Friends, Since I first posted last week, my obsessive tendencies have kicked into "gear." Many suggested the Gallo Ref III as a must hear for me - a musician who literally plays with his system. On paper, the Gallos make a strong impression with near universal accolades. But peeling away the adoration, I wonder whether they would be a best buy for my needs. I am prepared to buy used. The Gallos go for around $2k. But then you need to add the cost of the sub - another $500-600. Many may say it is not necessary. Without having it, I will always wonder. A bigger issue is the sound stage. I am told that they cast a broad but short shadow. Since I stand when I play/listen, that is a significant issue. I could buy a pair of stands, but custom made can run upwards of $700. Cinder blocks will not fit our decor, I am sure my wife will say. All told, even used, I am looking at something some north of $3k for the Gallos. And perhaps it is still the champ at that price point. But enter the contenders. I read that Mr. Tyler makes magic with his Linbrook Signatures which can be had from him, used, for $4k delivered with a 2 yr warranty. They can be had for hundreds less from private sellers. And Mr. Salk's QW can be had new for the same price as the Gallos in my paradigm, and his Ht3's could be had used for about $1000-1500 more. No reports from owners or reviewers quibble about the depth or vertical reach of these speakers, or the need for stands or subs. So, assuming that they all trade within the same range, and given my particular needs, would the Gallos still reign in my world?
I have never heard a pair of Salk's, but have listened to a couple different pairs of Tyler's. And I would take my Gallo's over them any day. I listen to mostly classic rock, and some jazz. Never had a problem with the height of the sound stage at all. And with the Gallo's, I can walk all around the room, and they still sound great. No matter where I am in the room.
The Linbrook Signature System would be an excellent alternative to Gallo (so would the Salks, IMO). Both are better overall choices to my ears. The Gallos do offer a superb soundstage that few match, however.
I owned the Gallos and don't particularly care for them. They're great at audiophile "special effects" but their instrumental tone through the midrange is opaque at best. Depending on the room, all that tweeter dispersion could be an issue too. Cue rotten tomatoes.
I'm way more toward the hi-eff camp for dynamics and tone.
The height issue isn't one of apparent stage height *in the listening chair*, but vertical dispersion which is limited. They will sound different standing vs. sitting. Most aphiles won't care, as their primary listening is seated.
Thanks to all. Frankly, Tvad, your suggestion for the Klipschorns triggered schoolboy lust. The first time I saw and heard a Paragon monolith was one of those "you remember exactly where you were where when...." moments. Damn if the idea of having a pair of Klipschorns wouldn't scratch that itch. And your second post about getting the drivers up got me thinking. My current house system is a pair of Newform Research speakers driven by a Pass Aleph 3 and Blue Circle 21 pre. It is a great combination for playing with, especially since the Newforms have a ribbon device that takes the overall height to 75", making the "driver" at ear level and then some. The Gallos are 36" and the other towers are in the 50" range (if memory serves). That system is set against a side wall in a large room - 24x24x18. The room opens into the rest of the house which adds another 1500sf or so. I could park the Klipschorns in the corners at the far end of the room, filling it and perhaps the rest of the house. The Pass/BC would be a good match for the Klipsch. I could run the Newforms in my studio with the Halcro MC40 I just got (thanks Ebay), and a pre that I am shopping for. And looks like the Khorns can be had (used) for less than the Gallos (2k-3k). Funny this passion. Yesterday, my sights were set on the state of the art Gallos, and today, on the art of the classic. Tvad, appreciate the paradigm shift.
Agree with Miklorsmith (totally). They IMO are not a musician's speaker. I spent about 2 hours auditioning them at a dealer and my conclusion was they are fast and open, and can "slam" - which makes for great audiophile WoW factor. Drum solos sounded great. Horns sounded pretty good. But they are not "neutral", i.e. timbrally or harmonically accurate. String quartets sounded very shrill, larger orchestral stuff was just mush. I had high hopes amid the hype, as I thought their looks and size would have high WAF, but I really couldn't stand them.
You may not feel the same way, but I would be wary of buying these before listening to a pair.
Tvad, frankly, when I got the Newforms about five years ago, I never gave any consideration to the height of the ribbon. And I have been happily playing along with them ever since, probably for that very reason. More I think about it, I may already own the perfect speaker for my needs. The 400 watts from the Halcro would really drive these relatively inefficient (91db) speakers better than the 30wpc (albeit Class A) pumped out by the Pass. But then for the house, I can already see a pair of Khorns anchoring the corners. They are in the range of 108db, making the Pass a much stronger partner than with the Newforms. Tvad, really greatful for your suggestion.
