Discussion in 'Home Audio (Stereo Systems)' started by jumpnblues, Mar 22, 2019.
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I would say without hesitation or equivocation that, ideally -- because they are very hard to find because while thousands have been sold, they come up rarely for sale and sell extremely quickly when they do -- is to build your system around a pair of Gallo 3.5 speakers. 3.1s are very good speakers, but the 3.5s are phenomenal. I believe they compete favorably with ANYTHING in the sub $20-25K range, provided you have a small or medium/moderate sized listening room. If you have a massive living room with 15-20' ceilings or in a very large home theatre, that is where they (and frankly every other speaker in that price range) will show its shortcomings. But I actually think the 3.5s are the ultimate small-to-moderate sized listening room. The other exception would also be if you had a very small listening room where you wouldn't want such full range speakers because of bass overload, and prefer to go with a pair of bookshelf or small 2-way floorstanders.
The other speaker that I think you can pick up for dirt cheap for what they offer (and which I still own, in addition to 6 pairs of 3.5s) is the Martin Logan "Ascent i". Please note the distinction between the regular Ascent and the "Ascent i", the latter being a more recent iteration and much superior. These Logans have a 10 inch aluminum woofer per tower that is the same woofer used in Martin Logan's "Descent i" sub, which, at it's time of production, was up there with just about any sub on the market. My guess is you could pick up a pair of Ascent i for less than $3K.
The one Caveat with Logans, again, is if you had a VERY large listening room, because then you may notice a deficiency in the mid bass that a sub would not cover (in the range of 100-280 where the woofer crosses over to the electrostatic panel). And also, these speakers are very directional so if you needed a very wide sweet spot in a wide room, that may be an issue. But they are also a phenomenal small or medium size rooms speaker.
I can say with certainty that the speakers should be your starting point and will be the most important piece of equipment in dictating the sound and enjoyment factor of your system, so I would START with the speakers and everything else is extremely easy. The are TONS of amplifier options and DACs and other components you can get that will work extremely well within that budget if you could get one of those speakers for approximately $2,500 to $3,500 (or even up to $4K for mint 3.5s).
If you think neither of those would work for your if their respective 10" woofers per side would cause bass overload in a smaller room, let me know and I'll make some other suggestions.
I do love my Gallo 3.1
Their marketing mistake was pricing them (and the 3.5) too low. They simply didn't make enough profit to keep them in production.
Another approach would be to get a pair of Gallo Strada 2 and a pair of good subs; shockingly good.
I have a vintage McIntosh MC-250 power amplifier up for sale on Reverb. Not sure if it's "high-end" enough for this thread, but its pretty nice and they sure don't make 'em like they used to.
Yes, and also I believe Anthony had some health issues which is why the planned replacement for the 3.5s never happened.
As for a system around Strada 2s: this can definitely work well and approach the level of 3.5s but with 2 important caveats:
1) You would want to have a really good quality crossover, either in the processor (most cinema processors would offer that), or something else (some power amps have a built in high pass filter (like the Aesthetix Atlas, to use a high end example). The onboard crossover in the Gallo subs is ok but not totally optimal because it's not the highest quality. The ideal crossover point would be somewhere between 120-150Hz.
2) If you had a sub(s) that had room correction, so you could optimize the bass in your listening room and integrate well with the Strada 2s. If you could put the sub dead-center and it was powerful enough, you wouldn't need to have 2 of them. I have a Martin Logan Balanced Force 2x10, so with twin 10" woofers and it's onboard room correction, you will get great bass. I like the 2x10 better because 10" drivers are faster than 12" and will integrate better, and it has MORE than enough bass. A used pair (or maybe even single, if your listening room isn't large) of JL Audio Fathom F110 (or better yet F110 v2) would be an equally good choice. JL recently stopped making the 10" version (don't know why) but I like the 10" drivers for the same reason, not to mention they are cheaper than their larger brethren. The JLs also have room correction.