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In its most basic form BLAST™ or Backwave Linearization And Synchronization Technology is an airflow management system which strategically manipulates air behavior inside the box. With Anthony's sealed spherical models, air had always been in very short supply. By altering the trapped air's density, Gallo's S2 flakes captured in Polypropylene stockings were the invisible ingredient for respectable bass from otherwise prohibitively small cubic volumes in all RoundSound™ models.

Classico II prototype
  The combination of S2 and a lot more air to work with in the Classico models automatically implied lower -3dB points on bass extension. Anthony then developed what he calls a hybrid between ultra-short rear-horn and transmission-line loading. This exits all Classico models—perhaps even a forthcoming subwoofer—via slot-shaped rear terminus. Multiple internal cross braces with perforated windows of dissimilar openness (this is a function of the number and size of holes) are one element of the BLAST airflow control. The other is S2 encased in now thicker Polypropylene socks which is stuffed into the box at a density that gradually increases towards the internal mini line's exit. "Exploiting the increased air volumes with variable density fill and physical geometries also has our new 5.5" Carbon-fiber mid/woofer with Neoprene-type rear-cone damping layer exhibit a clearly higher measured sensitivity in the box than it does out of the box."  
Abandoned twin-port scheme

The shallow cone profile and 2-layer underhung voice coil of this new driver—shared across the Classico range—versus the Reference series driver with its 4-layer voice coil and higher inductance also means that the mechanical crossover point to the cylindrical diaphragm tweeter now sits at about 5kHz. "A customer can very easily dismount the new tweeter module with its integral matching transformer and rotate it 90°. This can turn the Classico II on its side in center-channel applications where three fully identical front channels are desired. It also affords access to the transformer taps which are required to match the same tweeter to the four slightly different sensitivities from Classico I through IV. A customer can switch tabs to alter the tweeter balance.

"We again run a DC blocking capacitor on our now 180° dispersion film tweeter for amplifier protection. The quality of this cap is ultra important since it also operates as a small voltage divider on a purely capacitive driver. By the time we get to the $2.950/pr Classico IV this part becomes a very costly TRT Stealth unit from Peter Moncrieff. In that model the four mid/woofers run in series/parallel for a 4Ω load—inner and outer pairs in series, both pairs in parallel—while the Classico III is an 8Ω load. Because all Classico tweeters sit on top, soundstage height extends well beyond each model's top edge. Inherited from the Reference 3.5 are viscoelastic interfaces for the two towers because on most floors those work better than traditional spikes. Threaded inserts are provided however for those insisting on spikes or cones.

"On a side note, I compared sourcing Classico cabinetry from two different suppliers. Facing off their prototype enclosures showed one to perform noticeably better than the other. Dimensions and geometries were identical of course. The superior stiffness of the second set of boxes simply sounded better to show that even how enclosures are assembled makes an audible difference. Other nice advantages for this new speaker range are it easier drive and much faster break-in times. The first three models are about 89dB sensitive, the Classico IV is a very useful 92dB. They are all benign loads that can be driven to very high undistorted levels from 50wpc amplifiers.

"Acoustic impedance transfer is very good which you can see in the reduced excursion requirements for the mid/woofers. The more effective acoustic driver coupling becomes, the less physical motion you will see. This of course benefits linearity and speed. If used in reasonably matched rooms, none of the Classico models require subwoofer augmentation. This is due to what I think are exceptional bass extension and dynamics from their respective sizes."

Round vs. square. How did Anthony feel about it now that square finally had his own imprimatur on it? "You're the reviewer. You have to tell me. What I will say is that on transient speed the Classico models are equal. They come out ahead on bass and dynamics, are easier to drive and a lot more affordable. Cosmetically they're more conventional as our dealers requested. If I add it all up they should compete very well in this market and economy. I would like to reiterate what you already discovered with the Reference 3.5 and Strada.

"These new speakers too are ultra sensitive to optimal amp/speaker polarity. This is not the same as inverting polarity at the source or preamp. It's not even about absolute correct polarity. It's about better sound. Invert the speakers cables at your amplifier outputs. Invariably one hookup will sound distinctly better than the other. The degree of difference is higher than with conventional speakers. Often the better wiring is not how one originally had it. I encourage listeners to try this. Don't forget that this pays back nicely but is completely free and only takes seconds to implement."

Before the review loaners arrived I had run a Google search. I wanted to see whether anyone beside SoundStage! had gone on record about their CES debut. The Abso!ute Sound's Chris Martens had. "...The compact Classico III offered shockingly great performance for their size and price by which I mean that they produced huge and spacious soundstages, well-focused images, evocative low-level detailing and deep powerful bass. Bottom line the Classico III is one of the finest speakers Anthony Gallo has ever designed regardless of price." Were the original italics secret code for 3.5 killer (Chris Martens is familiar with Anthony's reference product)?

Subtext surfers could suspect so. Having never heard the Reference 3.5 in my present space I wouldn't be able to comment for certain even on memory. But the suggestive phrasing certainly added kick to anticipation. Anthony advised that "it will probably take a few hours for things to stabilize. The last aspect to fall into place should be bass output. There could be as much as a 10dB bass deficit when you first connect them even if they are placed on the gel substrate. You may prefer the presentation without much or any toe-in. Depending on setup width there should be good image focus even when the speakers point straight out. Pointing them inward will tighten the soundstage and sound less lush."

Anthony meant settle down and fall into place literal. The S2 stuffing is vital to the proper functioning of BLAST. Transit puts boxes sideways or upside down. Physical handling further upsets the S2's packing distribution. Gravity will settle down these 'small snow flakes' to compact towards the end of the mini line as intended. Given the noticeably lightweight bass upon first firing up the pair I did think the 28Hz claims were bogus. Friends were due an hour later to accompany us to an Omar Sosa concert at the Cully Jazz Festival. I left the 3s sans signal in the shadows of the hulking Aurelia Graphica whose review was underway. Anthony's email arrived after the concert. That had my attention. Would the bass fill out a few days later as promised, just by having the already broken-in speaker sit upright undisturbed awaiting its turn? Or did it need playing?