What don't you like about these speakers?

I will soon be able to audition the following speakers: Von Schweikert VR-2, Gallo Reference 3.1, and the Dynaudio Focus 220. My limit is $3000. I am not going to consider other speakers. I am not going to buy used. I want to support the retail audio shops. I live far enough away that I will have to drive 3 hours to Kansas City to a dealer who has all three set up. These speakers all get rave press and positives here, however, I am interested more in the opinions of those who didn't like them. I have Dynaudio 70s, which I like, but want to step up to an even better speaker. It's easy to get lots of positives, after all, we like what we listen to and have spent good money to buy. If there are specific problem areas, I would be interested to hear about them. Thank you in advance for your replies.
My opinion only of course, but to me the highs on the Von's are a bit grainy and the bass can be a bit underdamped. The Gallo's are pretty awesome for the money, but the mids can be a little forward on some material, and you need a stout amp to control the woofers adequately.

I have not listened much to the Dynaudio's so no comparison info to give, but both the Von's and Gallo's are strong for their price.
The VR-2's are a very good speaker. They do not have the last word in deep bass but what is there is very detailed when set-up properly. To get the best out of them you need a little latitude in placement. To get the bass right, the imaging right, and the rear ambiance tweeter right you will find that as little as an inch can make a difference. As always equipment upstream should be good too. Once positioned right I think they are a big bang for the buck.

Good for you to support a store that demos merchandise for you! Kharma huh?

Good luck!
Tgrishman,What amps and equipment will be used with your choice of speaker?
You should add the Green Mountian Audio Callisto to your list. It would best the other three in my opinion quite easily if reproducing whats on the recording is your objective. Do a search here for others opinions on this speaker or read Paul Candy's review on 6moons.com here:
if you are going to kc, primus audio is one of the best dealers in the country.........you owe it to yourself to visit.....this guy knows his stuff.
The Dynaudio Focus 220s are awesome speakers. I have not heard the other two speakers but know they have great reputations. I envy your listening session with these speakers. I strongly suggest you quiz the dealer about the breakin time the dyns have had. The focus line seems to take more breakin time than the audience or evidence lines. They really are constrained sounding until broken in properly. I compared the dyns with the b&w 703 and 704 and liked the dyns better. I run a Mc DNA 125 amp with a TAD-150 sig pre and arcam cd23. I have upgraded cables and cords some while I have had the Dyns and they seem to give a little more each time I do. They image well have superb mids and highs and the bass is clean and TIGHT. I would think you would want to have a good clean SS amp to drive them. Good listening and give us a report!
If you are driving that far, take your system with you. Make an appointment and make sure they are ok with your gear.
Also, discuss with them how many hours are on the speakers you are auditioning. Comparing a new pair to a broken in pair makes a world of difference.
If you plan to purchase the Gallos & use them with the Dynaco 70, you should sharpen your pencil & see if you can fit the SA in the mix.

In terms of auditioning, I'd be ready to switch the Gallos Left for Right... in some roooms & setups, they sound very different with the woofers in versus woofers out... (I'd also get the Isorock GR stands). If the dealer has the SA hooked up, you might want to play... it took me a long time to dial in the right set up in my room)
I really appreciate the opinions so far. To answer several of the questions posed....I will take my Dynaudios with me to sit next to the speakers, I am going to Primus Audio and he strikes me on the phone as the perfect guy for me, and he has the right equipment, I currently have inexpensive Outlaw Audio monoblocks but am looking to change out to something else this year. Whichever speaker I choose, I will take with me to audition the amps. I'm not a tube guy, so I will shop for something SS. My Dyns (or my ears!)took 2-3 months to break in, so I assume the same for theses Dyns. To be truthful, I took my Dyns into a dealer in St. Louis and compared to the Focus, there was not a great deal of difference. Some on the high end, a little in the midrange, no difference in the low end. Maybe I'm so used to the ones I have....... I will have an entire day to listen to speakers while my wife does her shopping. It's not easy for me to spend $3000 and I want to make the right decision. Again, I appreciate the opinions so far. Is there anyone who just didn't like any of these speakers? It would be quite a statement if these speakers were so uniformily liked.
I only know the VR2s. I think they have a sweet top end not grainy in the least but I use very good tubes mine are also pre China production so the tweeter could be different, They are as a rule quite "musical" and have a fabulous midrange but agree deep bass is definitely not their strong point. However my wife who was a professional musician found the tone and timbre very appealing, the rear firing tweeter is a gizmo that they claim gives a true "ambient" sound, I am not sure what it really adds. A used pair is well within the more affordable speaker catagory also excellent WAF. One more fact they are very easy to drive I use a 40 wpc pp tube amp amp even though they are rated at 89db/M/W sensitivity. Just don't expect to get hair removal SPLs out of a set up like that.
I am in Omaha and I am curious where you are located that makes KC the choice to go to for gear?

