I’m with all of you more or less.
I understand Bruce as indeed a lot of components or setups which are told to or claim to sound accurate sound lifeless, sterile, anemic or boring. Usually this either means they are not accurate but still somehow error affected (remind early digital) or they are great, but another component within the chain is still somehow error affected.
So for me accurate isn’t in fact accurate if it still sounds bad somehow to the listener. Accurate must also be accurate in terms of tonal colors or richness or whatever someone”s missing compared to the real thing.
Why do we think some component or design concept is accurate if we know at the same time that it will still improve further for the next 100 years? No clue. It can’t be accurate now.
Accurate finally is what sounds accurate to you. If “more accurate” setups lack musicality, they still have some inaccuracy inside.
And I understand ELK, as more accurate means better…it’s just …as long as more accurate is not “perfect” yet, it’s not always better regarding some aspects others mentioned here.
Due to the fact that the very initial source (the recordings and following processes) are very unperfected and euphorically colored or not enough colorful) I tend to prefer accurate executions of slightly inaccurate concepts (tubes, cartridges, record players etc.) and euphonic executions of rather accurate concepts (electrostatics, DAC’s etc.).
But what are euphonic DAC’s if all are accurate by definition but all so different sounding and was the DS accurate at the beginning and is euphoric now with Snowmass or was it inaccurate at the beginning (when fans also claimed it was accurate) and is in fact accurate now? Is the DS accurate with all the different sounding firmwares and a more anemic sounding Chord is inaccurate and less musical? Or is the Chord accurate and the DS euphonic?
Again…accurate finally seems what sounds accurate to you or what you declare accurate in your own logic.
To answer the initial question (that probably won’t satisfy you): I pursue what my ears hear as the most accurate, transparent and at the same time musical sounding component. If I had to choose and couldn’t tweak my setup to differing component characters, I’d choose the one that makes my setup sound more musical in the way you understand it. A tweak’able setup (active speakers or DSP bass units etc.) prevent from too compromising decisions for the time “accuracy” is just an uncertain proposition.