I see the price went up quite a bit on this new model.
Just trying to help you with the link for the members that would like to see the pictures :http://www.soundstage2.com/lasvegas2009/sd07.html
What ever happened to the Gallo 5s?? Those were designed as a dipole.A few pictures were available,then the speakers disappeared.What gives.
I'm a big fan of 3.1's being an owner myself...I think they should have grown a bit in height. Would love to hear them and compare.
The 5s are still in the works, actually says they are "shipping now" on the web site...
I can attest to the superior sound of the CDT tweeter.I'm a bit surprised that they haven't moved to a two-way with a multiple mid/woofer arrangement.Might improve the impedance question and bring up the efficeincy.
Neil Gader says they're "easier to drive", quoting 4-ohm 87db sensitivity. But the original Reference 3 and 3.1s (I have the Ref 3s) are 8-ohm, 88db sensitive, so what gives? Anyone know if the 3.5s have the same dual (woofer) voice coils as the originals?
You mean like the old Reference II...
Wow, $5800 clams per pair - almost double the price of the 3.1s. They would have to sound INCREDIBLY superior to make them worth that money. And I'm not too keen on the base/outriggers, they look cheesy IMHO. I already have outriggers on my 3.1s, paid $100 for 'em...
Any details on those out-riggers?
Barry, here are some links to the outriggers (I bought the "economical" ones, I'm a well-known skinflint)
And you're not alone ;~)
Yeah, thanks RW. ~$100 for out-rigger 3.1 supports is a reasonable price. Did you notice an improvement in the sound after installing them? Placing mine on stone blocks made a noticeable difference in image height, but only a slight difference in bass. But then, the bass is pretty darn tight and articulate to begin with.
Your thoughts please, Mr.RW
Wow,$6000.00! What is he smoking? I use a custom made stand from Sound Anchor for my 3.1's. They give them an 8" lift and weigh 50 lbs. That gives me the height and bass improvement for $2500 less. I cannot see the Outriggers being more stable than my stands. Hell, the Mapleshade stands are a far better bargain. As far as the other improvements, I never had a problem with the current woofer, and how much better can the new sphere sound? It seems like the drivers are the same, only the shape and angle have changed.
I cannot see these moving. The Outriggers look cheap to me also, and there are plenty of pre-owned 3.1's selling much less than retail.
Not to pick nits, but isn't it more like $200 since you need to buy 2 sets of out-riggers at $100 each?
I've contacted Scott Stein
about a custom base of my own design, and I think the price will be in the same ball-park, maybe a little more if I decide to add custom spikes. My design is different than what is currently pictured on Scott's site.
Barry_e_cohen:Yes,the Reference 2.I own a modified pair(systempost).The tweeter needs to be moved forward to allow phase alignment.Probably the only flaw in the original,other then the expense of the aluminum spheres and the fact that Gallo didn't support the CDT tweeter.No way to replace damaged units,other than to buy another set of speakers.Hopefully they will support the new CDT for a longer period.If not,the threes will begin stacking up on the side-lines:(
Yours are more than Reference IIs, as your speakers consist of 3 woofer units on the paralax (sp?) stands. Somewhere between the Ultimate and Reference versions ;~) I recently sold my Ref IIs, but I still have my Polly sphere'd Solos, and those speakers are still functioning perfectly some 13 years later. Along with the forward migration of the CDT, I would have liked to have seen it mounted between two of the base modules so that the sound would be even more of a point source. I had spoken to Anthony about this many years ago. What I'd really like, is to see the Aluminum sphere'd Solos put back on the market. I really think that those were some of his best speakers, and I think they could be priced very attractively now that he is in a position to put "the economics of scale" behind them.
I think many are jumping the gun regarding the price of the 3.5's. Let's see how they come out and then jump all over them if they don't meet expectations.
Just for yucks, here is a picture I mocked up of how the stand will look...
I'll use the threads for the spikes in the stock base to bolt it to the custom base, and then fill the custom base with sand or shot.
The added mass, and with of the base, should do a good job of adding additional stability, and the additional 7.5" in height should do a good job of raising the projected sound stage.
