RMAF: Venture / FM Acoustics (Audio Limits)
This is the best sound Audio Limits has had for a few years, since their show system with the Acapella Campaniles speakers (also on FM Acoustics, I believe). However, this is not like that system in several key ways.
The Venture speakers are laid back and ultimately very polite [and very attractive] speakers. They are also reasonably hard to drive. The vast majority of the systems we have heard them in the speakers have sounded very under-powered [which we can live with if there are other, redeeming aspects to the sound. But in these cases there weren’t].
These are the largest Venture speakers we have heard (Venture Reference III) and in this system the FM Acoustics woke them up. The sound was big, macro-dynamic, well-separated, accessible, and under no strain at very loud volumes in a very, very large room.
However, the sound was also lacking micro-dynamics to some extent, lacking air to some extent, and sounded a little dense and slightly compressed. These sonic characteristics are predictable given the family sound of this line of speakers.
What is neat about this system, and why I thought it was interesting, is that it is on the border between a Boy Toy system, a Practical system and a Drug-like system. Most Boy Toy systems are aggressively unlistenable [my spell checker suggests ‘untenable’. That is a good description too :-}]. This system is listenable.
Does this system have a Drug-like sound? Can this system be pushed further into the Drug-like sound category? Hard to tell. Right now it is a little laid back and missing a lot of color. Not sure what cables were in here but everything else in this small system is in the A+ to B+ kind of quality [HRS, Weiss, Sound Applications, ISOTEK].
Right now, I would say this system, at its best, might be akin to a 12oz bottle of Guinness Stout. With a lot of work [mostly trying to preserve micro-dynamics at each step in the signal chain] one should be able to get it to a glass or two of heavy red wine [some large amount of hand waving here – this is the first time I thought these speakers were at all interesting and we know very little about their behavior in this kind of system. For example, what they sound like at a much lower volume on beefy amps like this].
For those interested in more powerful drug-like sounds [like me!], I wonder if speakers that are on the hard to drive side of the ballpark, and almost as a side-effect micro-dynamic limited, will be able to satisfy our hunger.