I heard them in a small demo room and thought they were good but not magic. Admittedly, the room was too small, about 10x12, and the presence of a large plasma TV along the left wall probably scotched the imaging, so take my comments with a large grain of salt.
Despite the impressive-looking 10" woofers, upper bass was lean. Center imaging was good, but not as focused on vocals as my Spica TC-60s. The soundstage was much wider than the space beyond the speakers, though, probably thanks to the 300-degree radiation pattern of the tweeters. The treble was impressively extended. Clearly, these things go well beyond the range of human hearing. I wouldn't say they were bright, but I found the tremendous amount of treble information a bit overwhelming. I'm more of a midrange guy. I had a chance to get a used pair for $1,600, but preferred the sound of the Martin Logan Aeons for their detail and their wide, tall and ethereal soundstaging. I wound up getting a used pair of Aeriuses for $1,000 to replace my Spicas.
If you like a punchy, dynamic, tight sound with plenty of top-end detail and sparkle, you'll like the Gallos. If you want a rock-solid center image on vocals, a deep, deep soundstage, and slightly warm midrange, the Spicas do the trick. If you like a big, well-focused soundstage with the nth degree of detail, warm upper bass and smooth midrange, the Martin Logans are the ticket. All of these are superb. The choice is more a matter of taste than absolute quality.
I moved to Gallo Ref 3s from the earlier 4-ball Gallo Ultimates. The Ref 3s are a MAJOR improvement over the Ultimates, which I liked a lot. Granted, Gallo customer support has been nothing to write home about, though no problem ever arose with the Ultimates and they're now (I still have them) 11 years old. Despite their comparatively modest cost, I've heard nothing I prefer to the Ref 3s, and I've listened to the Sonus Faber Amati Homage, Revel Salon, and other high end speakers. I'm driving them with 12 wpc SET monoblocks (huge transformers, granted) in an 18x40' space and never feel a lack of power. I do have a 500w Hsu subwoofer amp powering the woofers' second voice coils. I agree that they don't come fully alive in low-level listening.
They do a perfect disappearing act, with a large sweet spot, excellent soundstaging, great highs (those CDT tweeters) and top-to-bottom balance. They have real "authority" despite their diminutive size. They love tubes. The ONLY complaint I have is that their break-in is long and painful. Once you get past that (100 hours minimum), I think you'll like them a lot. I'd personally go for a used pair and let someone else "enjoy" that break-in. Dave
I got my Gallos to replace another speaker known for mids--the Dunlavey SC3. I moved and the SC3's were too big... I think it was the physical space between the mids of the MTM, but in my new listening room the sound didn't seem to integrate (smaller room).
I listen to a lot of acoustic jazz and without a system doesn't come alive for me without an accurate midrange. Don't know why people talk about needing to push the Gallos, but my amp is fast. I have played around with a low powered SET amplifier (7 watt) and it was OK, but I was happy when my big amp came back from being modified. I tend to listen at pretty reasonable volumes (often, the kids are asleep by the time I can fire up the rig) and again, have no problems. As I think about it, my speaker cables are also known for mid & speed (Nordost SPM)... I think I have a decent rig (better than most that include the gallos) and have seen them "rise to the challenge."
Of course, you should (& did) solicit input from people who have made other decisions than I did (Ref 3's on Isorock GR stands, SA... some playing around with cabling till I was happy).
Let your ears decide, but for me the Gallo Ref 3.1's are truly a breakthrough product. I've been through so many different speakers over the years and for the longest time was convinced the only speaker for me was planar. Apogee, Maggies, Martin Logan, Eminent Technology, name it. From the first time I heard the Ref 3's at CES I was taken in by their sound, and their incredible value. I held off and kept trying different speakers and gear, now that I've owned the Gallos for over a year in my main rig I bought another pair for my smallish home office set-up. I'll be very surprised if I "upgrade" to something else any time soon.
Do these speakers have limited vertical HF dispersion -- do you lose the highs noticably when you stand up unless you are in the farfield?
