 4k finish as it leaves a good balance of clean/toothy for my taste.
My idea is to replace the typical 500/1k/6k setup with just two stones and a 1 mic strop for the knives that can use it. I think I'm looking for something about 7/800 to start (or maybe a really aggressive 1k) followed by something in the 3-5 range (maybe synthetic aoto or Rika?) that will be both a good stopping point and a good step before the strop.
I like the splash and go, but if a soaker gives the feel and combo I'm looking for, so be it.
So much for short and simple, but I look forward to some educated advice.