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Set Up & Listening:
I set up the CL-1’s on 26 inch Sound Anchors stands, with QED Speaker Cable, driven by a McIntosh MA6600 integrated. I ran them in for 50 hours, as the accompanying manual suggested. After 50 hours I sat down for some serious listening. The manual also suggests ditching the magnetically attached grilles for more precision. All of my listening was done sans grilles.
It was obvious from the get go these little Gallo’s had a distinct personality. They were alive and kicking, with an amazing amount of recorded detail on display for a speaker at this price point. These were not wallflowers. They brought the music to the listener, but without any unpleasant forwardness. I can’t stress that enough. Musical excitement was here in spades, but without any artificial sizzle. There was an almost electrostatic like coherence and seamlessness.
Some musical examples include Joe Cocker’s second album Joe Cocker!, which features a great mix of songs from the late sixties including compositions from Leonard Cohen, George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Bob Dylan, and more. It was recorded with a great cast of supporting players, but the star is Cocker’s easily recognizable voice. The CL-1 really served this album well. With this, and every other album I listened to, I was really amazed at how the mix elements seemed to float freely beyond the plane of the speakers. I honestly had not heard that from monitors this size. I have heard others image as well and provide nearly as much detail, but in much more homogenous way, and without the 3D effect heard from the Gallos.
From my extensive live collection, I streamed a great concert by Texas troubadour Ryan Bingham, recorded last year in Germany, and a superb live show from Switzerland by jazz drummer extraordinaire, Brian Blade. Both sounded alive with the excitement of a live performance, with plenty of buzz and an excellent approximation of the acoustic venue where the performances took place.
To see how the CL-1 handled musical content with plenty of floor shaking bass, I chose Daniel Lanois’s recent project, the sublime self titled Black Dub CD. While all the deep bass notes produced by Darryl Johnson’s nimble bass guitar were there, there was a lack of any real weight. This is par for the course for a small monitor, but I expected a bit more considering the published specification of reaching down to 39 Hz. I believe that is pretty optimistic, but clearly, reinforcement by side walls or corners would make a substantial difference. The manual actually makes mention of this fact. I had the speakers roughly 3 feet from side walls and roughly two feet from the back wall.
Speaking of bass, enter the mighty CLS-10 subwoofer. This Class D powered sub has a 10 inch woofer a ton of connectivity and sound tuning options. These include low and high level stereo phono inputs, speaker inputs and outputs, crossover adjustment, bass level, a phase switch, and bass EQ. Gallo says the CLS-10’s cabinet is carefully designed to address resonance and is well and strategically damped.