Zaikesman, I can detect no difference in the sound whether I sit or stand. The speakers are about 8' from my listening position. I've heard of this complaint, but never experienced any problem. By comparison, a friend has a pair of Sonus Faber Grand Piano Home speakers and there are distinct changes in the sound depending on how high your ears are, relative to the speakers. Dave
I'm closer in than Dopogue (probably more like 6' in my room) but what you cite is one of the reasons I put 'em up on stands--isorock gr's were designed for the ref 3's. Now, I find that the sweetspot is where I want it without much tilt on the speaker and they are much more stable when you really crank 'em up. (I have also come to prefer the looks of the speaker on the stand to the speaker on the floor).
I guess another alternative is to move the speakers back, but I've got them close to Rives' recommendation when the designed the room. I'll play around some more when I find the time.
Thanks guys. I am less bothered by the midband suckouts which develop vertically off-axis in low-order systems (like the SF) than I am by the vertical off-axis HF rolloff shown with systems using short lines instead of domes. What I don't know for sure is if the CDT driver behaves like a short line, the way for instance 4" ribbons do, but it looks to me as if it probably would to some degree. On the other hand, that may be balanced to a useful extent by its very wide horizontal dispersion injecting a greater than average amount of HF into the reverberent field. As you can tell I've never heard a Gallo.
If you are looking for owners that have stuck with them for awhile, I upgraded from Quad ESL-63's to Gallo Ref 3's about 2 years ago after auditioning countless other speakers. I have written a lot about them on these forums, and still think as highly of them as when I first purchased them. I find the sound very Maggie / Electrostatic-like in a more convenient package.
Lately, I have been considering Zu Druids to explore the low-powered SET route, although I am still undecided. With the possible exception of the Zu (as I said, I am undecided), I have yet to hear another speaker that makes me want to change.
Thanks guys.But must say one seller told me that he thought that many folks who might have sold 1)didn't wait for break in period and 2) may have run with too few watts.He just thought that the subs needed curent to open up.One other member was going to sell but he changed from a Evo amp to a CJ300 watt and that made him want to keep the Ref 3's.I just got twitchy seeing so many up on the block all of a sudden knowing that sometimes in Hifi different can send a box out the door but not necessarily satisfy in the long run.
Zaikesman Brightstar is selling pretty tall bases for the speakers if you want more hight.Used to work for a dealer that sells the little ball set up so thought I'd get a pair close to dealer cost and see what's what since he hasn't stocked them.But another seller Spearit Sound had a pair o try out and sold them.Wrote to me that he thought withy B&W and Thiel (the later not my cup of tea) he thought he's have a hard time selling them and there have been a lot up.Think as with the older Ref's matching and palcement is critical and as folks mentioned beak in time.But since old boss also has B&W it's a toughy for me.I run a 40 wat EAR EL34 iinto German Odeon Tosca's which I got for $1500 (though I nevr would havce paid the $7500 list.Their big ass ones give an altenative but don't necessarily best Avantgarde).If I didn't have them I'd probably drop the tube amp for current and get a pair of 803's.But the new 803Diamond throws a wrench in that idea as for $2500 more list (not cheap at $8K) the Diamond teweeter on the 83 (and up in the line) is as good as any esotar,scanspeak whatever.They match ESL Quads,Maggies or Appogee ribons and are equaled only by the $20K crowd like the top of the line Ariel.
My real problem is I love 'em all (at different times) from Audio Physic one day to Avantgarde or Wilon Benesch the next and would have a pair of K-Horns in my garage if I could.But the Gallo's and NHT Xd (which BTW got even a bter follow up in Stereophile with an added sub).I think many more companies will use DEQX and other digital processing in the future but that may not be a reason to buy the Xd now.Need to hear.But will post if I do go get the Gallo's and am going to call Bob Warzalla at Sound Anchor and ask if he has some heavy iron to match those Brightstar bases if I do.Still was with all the buzz on these Gallo's I forgot i found the 2's "gmmicky" and thought they or the other big buzz NHT to maybe the Holy Grail.No mater what I do I am still waiting for the speaker messiah and unfortunately probaly always will
How many owners of the Ref3's also use Gallo's sub-amp? If so, what difference does the amp make? I own a pair of the speakers and am considering buying the sub-amp to power the woofer's 2nd voice-coil. Any advice will be wecome.