"Not to pick nits, but isn't it more like $200 since you need to buy 2 sets of out-riggers at $100 each?"
Weeeelllll, I contacted the company owner, Paul, and was able to negotiate a price of $99 + shipping for 2 sets, enough to do both of my front speakers. I bet if you referenced my conversation, and asked him nicely, he might accommodate you, too...
"I cannot see the Outriggers being more stable than my stands. "
Who knows? I wasn't able to find any stands on the Sound Anchors website that were specifically for the Gallos. I *do* know that my speakers are quite stable now, much more so than stock. And I'm betting the Sound Anchor stands cost a *wee* bit more than what I paid.
As for the sound, hard to say. The speakers sounded really good before, and they still sound really good. I know for a fact that they sound much better upright than they do on their sides - and this was the situation once my daughter's (BIG) puppy blew thru the room and took one down. =8^0
Well in that case RW, an excellent purchase. I may add a set of those to the bottom of the stands that Scott is building for me for even greater width. Thanks for the info!
"I cannot see the Outriggers being more stable than my stands. "
"Who knows? I wasn't able to find any stands on the Sound Anchors website that were specifically for the Gallos. I *do* know that my speakers are quite stable now, much more so than stock. And I'm betting the Sound Anchor stands cost a *wee* bit more than what I paid."
I was referring to the "outriggers" on the new 3.5's, not your aftermarket ones. They seem like a good deal. The 3.5 ones look cheap to me and is a hard pill to swallow at double the price, regardless of the other changes. The Gallo stands are not on the SA site, but you can see mine on page 4 of the Gallo AVS thread. I think they were $500/pair, but since I bought my 3.1's used, they came free with the set.
"maybe a little more if I decide to add custom spikes"
Barry - so I'm clear the options are:
1) reuse Ref spikes on the Stein stands
2) buy new spikes for the Stein stands
If you go with option 2 then you get something like this:http://www.steinaudio.com/images/IMG_9263_4_2_.JPG
and it looks like you will get increased stability as the spikes are pushed out all the way to the corners.
RW - Agree the Refs 3s would not make good horizontal center channel speaker :) No dogs here, but we do have cats and birds (I know, I know...). Love to watch the cats on aggressive surround sound discs: the head/ear darts from speaker to speaker are hilarious. The parakeet loves the music and sings right along with it. LOUDLY! He goes crazy when I play a nature/bird song CD. Probably shouldn't tease them like that, but it's better than tying a balloon to the cat's tail!
Those spikes on the Stein Audio site are unobtainium. I know because I came
up with the idea of using these particular spikes in the first place. They were
sourced from Parts Express and cost $14 for four of them, but left the
PartsExpress catalog years ago. If anyone knows where to get them now, please
post the info because I know a couple folks who would love to find them. They
do work like a charm under my Ref 3s. I believe that the stands pictured on
the linked site belong to KK Mui, with whom I collaborated along with Scott
Stein originally. It was KK's idea, BTW, and he made it happen. Dave
Well as Dopogue, mentions those spikes are no longer available. Also my stands are different than the stands you see on the Stein Audio website. They are of my own design, that I asked Scott to produce for me. My stands are larger than the stands on the website. They are 1.5" taller and 4" wider and deeper, so even without the outboard spikes the footprint will be wider still. My design can be seen here...
I also contacted another member here who made his own outriggers, and I may make some similar to those. We'll see.
The fellow who sold me the outriggers for my Ref. 3.1s has a link on his site for a wide variety of spikes. Perhaps there is something there that will work properly with the Stein Audio stands...?http://www.oregondv.com/spikes.htm
Well my Stein Audio stands should be here towards the end of this coming week, so I'll shoot a note off to Paul over at Soundocity about the outriggers once the stands are here.
Thanks RW, Barry
Any updates or pics of your custom Stein Audio stands, Barry?
Scott and I traded a few emails, and he was great to work with, but in the end I decided to work with a family friend who builds custom furniture locally. He and I were able to sit down and discuss face to face exactly what I wanted, and all I'll have to pay for is materials. I should be getting the stands very soon, and I'll put up a separate post, with; pictures, details, and my impressions of how the stands, and the different things I've tried in the interim, effected the sound.
