Anthony Gallo Acoustics A’Diva SE Loudspeakers & TR-3D Subwoofer Review 
Home Theater Loudspeakers Bookshelf/Monitor Loudspeakers
Written by Andre Marc   
Friday, 06 June 2014

My first extended experience with an Anthony Gallo loudspeaker was two years ago, when I reviewed the Classico Cl-1 monitor and matching CLS-10 subwoofer. Having already heard much about Gallo products -- from professional reviewers, dealers, and fiercely loyal owners -- I liked the Classicos very much, but, ironically, they were not the type of speakers Gallo was known for designing. That is, box-shaped monitors. In fact, Anthony Gallo has carved out a distinct and unique position in the speaker market with designs that forgo traditional enclosures and drivers.

Given Gallo’s website -- www.roundsound.com -- round is exactly the shape that the company is known for. Not to mention Gallo’s unique tweeter design, which unlike conventional designs, do not use a voice coil or magnet. Instead, a transformer passes the signal and contracts the conductive surface of the diaphragm.

Gallo touts round enclosures as superior for a number of reasons:

  • There is one inherent standing wave in every sphere. Gallo controls this largely with its patented S2 Technology.
  • A sphere has no external baffle diffraction to smear the signal.
  • A sphere is the strongest, lightest, lowest mass cabinet possible and has long been known to be the optimal enclosure for a driver. The most important speaker cabinet design factors are structural rigidity and lack of resonance. Box designs attempt to make up for lack of rigidity by adding mass. Mass simply stores energy, which is then released to the environment as harmonics and ringing that are out of time and out of phase with the music. That old familiar "box sound".

A'Diva SEI received a pair of A’Diva SE (Special Edition) monitors, with a TR-3D subwoofer, along with the unique, specially designed stands. A’Diva SEs sell for $329 each. The sub retails for $984.50. Gallo products are available from the web store, and from a brick and mortar dealer network.

The A’Diva SE is five-inches in diameter -- about the size of a large grapefruit -- and weighs about two pounds. The solidly built enclosure is made of a stainless steel material. There are a pair of binding posts on the back that will accept both bananas and spades, however they must be of modest size. Supersized terminations will not work. My review samples arrived in matte black, but matte white, and stainless steel are also available.

According to Gallo, "the Special Edition model utilizes a proprietary ultra-wide dispersion flat-diaphragm transducer that covers a frequency range from 80Hz to 22Khz, all powered by a single driver (meaning no crossover). Then we added Optimized Pulse Technology (OPT) and our patented S2 damping control pods to eliminate all ear-fatiguing colorations, enclosure resonances, and distortions."



The TR-3D subwoofer is cylindrically shaped with a 300 watt Class D amplifier on board. It features a bass equalizer that’s capable of an additional +6 dB bass boost. There are three ways to set up the TR-3D with the A’Diva satellites. The first is to simply run an interconnect from your preamp or integrated amplifier, if available, into the low level RCA input of the sub. Gallo don't actually recommend this configuration, as it runs the A’Diva’s full range, which could result in damage if pushed past their limit. The second way is to run separate speaker cables from your amp or receiver directly to the sub and sats.

A'Diva SE standThe third (and best) way, which I implemented, is to run one set of speaker cables to the TR-3D, then a second set of cables from the sub to the A’Diva satellites. This makes use of the TR-3D’s 100 Hz high pass filter. You can then dial in your sub volume and optional bass boost settings. In using this set up, I would recommend using two pairs of the same speaker cable for consistency. I was not able to, but I used two sets of high quality cable commensurate in price with the whole set up. From the amps to the sub, I ran DH Labs Odyssey, and from the sub to the sats, Transparent The Wave.

Set Up & Listening

Along with the subwoofer set up, detailed below, the only other thing I had to do was assemble the stands and attach the A’Diva satellites to them. These stands allow tweaking the sphere's position to your taste with a clever swivel mechanism. I used several sources, including a Squeezebox Touch with a CLONES Audio Sheva DAC, and a Simaudio MiND 180 streamer with several DACs. The A’Divas were placed exactly where my Harbeth Compact 7 ES3s normally reside. Amplification included a McIntosh MA6600 and a Roksan Kandy A2, both excellent integrated amplifiers.

It took a few days to get everything gelling and dialed in. But when I did, I was treated to a presentation that completely threw me for a loop. To be quite honest, I wondered how these small spheres were going to fill my room with full, lifelike sound. I need not have worried. I was taken aback at the precision, imaging specificity, and coherence this Gallo combo produced.

I'm not a huge satellite and subwoofer enthusiast, but I quickly became a believer. I heard no discontinuity, no disconnect, and no disembodied sound. I mean none whatsoever. The amount of midrange and high frequency detail coming through the sats was startling, and it sat on a bed of incredibly precise mid and lower bass that started and stopped on a dime.

