Gallo Reference 3.5 Speakers. Now Looking For Amp

Recently purchased a pair of Gallo 3.5's. I have been reading Audiogon for years, but this is my first question. Your assistance and expertise as to which amplifiers should be considered with these speakers would be greatly appreciated.

These speakers were selected to replace my B&W 805s speakers due to the fact that my equipment is going into a small music room (11'x13') where there is no dedicated seating for the purpose of listening to music. There is a drum set, 2 keyboards, 2 guitar positions, stereo rack flanked by speakers and a plasma tv on the wall above the stereo system. The center of the room is open as the music equipment has been placed more towards the walls. The 805s just don't have enough clarity and instrument separation when listening to them from one of the music positions. For the most part, the only time the stereo system is on is when I am playing one of the instruments.

Speaker positioning is limited in this current layout. Hopefully, a larger room will happen in the next few years but for now, this is it. If the room size does change, I will design a dedicated listening space in the new room. This is the reason for buying the best equipment possible for now (budget permitting). If the right pieces are added now, they won't necessarily have to be changed later.

I understand that these speakers do require some power to push them. "Preowned equipment" for the amplifier would be "preferred". Budget for the amplifier would probably max out at the $4,000-$4,500 range, but do not have to spend that much if something more economical does a great job. Musical style ranges from Blues, 70's-80's Rock, Santana, 'especially' acoustic guitar, etc... (not a fan of classical, but can appreciate it).

My current amplifier that will be replaced is a Rotel 1080. No problems with it, just thought it would be a good time to upgrade. I don't mind spending the money as long as it makes a noticeable difference!!!!!! Just trying to think long term and I do appreciate quality equipment.
How about the Sanders Magtech? I bet that would deliver them gobbs of current...
I believe Gallo shows with Spectron, which is high power class D. They did when I saw them at RMAF, and it sounded very good; John is a good guy, and his amps hit your price point new.
Thank you for those two options. I will check out both the Sanders and the Spectron.

That was part of the dilemma. Would a great Class D be the best selection or go with a Class A. I will have to check out the Class on the Sanders, somehow I think I remember reading it was an A/B, but not sure.

Any thoughts on the Bryston 4sst2? Does anyone else have another option that I should take a look at?

I am in the Los Angeles area, any recommendations on equipment retailers/showrooms that give honest assessments/opinions regarding this subject? It would be nice to get some additional input, pro and con, about some of these options from some of the experts in this community before walking into the lions den. Thanks in advance!!!!!
Spectron is in Northridge, maybe you can arrange a visit.

I am currently experimenting with the 3.5s and a 30wpc Class A; my suspicion is that this is not a good fit, the 6moons review notwithstanding. I'll get to compare a beefier amp tomorrow night, and I'll let you know, but my guess is that if you go class A, you'll want a lot of amp.


Good to hear that you are working with the 3.5's also.

Curious about which amp you tried, but were not happy with the results. Which other amps do you think you want to look at?

Also, are you here in Los Angeles?

Hi Jim, I'm in St. Louis, not LA (unfortunately! ;)

My amp is the Pass INT-30A. I love the amp (very sweet mids and female vocals) and it is likely that the speakers will go, and not the amp, if I can't make it work. One possibility is to add the Gallo bass amp, but I'm not sure it's the lows I'm missing.

Not sure about matches for the 3.5s, other than Spectron; have you checked the 3.5 review thread here, and the 6moons and TAS reviews?

Keep me posted!


I will look at those other reviews you mentioned.

There is another in-depth review on the 3.5's from Adventures in High Fidelity Audio that was written in April of 2012. You might find some helpful information in that review.

Here is the link

The Reference SA was also referenced in that review as well.

I am going to look at a Bryston 4SST that is currently hooked up to a pair of 3.5's early next week. I will let you know what I find out. Hopefully, will have time to go to Spectron also.



Just for your information: Mr. Gallo has developed his "3.5" speakers using our Musician III Mk2 amplifier.

Good Luck

Hi Bh. Yesterday I tried a nice hypex-based amp built by Chris Hoff of BPT, at 150 wpc. Chris and I compared the INT-30A to the Hypex running off the pre-section of the INT-30A. As expected, the Hypex combo seemed to have better control of the lows, while the Pass alone was perhaps more relaxed through the highs, though except for the lows, not a ton to choose between them. Overall, I would say our impressions confirmed the general sentiment that Gallos could do with a bit of power. Additionally, it might make sense to try the Gallo bass amp, esp. if you can audition one returnable.