Has anyone tried the Mapleshade stands on the 3.1's and, if so, how did they work out?
This gentleman had something similar made...
and seems very happy with the results.
Those don't offer much height, though, compared to something like the Stein stands.
Thanks Barry and Dopogue, I realize there are many different options for Gallo speaker stand upgrades but I would like to hear someones impressions of the Mapleshade stands. I am particularly interested in what effect it has on the bass.
I can't figure out why they are charging almost twice as much, with only minor tweaks to two of the drivers.
Additionally, the new speaker needs to address the real Achilles heel of the previous design, which was the very considerable resonances of the (metal!!!) 'cabinet' (frame). I found that covering many of the exposed metal flat surfaces with adhesively backed neoprene killed most of the very noticeable frame resonance. For about $175 you can get enough 1/8 inch neoprene from VibraSystems to do the job. No one seems to have ID'ed this issue, but my listening tests suggested that this treatment of the metal surfaces does clean up the speaker a bit. Of course a direct A/B comparison would be best. I suspect that if John Atkinson at Stereophile ever reviewed this speaker (either the 3.1 or the new 3.5), he would climb all over the resonance issue. Tribute to the rest of the design that they sound as good as they do.
I honestly don't believe that resonance is any kind of an "issue" with the Ref 3s. Just tried to stimulate it on my pair with some pretty loud music and was amazed at how NON-resonant these petite speakers actually are. Their forerunners, the Reference 2 series, were far more resonant (I still have the four-ball-per-side Gallo Ultimates) but sounded great anyway, though not nearly up to the sonics of the Ref 3 (3.0, 3.1) series. Dave
If you get close to the speaker when it is playing even moderately loudly and place a stethoscope on the surface, you will hear much more noise (mostly in the bass and mid-bass) coming from it than from the cabinet of any really first rate speaker (B&W, KEF, Revel, etc). This issue is a major design target for most high and even not so high end speakers - an acoustically non-resonant cabinet. Given that this has a metal structure, the resonance is not bad and pretty well controlled, but compared to a top wooden MFB it is really not so great. I notice that the sound seems cleaner, but of course this could be just auto-suggestion. Double blind testing would confirm whether it is an issue, but I am happy with the now totally inert surfaces that I have on my 3.1s.
Depends on the design philosophy too, and whether it "works." One
of the best sounding speakers I ever heard were the Shun Mooks whose wooden
enclosures resonate like crazy, intentionally, like violins.
In any event, the absence of boxy sound was the reason I went for Gallos in the
first place. I've never heard conventional (i.e., wood enclosed) speakers -
EXCEPT the Shun Mooks -- that didn't sound "boxy" after listening
to the super-clean Gallos. To each his own, YMMV and all that :-)
Note to self: Never listen to your Gallo's with a stethoscope. Done and done!
Let's put aside the unappreciated sarcasm about listening to Gallos with a stethoscope.
Since I don't have an accelerometer (what Stereophile uses to evaluate cabinet resonance issues), I had to make due, and I can tell you that if you listen to the Gallos 'frame" cabinet and compare it to a really inert B&W or recent KEF design at the same volume level, the difference is pretty striking. I think that "Spiritualized" is really missing the point - despite the 3.1 being a brilliant speaker and design, it isn't perfect and has one flaw - that flaw relates in part to one of the brilliant aspects of the design, namely the ability to have virtually no cabinet that creates diffraction effects that muddy the sound. That design approach requires a metal structure to support the D'Appolito array, and metal resonates (hello!). Even though Gallo I'm sure has tried to minimize that.
The issues is whether those effects reach any kind of audibility or not. The 'floor' for that varies depending on material and loudness, but most people feel that anything more than 30 db below say an 80 db foreground event is largely inaudible. Certainly anything 40 db below that is inaudible. Audibility is lessened if the material is an harmonic of the foreground sound. Of course, all this works in the favor of any speaker designer, and suggests that most of the time cabinet resonant effects are simply inaudible.
