Stu, I didn't intend the descriptors "harsh" and "muffled (under a rug)" to apply to the Goldkette electronic recordings in 1927. They are models of clarity compared to the Richmond, Indiana, Gennetts recorded acoustically, to which Bix allegedly referred.
The two takes of "Clementine" were done in Liederkranz Hall in New York, generally considered a very good venue for recording, used by Columbia and Victor and by the NY Philharmonic for sessions. We might speculate that some sound problems might have occurred from using one microphone to record a medium-sized group in such a large space, but still there is a great difference in fidelity over the Wolverine recordings. If Bix is too far back on the Goldkettes, we can blame it on the recording director, who was probably shooting for "blend" over spotlighting soloists, a pity since the recording also features Steve Brown, Eddie Lang, Joe Venuti, and Tram, all worthy of featured attention.
On some songs I often wish that Bix had been placed closer to the mike instead of way back in his section. (It seems to me that Louis Armstrong apparently made certain that he was always front and center of the mike in his recordings; that's the thing about Louis: you're sure to know it's all about him.) In the Gang recordings, where Bix is closer, the microphone seems to have picked up more of that complex tone.