How many owners of the Ref3's also use Gallo's sub-amp? If so, what difference does the amp make? I own a pair of the speakers and am considering buying the sub-amp to power the woofer's 2nd voice-coil. Any advice will be wecome.
i use the sa.
took a while to get it dialed in, but the bass has better attack and more body (but I have some of the big room problems already addressed). I also took some time & effort to get a speaker cable that was better for the low end than the one I was using for my mains--Nordost SPM that was a biwire set... at first, I used one side of the bi-wire for the mains & one side for the second voice coil, but whil eI love the spms for mids & highs, they didn't do the low end justice.
Regarding the SA , I haven't heard it, but given the same price, would it make more sense to get a seperate subwoofer? I would think that the 2nd voice call would add more resonance to the whole unit as oppose to a seperate sub unit away from the speaker.
On a somewhat related topic, I've tried the speakers without the points and they really resonate around the speakers, it sounded less focus probably because the vibration carries it back to the whole speaker, with its large base against the floor. I've seen some dealers do without the feet because it is easier for them to move the speakers around, make sure when auditioning they are at least on. I temporarily elevated the speakers with some books to see what that sounded like, and it improved it in 2 areas. There was less resonance since it was further away from the floor and the energy was able to drain away. The image height increase since the tweeter was ear level. I did find someone who does a custom stand at a fraction of the cost of the Bright Star that I should be receiving next week. It's sand fillable and I requested that the height be 6" since I thought 8" is too high, given my experiment, I would think that it would be a marked improvment.
Kkm, I'd love to hear more about those custom stands. Dave
I think kkm is on the right track. I don't think the brightstars are magic, but good stands make a big difference.
However, I find that "energizing" the second voice coil makes for more controlled bass. You get the double benefit of power & control (the magnet acts no matter which way the woofer is moving). But, it does take some time to dial it in (just like putting in a separate sub)--if memory serves, the settings "out of the box" were way way off from where they ended up.
I also found that speaker cable made a big difference for the second voice coil, but this may not be universal (I tried Nordost SPM).
Get something and put on some nice Mark Miller, or Jaco--you will hear the difference!
Dave, don't want to hijack this thread and get off-topic, so I'll e-mail you and get you a photo later. I haven't receive the stands yet, so I don't want to be too premature with my assessment.
I'm also interested in the stands. The Brightstar stands look good, but $500 seems out of line to me. If there is a cheaper (but good) alternative, I want to know more.
thanks - Mike
Gallo Reference owners may be interested to know that we are now offering the new more economically priced IsoRock GR3.2 stands for the Gallo Reference 3 and Reference 3.1 speakers.
Bright Star Audio
To raise the height of the Ref 3s on a temporary or experimental basis, you might do what I did. Go to Lowes (or wherever) and pick up 4 of their concrete blocks sized 8 x 16 x 4" high. Cost is something like $.69 per. Then you can raise the the speakers first 4 inches, then 8 inches, and see if you like the result, sonically. Lord knows they're solid! They don't even look too bad and would even look better if sprayed black. Just a suggestion. Dave
In comments on the Reference 3 I see mentions of "lean bass" and I agree. Almost all speakers have some bass augmentation from cabinet resonances that add bass/mid-bass/warmth/fat-bass. We have all grown to expect this sound and I think we unconconsciously like and want it, false or not. The Reference 3 doesn't do that. If you want that extra sound that you have grown accustomed to you have to feed it into the Reference 3 with EQ/tubes/cables or what have you.
