Gallo Reference 3.1; What integrated amp?


I am a proud owner of a pair of Gallo Reference 3.1 speakers. I'm now in the market for a new integrated amplifier with a good phono stage or an additional separate phono stage (cartridge is a Sumiko Blackbird MC)

Unfortunately where I live there are virtually no stores that carry really high end hi-fi gear so I can actually go have a listen and I've been doing all of my research on the net.

I would love some opinions of what you think would be a good match for the Gallo's, amplifier and separate phono stage if required. My budget is up to around $3000-4000, hopefully less.

I've read really good reviews about the Copland CTA 405, a hybrid, which apparently has a good phono stage as well. I was also looking into the Primare I30 which is a high current amp with oodles of power but no phono stage. In tubes Cary Audio SLI-80 looks interesting as well and Eastern electric M520 seems a bargain. What do you think? What would you recommend as a phono stage?

The Gallos reward hi-current, wide-bandwidth amplification. I'd be inclined to go with the Primare from the list given. A top-line NAD might be a good choice, too. Also, many of the Harman-Kardon products are known to have huge current reserves coupled with very high bandwidth output...

You should look into the Plinius 9200.High current integrated with 200wpc into 8ohms. Also,has a nice phono stage.
You also might check the Shahinian threads as their power requirements sound similar. I know the Plinium is highly recommended by Shahinian users.
Thanks for the recommendations so far.

I've actually just been reading about the Plinius 9200. Seems it's made a lot of people very happy. I'm definitely adding it to my shortlist.

Please do keep your comments coming in.
These speakers sound great Bi-Amped. Try any high current amp on the bottom end to activate the secondary voice coils. Use a tube amp for the midrange/high end.You will need a low pass filter to make sure your solid state amp only allows low frequency information. You will be amazed at what these speakers are capable of given the right amplification & source.
I know you want an integrated but what about a Quad 99 pre and 909 power amp with their current dumping design? A very highly rated combo with a deep tradition of quality.
I have tried the Gallos with the Primare I30, as well as a Krell 400 and with my Unison Research Unico, an hybrid integrated cheaper but quite good.
Here my findings: with the Unico high, mids and soundstage are excellent, I am surprised of the quality I am getting, although I will upgrade soon because the bass is frankly not great compared at what I have heard from the Gallos in other settings.
The Primare was actually my favourite of the three: excellent tight and well textured bass, very engaging sound all around, quite similar in tonality to my Unico, but maybe a bit faster.
The Krell was a huge disappointment: boring, boring boring, dry, sterile and uninvolving. Probably a bad synergy with the Gallos and with my ears.
I will be auditioning soon the new Nuforce 9SE v2 and the Belcanto ref 1000, then I will choose.
I am also thinking about getting the Gallo SA bass amplifier, although for some reason I have not managed to find many impressions about it on the web.
I am running my Gallo 3.1's with a Musical Fidelity A5 (also have the A5 CD player). The integrated amp has a phono section but I have not used it yet. I enjoy this setup, but have just gotten back into two channel, so can offer no comparisons to other equipment. 6moons has a review of this setup (A5's with Gallo's). The writeup is consistent with my experience. I purchased the A5 because of the high current, high output- at 250 watts per channel, and the phono section (and sound). The bass is excellent without the SA Gallo amp, but again I have not heard the setup with the amp. For $2750 for the integrated, I believe it is a great value. I believe the SA amp is $900 retail.
Again thanks for your all your comments.

I've been doing some reading and I can say I am even more confused than when I started... There are just so many choices and it's very frustrating when you can't actually go and have a listen to your music before you actually commit and buy.

I'm happy to see good comments about the Primare I30 as I am leaning towards that particular amp since it's easy for me to get hold of it on the web. By the way Viclondon, have you tried the resistor "hack" of the Gallo's? (5th paragraph from the end).

