Does the Audio Perfectionists bias need adjusting?

My systems have included many reference products from Levinson, Krell, Sonic Frontiers, Wadia, Dunlavy, B&W, Magnapan, CJ, Rotel, Anthem, Totem, Wilson, ARC, Martin Logan, Dalquist, McIntosh, etc... Music range is vast with emphasis on classical, 20th century and jazz.

I would just like to ask how someone such as Hardesty can get away with running a site that allows no direct feedback or discourse, utilizes other peoples reviews for data and pseudo-experiencial examples, promotes certain brands heavily, and propogates falsehoods about highly repsectable audio companies. He also assumes that he knows exactly how each of the original recording sessions sounded, because any system that makes them sound other than what he understands them to sound like is trash! What? I owned much of the gear Mr. Hardesty speaks of and I can say that most of it was fine stuff when used properly. One experience I can share is when I moved from Dunlavy's to Wilson speakers after having frequented Boston Symphony Hall....Uh, no contest folks...the Wilsons were by far more realistic in thier portrayel of the real thing. I grew up with Bozak B-313's and suffered through the Flat Ammplitude phase of the high end industry until some manufacturers began actually listening to their designs again before putting them to market. The design by theory crowd has done more to drive away potential customers more so than the design by ear folks...afterall, we listen with our ears and not our theories.
People who are passionate about things they care about stand on their own soapbox. This is true of all of us.

He doesn't "get away with it" when you respond as you did above. I've seen the same stuff with other reviewers as well. I've heard Wilson sound good and I've heard Wilson sound lousy, depending on the system and room contexts.

There are no absolutes but instead a series of opinions, like floats passing by in a parade. Personally, I question a company that spends more resources on paint jobs than on drivers.

It depends what you're comfortable paying for. Some folks want high quality Ferarri paint jobs on boxes with mediocre drivers that sound good and some want high quality drivers in plain looking boxes that sound good.
Stevecham, have you seen these so called mediocre drivers being modified and installed at the Wilson factory? I am amazed in the opposite direction, at just how little craftsmanship and quality you get for the buck from other manufacturers. I have owned many speakers and appreciated them all, but Wilson speakers recreate the real thing better than almost any other I've heard. Of course some people don't desire realistic playback...they would rather hear a nice version of the real thing instead. Just so you don't mistake me for an elitist, one of my other favorites is the Totem Forest speaker.
The most "realistic" playback I have heard to date was at the 1999 Montreal Son et Image show with then current Watt/Puppy combo playing big band jazz powered by Classe Omega monoblocks fed by a Levinson CD player and preamp combo.

However, the room was treated to a level I had never seen before and simply was not practical for me. The amount of sound absorption and refelctive paneling was way beyond what I could live with in my home; it was uninviting and cold. Nor did music that was from other styles that was played back in this system sound as "realistic" as that particular jazz recording did. For these reasons, I am not fond of Wilson, which seemed to me at the time to require an "all hands on deck" approach to get them to sound so wonderful on that one recording, but instead, I am fond of Thiel's and Vandersteen's time and phase coherent designs.
Don't blame the speaker, wilsons have been one of the easier speakers for me to dial in and have them sound great without extreme room treatments. Avalon Eidolons also produce a very realistic soundscape. The Theil sound has always been excessively bright and hyper defined for my tastes. Vandy's are rspectable speakers but could never provide the dynamic range and aliveness which is at the core of live music. Nothing is perfect but Wilsons reproduce the hallmarks of a live event as do the Totem's. B&W's are another example of overdamped designs. In the end we all must live with what we choose and if your happy then I'm happy:O)
There is one thing though that I find fundamentally problematic with many manufacturer's designs and I've said this before. I fully support Hardesty on this point: Those speaker designs in which the midrange drivers are intentionally reverse phased to compensate for response/crossover/cabinet anomalies are simply flawed from the get go, and many so called high end designs do this and get away with it. It's poor design.

I will not support such approaches as they make no sense to me. Breaking something twice to make it right is not sound engineeering design. We're talking about preservation of micro detail in the time domain and harmonic and dynamic content that defines accurate timbre; there is only subtractive distortion when neccessity dictates making the critical midrange out of phase relative to the tweeter and woofer, one cannot add back what is removed once it's gone. Musical instrument manufacturs know this and those designs that have stood the test of time have problems solved, not merely with bandaids, which is the approach often taken with out-of-phase midrange driver speakers and high order cheap crossovers.
I understand what your saying and frankly it makes sense! This may be the reason why my Totem Forests seemed to make better sense out of alot of the music I listen to compared to even my Wilsons...hard to explain really.
I subscribed to the Audio Perfectionist Journal. I found Hardesty's technical explanation to be pretty informative. Since he makes a big pitch about his willingness to identify the dogs of audio, I was quite disappointed when he only identified about a dozen of the many that exist. Concurrently, I expected him to identify a wider range of good components. In short, I felt like he both endorsed and bashed the same dozen or so manufacturers over and over again while promising a wider reach into the whole market of choices. I concluded he simply ran out of energy or motivation and got a great deal of mileage out of the handful of products he did analyze.

In conclusion, I thought the technical stuff was good, the sonic endorsements were exagerrated (I've heard the Vandy's in several setups and they always sounded a bit compressed, but I'm quite willing to accept that perhaps I did not hear them in a good setup. Also, I bought a wadia cd player based on his journal and it sounded great, but required 3 repairs in 3 years.) Utlimately, I did not find the journal to be a valid predictor for buying gear.
Thanks Jj2468 for your insights. FYI, I finally realized that I was switching speakers so much beacause it is freakin impossible to get natural sound out of a box...I bought Magnepan 3.6R's and I couldn't be happier! Ah, real music at last:O)