Breakthrough product only in their visual design. Highs are good, but not spectacular, midrange smeared, bass very well extented but muddy. Soundstage is like you're sitting in the second balcony. They are way over hyped. For 3K you can do far, far better. 21st century "high-tech" looks and slick marketingI rather pay for quality sound reproduction.
Good grief, Ojgalli, what are you listening to through the Gallos. Mine sure don't sound a bit like that. My last two pairs of speakers cost twice as much, or more, by the way.
FWIW, I had a rather extended listening session to the 3.1's a couple weeks ago. They were powered by a Cary V12 amp, Cary SL98P preamp, Soundstring cables, and a Arcam CD192 player. I would have to say I was, like Ojgalli, underwhelmed. After all of the glowing reviews and enthusiatic endorsements on the online forums, I was figuratively scratching my head at my reaction. After 30 minutes, I ask my wife her impressions. Ditto, same impression: well extended and airy highs, decent midrange, lack of any bloat in lower/mid bass with a slightly lean sound. While the soundstage was enveloping, it sounded like a small speaker. Now that was our impressions, I don't doubt for a minute that those that sing it's praises really enjoy them. But that audition really drove home the fact that we all must hear things differently and have to make up our own minds.
I must echo Photon46's impressions . I too listened to them through the same CDP , CJ PV14 pre and a Cary hybrid amp . Both my wife and I felt that they were nothing to write home about ! They sounded congested and also like small speakers . When we compared them to VS VR4jr's and Usher 6311's (?) it wasn't even a contest . Synergy maybe ?
There are a great many who love them .
Can't argue with Photon46, whose most serious complaint is their sounding like the small speakers they appear to be. I was using humongous Gallo Nucleus Ultimates when I got the Ref 3s, and playing them side by side, people THOUGHT I was playing the Ultimates. The Ref 3s actually had a bigger sound but looked tiny by comparison. This is in an 18x40' space, BTW.
Saki70 describes Ref 3s that aren't broken in (takes well over 100 hours) and/or are miswired (the bottom pair of binding posts are not for biwiring but for hooking up a subwoofer amp). In any event, the last thing they should sound like is congested. Not disputing what you heard, just a tad puzzled.
"Well extended and airy highs, decent midrange, lack of any bloat in lower/mid bass with a slightly lean sound...the soundstage was enveloping"
I don't understand, how is Photon46's reaction a "ditto" of Ojgalli's?:
"Highs are good, but not spectacular, midrange smeared, bass very well extented but muddy. Soundstage is like you're sitting in the second balcony"
Hmm, talk about "scratching my head" -- to me, the first quote sounds positively positve!...But I haven't heard the speakers...
Dopogue ; I made a point of asking the salesman if the Gallo's were "fully" broken in . I really wanted to like them and went to this shop to specifically hear them . On a subsequent visit , I again heard them on some Cary monoblocks (six packs maybe ?)and they sounded the same to me and the auditioner. In defense of the Gallo's , I have read where most people state that the Gallo's really need 200 - 300 SS watts to sound their best. That amp requirement does not fit my desires . As I said above , synergy maybe ?
Hmm, interesting comments on the negative sound from the Gallos. My own experience was that my pair needed over 200 hours of break in before they stopped changing their sound and just sounded wonderful. Admittedly, I bought the Gallos based partly on the reviews, as in general, speakers will vary their sound depending upon the room they're in. That being said, the pair that I heard was broken in for over a month at the dealers, and was in a room devoid of room acoustic treatment. When I was shopping, I was prepared to spend up to about 5 times the cost of the Gallos, but after hearing them, I couldn't begin to justify it. They're that good. Yes, they need a long break-in. Yes, for me, they improved their imaging with the Brightstar stands. I think that was wholly dependent upon my room, and would probably be for you too. The sub amp is a bonus, but I don't always turn it on, and I remember thinking before it finally arrived from Gallo, that the bass, as is from my 120 watt tube monoblocks, was superb. You can just tweak it that last little bit with the solid state driving the second voice coil.
