|Anthony Gallo Acoustics Nucleus Reference 3.1 Loudspeakers|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Floorstanding Loudspeakers|
|Written by Ben Shyman|
|Saturday, 01 April 2006|
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Consumers are constantly searching for the latest and greatest products and this is especially true in the world of consumer electronics. A high quality product with a unique look, employing the latest technologies and selling at the right price, will grab the attention of most consumers. Over the past two decades, Anthony Gallo has been manufacturing a different kind of loudspeaker: a round one. In fact, the company does not manufacture any traditional rectangular, box-type speakers. Home theater and audio enthusiasts have become highly familiar with Gallo’s satellite product offering, based on a small spherical enclosure which helps minimize standing waves and cabinet distortion and thus deliver highly transparent and accurate sound. The company’s top-of-the-line floor-standing model, the Nucleus Reference 3.1 loudspeaker, was born out of years of research with this technology and targets value-oriented consumers who are shopping for unusually high performance without breaking the bank.
The floor-standing Gallo Reference 3.1 loudspeakers have a totally unique and striking look with their grilles off that can easily fit into the most modern of decors. On the flip side, with their grilles on, the Reference 3.1s looked great in my more traditionally decorated apartment. The outer grille cover essentially acts in lieu of a more traditional cabinet and covers the inner workings of the loudspeaker. Looking right through the outer grille cover to the inside of the Reference 3.1 is easy from just about any angle and reveals the company’s patented CDT II tweeter mounted between dual four-inch midrange drivers as well as a side-firing 10-inch bass driver. The cylindrically-shaped CDT II tweeter is technologically unique in that it offers up to 300 degrees of high-frequency horizontal dispersion. This is a big advantage for movie watchers, as not everyone is always sitting in the most ideal on-axis listening position. Think of this tweeter as capable of firing in all directions except straight back. The two stainless steel spherical midrange enclosures are a hallmark of Gallo’s well-known lineage of round enclosure design. While Gallo is by no means the first company to mount a bass driver sideways, this placement effectively limits the Reference’s footprint to only eight inches wide, making it an ideal candidate for tighter spaces, such as my 700-square-foot Manhattan apartment. Each speaker is less than 40 inches high, even when mounted on their floor spikes and spike floor protectors.
The Reference 3.1 is exceptionally well-constructed. I believe this is especially true considering the $2,995 per pair price tag. The frame of the Reference 3.1 is aluminum and the midrange drivers and bass enclosure made of brushed stainless steel giving the overall construction a solid feel. Each enclosure weighs only 47 pounds and is available in black on black or black on stainless with a black, cherry or natural maple bass. The cherry and maple are optional finishes. The pair I reviewed had the natural maple bass, which offered an elegant look. Rated at eight ohms and with a sensitivity of 88 dB, the Nucleus Reference 3.1 should feel at home with most mid- to high-power amplifiers.
The Reference 3.1 speakers come in mirror image pairs. The side-firing bass drivers can face inward toward each other or outward toward the walls of your room. I experimented with both orientations and concluded that having the woofers face outward resulted in more natural midrange and extended bass response in my room. I also concluded that placing the Reference 3.1 with the aluminum spiked feet directly on my hardwood floor without using the floor protectors resulted in more natural mid-bass and overall pleasing sound. Since there is essentially no traditional cabinet and all the drivers are sealed, I found the Reference 3.1 to be more forgiving with respect to placing them near furniture or a wall than other speakers I have auditioned, especially those with a rear-ported cabinet such as my larger, heavier and more expensive Revel Performa loudspeakers.
The Reference 3.1 that I received arrived already broken in, having come from Gallo Acoustics’ exhibit at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Anthony Gallo advised me that under normal circumstances the Reference 3.1 require a more extensive break-in period than other loudspeakers and that 100-plus hours of high-level use is not uncommon for them to reach optimal sound quality. Overall, the Reference 3.1s were easy to set up and, after I wired them using Transparent speaker cables to a Proceed AMP5 Power Amplifier and the new Lexicon RT-20 Universal Disc player, which I am currently auditioning for a future review, I was ready for some serious listening.