HiFi Imports dems Venture, Weiss, Thrax, Enklein

Colorado Springs-based HiFi Imports were demming their system in one of the Marriott's very large ground-floor rooms. Speakers were the Venture Grand Ultimate Mk.IIs from Belgium ($98,000/pair), which combine Venture's proprietary 2" tweeter, which uses a graphite-pulp-composite diaphragm, with a 7" midrange unit and four 7" woofers. All the lower-frequency drivers use carbon-fiber/graphite-composite cones and the speaker's frequency range is specified as 22Hz–60kHz with a 92dB sensitivity.

The Venture speakers were being driven by Thrax amplification from Bulgaria, including the drop-dead gorgeous-looking Thrax Orpheus phono preamp that Mikey Fremer reviews in the December 2013 issue of Stereophile ($21,500), Dionysos line stage ($21,500) Maximus DAC ($33,000), and Heros class-A hybrid tube/JFET 100W monoblocks ($38,500). Front-end was either the well-regarded MAN301 network player from Weiss ($9083 without DAC) or a Spiral Groove SG1.1 player fitted with a Transfiguration cartridge ($37,000 for the package), and wiring was all Enklein. The system had superb dynamics and delicate high frequencies, but the balance was somewhat on the mellow side.