Schweikert VR4-Jr vs. Gallo Reference 3 with SA

Good Day All,

I have read a number of post with regard to these two speakers, but many are fairly old and before the Gallo's were even officially released. I am now trying to get as much input as possible on comparing these. Please not that it is between the VR4-Jr and the Gallo Reference 3 WITH THE SUBWOOFER AMP. Without considering the price difference ($4000 for VR4-Jr vs $3400 for Ref 3 and SA) and without alternative suggestions, would anyone who has been able to listen to these two please post their opinions, comments, experiences etc.

With Thanks and Regards,
1. I ended up with the Gallo's (may as well put it up front).

2. The SA is "vapor-ware": not yet available, may or may not ever be. The reviewed prototypes may or may not represent what is produced (I'm not negative, I plan to buy the SA when & if available...)

3. I'm most interested in mids: small group jazz vocals, saxaphone, etc.

4. I found that in a small room, the Gallo's performed more to my liking. You can read the reviews for the elegant prose, but I found the VS's sound didn't integrate well in small spaces (& nearfield listening).

5. I also found the customer service experience very very different--VS ignored all of my emails looking for a local dealer (I never ever heard back from them), Gallo answered in the same day... not looking for problems, but nice to know they at least read & respond to correspondence

6. Probably also amp dependent (I use a McCormack DNA 0.5 Rev. A).

Happy listening,
Hi There,

Interesting - I spoke to the importer of Gallo here in South Africa and he said that the SA is coming along with the shipment of Ref III's which are expected in 2-3 weeks. Has them on preorder even I think. Perhaps they have made the 220V version (thats the voltage system used here) but not the US 110V?? Not sure really.

Bgrazman, can you elaborate on your room size (i.e., dimensions). Previous posts have indicated the VR4 Jr's were good for small rooms (I even think Rives said this) so I'm surprised you found they didn't work as well as the Gallo's. I haven't heard the VR4 Jr's but have heard the Gallo's and was impressed. P.S. If it wasn't obvious, I've got a small room.
I just happen to have both in house as we speak!
While the VR-4JR's are well broken in, the Gallo Reference 3's are not, as of yet. Once they are completely broken in I plan to do some direct comparsions with the help of a local audiophile friend.
While I obviously don't have the SA to complement the Ref 3's, I am using a separte 2 channel amp along with a 50hz filter to power the woofers second voice coil.
I personally would be very surprised if the Gallo's come out on top of this direct comparsion, but time will tell (the Gallo's should be fully broken in within the week).
For a twist, the winner of this comparsion will go up against a pair of Klipsch KL-650-THX :)
Geoh, do report your findings. It would be most interesting indeed because I happen to prefer the Gallo Ref.3. The ambience tweeter on the VR-4Jr sounds better on paper than in person. But then, unlike you I didn't get to hear them side by side in the same sytem.

I'm actually working with Rives on my room (I'm in the process of building out the Rives design) and yes, he recommends the 4jrs, but I liked the Gallos better. My room is 13' X 15'6" and the speakers are "on" the long wall--speakers to listening position is about 7 feet.

Please keep us posted on the SA--I wrote back & forth to Gallo just about 3 weeks ago and they were completely mum--no comment on production, no commitment to any design or date.

Please don't take offense this is just my observation.

For those who haven't seen the Gallo Reference in person.. I almost fell over laughing when I saw them at my local dealer, they are so small (knee high).All the pictures and reviews I thought they were these huge speakers and they look like toys based on my expectations. A couple of my other audio buddies said the same thing. I didn't listen to them.

I did like the look of the grills when they were put on.

I have listened to the VR4jr's and the VR4 GenIII and the jr's work fine in a small room my dealers is like 10x11 and the bass impact was really impressive for a small speaker and the forward facing port would help with getting them closer to the back wall.
Cytocycle, you must be about 10' tall if the gallos are "knee-height". They are 30" tall, which is small for a floorstander, but nothing miniature. Also, to me that was a big "plus", because I prefer modern/minimalist design.