Unless someone's listening to a lemon pair, or a pair that's not broken in, I can't imagine a bad review of these speakers. Certainly not given their price, though as I said, for me they're value far exceeds their cost. Then again, brain imaging studies have shown that people will associate quality with cost or a product name, as they are evaluating products and given a relative value of the sample. Maybe, some people just can't get past that part of their brain to enjoy the sound from these speakers? That's not a negative comment towards anyone who doesn't like these speakers, it's just a comment on human physiology. In the end it doesn't matter. No one should feel talked into liking the sound of a product. Buy what sounds good to your own ears. For me though, this is one product I won't be replacing any time soon.
Finally had the DIY stands completed and running for a couple of weeks now and it's been quite an improvement. For photo's follow the link:
Nice stands, and well designed with the outboard feet that I'll presume you can adjust. (see my systems page for another variation) I don't see the method for attachment of your speakers to the stands though. How is that accomplished?
You should post your pictures on a systems page here on the 'gon.
As you said in your post re painting, preparation is always the key to a good finish. That and some 400-800 wet dry sand paper.
Thanks to Kkm and Scott Stein I have a pair of these stands (they look identical to the ones pictured in Kkm's link) and can confirm the sonic improvements. Besides, I think they look rally neat! The slightly "outboard" spiked feet are from Parts Express, their part # 249-720 (cost is $22.99 for 4 feet, twice that for 8).
Between the bottom of the speakers and the tops of the bases, I'm using "dead balls" cut in half, but am still experimenting. With the dead balls, you can touch the sides of the bases and feel absolutely no resonance from the speakers even playing Flight of the Cosmic Hippo at full blast!
I really recommend this tweak. Dave
First, I got the price of the Parts Express spikes wrong. They're just $14.80
for four, not $22.99. And the stands themselves can be seen at
Regarding the interface between speakers and stands, In the case of mine,
the speakers are simply sitting on the 4 dead ball halves (as I said, I'm still
experimenting, although these sound VERY good). The speakers are quite
stable, strange as this may seem. I can't seem to get a good photo but will
I prepped the stands with Rust-Oleum "Painter's Touch" sandable
primer, sanding after each coat, and finished with the Painter's Touch semi-
gloss black. If I had it to do over, I might go with flat black for a better
match, although the semi-gloss looks fine. Both primer and black paint were
via spray cans.
Yes, the feet are adjustable and I'm using a slight tilt, but not as much as the
stock feet provide. Dave
Rolloff, they are not attached, I do have some threaded screw from the bottom of the speakers to the holes on top of the stands to prevent shaking or knocking off since I'm in earthquake territory.
What did you use for the sides of the stands to mount the speaker spikes into? Do you have a part number for the feet too? I didn't see the rounded point models at Parts Express, though I was blown away by their real world prices. How refreshing to have someone sell hardware at hardware store prices, and not jewelry store prices.
Rolloff, just go to www.partsexpress.com and key in 249-720 under "Quick Search" at the upper left. The speaker spikes attach at the bottom (not the sides) of the stands . Both the brass points and the rubber feet come along with the set.
Wow not much in middle ground here.Guess I'll need to hear them which means leaving the sticks for Da Big City!.I think that some speakers elicit this type of no middle ground.The Zu line comes to mind.Maybe I reading to much of www.6moons.com but would like to hear them as much as gallo's and the Hyperion speaker which looks like a Wilson Wat/Puppy.But the double box configuration is geting more and more poular and given it's potantial to reduceresonace makes sense.Used to work at a dealer who sells the little cheap Gallo's as a alternmative to Bose (since most wioves say "doesen't it come any smaller" more often than any other.So my ex-boss is skeptical given he has B&W,Kef,Linn,and a few other options.damn thing about beiong a dealer is oftenm a company makes one or two great products and the rest of their line isn't worth it.Some,especially small companies.allow you to cherry pick but the bigger they are the more they want you to have the whole or a large percentage of the line.but am hinking on looks alone sonmeone would by a sample pair.It's just another dealer I know said his Thiel and B&W would just knock these out of the box and thought the Absolute Sound review was in his words "whack".
