|Anthony Gallo Acoustics Nucleus Micro 5.1 Speaker System|
|Home Theater Loudspeakers Speaker Systems|
|Written by Tim Hart|
|Friday, 01 July 2005|
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There is no question that flat and wall-mounted HDTVs are driving the home theater market in 2005. Today, a consumer can invest in an under-$2,000 HDTV plasma or fairly large yet thin HDTV and get one hell of a picture. The problem is that the speakers historically best known for recreating the best music and movie soundtracks are not necessarily the best fit in rooms increasingly designed to make your system “out of the way.” Leading the way in the Bose-killer category is Anthony Gallo Acoustics. Their vast array of unique, round and colorful speakers literally fit in places where traditional speakers don’t with a sound that lures in even the most jaded audiophiles, thanks to some very creative engineering, choice of materials and implementation.
The Anthony Gallo Nucleus Micro speaker system reviewed here is a 5.1 surround sound system for movies and music, comprised of five identical four-inch spheres to use for the main, center and surround speakers. The system also includes a TR-1 powered subwoofer to fill out the lower frequencies and retails complete for a scant $999.
The first unusual aspect of the Gallo Micro satellite speakers is the enclosure’s shape. The perfect four-inch spherical shape is a touch under two pounds and has a surprisingly solid feel. Aside from the small speaker terminals and a threaded insert on the back for mounting, the enclosure is totally devoid of any other hardware. The three-inch driver uses no crossovers and achieves a reported frequency response of 100 Hz to 18 kHz at 89dB efficiency at a nominal impedance of eight ohms.
A second notable aspect of the Micro is the material of the enclosure. Gallo uses a seamless, mild steel enclosure that is said to reduce resonance. The sphere is the ideal shape for dealing with mechanical loads and pressures, as it evenly distributes across the entire surface of the structure, thus reducing resonance and harmonic distortion to a minimum. Also, diffraction should be minimized due to the lack of obstructing surfaces near or around the driver.
The appearance of the Micro is very contemporary and, depending on the color you choose (there are three different finishes: black, silver and white), it can fit well into any modern décor scheme (note: my review system came in a matte black). The Micro’s size allows for numerous mounting options, from the simple isolation ring, basically an o-ring, that comes with the speakers, to an optional wall mount, a table stand, a ceiling ring and a 36-inch floor stand. Most of these have three finish choices as well.
No small speaker ensemble is complete without a way to generate the lower octaves. The TR-1 powered subwoofer that came with the package uses a 10-inch driver coupled to a 100-watt class A/B internal amplifier in a horizontally-mounted cylindrical enclosure that measures 10.75 inches in diameter, 12 inches high, 13.5 inches deep and weighs a substantial 41 pounds. The TR-1 comes in silver and black and is the same size as its 250-watt cousin, the TR-2. The TR-1 also uses the same 10-inch driver that the Reference 3 uses, and also sports an integral bass equalizer initiated with a three-position switch for a range of -3 dB, 0, and +3 dB boost. I found this helpful watching movies and listening to music. Also, there are variable phase and low pass filter knobs, as well as low and high-level inputs and outputs for running your speakers through the TR-1. Unfortunately, there was neither a LFE input nor the ability to bypass the internal crossover in favor of using the low frequency set-up available in my preamp/processor.
I ran the Nucleus Micro system for approximately 20 hours of break-in time, using music and movies. While doing this, I positioned the satellites for the best tonal balance I could find within the area where I was listening. The satellites ended up about 18 inches from the front wall and about six feet apart. I placed the center Micro on top of the TV, and I put the rears on stands behind the couch. The TR-1 subwoofer required a bit more work to find the right location. What worked for my other subwoofer did not make the TR-1 happy. I found that, within the listening area, the bass would drop off in some areas and be accentuated in other locations, which required me to face the driver towards the corner of the room. This eliminated most of the bumps that I experienced earlier.
I used the Sunfire Theater Grand IV preamp/processor, the Aragon 2007 seven-channel amplifier and the Toshiba SD9200 for the front end. Later, I used the Gallo Micros with my computer, employing the Creative Labs Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS soundcard, to see how they worked in a multimedia environment. Finally, I integrated the Micros into my reference system, using the Anthem AVM20 preamp/processor, the Linn Unidisk universal player, and the Anthem P5 five-channel amplifier.