Shifting absolutes

I read Mr Valin's recent review of the Raidho 4.1. Previously, I was under the impression that the absolute sound was based on neutrality and fidelity to the source material. Now I read that the ultimate loudspeaker incorporates various distortions (bass bumps, damped highs and the like) designed to enhance the sound of the source material. As per Mr Valin, if we obtain these speakers, we will likely need to install extra bass traps and play with port plugs, in order to tame the distortions that were intentionally incorporated into the speaker design. This is all presented so logically and with such confidence. Am I missing something?
If your reading that from an audio magazine, its more likely that they are missing something, not you. As far as I know, the absolute sound in audio is referred to an actual instrument, voice, etc being played live. So if you are somewhere listening to someone play a piano, the piano itself is the absolute sound. If you are trying to reproduce the absolute sound, the idea is to get the sound as close as possible to the live event; nothing added or taken away. Anyway, that's how I've always understood it.
Yes but everything sounds different in different venues. I am a violinist, well acquainted with the sound of my instrument, but in each hall I play, it sounds like a different instrument. There are no absolutes
Bass bumps are typical for any speaker in any room, depending on the listening position. Hard to avoid. Maybe those bass bumps were better for his room/position.

Wouldn't be surprized if anyone who thought his system was "neutral", or even "bright", then actually did some measurements found that it was tapered off by 10 dB or more by 10 kHz.

The more measurements I do, the more I realize that frequency response is just the tip of the iceberg and often fails to describe the sound. Certainly not absolutely.
"09-18-13: Stringreen
Yes but everything sounds different in different venues. I am a violinist, well acquainted with the sound of my instrument, but in each hall I play, it sounds like a different instrument. There are no absolutes"

Sorry if I wasn't clear. That's what I meant. The absolute sound, as I know it, would be you playing your violin, in one place, at one time. That would be the original source. If you play somewhere else, the AS would be that event. Going by that, the goal of recording and playback would be to transport the listener as close as possible, to what one would experience had they actually attended your event and heard it live.

Not to get too far off topic, but have you ever compared how a violin sounds when you play it and then give the exact same violin to someone else and listen to them play? I've always wondered about that.
Very good ! Absolute doesn't have to be or mean identical, just real. I listen
to very familiar musicians in different jazz clubs and their sound will vary,
no surprise. But what never changes is the unmistakable sound and
presence of an acoustic instrument played live into a room unamplified.
You can hear a street musician from around the corner three blocks away
and immediately recognize it as a live sound. No component gets it 100%
right, but some sure come closer than others relatively speaking. If I play
my trumpet in my bedroom, kitchen or patio it sounds different in each
location. No one within ear shot would have trouble identifying it as a live
HP left for a good reason. The magazine went a different direction than what he intended. so it doesn't suprise me that they would favorably review a speaker with the faults you describe.

All the best,
I wouldn't want my speakers engineered to distort the signal in a way that sounds good or lifelike or whatever to the designer. If necessary, a good digital signal processor can be used to 'fix' a poor recording, or correct for flawed room acoustics.
What everyone on this thread fails to realize is the Mr. Valin's system like most reviewers is in a constant state of flux and their comments include the current system under review. Room which includes your power plays a huge role in the over all sound of any system. Every new speaker in the system has its own set of peculiarities in any given room and takes time fine tune the setup even with a known system, imagine doing it constantly with new pieces of equipment that you just installed. Reviewers like Jonathan have a limited time to spend with most equipment and behemoths like Raidho 4.1 pose additional challenges to the average room and even physically for the reviewer who has to move them around, not easy at all.

You have to keep in mind that everything is relative to the moment and the difficult job the reviewer has at hand. He's writing for a public with varying degrees of experience and he has to masterfully convey in words, his observations, probably time restricted, and subjective emotional experience which has a lot value to this public. Not an easy job! If you read the review carefully, there aren't any contradictions, you get the objective side based on what he heard in his room, your mileage will vary based on your system and room, and his subjective listening which given the man's experience counts more than the rest for me. There are no absolutes!

Nonoise - HP didn't leave, he was forced to go. As an industry member who has dealt with him in the past I can assure that he was more of a fiction writer than an unbiased reviewer. AS is a much better magazine without him and the current management is far more respectable than he ever was.