I have found a system configuration that sounds really wonderful. In fact, it's the best stereo system I've ever heard anywhere. Modwright 9.0SE tube preamp, pair of Conrad Johnson Premier 12 amps driving Gallo Ref3 speakers. The combination of a warm, liquid tube amp and the Gallo Ref3's is magical, EXCEPT for the bass. Then I added a Gallo SA to drive the second voice coils, and a REL Storm III subwoofer. Now the bass is fast, tight and punchy, but beautifully integrated. I run both the Gallo SA and the REL at 50% gain with both low-pass filters turned all the way down. It's a very versatile system that sounds good with all types of music from chamber music to rock. See "Tantra's Tube Rig" on the A'gon website. Highly recommended!
Read about Zu Druids on 6moons. Srajan compares them directly to the Gallo Ref 3's. He had them both on hand at the time.
Further, I know he traded up to bigger Zu's and still has the Gallos. In short, he praised the hell out of both of them.
And I believe he gave them each an award.
It's funny, I think that people cannot really get over how good these sound. These are so good they are almost a *freak* and because some people don't/can't deal with it they come up with "they sound congested" or "lean Bass".
Give me a break.
I actually went to the Digital Ear a store in Tustin (SoCal), they are a Gallo dealer and did not even have them hooked up or near others for a demo. They tried to sell us EVERY other speaker in the house from Martin Logan to Audio Physics to even Tannoy!
I could not believe it, They were not even going to play them for us, until we demanded that they do. They were clerly superior to everything they TRIED to sell us, the $4500 Audio Physics, the $3795 (Vistas) Martin Logan's and they said with a straight face that the Galllos are over-rated...?
You know what I think? I think that if dealers actually demo these speakers against everything under $10K they will never sell another speaker other than the Ref 3.1's! And I think that is way too painful for many of these dealers, their profits will dip because they will be moving the Gallo's in lieu of more expensive Logan's, A. Physics and every other speakers out there.
This is a business after all, and if Lexus comes out with a car that is 3 times less than the more expensive Mercedes but clearly out performs it, Mercedes is in serious trouble.
And that's what I think has happened here, these speakers are so good, everyone else is in trouble, including the dealers. A $3K Reference Speaker is a major paradigm shift for not only many manufacturers, but many dealers as well.
And I believe, THAT is the issue...
How much power do they need? I'm thinking of getting either a Manley Stingray or a Krell 400xi integrated amp. Would the Manley tube piece be enough? The lit says they can handle up to 350!
Rustler, the fact that the speakers can handle 350 wpc doesn't mean you need that much to drive them. The Ref3's are actually fairly easy to drive. The Stingray in UL mode should have plenty of power. Maybe even in triode mode. But I would strongly recommend purchasing a Gallo SA to drive the woofer second voice coils. With this combination you will have it all. The tight fast bass of a high-current SS amp, the lovely liquid midrange of the Stingray, and the awesome high end of those Gallo CDT tweeters. That system would be hard to beat at any price!
Tantra, that's wonderful advice. I was thinking of using a powered subwoofer to supplement the Gallos. Would that be overkill in your opinion? I have a Von Schweikert powered sub, which is incredibly quick and musical.
Many thanks for the input.
I hear the Gallo's for the first time today. The bass was heavy but everyhting else was stellar. (Seems to me most speakers have way too much bass for almost any room but I guess people like that). One issue - they are short.
