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Reviewer:
Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
Source:
27" iMac (3.4GHz quad-core IntelCore i7, 16GB 1.333MHz RAM, 2TB hard disc, 256GB SSD drive, ADM Radeon HD 6970M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory); PureMusic 1.85 in hybrid memory play with pre-allocated RAM and AIFF files up to 24/192; Amarra 2.3; April Music Eximus DP1; Antelope Audio Zodiac Gold & Voltikus; Weiss DAC2; Esoteric/APL Hifi UX1/NWO-M; Audiophilleo 2; April Music Stello U3; QAT MS5 music server [on review]
Preamp/Integrated: ModWright LS-100 with Psvane CV-181T tubes, Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X
Amplifier
: First Watt SIT2, ModWright KWA 100SE
Speakers: Voxativ Ampeggio, Audiomanufacture Boenicke B10, Aries Cerat Gladius
Desktop: iPod Classic 160GB and iMod 256GB SS
D, Pure i20, Bel Canto C5i, Wyred4Sound mINT, EBTB Terra III, Amphion Impact 400, Zu Audio Event cabling
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Audio Event, Entreq USB cables, Stereo
lab
Tombo Trøn BNC/BNC S/PDIF cable
Stands: 2 x ASI HeartSong 3-tier, 2 x ASI HeartSong amp stand, Track Audio Precision 600 speaker stand
Powerline conditioning: 1 x GigaWatt PF2, 1 x Furutech RTP-6
Sundry accessories: Extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters
Room size: 5m x 11.5m W x D, 2.6m ceiling with exposed wooden cross beams every 60cm, plaster over brick walls, suspended wood floor with Tatami-type throw rugs. The listening space opens into the second storey via a staircase and the kitchen/dining room are behind the main listening chair. The latter is thus positioned in the middle of this open floor plan without the usual nearby back wall.
Review Component Retail: $1.295/pr CL-2, $1.195 CLS-10
Anthony Gallo never took sacred cows too serious. Across his speaker designing career he's arguably killed a few. With the new Classico Series as rolled out to dealers late last year, he now happily slaughters another. Except it's one he raised himself all along. Now suddenly round is out. The Classico models are distinctly boxier than anything Gallo has authored before. Naturally his URL remains roundsound.com. One suspects deep company strategy meetings. Potential fallout. Brand dilution. Message crash. Identity suicide. What's it say? Round no longer is essential to the Gallo sound. Where does that leave all the rest? Or, round still is very much in. Then the Classico line becomes me too. Square like everyone else. Either way you're buggered. That cow is now dead. Long live the new moo! I covered gestation and rationale in my April 2011 review of the Classico III. To save pixels, its intro is required reading... // ... Now that you're familiar with B.L.A.S.T. and OPT Level-2 to explain the how, let's head straight for the what. The specs.


[email protected]/1m. 39Hz-22kHz±3dB. 13x7x9" HxWxD. 13lbs. Those are ambitious for a small speaker and small 5.25" polymer-damped carbon-fiber midwoofer. But the real pièce de resistance is that 180° dispersion piezo tweeter. Check out that familiar flat diaphragm curved into a vertical cylinder. The name Cylindrical Diaphragm Transducer or CDT is plainly descriptive. The current III suffix indicates its 3rd generation. As a purely capacitive part, it requires no high-pass filter. In typical Gallo fashion the custom-designed midwoofer runs wide open too. This neatly avoids an energy-sapping phase-shifting crossover altogether. Moo too? Hardly. As far as powered subwoofers go, the matching CLS-10 might be but it's still a potent combo of 10-inch ceramic-skin aluminum woofer meets 600 watts of class D power for 19-200Hz bandwidth in a 15.5x12x15.25" HxWxD 'non' box of 39lbs and many non-parallel walls. There's 0°/180° phase inversion, a fixed 100Hz high-level high-pass, RCA i/o ports, power on/auto/off and a filter bypass for direct connection to a receiver's low-passed LFE output. For more dirty-down damage the CLS-12 model scales up to a 12-incher, a kilowatt of power and a bigger heavier enclosure. These and other Classicos come in genuine black Ash or Cherry veneers. The metal perf grills affix via embedded magnets for a classy touch.