You don't need a big speaker for big sound...
Jcruse: I was Really Really just taken back by their size I really thought they were 6' high from all the pictures in the magazines. I know you don't need a big speaker for big sound and they are cool looking. The dealer said the same thing that everyone comes in and is shocked by their small size.

Your preference for modern/minimalist(my listening room is kinda busy with all the treatments) is just like mine and that is why I bought WP7's instead of Soundlabs
Hi Guys,

Spoke to my dealer again. The shipment is leaving in 2-3 weeks. The amplifiers are apparently ready and waiting, it is the Ref III's themselves which are taking their time due to the high demand (and South Africa aint exactly high on the priority list of countries :)

So the questions begs: wait till end of year/beginning Jan for the Ref III's with amp, or go for a pair of VR4-Jr's which I can currently get at a roughly equivalent price??

Music I listen to is light rock (cranberries), light classical, new age (adiemus, vangelis) but the majority is female vocals.

I auditioned both extensively before purchase. I ended up purchasing the Gallo Ref III's. Much like you, pricing was not a factor in this choice.

It is not easy to explain the differences between these speakers. The VR4-Jr's sounded heavy and somewhat slow, but with a very smooth and full overall presentation. In comaparison, the Gallo's are very transparent, extremely fast, and also very smooth all the way through their frequency range. To me, the Gallo's sounded more lively than the VR4-Jr's.

On the high-side of the frequency response, the Gallo's have a clarity and extension that has to be heard to be believed. They do this without sounding at all bright or fatiguing. I am a big fan of electrostatic speakers, so the electrostic-like speed and clarity really drew me to the Gallo's.

I have read some read some reviews that claim the midrange on the Gallo's is somewhat lean. I have not personally experienced this, but I am using Cary 805c's to drive them. Since the Cary's are known to have a particularly lush midrange, these amps and speakers most likely balance each other nicely. I would not argue, however, that the VR4-Jr's are probably fuller sounding through the midrange.

In terms of bass, I would rate the speakers about even. The VR4-Jr's go lower than the Gallo's without the 2nd voice coil, but the VR4-Jr's bass is a little bloated for my taste. On the other hand, the Gallo's still don't quite have the tight bass that I would prefer. I plan to purchase the subwoofer amp when it is available with hopes that this will tighten things up down low.

I will comment that the Gallo's particularly excel with female vocal reproduction since you said that is important.

I am curious about what amp you plan to use with the speakers. This might make a difference. I strongly prefer the Gallo's over the VR-4Jr's when used with tube amps; however, I may have gone the other way if I had planned to use solid state.

I hope this helps,
Hi There,

I currently have an Electrocompaniet ECI-3 integrated amp. I really love it as it is SS but has a warmth and smoothness that is very tube-like. I also have a tube CD player which is very synergistic.

If I were going for the VR4-Jr's I would most likely add a an Electrocompaniet power amp and bi-amp (the ECI-3 can be run as a preamp with its own channels still functioning thus allowing bi-amping). However with the Gallo's I would not need to. The ECI-3 would power the Ref III's full range (minus the second voice coil) whilst the Gallo SA would take care of the subs. That would give me the tube like quality in the mids/upper range with the bass grunt handled by the SA.

I agree with Jeff 100%. You should a pretty good match with the ECI-3.
Xenithon, another deal breaker may be the weight of the speakers. I used to prefer "the heavier built the better" until I have to move equipment around once or twice too many times. What's attractive to me now are components that are solidly built yet not too heavy to break my back. The Ref3's certainly fit this criterion more than the 4-Jr's.
I have give it a lot of thought and have pretty much decided on the Ref III's. There are a number of reasons including:

