Stereocheck Reviews:
Anthony Gallo
Anthony Gallo
Anthony Gallo

Anthony Gallo

The Anthony Gallo Acoustics brand became famous for its developments in the field of designer loudspeakers, which began in the 90s of the last century, long before this direction became part of the generally accepted mainstream. The company received its name in honor of the founder and chief designer, Anthony Gallo. Gallo Acoustics was born in New York, but some time ago moved to Foggy Albion in Scotland. The company has always believed that the world of high-end loudspeakers has become too serious and conservative, difficult to fit into modern residential interiors with their original designs, color schemes and desire for space. Definitely, the appearance of the speakers could use a little extravagance. Thus, the signature design of Anthony Gallo Acoustics speakers includes spherical housings and compartments, fancy stands and frames, and barrel-shaped subwoofers.

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Subsequently, the company focused on compactness, releasing a popular family of miniature satellite balls with a huge number of installation options. At first glance, it is difficult to suspect acoustic systems in these balls, which look like New Year’s toys or an element of a design installation. To make the balls not only make sound, but also play well, Gallo had to show all his engineering skills, creating a number of exclusive technologies to improve the reproduction of ultra-low-volume speaker systems. An unconventional approach to design and good sound brought Anthony Gallo Acoustics a well-deserved success, and today the company’s products are sold in more than 40 countries around the world. Anthony Gallo was born in 1963 and became interested in loudspeaker design as a child.

At fourteen, he began his own experiments with electrostatic speakers, loving them for their purity and transparency of reproduction. Gallo soon realized that “electrostats”, along with their advantages, also have disadvantages: for example, they limit the dynamics in the lower part of the spectrum. Turning his attention to the ribbon emitters, Anthony realized that they were far from ideal. In subsequent years, in search of the perfect sound, Gallo tried a huge number of dome tweeters – also to no avail. Gallo found the prototype of an uncompromising emitter only in the early 80s, after reading in some magazine about the possibility of using piezoelectric film in audio applications. Having spent years on experiments, in 1987 Gallo created the first version of the proprietary CDT (Cylindrical Diaphragm Transducer) emitter and for several more years refined the driver, bringing it to perfection. As a result, creating a “commercial” version of CDT required 9 years of intense research. And then the inventor decided to take a risk: in order to deal with patent issues and start his own business, Gallo had to sell not only his video equipment repair business, but also almost everything he had.

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Gallo’s first columns were called Nucleus. These large speakers, with highly complex laminated wood cabinets, weighed 136 kg per channel and cost $15,000, impractically expensive for a little-known manufacturer. When Gallo began to look for a way to reduce the cost of speakers while maintaining the quality of playback, he came to the conclusion that it was the tricky housing that “eats” the lion’s share of the costs, and it was necessary to find some other solution that would, however, provide a similar quality of damping. To his surprise, while trying different cabinet options, Gallo discovered that the original sophisticated cabinet could be completely replaced by a metal sphere with a diameter of 30.5 cm and weighing only 700 g – and it would give the same sound without any cabinet coloring. From that moment on, Gallo finally decided on the shape of the enclosures of his future loudspeakers. As we can see, at the very beginning of Gallo Acoustics, design issues did not play a decisive role for its founder. By ’93, Gallo was broke and would soon be forced to stop development. But a chance meeting with audio enthusiast Gary Pelled helped, who was impressed by Gallo’s projects and decided to invest in the common business. Gallo Acoustics’ first steps were not easy. Gallo chuckles as he recalls the woeful stories of founders of great brands forced to open business in garages or basements. For him, the move of Gallo Acoustics from his own apartment to the gloomy basement of a decrepit house in Brooklyn was an epoch-making event.

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Fortunately, with the change in case design to spheres, business took off. The new Nucleus Reference and Nucleus Solo models, released in 1994, attracted buyers with their unusualness, bringing in 30-50 thousand dollars a month. For this occasion, Gallo Acoustics took another step up by moving into a normal spacious garage! At the same time, a third partner, Don Fried, joined the company and took the post of executive director of Gallo Acoustics. The era of home theaters was coming and High-End Gallo Acoustics, albeit with a non-standard design, became of little use to many people, being of interest mainly to avid audiophiles. Gallo and his colleagues had to rebuild again, developing the concept of ultra-compact Nucleus Micro satellite balls, unprecedented in those days. The satellites released in 1999 became a real breakthrough, confirming the correctness of the new development strategy. On the wave of commercial success, Gallo Acoustics left only the development department in Brooklyn, moving production to Los Angeles. In 2002, the Micro satellites were joined by the older Due models, which became the prototypes of modern Strada speaker systems. And in 2003, the company released enlarged A’Diva satellites. Since then, Gallo Acoustics has not changed its philosophy and approaches to the formation of its lineup, although, of course, the work does not stop: modifications of existing products periodically appear, satellites have been supplemented with active subwoofers, and from time to time the company experiments with exotic High-End loudspeaker projects.

Technologies Anthony Gallo Acoustics

The spherical body is a beautiful shape for a loudspeaker, but this is not its main advantage. Back in the 40s of the last century, Olson, studying the influence of the shape of the speaker system on sound, showed that a spherical cabinet gives the most linear frequency response, the least diffraction and a decrease in the number of internal resonant frequencies (standing waves in the body cavity). In addition, the sphere is a strong shape, therefore, for proper rigidity of the body, it does not require the same thick and heavy walls as a rectangular body of the same volume. The future speaker body begins with a solid steel disk, which is transformed into a hollow ball through the process of rotary drawing. By the way, the cylindrical housings of Gallo Acoustics subwoofers are also manufactured using the same technology. The housings are then placed in an electrolyte bath where they are anodized, turning the surface into a layer of ceramic with excellent damping properties. At the last stage, the body is powder coated in the desired color.