Instruments like strings, piano, and vocals simply seemed to be disconnected from any speaker enclosure, baffle, or driver. The music was free floating, like I could walk on to some imaginary stage and touch the performers. I heard depth and separation of instruments on old, familiar recordings like Donovan’s Greatest Hits, where tracks like “Season Of The Witch” and “Mellow Yellow” were so free flowing, despite their mid 60’s vintage. 

 

The Gallo trio excelled in dynamics. Perhaps this area impressed me more than any other sub and sat combo anywhere near this price point. A genre of music I took an early liking too, but recently rediscovered is Flamenco. For dynamics, Flamenco is unmatched. I found the Gallo combo very convincing on passages that went from delicate guitar runs to explosive foot stomping and vocals. They also got the tonality of the nylon string guitar right, giving voice to Gina D'Auri's holographic and present the guitar on his exceptional Flamenco Mystico album.

A'Diva SE WhiteThe A’Diva’s and TR-3D also easily showcased well-mastered high-resolution material, like Van Morrison’s His Band And Street Choir in 192 Khz, 24-bit quality. This HDTracks download is superior to the last CD version and the Gallos really got the timbre of Morrison’s voice spot on.  The same goes for how superb Del Amitri leader Justin Currie’s voice was rendered on his brand new solo album, Lower Reaches.

Since nothing is perfect, there were a few nits to pick. None to do with sound actually. First, I wish the manual was more concise and a bit clearer concerning subwoofer set up. Secondly, the speaker terminals on the A’Diva SE will only accommodate small spades or banana plugs, so you need to choose appropriately terminated cables. That sums up my complaints. Hardly more than nuisances, considering the price of entry.

Conclusion

In six years of writing for audio, the Anthony Gallo Acoustics A’Diva monitors are perhaps the most surprising products I have encountered, defying all expectations. Mated with a matching Gallo subwoofer -- either the TR-3D or the less expensive TR-1D -- they produce near full range, immensely satisfying sound. I became smitten with this Gallo set up, to the point where it had me questioning the whole idea speakers with multiple drivers in a box-like enclosure.

If you have around $1800 to spend, I cannot think of another speaker I would recommend over the Gallo A'Diva SE and TR-3D subwoofer (assuming you have an appropriate sized room -- a very large listening space would be a challenge). And if your space is bass friendly, the TR-1D may be enough, and save you $500. The whole system is so easy to make work in a tight space, a medium listening room, or even on a workspace. The A’Diva SEs are even available with mini stands that allow them to be put on shelves or a desktop.

For form factor, sonics, and off-the-charts value, this Gallo system is a knockout. The A’Diva SE and TR-3D get an award for being the product that most defied my expectations, considering price, size, and ultimate performance. The A’Diva SE is a $329 miracle.

Specifications



Anthony Gallo Acoustics A’Diva SE: $329 each
Anthony Gallo Acoustics TR-3D Subwoofer: $948.50
Stands: $176 each.
www.roundsound.com

Frequency Response    80Hz to 22Khz (on wall)
100Hz to 22kHz (on stand)
Impedance    4 ohms (nominal)
Sensitivity    85 dB @2.83v / 1 Meter
Power Handling    60 watts (full range)
125 watts (X-over at 80-120Hz)
Driver    3" wide-dispersion flat diaphragm
Dimensions    5" Sphere
Cone Material    Aluminum laminated proprietary honeycomb sandwich
Enclosure Material    Steel/Stainless steel
Warranty    1 year parts and labor (5 years if product is registered within 60 days of purchase)

Review System 1


CD Transport: Musical Fidelity M1 CDT
Server: Squeezebox Touch
DAC/Server:  SIM Neo 308D
Headphone Amp: Pro-Ject Head Box II
Headphones: Grado SR60
Preamp: Channel Islands Audio PLC-1 MkII
Amplifier: Audio Research VS 55. Bob Carver Black Magic, CLONES Audio 25p
Speaker: Thiel CS2.4
Cables:  Stager Silver Solids, Darwin Truth (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, Audioquest, Forest, WireWorld Ultraviolet, DH Labs USB(USB) DH Labs (USB)
Accessories: Symposium Rollerblocks, Shakti Stone, Audience Adept Response aR6 power conditioner, Salamander rack

Review System 2


CD Player: Marantz CD5003
Music Server: Simaudio MiND 180, Squeezebox Touch via Ethernet to
MAC Mini w/ Western Digital & Seagate external drives.
DAC: Musical Fidelity A90, CLONES Audio Sheva DAC, Denon DA-300USB
Integrated Amplifier: McIntosh  MA6600, Roksan Kandy A2 B2
Tape Deck: Revox A77
Speaker: Harbeth Compact 7ES3
Cables: Darwin Cables Silver IC, Kimber Hero HB,  DH Labs White Lightning (IC),QED Transparent MusicWave (Speaker),PS Audio (AC), Mojo Audio (AC), DH Labs TosLink, Audioquest Forest USB, Wireworld Ultraviolet USB
Accessories:Cable Pro Noisetrapper, Sound Anchors Stands, Wiremold, KECES XPS







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