- I do not require a change in amplification (a headache on its own, not to mention the associated changes that may be required such as properly matched cables etc.)
- the proper amount of power will be supplied to the speakers to get their full potential (ECI-3 plus the Gallo SA) whereas I may find myself lacking with the VR4's
- I really prefer quick, dynamic sound especially with vocals and from all sources I have read/heard, the Gallo's excel here while the VR4's can sometimes be a bit 'heavy'

Those are nitpicks really. Some more important influences are:
- The VR4-Jr's I would need to import. That is an added, uncertain cost (until it lands I do not know final cost) and there is always a risk of shipping damage
- The warranty with the VR4-Jr's would require shipping back and forth (most likely at my expense) if a problem should ever arise)
- I do not have the luxury of checking the speakers physically myself (important since the VR4-Jr's I would be buying used or demos)
- The Gallo's I will buy new, from the official distributor, with full warranty. Buying locally saves many headaches and reduces many risks to imports. This is especially important since VSA is not distributed here anymore and thus I would have nowhere to go to with any problems (as unlikely as they may be).

To owner's of Gallo Ref III's, I have two requests please
1. If you can perhaps send me some photos or links to photos it will be much appreciated. WAF will seriously come into play and some convincing required methinks
2. Please let me know what spades the speaker terminals (speaker in and sub in) need - normal spades or oversized spades? I need to reterminate my speaker cables would like to change from banana to spade as I believe it is better.
3. What colours do you recommend? :) I am thinking of Steel Accents and either Black or Maple base.

It has been a long time since I have listened to Electrocompaniet. From what I remember, it sounds very smooth for solid state. I am sure it would make an excellent match to either speaker.

Congratulations on your choice. I'm sure you would be very pleased with either speaker, just for different reasons.

You can see nice pictures at the following links:

Keep in mind that the speakers are much smaller than they look in the pictures (just 3' tall); however, they sound much larger than they physically look. When you listen, they image so nicely that you really won't be able to pinpoint that the music is coming from the speakers at all. The music seems to just exist in space independent of the speakers.

I chose black with black base. Actually, that was the wife's choice. I got to choose the speaker, and she chose the colors that go best with our decor. Black with black blends in nicely and doesn't call a lot of attention to itself, especially with the covers installed.

Once again congratulations, and let us know how you like your choice.

Congratulations on your decision! It must have been hard, but your reasons were very solid...and perhaps over time you will come to appreciate knowing that they're lighter than the VSA. They're also non-bi-wired.
Steel accent and maple base = elegant match.
6 moons' review of the Ref3 and Ref3 SA
Good luck.
Thanks! Do you know perhaps what spade size they would need for the speaker cables? Also do you (or any Ref III owners) perhaps have any hi-res photos (not the diminutive, low res shots from the web :)

I would say oversized spades would work best. The binding post are of a big diameter, very heavy duty.
Both sets are the same size.
I like the stainless steel with black base. But I haven't seen the maple base as of yet.
On my system page, there's a picture of the silver 3's with the maple base. Away from home right now, so I can't take detailed photos of the spade size, but I hooked up my Nordost SPM's with no problem.

Can't wait to talk to my dealer about the SA....
Bgrzman - do you know how the SPM's are terminated?

I have factory terminated spades... but I don't know how Nordost terminates them.
There's a new review from here on the jr's:
Review pretty much says it all.....
I haven't heard another speaker near it's price point that can better the "Jay-Rs" top to bottom. Some have a better top end (Gallo Ref3 come to mind), but the JRs mid-range & bass performance is second to none, again near it's price point.
The only speaker that I've heard recently that can better the JRs overall performance are the VMPS RM-40s "Brian Cheney Edition" and possibly the new RM-30s.
But considering the JRs size, price, easy placement due to their front firing drivers and port, interesting design, driving ease (tube friendly), and killer looks (for a box speaker) they should be heard by anyone auditioning speakers up to twice + their price.
Me thinks.....
Geoh, how are the comparisons coming along? Are you able to make any final conclusions yet?