I did today a single blinded trial (comparing the two channels playing the same signal while I didn't know which speaker was playing - the stock one or the one with the applied anti-vibration treatment. Although I couldn't tell any difference between the two at lower volumes at really high volumes I could pick out the speaker with the treatment about 75% of the time, as the one sounding very slightly clearer. I didn't know which was which as someone else was doing the switching and was under strict instructions not to provide me with any cues. Some material didn't provide a basis for distinguishing the two speakers, but material with large amounts of bass however did. When I did my testing of the frame resonances, it is mostly in the bass that there is anything being produced.
I am still not totally convinced (75% over 12 trials is greater than chance but not that much greater), but I am happy with the results and they are easily reversible as the vibration dampening material peals off easily.
There is some science to this, but I don't have the equipment or the time frankly to due the testing. Hope this clarifies the issue for those who are totally skeptical. If you think this is just a crock, take a stethoscope, put on something at say 90 db or so, and start listen to how loud different cabinets are across speakers. You will be amazed at the differences, not just in terms of loudness, but in terms of frequencies.
Since I rarely listen "at really high volumes" I guess I have MY answer. Also, I've found that bass performance of the Ref 3s can be improved by judicious placement of Room Tunes, by optimizing the position of the speakers (it takes a lot of time to find the best place) and by raising the speakers 6" or so (I use the stands from Stein Audio and was one of two people who came up with these stands in the first place). I also use the Gallo Subwoofer amp. Dave
By really high volume levels I mean something like 50 to 100 W per channel. In other words not deafening but just realistic sound levels. I don't think I'm exceeding 90-95 db in my large room.
I also would not want my comments to be construed as any kind of indictment of the speaker. I think that this is clearly the best speaker for the money, and probably the best speaker for under $6000 easily. I think it's actually a better speaker than the $8000 B. and W. 800 diamond series floor stander (forgotten the model number). in fact I think the speaker might be the best value in high end audio but that does not mean that it can't be improved. A more aesthetic solution would be to apply dampening compounds to the interior of the frame but I suspect Gallo has already done something like that because certainly the frame does not resonate the way untreated metal might.in any case, I'm happy with my results, and so are you!
Curious what your general impression of the Gallo amp is? do you have it connected from speaker level or line level inputs? Can you tell the difference on classical music and popular music? The speakers already have pretty good bass but I have been thinking seriously about buying the amp. any recommendations or cautions would be appreciated.
Given my 12 wpc SET monoblocks, it would be kinda hard to experience 50-100 watt levels :-)
I'm filling a pretty big space with these SETS, BTW, (18 x 40' with an "L" off one of the 40' sides) and never experienced strain or clipping, probably because of their humongous transformers. As to the Gallo sub amp, I'm of two minds. Yes, it does add heft to the bottom end (I'm bringing it in at around 45 hz), but I've never heard anything to complain about down there with or without the bass amp (one recent visitor actually asked me where the subwoofer was), and I'm not really a bass freak. If you're interested, I'd suggest picking up a used one at ~$450 so you can flip it if you don't like it.
I'm using the line level inputs -- my amps complain loudly if I try to use the speaker-level ones. Good luck, Dave
Dfwatt, Read this interview with Mr. Gallo. May give you a little more insight. http://www.6moons.com/industryfeatures/gallo09/opt.html
Thanks very much for that link. I think I might've scanned that piece earlier, but now I read it more carefully. I certainly think Gallo is on the right track and I agree with everything that he says. I did not know he was absorbing so many extra costs in order to maintain the price point of the original Reference Threes and 3.1. It makes sense unfortunately that the speaker cost has virtually doubled. He clearly is a gifted designer and very thoughtful about design targets.
I do have some major questions though about the widespread assumption that absolute phase integrity (a virtually physically impossible design target in a discrete three-way system except perhaps in a tiny listening window) is nearly as important to the audible illusion of a music source compared to flat frequency response and some other things. In sources that are time coherent but not time aligned (such as newer BMW and KEF designs) the amount of delay between the arrival times of wave fronts coming from woofer versus mid range versus tweeter is on the order of 1 to 3 ms or so. Although virtually everyone would agree that it is theoretically desirable to have complete phase integrity, I don't believe anyone has demonstrated in double blind testing that a 1 to 3 ms phase smear is really truly audible. What is clearly audible on the other hand are things like transient response, and frequency response and intermodular distortion (many times more audible than classic harmonic distortion). Additionally, designs that prioritize phase alignment have to make sacrifices in other things that are audible (read the excellent Stereophile review of one of Thiel's speakers at http://stereophile.com/floorloudspeakers/1208thi/.
