Gallo Reference 3 versus 3.1: Much difference??

Will be looking for a new pair of speakers soon. Would like to hear some input on the new Gallo 3.1.speakers. I heard the Reference 3's about a year ago, and now am curious if the new speakers are better and worth $3000; or, should I just hunt down a good used pair of the 3's on Audiogon?? Also what might be equal in performance to this speaker for less money?? Thanks, Jim
Hi Jim,

There were several changes, the 3.1 includes:

- the tweeter adjustment switch was removed. Gallo found few people used it, and the switch was easily broken when you took the grills on/off. Upside, a more pure signal path.

- new/different midrange drivers. The new midrange drivers are identifiable by looking closely at the outer edge of the driver, if it has a prononced lip it is the new midrange.

- minor change to the crossover. I think they changed a few capacitors.

Gallo made these changes before they announced the 3.1 If the speakers were made after September 2005 chances are they are the 3.1, you can email or call Gallo with the serial numbers and they can confirm.

Although I heard the original model 3 many times and ended up buying a new pair of 3.1's I can't really say if you'd be better off buying new or not. They are wonderful speakers and a terrific value at their price point. Jeff
Nothing is certain in this hobby, but here are some thoughts...

As everyone knows, the original Ref 3s were difficult speakers to get one's hands on. Since like nearly everything else in electronics these days the various parts of the speakers were fabricated in China, no doubt there were problems relating to adherence to Gallo's specs. In any event, the waiting times on pre-orders were close to half-a-year by the middle of '05.

Suddenly, in Sept.-Oct. '05 we hear of the introduction of the new wall-mountable Gallo Ref AV speakers, based on the Ref 3s but now featuring 4 midrange spheres on each speaker, and we are informed that (a) "minor" changes (according to 6moons) have been made (mainly a smaller and lighter neodymium magnet in the spheres) and that (b)simultaneously the Ref 3s have been "upgraded" to Ref 3.1s and now incorporate the new magnets. Note that in its Oct. '05 review, 6moons did not note any substantial improvement in sound.

Sometime after Jan. '06, Gallo raises the price of the "new" Ref 3.1s by $400. In Feb. '06 6moons feels compelled to review the "new" 3.1 speakers and once again issues a rave review, but doesn't have much to say about any improvements over the Ref 3s. In March "06, the original 6moons Ref 3 reviewer compares the two models (after long conversations with Anthony Gallo and after reading the Stereophile CES report) and decides the Ref 3.1s are indeed worth the extra $400.

Now my mother did not raise any idiots. In order to produce a wall mountable speaker such as the center channel Ref AV with 4 spheres without requiring that they be mounted on wall studs, it seems clear that Gallo had to substantially reduce the weight of each individual sphere. That almost certainly meant specifying a lighter magnet for the drivers, which is the only possible variable. The new magnet probably also meant a new metal capacitor had to be ordered as well.

Now, without impuning the integrity of the 6moons reviewer(Srajan Ebaen, whose listening experience is and can only be entirely subjective and psycho-accoustical and who writes one heck of an informative and entertaining review) or of Anthony Gallo (who is clearly a genius), there is obviously a certain efficiency and reduced fabrication costs to be obtained in specifying production of exactly the same mid-range sphere to be used for both Ref AVs and REf 3.1s. Can that explain the introduction of the "new" REf 3.1s at the same time as the Ref AVs? And now that there is a "new" Ref 3.1. does that not create an opportunity to raise the price of the speaker which is a steal even at $3K? The bottom line is, judge for yourselves whether there is any noticeable difference between the Ref 3s and Ref 3.1s because your ears are the only standard that matters.

As for me, I've compared my "old" Ref 3s to the sound I hear from my Sennheiser HD600 headphones w/ Cardas cable and driven by a MF X-Can V3 headphone amp, and they both sound great and are very, very similar. That's enough to make me happy and to allow me to sit back and just enjoy the music, so thank you Anthony Gallo and thank you Srajan Ebaen of 6moons for turning me on to this fantastic speaker.
Nice post, Msratty.