The Gallos will require 175w/ch plus to get them off the ground.Many have found the SA crossover/amp to mate poorly with some high quality amps.I am intimately familiar with the virtues of the CDT tweeter,but please realize that a 300 degree tweeter will throw sound into ALL parts of the room.The reflectivity of your room may affect the tonal balance.Happy listening, and remember to take a break and let what you've been listening to settle on you.
I respectfully disagree with Tpsonic... the Gallos are quite happy with Maccormack DNA 0.5's with much less power. TP is right on with the reflectivity of the room affecting tone & setup up "challenges" with the SA.
Tpsonic-always good advise to just listen and enjoy. The problem with auditioning speakers in a store is that it's not your room, there is a breakin period and the mind gets confused comparing speakers, but it still is a blast to listen to great music reproduced by great equipment!
Entrope- my home is an hour west of St. Louis. I bought my VR-1s from Primus and liked the experience. I have been around St. Louis long enough to watch retail audio stores go by the wayside-some fine ones too. A sad consequence of mega electornic stores and the WalMart phenomenon of buying cheap stuff, even if it breaks in 6 months. St. Louis still has a few stores left, and I like to visit them. I fear one day they may not be there either. I have been guilty of some mail order purchases, but only a few. The majority has been from local shops. Thanks for the responses so far. I look forward to hearing more about these speakers.

Where do you shop for gear in Omaha? I'm always looking to audition while I'm back visiting. Also, other than the shops in the Old Market, any suggestions for software (vinyl)?
I'm in west county... and have the gallos & the name of the local dealer for same.

Get in touch, brent
Three places:

Sound Environment in Rockbrook at 108th and Center. Wilson, Ayre, VTL etc.

Custom Electronics 72nd and Pacific. B&W, Magnepan, Conrad-Johnson

Stereo West 144th and Center- Paradigm, Mirage, Anthem, Yamaha

in that order.

Your system looks sweet but I bet you wish that fireplace was in another room.

I didn't know about Sound Environment. Thanks. I bought my first set of speakers at Custom Electronics (Boston Acoustics A60s Series II) back in the late '80's. I loved those things hooked up to my Onkyo receiver. Receiver is still in use. The speakers are in the attic needing the surrounds replaced on the woofers.

The fireplace is the least of my concerns. It's the fact that my room is essentially a cube that kills me. I need to update my system / pictures. Things have changed slightly.
there is one problem with all of them--cones in a box. colorations without representation is tyranny on the ear.

listen to a non box speaker such as a magnepan 1.6 and then see what i mean by box colorations. dome tweeters may be hazzardous to your health.
I find the Dyns to be too hard sounding - the spring in the woofer is loaded too tight.

I miss the soft sound of audiophile quality speakers after awhile.

They do sound liquid though.

You said it's hard to spend $3000 - you might want to consider getting them used - you will end up with more quality - your ears will thank you.

I have a friend in St. Louis who is a Magnepan dealer. He closed his shop but still carries the line. He is sold on them. He has a pair hooked up at his house, not sure which one. I have considered them and like the idea. I don't know if my layout presents a problem. I cannot bring the speakers out more than 36" from the wall I face, there is a 60 inch RPTV recessed flush in the facing wall between the speakers which projects 12 inches into the room (and I usually cover it when I am listening), and I sit about 11 feet from the speakers on a sofa. I'm afraid I won't know if they would work until they are set up. Maybe my friend would loan me his, but I know I can't order a pair just to try out. Any thoughts on my placement?
Hey Brent I live in the area and would like to take a listen. I heard the Gallos once when they first came out but it was only for an hour or so. I thought thay sounded very good. You St.Louis guys should check us out over at audiocircle.com We have a group of about 2o people from the gateway area and growing. We meet about 4 times a year for large meetins and do lots of small sessions every couple of weeks. We have lots of diffrent gear.
hi tgrisham:

you should experiment with room treatment, if possible.

would the amp be near the speakers and would you run long interconnects, so the electronics are on a side wall ?

i need more details to give advice based upon my experience.

my room is 12 x 18 and my amp is near my speakers, which are about 5 feet from the wall, about 10 feet from my.

my equipment cabinet is on the side wall and i run 6 meter interconnects.

i have room treatment on the side walls and behind the speakers. i use other tweaks as well.

if you want more information you can call me. i hesitate to include my number here, but if you send me an e mail i will give it to you and we can talk.