There is pretty good physical evidence that transient response and these other things are intrinsically related, in other words that great transient response predicts a flat frequency response and even a good phase response and relatively low IM distortion.
I think human beings are great at constructing plausible story-lines to explain something, but many of our plausible stories turn out not to be true. Science is literally littered with the corpses of dead highly plausible theories and we still have to test even our favorite ideas that seem totally commonsensical against some kind of empirical prediction. I have not seen a truly careful test double blinded of phase smear at very small time frames (have enough literature in my own area to review and stay on top of).
Part of the reason I'm skeptical is that I don't think there's much reason why evolution would've carved the ability to detect these things because they have very little application in the real world to basic mammalian survival tasks. Unless phase smear at very small time scales meant that we could not identify either the spatial location or the source of a noise (and these are clearly unaffected), is not clear to me that there would be any selection process for such abilities. I honestly don't know what the work is in this area, and I'm sure that phase smear becomes audible at some point (my guess is somewhere probably around 100 to 200 ms). But I believe that very few speakers have that degree of phase delay. Thiel has made a killing selling the idea that extremely small phase delays or mismatches make a big audible difference, and although I have considerable respect for his speakers and for him personally, I don't agree that there is compelling evidence for such an assumption. Of course it's possible that some people's brains can hear small degrees of phase misalignment while other people cannot.
Anybody know of any carefully done research in psychoacoustics to address this question? I'd be interested.
DFWATT said "By really high volume levels I mean something like 50 to 100 W per channel. In other words not deafening but just realistic sound levels. I don't think I'm exceeding 90-95 db in my large room."
Hi Doug, how do you know how many watts or how loud you are listening? Does you amp have meters? What SPL meter do you use?
I know people are touchy around here so being gentle, how do you know this? Just asking....
Fair questions. I have a power meter on the amp. I am just guessing about sound levels based on the rough efficiency of the speaker (which I think is a bit less efficient than rated - these are real power hogs). I don't like move theater sound levels (aren't they ridiculous, esp. on the trailers?) so I know I am under those by a bit.
Hey Doug, no offense intended. Just trying to add some levity to the proceedings. I don't presume for a moment that the Gallo 3 is a perfect speaker, but then I challenge anyone, anywhere, to show me such a device. I just like playing music through mine, that's all I know.
Hi Doug, thanks for the answer, I am just, always, curious as to how someone comes to their conclusions of watts used/spl/freq response of their system.
No problem, I appreciate the clarification (couldn't tell if you were teasing (which is always OK) or being dismissive - my fault for assuming the latter.
I take it you have a pair of 3's (3.0 or 3.1?). I am eagerly awaiting the appearance of the 3.5s. It does sound like Gallo did quite a bit of work smoothing things out even more. Just a bit pricey at barely this side of 6K. Some of the online sellers (which means you lose the warranty thru Gallo) might have them for mid to high 4's. Will be interesting. . . . really wish that Stereophile would review them. Atkinson's stuff is the current industry benchmark IMHO for technical and quantitative assessments of loudspeakers. Love to see it, and don't understand why they haven't - the usual stuff about only reviewing advertiser's products (which has some truth I suppose) doesn't explain it. Anyone know why Stereophile has ducked this?? - the speculation of course is that it would upset the apple cart to have such a small relatively cheap speaker blow away the high end products. The field is still recovering from the trauma of the first controlling listening tests on amps - did so much damage that no one wants to touch that subject.
Hi Doug, yes I own a pair of 3.05's actually. Other than the removal of the switch on the back of the speaker, there was some other modification made to the crossover??? I don't honestly remember, it was right before the 3.1 came out. Anyway, I love the speakers. I use them along with the Gallo sub amp, and they never cease to amaze me. IMO they are one of the best values in the speaker market. In reference to Stereophile; I can only imagine there are some politics at play as to why they haven't reviewed them. I am very curious to hear the new 3.5.