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It's a bit unsettling when veteran audiophile cynicism which on principle mocks unusual claims gets knifed in the back. The Classico did that, then twisted the blade. To misappropriate a Zen saying, sitting silently doing nothing spring came and the bass grew by itself. Had I not observed this in person I'd have written off the process—of the S2 filler having to settle down on its own accord and the promised magnitude of change—as spin. Think protracted break-in of the sort where legitimate concerns are white-washed until you can't remember how you started out. Not here. This blasted transformation (of an already broken-in pair mind you!) occurred over one night. Whilst I can't attest to Anthony's 10dB figure, I can attest to significant.


The earlier combo photos against Aurelia's tall Graphica showcased the stumpiness of the Classico III. It's as posturally misfortuned as that famous Gallic cartoon character Asterix. Anyone seeing the Gallo for the first time is bound to write off any serious ambitions. It's too cute. Remember Susan Sarandon and Kevin Costner? A baby duck is cute, not a real woman. Not a real speaker either. When it comes to floorstanders, our carefully cultivated bigger-is-better habit is hard to break. There's no AA chapter for it. Zu's landmark graphic of a guy walking down the street with a speaker casually slung across his shoulder was about a giant by comparison. So the Gallo is a really short and not very heavy floorstander. Carry-on luggage. Does it short us on sonics too?


While the line-source Graphicas staged as though the soundstage were a rectangular tunnel extending backward between their door posts and equally tall left right and through the middle, the Classico III barely approached this height in the center. Then it sloped off towards the sides like a dome but staged beyond the speaker outsides to avoid the barn door effect. While the Graphicas' 12 mid/woofers moved more raw air for additional bass mass/weight, they didn't really extend any lower. Both were good to about 30Hz. This equality was true despite short large twin ports and closer wall proximity for the Finns. They needed that placement to elevate punch in the upper bass as recommended by designer Antti Louhivaara. The Classico kept pace at twice the wall distance (flipping polarity at the amp merely increased bass power).


Gallo's trademark cylindrical diaphragm tweeter meanwhile had far broader dispersion. This aspect was the antithesis to the Finns' controlled line-source directivity. It made for a noticeably wider sweet spot. It made for more high-frequency air, more top-down illumination, more triangle brilliance. It also made for more defined transient relief. Jai Uttal's fabulously twangy dotar—a small lute popular with the itinerant Bengali Bauls—had distinctly more wiry metallic string action. Percussive strikes, drum skin tickles and rolls and rattles peeled out more. This produced a close to freestanding 'wraparound' effect whereby such sounds extricated from the background rather than stick to it. Such sounds were more surrounded by space particularly behind them.


Leaving Aurelia behind to instead call on my familiarity with Anthony's floorstanding reference model, I'm confident beyond the fallibility of memory that the Classico's constructional boxiness from baffle width and/or far greater internal air volume (which now is allowed to communicate with the room rather than remain trapped/sealed) creates a distinct advantage for midrange meatiness. The Ref 3/3.1 and 3.5 always struck me as being more Quad in this regard. The Classico III is fleshier. It could also be that the higher mechanical handover between filterless mid/woofers and CDT has filled out a minor remaining depression in the Ref products. Either way those who found the Reference 3 members too 'electrostatic' for their tastes will probably appreciate the greater density of the new Gallo boxes in this range. This isn't warmth from fuzziness however. Just like the Reference 3.5, the Classico III sounds far from confused on timing matters.


I expect the most shocking aspect of the initial (broken-in) encounter really will be the bass. Extension and control are out of step with perception. Those who are not familiar with Gallo's RoundSound™ models flatly won't believe it. Disavowal on principle. Those who already are familiar with Anthony's earlier efforts have a solid reference. They know that Gallos always made more bass than they should have considering. Extrapolate from there. Add far greater cubic volumes and that rectangular slot. It allows the drivers to breathe more freely. It must be an air thing. Against this reference the C3's bass becomes not less impressive but at least conceivable. Back to the height-challenged Asterix, it's the secret potion of his druid Miraculix. This isn't about massive air displacement of course. It's about attention paid to timing—rise times, freedom from overhang—so the initial bass attack isn't blunted. This impact cleanliness compensates quite effectively for the lack of brute force which monster subwoofer drivers have us believe is necessary to achieve realistic bass.