Another observation is that the Gallo's could benefit from a bit more height: I'd consider some after market or homebrew stands to raise them up a bit.

Finally, although I seldom listen to this kind of music, the Gallos soundstaging and imaging really shine on large scale classical. Really remarkable, esp. considering their tiny size.


Thank you for the info. I am not too far away from Chatsworth, do you have a showroom? Possibly with 3.5's that can be demo'd? Would love to see what your amps can do with these speakers. Also, like John recommended, it would be nice to see what the SA brings to the table.

Really appreciate the information and follow-up. Here is what I am thinking, but not sure if this makes sense. What would you think of running 2 Spectron musician III mk2 monoblocks? The other question is that there are a couple of upgrades available with that amp. Are they worth the extra money and there is an SE model. Is this just the same amp with those upgrades already done.
Most of the reviews claim to really like this model of Spectron. So far, it's leading the race.
I think Spectron monoblocks would be great, but a single amp has plenty of juice, and will sound great. Given what you have to spend, I'd rather put the extra money into a nice preamp.

If I were you, I think Spectron would be the frontrunner also, especially since they are neighbors.
Thanks John!

I will follow up with them. Will keep you posted.

I've heard the Gallo Reference 3.5 once, and they sounded amazing. Amazing enough that I find myself from time to time thinking of buying a pair. The amp driving them then was a pass aleph 3 - 30 watts of Class A.

Thanks for your input. It looks like I will be trying them with the Spectron since their location is only 20 minutes from my home. I expect speakers to arrive next friday.

I would recommend the Red Dragon M-500 class D digital monoblocks. They retail for 1600.00. I own a pair of them and think they provide the best bang for the buck. The amps are very dynamic, neutral and transparent with just a tad of brightness on top I believe there was an excellent member review on AG about a year ago

