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.
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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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.