Keep us posted!
Didn't Bound for Sound also do a comparison between a VMPS and the Ref3's? Anyone have that issue and share the results?
In terms of amplifiers, I currently have the Electrocompaniet ECI-3 integrated, rated at 70W x 2 (very high current as is most Electrocompaniets). I have the opportunity to get my hands on a Classe CAP-151 integrated, which is rated at 150W x 2. Has anyone compared these two perhaps? Which one do you think would be a better match for the Gallo Ref III?

Update on the SA: spoke to my dealer (importer) yesterday. He confirmed that the speakers are going to be shipping end December, but the the SA amp will only ship in Spring (US Spring, thus March). Do you guys think it would be worth waiting for the SA (4 months minimum)?? I am still in a position to either:

1. Order the Gallo, receive the speakers in January and the amp in March.
2. Get the VR4-Jr, which I can get now.

Both will end up around the same price.

I don't know about everyone else, but I for one will be glad when you get some speakers.........any speakers......

Thanks for that fantastic input. I assume you are in the US/Europe or somewhere else where you can pop over to a store and demo to your hearts content, have an almost infinite choice of speakers, have the ability to have a home audition etc. When you visit a country like SA which is (in the audio world at least) third world, with a fraction of the variety, no chance of home auditions and numerous other obstacles I assure you that your stance will change.
Get the Jr's and enjoy them. Reasons why:
1. Life is too short to wait around. You can be enjoying your music for months ahead of the Gallos
2. They are a great speaker. Easy to place, sound good, very flexible, ie: Shot loading, wiring preferences etc.
3. If you end up not being happy with them, (doubt it) you can sell them - and by that time your Ref. 3's will be available. IN ADDITION - you will not have wasted 2 months of your life pondering something that you might not like as much as the Jr's anyway.
Just my 2 cents. :-) Good luck

Best to ignore respones such as poster about you.
No matter where your from, I think it's a good idea to get as much "good" feedback from fellow audio nuts as possible.
If it were me (I'm sick), why don't you go for both, try them both out, keep the ones you prefer, sell off the others. That's what I would do.... but I'm sick.
Let me explain why I am leaning toward the Ref III's. I think this info is important as it highlights the constraints within which I must work:

Living in South Africa the choices are very few and limited. Most things I would need to import. Products like cables are no problem and all my cables for example are imported. Speakers and electronics are a different story. With these larger purchases, peace of mind is always an issue. First there is the issue of shipping damages which are entirely on my shoulders, versus the importer (if there is one). Secondly is warranty and backup. If there is ever a problem, it is always good to have someone locally who can diagnose the problem and fix it at no cost.

With both speakers, I would previously have had to import them. However, the importer of Gallo Acoustics is now bringing in the entire range including the Ref III and Subwoofer Amp. For the same price as the VR4-Jr (a demo model which I would need to import) I can get the Ref III's with Amp locally, new, with full warranty.

Furthermore about the VR4-Jr's - I contacted VSA and they confirmed that in the case of a problem, it would be difficult to organize a replacement as they don't have official people here (authorized technicians) who can check the speakers and verify a particular problem. Any shipping of parts to/from VSA would need to be covered by me.

I hope this sheds some light on the situation. It is not at (seemingly) simple as it may be in much larger markets such as the US. There you can try before you buy, have home auditions etc. Those policies unfortunately do not work here.

There is nothing wrong with acquring all the feedback you can when shelling out that kind of $$. This applies no matter where you live. But you have been dragging this thing out here and on AA for a while. I think by now you will have gotten most of the usable information you can from owners and tire kickers alike. It's up to you now to decipher all this and decide what speakers to buy. I'm sure there won't be any earth shattering revelations to be had at this point.

And BTW, good luck with whatever you choose.

I understand your viewpoint Ozzy. Bear in mind though that situations were constantly changing, thus being dragged on. For example, the recent turn in events that the Gallo Ref III would be brought in locally. This is one of a number of changing circumstances. If it were all static I can assure you I would be listening to music right now as opposed to posting here and AA.