I will look into the Musical Fidelity one as well. Any comments on the other amps I've mentioned?
No, I have not tried the resistor, although I was aware of it. Recently I have got a Behringer DEQ2496 which is giving me fantastic results (and is great fun to play with). Just know I am working on the Behr in order to integrate my subwooder (a SVS PC+) to the Gallos and I am very happy with the combo.
The only reason why I want to go the the Gallo sub amp is because my actual sub is extremely bulky; also I can slightly detect the direction of the bass coming from the side and it is slightly annoying with music, while with the Gallo SA I should get the feel of the sound coming from the two speakers. The only thing that worries me is that I have not found many comments at all about the Gallo SA in the web
The Gallo sub amp is worth the money imho. Not only do you get an amp to power the second voice coils, you also get a crossover to seamlessly integrate and custom tune the bass to your room and taste. I have owned mine for about a year, and have not regretted the purchase. It does however, take some patience to set the sub amp up correctly as you have several parameters you can fine tune.
Same here I hadn't found much info on the Gallo SA so didn't think about investing into it. It's definitely a big plus to be able to get subwoofer frequencies in one box.

I hope I am not derailing the thread with my enquiry about the Gallo SA bass amp.
I am really tempted by the possibility of having the subwoofer in some way inside tha main speakers and get rid of my very bulky one.
I also intend to use it for movies, besides 2-channels duties. The only problem is that here in England it costs a lot more (around US$2000) but I think I will give it a go anyway.
The two posts above are very encouraging
I haven't heard the SA, so I am only speculating here. But wouldn't activiating the 2nd voice coil introduce more vibration to the whole speaker? Not sure if it affects the sound at all. But if I could feel the rumble from my seat, the other drivers would feel it too. I would think that isolating any extraneous vibration is always better thus all these vibration isolation tweaks. My personal choice is to have them seperate.
You have a valid point Kkm, it would introduce more vibration. I don't know if anyone has a more expert opinion on this.

As a follow up, I ended up order the Primare I30 and Primare R20 phono stage and will post my impressions with the Gallo's when I receive the amplifier.
I haven't experienced any degradation of the sound due to the second voice coil being active. They still have very stable imaging, and a deep soundstage, but now with bass into the mid 20 Hz range in my room. Structurally, I feel the design is very well thought out.
Anthony Gallo uses Spectron Musician III Signature to voice Reference 3 speakers and even displayed this amp CES 2007 at Las Vegas. He is not alone, many other speaker manufacturers also uses the Musician III amp.
Its not integrated preamp but you can find inexpensive TVC passive preamp to match it.
One of my friends owned the Musical Fidelity A5, and while the unit has tons of current, the phono stage is nice for a $100-200 cart... so don't buy it for the phono. He was amazed as the improvement upgrading phono stages. He replaced the Musical Fidelity with a Primare, and now he has seperates for lots more dollars..

For those in Europe $2000 is not a pretty number for the sub amp, I would throw that toward a better 2 channel amplifier....
I perfectly agree with you. The problem is that over here a better 2ch amp will cost again double price compare to the US...
BTW at the end I went for a pair of Nuforce Ref 9SE v2 whick I found fabulous at the audition; they should be at my home tomorrow.

I'd be VERY interested in hearing your thoughts on the Primare I30 and Gallo 3.1 combo. I'm in a similar boat to you - difficult to demo locally and I end up having to demo when I travel interstate (in Australia). I've been v impressed with the Primare I30 and CD31 and am thinking seriously about it. Other contender at the moment seems to be the Creek Destiny.

To give back a little.. I recently added the SA to my system (NAD 352 integrated) as part of a gradual upgrade. I reckon whether or not to add the SA depends entirely on listening tastes primarily, but also room size etc. For me, it's a reasonably big room but I listen to a range of material. When testing, you need tracks playing real low stuff. In truth, I could live with the 3.1's performance sans SA, but Massive Attack's 'Unfinished Sympathy' is just not the same without it! Let me add a caveat - I'm still tweaking the many dials on the SA and don't feel I've got the best from it yet.