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Happy Holidays to all + Update/Questions

Happy Holidays, everyone!

My shaving rig has changed somewhat, and I'm wondering what variables I have left to mess with. I've recently picked up method shaving accoutrements (Cube, cutting balm, aftershave balm), and my girlfriend, bless her heart, got me a silvertip badger brush to replace my synthetic badger brush (Haven't tried it yet).

The methodshaving stuff is a nice improvement over my Taylor's cream (it appears to make a much slicker sort of lather than I could make otherwise), and I can shave against the grain with the stuff (For whatever reason, trying to do this with just Taylors felt not much different than shaving with just water), but even after 2 N-S passes, 2 diagonal passes, and 1 pass against the grain, I can get closer shaves (with much less irritation, no doubt due to the fewer number of passes) with 2 passes of a mach3. I'm starting to run out of variables to change, and it seems like there must be something I'm doing wrong. Any ideas that haven't been suggested yet?
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