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.