  As they began with the Reference 3.5 and Strada , Gallo ships the CL-2 with very soft petroleum-based squishy discs. Those compliant loose contact patches decouple the speakers from a table top or regular speaker stands. For pennies on the dollar, this scheme achieves the same roller-ball effect as Boenicke's ingenious but costly Swiss SwingBase™.

 
How to eliminate the dreaded box sound which wedded Anthony to spheres those many years ago ties directly to his trademarked Polyolefin flakes. Dubbed S2, they're contained in polypropylene stockings. Those pack into his now 'rectangulated' enclosures at progressive density. One direct action is prevention of rear radiation reflecting back out through the driver membranes. Even a massive 3" thick aluminum box won't prevent that. Unchecked it overlays direct sound with time-delayed smear. Voilà, the box sound Gallo is allergic to. S2 is also claimed to alter the captive air's density. The driver thinks it's inside a larger box. That makes more bass.


Anthony's Backwave Linearization And Synchronization Technology or B.L.A.S.T. is an internal airflow management scheme that combines a rear-horn/short TL geometry terminating in a rear-facing slot with S2. Apparently the closest model for how this particular loading operates is an aperiodic port. But not exactly. Gallo says that the conventional Thiele-Small parameters don't describe his solution.


The shallow cone profile and 2-layer underhung voice coil of the new midwoofer is shared across the Classico range. Versus the Reference series driver with its 4-layer voice coil and higher inductance, it moved the purely mechanical crossover point to the CDTIII tweeter to about 5kHz. "A customer can also 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. An owner can switch tabs to alter the tweeter balance." Not only is the CL-2 convertible, it's slightly tunable.

Those who behind the cleverness of Gallo's B.L.A.S.T. acronym suspect nothing but loud marketing noise might consider Atlantic Technology's patented H-PAS system [left, click for animation] which was just licensed to SpeakerCraft. "H-PAS or hybrid pressure acceleration system is a unique enclosure configuration with elements of several different speaker architectures (acoustic suspension, bass reflex, inverse horn and transmission line) to produce exceptional bass response and low distortion while utilizing cabinets that are considerably more compact than those of speakers with similar performance. H-PAS was originally developed by Philip Clements of Solus/Clements. In 2009 Atlantic Technology assembled a team of audio engineers and computer scientists to collaborate with Clements on a proprietary algorithm for applying H-PAS to a wide range of enclosure shapes and sizes." As the drawing shows, such solutions needn't be overly complex. Like Zu's Griewe loading, they rely on a combination of geometry and specific absorptive materials to control internal airflow and pressurization. Ditto Gallo. Not busted but blasted.


With sub but no stands, $2.500 buys a quite 'purist' 3-piece sub/sat system from one of the more innovative and value-driven speaker designers around. The monitors' claimed 40Hz nearfield response—no sub on the desktop!—suggested that the subwoofer would predominantly operate across the first-and-a-half octave to enter lower and more invisibly than usual for such systems*. Upon closer look, what arguably did begin square on paper demonstrates plenty of out-of-the-box thinking that's always accompanied Gallo speakers. If Anthony now claimed that his latest boxes didn't sound or behave like typical boxes—they're still Gallos even if they don't look it—our prior track record had me think that the man might just be right. Again.
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* "The CLS subs were designed to run higher in frequency without becoming a problem by grabbing attention. When I set up CL2s on stands out into the room, I leave the sub a foot or two from the wall and bring the crossover frequency up until I get what I would expect from the 3.5s. Don't be surprised if you pass the 100Hz mark. With the CLS subs it works. With most subs this commonly would be a disaster but don't be afraid to try it here. The CL2s were intended for real-world use near a wall but when they're out into the room, the sub saves the day. It just doesn't work as well if the crossover frequency is set too low. In this case it has nothing to do with the order/slope of the low-pass. A combination of upward-angled woofer with S2/bass loading makes the wave launch of our CLS subs approximate a more omni-directional presentation. We have found that very low resonances (box-coupled resonances, Helmholtz resonances etc.) also affect the group delay/decay characteristics. Regardless of frequency the sound then doesn't seem to emanate directly from the enclosure. It localizes within the soundstage of the main speakers. This is similar to the way you hear the CL2 layer instruments and performers laterally and in the depth dimensions without any sound getting bunched up to draw attention to the box. Incidentally the Classicos are just as sensitive to the input wire polarity as the Ref 3.5 or Strada." - Anthony Gallo



For an older 7-part YouTube video with Anthony Gallo, follow these links: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | product history

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