Anthony Gallo Acoustics Classico CL-1 Loudspeaker & CLS-10 Subwoofer Review 
Home Theater Loudspeakers Bookshelf/Monitor Loudspeakers
Written by Andre Marc   
Saturday, 08 September 2012

Anthony Gallo Acoustics, founded in 1994, has pushed the limits of loudspeaker design, and dazzled those who have encountered their products.  Their futuristic, advanced technology based loudspeakers often raised eyebrows with their appearance, which feature cylindrical drivers, side firing woofers, and the lack of any traditional enclosure or box. They have a diehard following in the context of two channel and home theater setups alike.

Recently, Anthony Gallo  Acoustics made big news with their introduction of a full line of speakers in traditional cabinet enclosures with wood finishes.  This was a big surprise to those who have followed Gallo over the years.  These new products are marketed as the Classico Series. As one might expect from Gallo, there are unique and proprietary technologies under the hood of these seemingly conventional looking designs. According to Anthony Gallo Acoustics, some of the proprietary technologies used in the Classico Series include:

Backwave Linearization and Synchronization Technology (BLAST): AGA's newest technology is the implementation of the BLAST System. Benefits of the BLAST system include an improved acoustic impedance match between the woofer/midrange driver and the air within the enclosure, which simply stated, allows the speaker to play louder, deliver
exceptional bass, and perform overall like a speaker many times its size. Using our engineering resources, we've been able to achieve this performance advance without requiring more power from the amplifier! The BLAST system incorporates an enhanced version of our S2™ technology that is strategically placed within a modified transmission
line.

Enhanced S2 with our Modified Transmission Line:
In essence, our patented S2 technology tricks the Classico's precision woofers into performing as though they're in significantly larger enclosures. The combination of the S2 technology and our modified transmission line creates a speaker that sounds much larger than its actual size and
delivers real-life impact without ever sounding muddy.

Optimized Pulse Technology™ (OPT) Level 2: Wooden enclosures like the ones incorporated in the Classico Series are not as rigid as the metal enclosures used in our reference Series products. Due to this disparity, the original OPT Level 1 system would not have worked properly. However, we were able to develop OPT Level 2, which applies a dielectric absorption countermeasure to eliminate sonic degradation from static charges that typically build up on speaker wires and within the speaker itself.


I received for review a pair of Classico CL-1 mini monitors, as well as a CLS-10 subwoofer. The CL-1 sells for 247.50 for each speaker, and the CLS-10 for $699. The Classico series is sold direct from the Gallo US website. The CL-1 is the least expensive model in the Classico line. The CLS-10 is one of two subs available from the Classico line, the other being the  CLS-12.

There are four additional speakers in the Classico line, including a larger monitor, two floor standers, and a center channel speaker.  The CL-1 differs from the speakers up the line in that it features a soft dome tweeter, as opposed to the unique cylindrical transducer found in the CL-2 monitor, CL-3 and CL-4 floor standers, and the CLC center channel speaker.  The Classico line is available in Ash Black, or Cherry. My review sample arrived in a high quality, attractive Black Ash finish, as did the CLS-10 subwoofer.


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.

 

Classico CLS-10
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.

 


Setting up the CLS-10 was pretty straight forward. The McIntosh MA6600 has two sets of high level outputs, and I was able to run a pair of 2M length Transparent interconnects into the stereo high level inputs of the sub.  I spend a few days dialing in the correct level to try to blend the CL-1’s with the CLS-10. It is important to get a seamless integration so the sub cannot be localized sonically and low frequencies seem to be omnidirectional.  Once I was happy with the blend, the sub and monitors really were an excellent combination.

The stunning new album from Dead Can Dance, their first in many years, Anastasis, has plenty of deep bass content, and is well recorded. The Gallo combo filled the room with great imaging, depth, and weight.  The same applies to several of the great Mark Lanegan’s albums, including Bubblegum, and this year’s Blues Funeral. Both are laced with sinister, floor shaking bass lines that were served well.

Classico CL-1

 

Conclusion:

The Anthony Gallo Acoustics Classico CL-1 monitors are a steal at $247.50 each. They offer standard setting resolution and dimensionality at this price point.  They created the widest soundstage I have heard from monitors this size. Bar none. They are not perfect, however. I have heard other monitors offer bigger sounding and more powerful bass.  That is where the CLS-10 powered subwoofer comes in. It plumbs the depth with authority, offers extreme flexibility in setup options, and is easy to integrate. At $699 it is very well made, and attractive.

