I am fanatical about keeping all of my knives shaving sharp.I use a double grit hard Arkansas stone,and finish off with a butcher's steel.
The only soft stone I have found in recent years is the one sold by the Boy Scouts.It is about the size of a pack of cigarettes,being only half as thick.But,take my advice,soft stones wear out very fast.My stones,made by Norton,have lasted me over 15 years and will last me much longer.Just be sure to lube the stone with mineral oil.
Every few years,I put my stones in an old pot and boil them in soapy water to get all the old grindings out.
As I said,I am fanatical about the edge.
The trick to sharpening is to make like you are trying to slice off a piece of the stone,always cut into the stone,NEVER go the other way,it ruins the edge.Forget about making circular strokes.