Gallo Stradas vs. Merlin TSM-MXRs

I know this is a weird question, but I have an opportunity to purchase either Gallo Stradas or Merlin TSM-MXRs, but do not have the opportunity to hear them. The Merlins are about $700 more, which I don't mind paying if they are superior. Both would be paired with a small sub for a music-only second system. Amp is a Bel Canto ref500s. The room (my office) has terrible room treatment (hardwood floors, blank plaster over masonry walls, hard modern furniture, tall ceilings- and I don't want to add much in the way of room treatment for aesthetic reasons). I listen to a very wide variety of music - but mostly indie rock and jazz, at low to moderate levels.

Thoughts? I will be replacing Meadowlark Kestrel Hot Rods.
Both of these speakers are very good. If you want absolute invisable speakers as far as imaging goes, then the Gallos are hard to beat. Man.... This is a tough one, they're both really good speakers.
Are the Stadas bright? Or does it just depend on how they are set up?
The TSMs are indeed superb speakers but I can't compare them to the Gallos which I haven't heard. I had no idea they cost that much more, they are good very good, though.
Would appreciate comments on which of these speakers will sound best in a highly reflective room. Or, maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree with these speakers. I just saw a pair of Nuforce Reference S-9s on A'gon that also look interesting, although they are a bit more expensive than the Merlins.
I own a pair of Stradas and their floor mounts (with modded brass spikes from Eden Sound), plus a pair of Gallo TR-3 subs. I have only heard the larger (VSM?) Merlin speakers -- in a wildly different system -- but I'd put the Gallos up against them any time. Granted, it's not a fair comparison. No, the Stradas do not sound bright, at least not i my tubed (Aesthetix Calypso, 845 SET monoblocks) system.
Thanks, Dopogue. Also wondering if anyone has tried the Mapleshade floor mounts for the Stradas? They are supposed to be fantastic, but I have a hard time imagining how they would sound that low and whether they would be blocked by other furniture in the room.
I own VSMs but have little experience with the TSM. I also own A'divas, but have little experience with the Strada. Oddly, however, I did recently happen to listen in on an A/B between these two speakers that a local dealer was conducting for another customer. (I was in the store on another matter.)

I agree that both sounded very good, but the TSM has significantly more bass and would IMHO be a far better choice as a stand-alone speaker - even at the higher price. The Gallo seems to have been designed for use with a subwoofer, and that equation would probably change if you were to add the sub into the mix. Also, bear in mind that the TSM falls (IMO) toward the brighter side of the FR balance spectrum itself, so it may not be ideal for your needs, either.

One more note: the Gallo also has a super-wide dispersion tweeter, which might spell trouble in a small, reflective room like yours. That's just speculation, I heard 'em in a larger, well damped room and the balance - save for MIA bottom end - was pretty good.

For your application, I'd pick the TSM every time. There may be other choices out there better than either of these for your needs, but between these two choices, run full-range in a small, bright room....

Sorry, I just noticed the small sub reference in your OP. I'm not sure that my observations are quite as relevant to your application as I thought, save the potential problems with the wide dispersion tweeter on the Gallo. On that front, the floor (and ceiling) may not be a problem as these tweeters are limited in vertical dispersion, but (IIRC) 300 degrees horizontally.

@Martykl - That's very helpful - thanks! Note, though, that I will be using a small subwoofer. Does that change your opinion at all? I am also worried about the wide dispersion of the Stradas reflecting too much in my room.
The Gallo Strada floor mounts (as opposed to the floor stands that raise the speakers 4' or so) are just fine if you enjoy listening while seated on the floor. Pierre Sprey (Mapleshade) is a strong advocate of this low-listening position. Not me.
For an office system you might consider the new Dynaudio xeo 3. Its a powered speaker with built in dac and wireless so no speaker cables to deal with. I replaced a big rack of gear with a set of these in my bedroom and I couldn't be happier. They seriously rock and are very smooth. If the idea of a clean uncluttered system appeals then these would be a great choice. I've had lots of gear over the years and these are really something special.
Just recieved new TSM-MMM's and could not be happier. Dont know what you are looking for...but for me they are perfect. I had Focals that i tried to make work for too long. They took away my constant desire to change something or go to another song.
Just as a footnote...I have them on a modest system.
100.00 Sony dvd player
H/K citation 16 amp
Thor ta-1000
I already have a Bel Canto amp and Wadia DAC that I'm quite happy with, but thanks for the suggestion.
Just heard both at RMAF and would definitley go Gallo.