Anthony Gallo Acoustics, known for unique speaker technology and proprietary designs, took a big chance designing a line of “traditional” looking speakers. But even box-like enclosures and cabinets are approached with a different spin. The CL-1 is a little marvel, and I would be curious to see how the higher up models, with CDT cylindrical  “wide array” tweeters, perform.  As a nice bonus, the Classico line is attractive and very well made. Their high efficiency makes the Classico line a good choice for a complete surround system as well in my opinion.

I am guessing that to keep prices reasonable and value proposition high, the Classico line is only sold direct from the Gallo U.S. website. There is free shipping to the continental US, with a 60-day in-home audition, and a no questions asked return policy. Sounds pretty generous to me. Gallo is a well-established company that has earned respect from reviewers and customers alike. My first experience with a Gallo setup has been very positive.  I highly recommend an audition. My guess is that very few, if any, who take advantage of their offer return the speakers. Nicely done, Anthony Gallo.


Specifications

www.roundsound.com

Anthony Gallo Classico CL-1: $247.50 per speaker
Frequency Response 39 Hz – 22 kHz ±3 dB in-room
Impedance 4 Ohms, nominal
Sensitivity 90 dB at 2.83 volts, 1 meter
Tweeter 1-inch soft fabric dome, fluid cooled
Woofer One 5.25-inch moving coil polymer damped carbon fiber
Enclosure Type BLAST Transmission Line using patented S2 bass loading
Enclosure Composition 3/4-inch internally braced MDF
Finishes Genuine cherry or ash veneers, dark cherry or black ash finish
Connections Custom Gallo 5-way gold-plated binding posts
Dimensions Width: 7.0 in. (17.8 cm)
Height: 13.4 in. (34.0 cm)
Depth: 9.0 in. (22.8 cm)
Weight 12.5 lbs. (5.7 kg)

Anthony Gallo Classico CLS-10 Subwoofer: $699
Driver: Custom long-throw Front Firing 10 inch ceramic-coated aluminum cone driver, augmented by a rear placed horizontal port, using a BLAST design. The driver is titled up by about 25 degrees.
Frequency Response: 19Hz to 200Hz
Phase: 0 or 180 degrees.
Amplifier Type: Class D
Amplifier Power Output: 600 watts RMS/1,000 Watts Peak
Crossover Frequency: Variable 50Hz to 200Hz
Power On/Off: Off/On/Auto On
Dimensions: (HWD) 15.5 in x 12 in x 15.25 in.
Weight: 39 lb (7.8 kg)



Review System 1


CD Transport: Musical Fidelity M1 CDT
Server: Squeezebox Touch w/ CIA VDC-SB power supply
via Ethernet to MAC Mini w/ Western Digital & Seagate
external drives.
DAC: Bryston BDA-1
Headphone Amp: Pro-Ject Head Box II
Headphones: Grado SR60,
Preamp: Audio Research SP16, Densen B-200
Amplifier: Audio Research VS55, Densen B310
Speaker: Thiel CS2.4
Cables:  Stager Silver Solids, Kimber KCTG (IC), Transparent  MM2 Super (IC), Transparent Plus (Speaker) Acoustic Zen Tsunami II (AC),Transparent (AC).Shunyata Venom (AC) Element Cable Red Storm (Digital AC), DH Labs TosLink, DH Labs AES/EBU, Belkin Gold (USB) DH Labs (USB)
Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks, Shakti Stone, Audience Adept Response aR6 power conditioner,Salamander rack

Review System 2


CD Player: Marantz 5003
Music Server: Squeezebox Touch via Ethernet to
MAC Mini w/ Western Digital & Seagate external drives.
DAC: Musical Fidelity V-DAC II
Integrated Amplifier: McIntosh  MA6600
Tape Deck: Revox A77
Speaker: Harbeth Compact 7ES3
Cables: Kimber Hero HB,  DH Labs White Lightning (IC),QED Genisis Silver Spiral (Speaker),PS Audio (AC), Pangea Audio (AC), DH Labs TosLink, Audioquest Forest USB, Wireworld Ultraviolet USB
Accessories:Cable Pro Noisetrapper, Sound Anchors Stands, Wiremold






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