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The pride of the company, the CDT (Cylindrical Diaphragm Transducer) tweeter is a very rare type of emitter in the industry, the action of which is based on the piezoelectric effect (the occurrence of mechanical deformations of a material in an electric field). Such an emitter does not need either a magnet or a conventional voice coil, having a very low mass of the moving system. That is, the emitter can respond to the slightest changes in the musical signal, conveying the highest detail to the sound. Despite the avant-garde principle, or rather because of it, the CDT emitter has a simple design. The emitter membrane is made of Kynar plastic, borrowed from the aerospace industry. The conductive layer is a sputtering of pure silver, chosen for the best conductivity. Signal cables, made of oxygen-free copper, are attached to the membrane using silver soldering. The resulting ensemble is tightly wrapped around a semi-cylindrical core, which is woven from polypropylene threads and has a variable density.

The core is not only a frame for tensioning the membrane, but also an absorber of sound from the back side of the emitter. At the final stage of production, the CDT driver is placed in a durable aluminum housing and protected by a metal mesh. With a huge diaphragm area (24 sq. inches), the CDT driver can potentially produce the same sound intensity as 32 standard tweeters equipped with standard 25mm domes. The CDT driver is highly efficient and can handle very high power inputs. In loudspeaker circuitry, the CDT driver serves as an ideal capacitive load, that is, it is a high-pass filter that does not require additional crossover elements. Moreover, the CDT driver is able to reproduce sound evenly from 2.5 kHz and, thanks to the bending of the membrane, it becomes omnidirectional (in the horizontal plane), radiating uniformly at 330º. Among other Gallo Acoustics technologies, we note the patented S2 cabinet damping technology, which increases the effective volume of small cabinets by an order of magnitude, as well as the Optimized Pulse Technology (OPT) system of pulse correction and phase synchronization of the emitters.

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The best crossover is its absence. This is the basic design principle of Gallo Acoustics loudspeaker systems. Using selected full-range speakers, S2 damping technology and the fact that the CDT driver is its own crossover filter, the company’s designers completely abandoned the crossover, which would inevitably introduce phase distortion into the sound.

Modern model range

The central place in the Gallo Acoustics product range has been occupied for many years by stylish miniature satellites that can be installed anywhere. Almost any installation options are possible: wall, ceiling, floor stand, table (with support in the form of a rubber ring). Designers are even offered an original option with satellites suspended from the ceiling on a long cord. With a subwoofer, you can create any multi-channel configuration or stereo system from satellites. The satellites are available in three basic finishes: black, white and stainless steel. However, the manufacturer announced that in the near future it will be possible to order any finish from the RAL color catalog. Speaking of specific models, today Gallo Acoustics produces Micro and A’Diva satellites, as well as their improved modifications Micro SE and A’Diva SE. Both Micro versions are metal balls with a diameter of 102 mm, the A’Diva versions are balls one size larger with a diameter of 127 mm. All satellites are equipped with a broadband emitter with a diameter of 76 mm, operating in a closed housing, damped using proprietary S2 technology. Micro series satellites reproduce sound from 100 Hz, A’Diva series – from 80 Hz.

The difference between the SE version of the satellites and the regular one is a flat aluminum driver with a reinforced cellular structure and expanded dispersion, as well as the use of OPT technology. The flagship of Gallo Acoustics, the Strada 2 loudspeakers continue the proud tradition of high-end loudspeakers from the Reference family. The speakers are compact, like all the company’s models, and traditionally very unusual. A common aluminum frame houses steel spheres with 4-inch full-range drivers equipped with carbon fiber cones. Between the spheres there is a box of the proprietary CDT piezoelectric tweeter. Of course, Strada 2 does not have crossover filters, making do with the natural decrease in the sensitivity of the emitters. Based on the design of the CDT module and the type of stand, Strada 2 models are divided into a regular version and a horizontal center channel speaker. In addition to shelf stands, Strada 2 has the option of wall mounting and the ability to install on a high floor stand.

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It would be strange if, with such a non-standard approach to the design of acoustic systems, Gallo Acoustics settled on the ordinary form of cube subwoofers. Of course, the company stood out here too: Gallo Acoustics cylindrical subwoofers – barrels turned on their sides and standing on legs – surprise not only with their unusual appearance. Despite their small dimensions, subwoofers are distinguished by excellent functionality and a wide operating range: on the one hand, they reproduce the most low, powerful and effective bass, on the other, they must “join” well with satellites, which, by definition, cannot play too low. The Gallo Acoustics TR-3D subwoofer is made in a closed case made of hardened steel and is equipped with a 250 mm driver, the diffuser of which is made of aluminum with a ceramic coating. The driver is controlled by a built-in D-class amplifier with a power of 300 W (RMS). The subwoofer’s frequency range extends from 18 to 180 Hz. In addition, the TR-3D has an impressive range of settings and switching methods: there are volume and cutoff frequency controls, Bypass mode, phase switch, 0/+3/+6 dB bass boost program, line and high-level inputs and outputs.

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