Why are they and so many floor standing speakers so short? The average person inf the avaerage chair or couch is well above these and many other speakers
I also heard the soon to be announced Avalon Evolution. it was amazing - especially for the size and price. the highs we not quite as crisp as the Gallo but overall the speaker was just as impressive - and the bass wasn't heavy
I have owned and listened to the Gallo ref 3.0 for a year. My experiences did vary quite a bit depending on all equipment and ic's and pc's. Initially the Gallos were so harsh in the mids but the highs were glorious.The bass was not nearly where I wanted it to be. Not enough definition or prominence.Just kind of mushy. Got a good ss amp (bat vk 500) and gained some bass and mids and liquid but still harsh on mids due to cd player(music hall). Then added tube pre amp(bat vk 5ix) which helped alot to control the etched sound of the mids. I believe that the Gallos really reflect the equipment. Finally got a 24 bit Bat vk d5se cd player and hit real paydirt. The sound improved immensley as well as the sound stage. The real gains were in the speaker cable and interconnects as well as power chords. After ALL tweaks were done I found myself glued to my system in an unusual way. I could listen for hours on end without the fatigue I had experienced before all the changes. The imaging is wonderful but the bass mids and highs are something to be sought after. VERY clean and warm with lots of textures that are simply astounding. I never tire or fatigue and I want to really spend the time listening. The only thing now is the bass is slightly heavier than I want in some recordings. I have a small wierd room but speaker placement is the key in any room. I think tubes and warm ic and speaker cable make a tremendous. (Speltz IC and speaker cable with ZU Mother pc)I did try some other cables and did not find the warmth or bass that seemed possible. So here is mt 2 cents worth. Work toward the goal of taming the Gallos is my suggestion.
My 3.1s sound great. The detail and clarity is sensational. They sound great all around the room. Imaging is great, following each instrument is concise as well as effortless.
A totally engaging listening experience with no fatigue.
I would like to know though if anyone has modded the mid enclosures, i feel that these speakers could progress even further with some dampening on these . I am reluctant to bastardise the external though and am timid about opening the speakers up.
I have a 7.1 Gallo Ref3.1 system for home theater. I use a Lexicon RV-8 for movie duties, and a Pathos Classic MK2 integrated for dedicated music. Source is a Lexicon RT-20. I have custom subs, w Velodyne
SMS-1 controlling them.
I've heard quite a few speakers, and the Gallos with my Pathos driving them are Audiophile SEX! (I'd do 'em if I could...:-)
IMO-if you are not getting great sound with these speakers, something is seriously off with your system, room, or set up.
They are stupid easy to set up. Just get them 3-4 feet out from front, and side walls, and they are singing. The many stellar reviews are DEAD on. I love the sound of planars/ribbons, but they are huge, and usually require very careful setup(at least my Martin Logans do). Also the bigger stats, and ribbons visually "dominate" the room. The Gallo ref's have the speed and killer soundstage, without taking over the entire room. My 6 ref 3.1, with ref center channel
are AMAZING for home theater, and visually are barely noticed. With LOGIC 7(Lexicon) and the Gallos you ARE in the movie for sure.
These are keepers for a long time! Feel free to contact me with any comments, suggestions, or questions.
I've auditioned the Gallos and fall into the Not That Impressed camp. They certainly look cool--certainly a major factor in their huge popularity-- but weren't, to my ears, especially exciting to listen to--nice, but not overly detailed high end, somewhat lacking in dynamic slam and bass extension. Within their $3-5k price range, I much prefer the Magnepan 3.6 (which also need a sub) as well as the more conventional Totem, JM Lab, VMPS, PSB floorstanders, all of which sound "fuller". Just my opinion, of course--I hope their many fans continue to enjoy them.
Enjoy them, Mechdude 1. I certainly have, for the past 4 years. When you're feeling really flush, treat them to the Mapleshade bases specifically designed for these speakers. Pricy as hell ($775) but they literally transform the Gallos.
As to the Maggie comparison, I heard the 3.6s a while ago and couldn't return to the Gallos fast enough. As they say, YMMV :-)
I demoed them with Cary Tube amp (100 watts)and preamp in a medium room against Older merlins VSM and Revel F52. I was not impressed. Sounded congested and like a viel was over them. We played around with placement and to no avail. I was disapointed becuse I have herd so much about them and they are a perfect size. But in the same room with the same electronics they were very disapointing to me and all in the room