Doesn’t a brush and soap make an awesome difference, in itself? You’re welcome to take a look at my DE, or I think JTA has one, too. Mine’s a Parker Model 91R.
The “clip in half a razor blade” variety of straight razor, rather than a “real” straight razor, looks like a sensible mid-way solution to me. No sharpening, no stropping, and they start at about £8. You just snap regular DE razorblades in half and slip one of the two halves in. This is what the traditional barber under the Clocktower Bazaar does, and it looks cool as fuck but without all that honing nonsense.