I completely agree with you that most systems sound bass shy.
I believe almost all music sounds its best when there's a solid bass foundation down to at least 20 Hz. I don't expect or want high SPL bass like an arena rock concert. My bass goal has been more the bass impact and quality one experiences when listening live to rock or jazz music
at a smaller club venue. I enjoy the perception that the musicians are playing in my room or I've been transported to the recording venue.
I know from experience that good bass performance is much more difficult to get sounding right than the midrange, treble and imaging in most rooms. This is mainly due to the bass soundwaves being much longer and behaving very differently in typical rooms than the much shorter and directional midrange and treble soundwaves.
Because of this, I prefer to treat my system as 2 systems: a bass system and an everything else system. Once I get the bass sounding optimum, it's relatively easy positioning the main speakers optimally in relation to my head and ears at the designated listening seat for very good midrange and treble performance along with a wide, deep and 3 dimensional soundstage illusion with solid, stable and natural images.
I've been able to attain what I consider near state of the art bass performance in my room utilizing the AK 4-sub DBA system without any room treatments or room correction software and hardware. I've also been able to attain very good midrange, treble and imaging results in my room without any room treatments and room correction. However, I do realize that an accurate room acoustics analysis along with the appropriate selection and positioning of various room treatments would likely result in even further improvements in my system's performance.
As a result, I've had GIK give me a free room analysis and I'm about to order a few thousand dollars of room treatments, including stacked bass traps in all 4 room corners and a roughly 5/50 balance of absorption and diffusion treatments for selected room surfaces throughout my room. I almost declined the recommended bass room treatments, since I was concerned about degrading the already exceptionally good bass performance in my room, but have been assured that these bass treatments will only further increase bass performance quality. I've decided to trust their knowledge and experience.
On another subject, you state:"It was here on an Audiogon post that I read of Duke telling an interested party that he recommended a dipole sub for use with dipole loudspeakers over a distributed bass array. I wouldn’t know how to find it now, but perhaps someone remembers it."
I've been thinking about this and I do recall Duke stating on another thread that he thought that a 4-sub line source bass array system would probably outperform his 4-sub distributed bass array system. This member did have a pair of Eminent Technology dipole planar-magnetic speakers.
This member had an odd room, where there wasn't a typical rear wall that bass soundwaves would normally reflect off of causing bass issues. Instead of a wall existing behind his designated listening seat, there was another room with the far wall in that room being a large distance away.
This member had 4 large subs aligned along his front 16' wall in a line or row, with all the subs less than 4' apart. He and Duke seemed to agree that, because there was no traditional rear wall and the 4 subs were aligned in a row with all being less than 4' apart, this constituted what's called a 4-sub bass line array.
Basically in this 4-sub bass line array, all 4 subs act as one giant sub and big bass soundwaves that are as wide as the room are effectively created that travel directly to the listening seat. If there's no wall directly behind the listening seat to reflect off of , the bass is perceived as very powerful, accurate, detailed and dynamic.
So, I believe Duke was stating that a 4-sub bass line array can outperform his 4-sub DBA if your room effectively has no rear wall for bass soundwaves to reflect off of, which I think you agree is highly unlikely for most individuals' rooms.
Duke definitely knows that the bass produced by his AK Swarm/Debra 4-sub DBA systems is sufficiently fast, smooth, accurate and detailed to seamlessly integrate with any pair of main speakers, even very fast and detailed planar-magnetic and electrostatic panel speakers. I think you would immediately recognize this obvious quality if you auditioned a 4-sub DBA in person.