Achieving decent soundstaging across a wide listening area requires taking psychoacoustics into account. The ear localizes sound by two mechanisms - arrival time and intensity. Arrival time will inevitably be skewed in favor of the closer speaker if you're off the centerline. So to maintain an acceptable soundstage from off-centerline, ideally you'd want a configuration where the farther away speaker is actually a bit louder than the one you're closer to. Perhaps the simplest solution is a geometric one - namely using an extreme amount of toe-in, like about 45 degrees, such that as you move closer to one speaker you're also moving more on-axis of the farther speaker. Most speakers are louder on-axis than they are off-axis, at least in the higher frequencies where most localization cues come from. Note that most speakers are not designed for this configuration and so most do not really work very well with it. The radiation pattern has to be unusually well-controlled or else the soundstaging or tonal balance (or both) falls apart with this much toe-in. But it's not like you can use less toe-in and get nearly the same results - the tweeter axes have to cross well in front of the listening area if you want that freedom to move side-to-side without the soundstage (and tonal balance) collapsing.
In order to get consistent tonal balance throughout the room, you want the first-arrival frequency response and the power response (summed omnidirectional response) to be very similar. One key here is to look at the first-arrival sound from the two speakers combined, rather than at just one. That same extreme toe-in that gives us decent soundstaging over a wide area can also give us consistent tonal balance over a wide area if the speakers are designed with this as a high priority.
Decent soundstaging across a wide listening area and consistent tonal balance throughout the room are important to me, and I gravitate towards designs that can do this. The Klipschorns suggested by Tvad are among the relatively few loudspeakers that can do both.
Opalchip your comment "not...timbrally or harmonically accurate" puts the Gallos down on my particualr dance card. As a musician and student of the sound and technique of great jazz musicians, my goal is to put together a system that is as sonically neutral as possible, or at least one that can be colored as I choose. Hence the tube pre and Halcro amp, whose strengths are transparency and with the guts to drive anything . When I listen to Paul Desmond's melifluous alto, I want to hear what he sounds like - not what the speaker sounds like. As I delved into the possibilities, I discovered the Harbeth's are described as faithful to the sound. This is what I am looking for - along with the soundstage and imaging that the Gallo's are famous for. As I said above, I may already own the speakers I need. The Newforms are well over 6', and seem, to my ear to be faithful - as much as I can tell, never having the honor to hear Desmond, Stitt, Ammons and the like. In my studio, where they can have their space, and driven by the Halcro, I believe I will get that sound. At least it is a good first step. And the Khorns to fill the Newform's shoes in my large living space are a very economical option (used) and will scratch that old itch. Opalchip, I appreciate your musician's perspective.
"I dunno, I've never heard speakers I like as well as my Gallos, and I've listened to a lot of speakers, before and since."
Dopogue, good for you. Satisfaction is the Holy Grail of the audio experience. The rest of us hang out at this audio equivalent of an online dating forum searching for that perfect sonic mate. We should all envy you.
I sold my Gallo's. Matching an amp and pre amp to the speakers plays a essential role in the process. I have moved through about 30 pairs of speakers in the last 5 years and God only knows how many amps. Tube and SS. About 6 months back I exchange a little communication with Sarjan (6 moons). The man has some solid real world experience in playing around with this stuff. He convinced me to switch from my existing 16K worth of world renown amplification to a used First Watt 1 Amp for $1,500. He then convinced me to switch my Speakers to a cross overLESS design (well, almost). I will tell you that my system immediately took and meteoric jump up in performance across the board. It is considerably better than anything I have ever heard. Set up was not a problem and I purchased the equipment for less that the tax I paid on my previous system. I especially love that the ribbon on the speakers are manually directional. The crossover consists of a single capacitor. The tweeter output is easily adjusted to suit my taste by changing an external resistor located across a set of posts. I stand up and I am in the room with the musicians. The sweep and depth of soundstage is SPECTACULAR and I use to own an all Mbl system that was always set up by the manufacturers rep. The designers name is Steve Deckert. You can find him on the Internet. He wont BS and will let you know if these drivers will dance with your amp. At 1,500 new the sale price is a joke. Oh and the wife factor is very high. Nicely build and good looking stuff. Hope it helps -.
Some great advice especially given the parameters. It all depends on your Amp configurations and preference. What you have stated will not get you there with the Gallo's. I have both the ref 3's and the Salk HT3's. The Gallos are very good and a great bargain for good high end fidelity and matched with a low powered tube amp or First watt with the factory SA is a very good sounding system, It will not be tonally accurate though nor have a lot of height in soundstage without stands.
The HT3's are deadly accurate and have a great many custom personal choices for exceptional WAF and sound in a large room or a very well treated small room. They must be paired with a very high powered tube mono blocs or big SS or Hybrid Amp though. They move alot of air as well so placement can not be compromised or you will easily overload the room.
Harbeth's are great but very bland to look at but excellent sound, not many out there pre owned.
I prefer the Salk experience and it is a very professional one. Good luck in your journey
I have heard the Gallos a couple of times and, I would have to say I like the sound of my Salk HT-3s much better. Tonally, they are more acurate and fuller sounding. Built quality is first rate with any wood type you desire. You won't need a sub with these speakers but, as Carusoracer stated they need a high powered amp to shine. Try to hear them if you can, because everybody has different taste in sound. Good Luck!