I'd be reluctant to comment decisively on your "what if?" since my biggest issue with the Gallo was that -IMHO - it absolutely needed a subwoofer.

I'd estimate that - in the room that I heard 'em - the TSM provided close to a full octave in additional bass extension. That delta gave the TSM a reasonably satisfying octave to octave balance, while the Gallo came up short. That overwhelmed all other differences for me, particularly because both speakers sounded so very good in all other respects to my ear.

I never heard the Strada set up with a sub, so I can't really offer a judgement, other than to say that I would PRESUME that it would be more satisfying with a subwoofer (provided that it was a good subwoofer, well matched to the Strada, and properly set up). In the end, however, that's just a presumption.

Incidentally, the Merlin might benefit from a well set up sub, as well, it's just that it's less critical than with the Gallo. I'd guess that it would be a much closer call for me were I comparing these two with subs on line, but - again - that's just a guess.

m205, the tsm was not in denver, sorry. i played the master vsm system.
you just like the gallo sound more than the merlin sound and that is ok with me.
bobby at merlin
I have TSM-Mmi powered by a Manley Stingray II in a large, very reflective room with no treatments. The set-up is further compromised by having the TSM in a large wall unit--solid birch and open-backed, but still way suboptimal. Nonetheless, they sound superb. I was worried about edginess in this room, and a bass hump because of close proximity to the front wall, and diffuse imaging because of the wall unit, but no such problems. This is not my main system yet I could live with it as such. A small, fast, sealed-cabinet sub helps, set at 50 Hz. The TSMs are remarkably good, flexible speakers. Never heard the Gallos, though, so I can't help you there.
Marty, you're right. The Stradas absolutely demand a subwoofer. One is okay,
two are much better. The drivers of the TR-3 subs are identical to the woofers
in the Gallo Ref 3.5s, by the way.
mateored, if you call the factory i will take the time to explain how to set the speakers up properly to get the most out of them. also to tell you what they come with and how to use these items. i am glad to help.
I haven't been on the forum for ages, but I thought I'd bump my own thread to let everyone know how this played out (I appreciate when people do that). As it turned out, I went in a completely different direction. While I was debating between the Merlins and the Gallos, I noticed a ridiculously good deal on a pair of Linn Majik 140 floor standing speakers. These weren't at all what I was looking for originally, but the price was too good to pass up, and they were located driving distance from my house, so I thought I'd check them out. As a bonus, they have a glossy white finish, which happens to perfectly match the very modern furniture in my office. They are a lot bigger speaker than I was planning on getting, but in the white finish, they almost vanish into the white wall behind them (why aren't there more white speakers? They look great IMHO and are much less obtrusive). Anyway, for the price, I figured I'd try them out and see how I liked them. I figured I'd have no problem unloading them for the same price if they didn't work for me.

As it turned out, I love them. They are very neutral and clear, but warm enough not to be clinical. The bass is authoritative but not at all boomy, and the drivers are perfectly integrated.

I still want to try the Merlins one day. I will probably get a pair of TSMs for my home system one day.
m, i am glad you like the linns because they are fine speakers and at the right price, a wonderful purchase!
btw, issue 79 of positive feedback on line has something you may want to read. it is a review of the black magic tsm with a description of how it was designed.
Thanks, Bobby. I'll check it out. I love how you stay on top of these threads and are accessible. Just another reason I'll probably get a pair of Merlins some time soon. Maybe even in white! or fire engine red ; )