Unfortunatley, I may have to sell my RD amps because of recent financial difficulties, and down size my entire system. So you may see an ad in the coming week or so for them. The Gallo 3.5 are power hungry, but the RD M-500 should drive them superbly. ....Jim
Ihave found the Passlabs 250.5, as well as the excellent Plinius 301
Both are the best that I have ever heard.
I was driving my Reference 3.5's with a Bryston 14 B SST and tried a used Axiom A-1400-8 which is an 8 ch class D. I also decided to go 5.1 surround. With the Axiom I was using a low pass filter set at 55 Hz to drive the second voice coils of the Reference 3.5's. This was the most amazing sound I have ever heard. The Axiom sounded much better than the Bryston did in this configuration. The problem I was having was a mechanical relay noise from the one unused channel. I was using 2 ch rear, 2ch front main, 2 ch second voice coil and one ch centre. That left one unused and the clicking relay drove me crazy and I sold the amp. I'm kicking my self now, because that was one very sweet combination. The Axiom amp is very quick, detailed and extremely powerful, it also had the best high end of any amp I've owned. It was very detailed but not at all bright or sibilant. The new Axiom is available in 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, or 8 channels. I will be getting one soon. I bought an EMOTIVA XPA-5 to get me by for now, but it has a very hot top end with these speakers and is somewhat sibilant.
I am using mine with Consonsance cyber 845 & Gallo SA.
Those speakers disappear completely when I am playing well recorded music from my modified MacMINI server.
The bass is beautiful,tight, deep and tune full.
The tonal range is natural and captivating.
The only system more holographic that I have heard was made by MBL.
The 3.5 replaced a 3.1 set with MapleShade stands.
I tried the 3.5 with the stands but did not like having the musicians playing above the normal plane.
I am using my system in a Roomtune treated dedicated listening room.
I quit watching the boob tube for months now.
I listen to music from around the world from Boine, the artist from the Lapland to the ECM artist and Giles Coquard,Hans Theesink the dutch blues singer.
Update. I went back to the Axiom class D….I bought the new version of the Axiom, the ADA-1500 in a 4ch version. 2ch to drive the mains and 2 thru a low pass filter from 55 Hz down. No relay noise! This amp is a perfect match for the Gallo 3.5's. Detailed, but smooth and no sibilance. Very life like Mids and awesome bass with very good control. This is the most realistic sounding system I've heard yet.
I wonder where you are at with your system from 2013?
I started my passion with hi-fi in the mid 70's. I had gear like b&o, luxman amps, nakamichi, teac decks, Akai reel to reel, Kef 103.2, later 105.4 speakers, thoren table, formula 4 arm and Shure mark V Cartridge, Stax headphone.
Then I left home to come to Canada. Never had a chance to get back into it. I missed it a lot. Used to have 4-500 LPs, spent 10 minutes to pick a record, another 5 minutes to clean and set it up. Ran to my spot to listen for a few minutes. Then all over again lol. 
By chance I bought a pair of AG 3.5 in 2014, a set of AG reference surround and a centre. I came across with this article about how good emotiva was. I bought XPA-5 and the Sherbourn PT 7030 7 channel pre/pro. Thought would go with the digital route with lossless format (I am a complete rookie after 40 years).
Problems started - Sherbourn didn't come with a manual. I read something like "if u need a manual u better get a professional to do everything for you ..." At that point I thought maybe I should have invested in a used bema m3 lol. My space in the basement is far from OK much less good, "sorta" rectangular shape with hall way to laundry room on one side,  stairwell going up on the other side, a small bedroom on the third side with gun and wine cabinets in front of it. basically it's a half finished basement with concrete floor, no ceiling but all dry walled.
I use monoprice XLR connect cable, 12 guage speaker wires. I hooked everything up without any sonic adjustment. Back in the days we always played everything FLAT. Even if I had to I wouldn't know how to play around with all this high tech buttons and switches lol. 
A few days later I finally got some sound. It was OK but far from my old system 40 years ago much less the SUPERB QUALITY I was led to believe. I knew my inability and lack of modern techniques were most of my problems. I could have bought the KEF R900 and the Marantz pre/pro from a neighbourhood stereo shop for $9000. Now I spent more money and didn't know how to set it up. The 3.5 were barely delivering any bass. For a quick fix, I bought a 800 watt mirage Sub to lie to my ears. I lost interest, gave up and walked away for 3 years. 
Lately I am downstairs messing with it again. Took me a few days to re-learn how to turn everything on again. I would hate to admit a defeat to my passion and sell everything for cheap. Or I should give it another shot.
First, I gotta re-learn new gear, concepts, operating procedures, pricing etc. I hung out in high end stereo shops, helped them move gear around for demo, in return these old guys showed me stuff. Now I am learning online. Can't believe everything we read, right? I am reading up how to treat my space. Owens Corning 703 are no where to be found in Canada OUCH!!!! A couple of sites offer to do it for $5000-$8000. WOW, REALLY???
Someone suggested AG SA amp. First, can't find it. Second, other gurus said just feed THE 3.5's with a lot of clean power and forget about the sub amp.
Another problem, I am running a 5-channel power amp with a 7-channel pre. There is hardly any surround coming out of my back AG Reference Surround.  Damn, my head is spinning now lol. 
Am i missing a few steps in hooking up therefore getting inferior sound? I prefer no extra colouration, just the way it was recorded. Should I continue with emotiva big power amps for the main and keep the XPA-5 for surround? Or should I get something like a Spectron, or your Axiom? Big amp for speaker main in? Or another amp to feed the second coil? 
I just got married last year, for the first time, and started a new business 2 months ago, I would be more cautious this time around in buying gear.$1000-$3000 is automatic. Over that I will have to think about it. I don't included gear. I also wanna remodel my basement to turn it into a listening room. That should improve a of right there.
Any advice, from anybody, would be appreciated. I feel like Carlos santana asking for help to plug in a guitar lol.
Donrua, I would suggest going over to the emotiva lounge forum.  For starters, here is the thread on the Sherbourn PT7030.

You could read through the thread or just post questions(you'll have to probably join the forum first).  That said, it sounds like your passion is music, correct me if I'm wrong.  99% of music needs only 2 speakers.  2 channel only.  In addition, you are coming from a 2 channel history and are now trying to set up a 5 channel processor(the Sherbourn) that is about 4 years old and already somewhat out of date as the technology moves stupid fast these days.  Ever hear of Atmos speakers on your ceiling?  Don't even bother.

Anyway, I would suggest considering just doing a 2 channel system. 2 speakers, a good amp and some excellent speakers with whatever you want to play your music with.  A turntable.  A cd player.  A DAC to play your digital music with if you roll that way.

I tried to look up your AG 3.5 speakers but can't find much on them.  I'm not a big fan of Emotiva after owning three of their components. They owned Sherbourn, and not having a manual for you was lame.  

PS, I run everything flat in my 2 channel system.  For music, it's the only way for me.  In my theater, I let Audyysey tailor the sound.  Hope this helps.
If you had the sub amp to run the 2nd voice coil of the woofer would you use a HH Scott 299C integrated to power the Gallo Refs? This thread came up on a google search so I figure I'd just resurrect it than post anew. Thanks in advance.