I start this thread hoping people will say their views - there are clearly no answers, and this is pure forum banter, but it will be nice to have such discussion.
I had always thought that the 'the Absolute Sound' is the correct sound model - ie based on fidelity to the original source. To this end I have bought products to attain these goals.
However, I do wonder if this aspiration to neutrality is in fact complete nonsense. I say this for the following reasons:
1. In typical living room here in the UK (9 x 4m) the idea of having a system create a rock concert or full orchestra is not possible. We are in essence creating an illusion - and that is the starting point of detraction from the original sound/source;
2. The SPL of live musicians and the dynamic swings, cannot be reproduced unless in the rarified cases of those who can buy large Rockports (or the like) and have sufficient space;
3. When was the last time any of got to hear wholly unamplified live music - Small London Jazz clubs amplify drums, vocals, horns, and pianos in venues no larger than half a tennis court.
When we go on the upgrade path, we tend to get more of something - whether it be more bass, cleaner treble, whatever - so does that take us closer to neutral - or does it bring about the emphasis within that part of the recording.
I had the chance of hearing a modified Lenco and a Funked up Linn on the same day. I had never really given much either attention - always dismissing the Linn for being 'musical' but if truth be told I thought it was absolutely wonderful - truly enjoyable. It may have been musical, but perhaps being musical is actually closer to neutrality than any other perceived notion on the simple basis that Musicians ordinarily seek to communicate a musical message, and no doubt some enjoyment through their medium of music.
So I guess I leave it at this - is 'Musical' the true neutrality?