My dealer confirmed today that Gallo won't even take an order for the SA amplifier. They are now saying that they do not know the final price and not to expect anything before the end of Q1 '05.
I believe we have conflicting info then :)

My dealer confirmed that they are taking orders and shipping spring 2005 (March). I am not sure what to think anymore as no matter how much we trust the dealers they can pull wool over our eyes - after all business is business. However I tend to believe him as I sent an email seperately to Gallo and their sales rep (Mena) confirmed that they will ship in spring.

I hope you are right... I was ready to give my dealer a deposit, but he wouldn't take it (don't hear that too often) so maybe I sound negative out of frustration...

In any case, buy the speakers now, get 'em nice & broken in & ready for the SA (and meanwhile, you get to enjoy them).
Hey Ozzy- Great post..I had to LOL!! Yes..Please get some speakers soon! and best regards,
Isn't there a way to hook up better amps and filters to the 2nd voice coil rather than waiting to get Gallo's? They aren't exactly known for their electronics.
I believe all you need is a decent power amp with an external crossover. Connect the pre-outs of your preamp or integrated amp to the power amp's inputs and that should work, but is not ideal. The Gallo SA amp was designed specifically for it and thus completely optimized, and it is also a fully active crossover. Furthermore I do not think it would be worth going for a better 'brand' amp as it is only handling frequencies of around 40Hz and below. Sticking a Levinson/Krell/Plinius etc. on it is overkill as it is, after all, a subwoofer amp only.
I definitely think that the Schweikert VR-4 Jr. is a more enjoyable speaker. Of course speakers are largely a matter of taste but to me the Schweikerts sound closer to what live music sounds like.
I agree with Aaccss. The vr4 jr is a very uncolored experience to my ears. It doesn't get much better than that. Great tweeter, midrange to die for, and bass lower and tighter than most speakers in this price range. That's why they got a great review and why people are talking about them.

Hi There,

Rob and Aaccss - please don't take this as argumentative, as I cannot actually tell (haven't heard the speakers) but rather as an inquisitive query: aren't the Gallo's meant to be even more uncolored and less smeared due to the absence of a traditional 'speaker box'?


You're going to get a lot of responses from people who have heard one of the brands but not the other. I HAVEN'T heard the Von Schweikert's, but you don't need to worry about any "coloration" with the Gallos. I own them, and the closest they sound to any other speakers are planars, but with more presence and better dynamics. You've made your decision, relax in knowing you made a very good choice.

There will be people who tell you they liked brand A better, but it's all a matter of personal taste.
Hi There,

No worries :) As mentioned in my post it was simply me being inquisitive. I was just surprised that the Gallo's were touted as being more coloured as I thought that their complete lack of colouring was one of their strengths.

The SA's are supposed to be shipping the end of this month!! I suppose we'll wait and see, but this is the first definitive commitment from Gallo i've heard
It's about the 15th I've hear :p

I gave up about 6 months ago already. I am sitting very happily wit my Revel Gems :)

Why don't you try some locally built products like Vivid?

As a South African Company I have to think that your price might be similar to the import prices of those other two brands and my experience with the Gallo and VSR, they won't be even clost to what Vivid has to offer.
I agree with jcruse. You won't be disappointed with either speaker. Since you made your choice - don't drive yourself crazy wondering, just enjoy the Gallo’s.

I think they are both in the accurate uncolored camp. As to which is more accurate – who knows. It would be a judgment call and any component in the system could add coloration that some would contribute to the speaker. So, just know they are both similar in that respect.
I listened to the JR's last week and I was floored at the soundstage and midrange for the price, these were run with Audio Research tube gear and it was a very enjoyable "you are there" experience. The only concern I had was they were like 8 feet from back wall and I dont know how the rear tweeter would work near wall, but as they were was an awesome audition