FWIW, assuming the use of a decent subwoofer system that's up to the task of accurately reproducing recorded material, assuming the sound engineer on the sound board didn't kill the recording process by turning the session into mush, a lot of the subwoofer caused "bombastic mush" is due to poor integration of the subwoofer system into the overall sonic reproduction system; the room's acoustics.
Poorly scripted recordings at the sound board level will bury frequencies behind other frequencies creating mush at the recording level and poorly integrated subwoofer reproduction will do the same by killing or reinforcing frequencies due to sound wave interaction with a room's acoustics; subwoofer caused mush.
I've seen folks with back-to-back concert grands in their living room, recording their efforts on an $80.00 cassette player. So the real question becomes, how often is the listener beset upon by "critical listening" vs music being background to a human gathering of sorts? Is the music being reproduced, the main course or in real terms, is music being used as background noise, intended to fill in the sonic gaps of a gathering of minds at an after show party? In real terms, how will the listener be using the subwoofer system?
The point of the above ramblings, is the individual working with quality recordings being reproduced by a thoughtfully integrated subwoofer system or is this just a bunch of wine and cheese heads enjoying an evening of wine and hors d'oeuvres?
For your entertainment: Kyung Wha Chung: Vivaldi: "The Four Seasons"
About eight minutes into "Summer."
What to take away from the above piece? Is the individual listening to a piece of compressed trash where information has been removed from the recording? Who's the artist? What's a listener's sensitivities toward the artist's recording they're listening to? What are the overall skill sets bring brought to the reproduction process? What are the long and shortcomings of the recording venue? Et cetera. Just saying, if one link is weak in the entirety of the recording/playback system, then the reproduction process will continue to be weak from that point on and can only be further weakened.
-Edited by BeeMan458 - 1/14/13 at 5:00am