i own quads, but will be buyinga pair of magnepan 1.6ss within the month.

my e mail address is rouyash04@yahoo.com.

if anyone else wants to ask specific questions about panels or any other issues of audio, feel free.

i have a walth of experience, having attended CES for about 13 years, belong to an audio club, and in general have been exposed to over 500 stereo systems and many, many many components.
I am very fortunate that my measurements of in room frequency response are +/= 3 dB across the range, except for a hump of 6-8 dB at 40 Hz. I am sure that is the room and where I sit. That is something that can be tuned with room treatments. Otherwise, the room is working well with difraction on the sides and quilts hanging behind the speakers. The only issue is how far away from the back and sides do Maggies have to be to sound right. Wish me luck!
"I am not going to consider other speakers"...but why? Put them all contenders on the board. Thats how I do things. Process of elimination.
Good Luck.
if you have appropriate side wall treatment you can place magnepan speakers closer to the wall.

i would start out with 14 inches from each side wall and 4 feet from the back wall. since you can't place the speakers 4 feet from the back wall, do what you can. you may have to vary toe in/toe out to achieve the sound you want.

it's too bad we live so far away from each other (i assume).

i'm in the NY area. i would try to help in person if it were feasible.
Bartok fan,

I understand your view, but it is difficult for me to actually audition speakers becuase there aren't enough shops nearby. Speakers are so individual that my ears need time to adjust and appreciate them. I am sure there are very many in the $3000 range that are wonderful, but I have to narrow it down to those I can compare. The other problem is side by side comparison, which is a must for me. My brain can't remember the subtleties of a speaker heard yesterday while I'm listening to another today. Luckily, Primus has all three (and more, such as Triangle) on display and can be heard side by side. It would be enjoyable to spend a week just swapping and comparing , but unfortunately work gets in the way. On the other hand, I can think of few things more enjoyable than listening to music all day long, reproduced by great equipment. Grab a pizza and a bottle of wine and make the most of it!
Hi Tgrisham, I currently own the 3.1's and am a former Magnepan 3.6 owner. If you want a little more perspective see my post here, about 4 down:


To address mrtennis, the Gallo's aren't a box speaker in the traditional sense. The mid's are housed in a spherical enclosure without the boxy resonance and it has no baffles. The CDT II tweeter can rival the 3.6 ribbons in sound reproduction, just doesn't have the image height. The Gallo's will spit out detail in some music that seemed veil in the Maggies. Both are very good speakers and could live with either, but overall, I enjoy the Gallo's more.

Remember that the Gallo's require a lot of break-in, similiar to the Maggies. I don't believe that most speakers in dealer show rooms have the hours to break them in unless they purposely break them in. Let's say even if a particular speaker is audition by customers 2 hours a day, at 200-500 break in required, it'll take 3- 5 months to sound their best.
Good luck and have fun.
KkM and Mrtennis,

I really appreciate the sincerity of your responses. I haven't found another forum with so many caring people and so few troublemakers. I will contact my friend and go to his house to audition the Maggies. I will place them in a way to simulate the restrictions in my room. I spent the better part of the day adjusting my Dynaudios and have (again) found out that every speaker has its sweet spot and trial and error is the only way. In fact, I suspect that when I listened to the Focus 220s that they were not ideally placed. They are one of the least expensive speakers in that shop! Anyway, the journey is the destination and the road goes on forever.

Nice summary of the two speakers. Good info in that post...things to listen for when I start comparing speakers.
First, let me say that I heard the Gallos in a suboptimal demo room. That said, I found the bass too lean, the top end a bit overwhelming, if not actually bright, and the imaging wide but not as focused as I like. The sound was punchy, very dynamic. I found it a bit aggressive, unconvincing, and unsuited to listening at low volumes. They're certainly very exciting. And, my negative comments notwithstanding, they're excellent speakers. They just don't match my tastes at all.

I auditioned a pair of Martin Logan Aeons the same day (in a different room) and liked them much better. Wound up getting used Aeriuses, and I love 'em. They like to be about 3' from the front wall and at least 2' from side walls. Warm, fairly extended bass, smooth midrange, huge, well-focused soundstage, superb detail, and they sound very good even at low volumes. My only nit-pick is that the center image is a tiny tad ethereal and doesn't have the stick-a-fork-in-it solidity of my Spica TC-60s, which do that better than any speaker I've heard.

Martin Logan's located in Kansas, and their "Signature" dealer, Audioport, is located in Overland Park, just 10 miles south of Kansas City proper. If you're going to drive all that way, are considering Maggies, and aren't familiar with Martin Logans, you'd do well to check 'em out.