First post here, after a long time of (very informative) lurking.
I'm thinking about moving from the Sharpmaker to stones, in part because I feel like I maxed out the jig's potential, and in part because it feels clumsy and too removed from the actual sharpening (I often get frustrated with its mechanics, and find myself running (smaller) knives freehand over the Sharpmaker's rods, which is ... less than ideal). I'm primarily using a basic Tojiro DP gyuto and a CCK cleaver for my food prep, so while I don't need to sharpen particularly high-end knives to razor-sharp edges, I am looking for an edge that can handle standard food prep (e.g, slicing rather than splitting carrots, etc.) effortlessly.
I'm considering starting with the 2k and 5k Shaptons, and later adding a lower grit stone (maybe a Shapton glass) and something like the Kitayama 8000 for polish. The reason I want to start with the 2k and 5k is that my edges are in pretty good shape right now and don't need low-grit work or too much polish; the reason I'll want to add something like a 500 is that I suspect I'll sharpen some very dull, old knives down the road that I'm not currently using. I know there are stones other (for many better ones) than the Shaptons out there (Besters come to mind), but the spray&go convenience, and the ability to just use them on their base without major setup, is important for how I work in the kitchen.
So, my question is this: the Shapton sharpening plate is absurdly expensive, and I was considering getting a DMT XXC to flatten the Shaptons. Would that be a good choice for those stones, or is it too coarse? And is there a significant difference between something like the DMT XXC (or XC or what have you), and a basic stone like the 140 grit diamond CKTG sells (http://www.chefknivestogo.com/140grdistflp.html) for flattening?
Thanks for any insight.