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Mayhem? Look no further than The Matrix. One of my favorite pandemonium scenes is the lobby shoot-em-up preceding Neo and Trinity's rescue of Morpheus. Copious amounts of gunfire, flying shards of debris flying in all directions and an intriguing bass line make for one challenging sonic stunt. Did the Gallo system hold it together? For the most part, yes. From 80Hz on up, they sounded first-rate with excellent 3-D effects and crystalline clarity. From 80Hz on down, I've heard better. Two Silverline Sonata IIs (130lbs speakers with dual 10-inch woofers at $6500/pr) did a better job of energizing the room with bass effects while simultaneously projecting the musical bass line completely unadulterated and above it all. They also dug deeper into the bass but I have to say that the Gallo system was quite satisfying. With a little corner loading, the TR1 as the smaller of the two Gallo TR subwoofers surprised me with its ability to energize the room. While bass detail wasn't state of the art, it wasn't bad either. Neither boomy nor bloated, it didn't blur electric bass lines. It simply didn't dig as deeply into bass minutiae as super systems will. Slightly less ambitious scenes -- such as inside the Lincoln Continental when Trinity removes the implant from Neo's abdomen -- sounded phenomenal. The pounding rain was evenly distributed throughout my room and it sounded real. The thunderclaps boomed with impressive authenticity that boded very well for things to come with the TR1.

In the more demanding two-channel room, I was no less pleased. Here the sweet and ever-so-slightly laid-back Gallos sounded huge and full. I know that these speakers can't be as musically detailed as my own reference speakers. They just don't retrieve the same amount of inner detail. Still, the A'Divas are so well balanced and complete that nothing ever seems missing. In fact, just the opposite is true. I just can't get over all they bring to the table. Amazing really. Whether credit is due to the spherical enclosure or the high-tech driver I can't say but the A'Diva Ti is one amazingly transparent and uncolored speaker. Two CDs I kept coming back to were Stevie Ray Vaughn's In Step [Epic EK 65874] and Peter Gabriel's UP [Geffen Records 493388]. I got hooked on both while in the middle of the Usher CP-6381 loudspeaker review. Those $3400 overachieving Blue Moon Award recipients made both CDs sound remarkably big, bold and powerful.

The A'Divas couldn't quite match their sense of density and scale but the soundstage was equally expansive. Gabriel's "The Drop" is a fairly simple arrangement featuring Peter's vocals with piano accompaniment. It sounded phenomenal through the Gallos. The piano was so big yet focused and well balanced while Gabriel's voice was remarkably well cast. Over and over I turned to the SRV disc for "The House Is Rockin'" and "Riviera Paradise', two very different sounding cuts equally well served by the A'Divas. The little TR1 subwoofer clung to Tommy Shannon's bass lines as though its life depended on it. Once again, the A'Divas simply did one fantastic job on both Stevie Ray's guitar and Reese Wynan's keyboards.

Treble performance was surprising. Remarkably and smoothly extended yet just a touch reserved, it might not compete with big-league tweeters in terms of delicacy and resolution but succeeds by never drawing attention to itself. Even without the subwoofer, the A'Divas remain surprisingly well balanced and they never get bright. Unexpectedly, the treble remained quite extended as I moved off axis. In fact, I spent a lot of time listening while at the computer. Completely off-axis, not only did the treble not darken or roll off, it was darned enjoyable. For a tweeter-less speaker, these minis have amazing dispersion. Joe Jackson's Body & Soul [A&M CD5000 - another reviewing workhorse of mine] threw the A'Divas' treble performance into sharp relief. What I heard were cymbals and
percussion that never splashed, sizzled or misbehaved yet also didn't elicit the same degree of resolution wrought by better tweeters including, presumably, Gallo's own CDT². Okay, so we still don't have an entirely free lunch - but nearly. We are looking at an inexpensive speaker that commits no errors of commission. At the asking price, that's more than plenty.

"Love Will Keep Us Alive" from The Eagles' Hell Freezes Over [GEFD 24725] is playing as I type this. So sweet are Timothy B. Schmit's vocals and so delicately communicative is the chorus of accompanying guitars that I almost wonder how I dare be critical of these tiny wonders. The acoustic unison guitars have an almost percussive rhythmic quality about them that comes across so sweetly and delicately that I have to think hard to remember where these speakers fell short before. And when Felder's electric guitar joins the rest, it's so smooth and present that it's hard to believe I'm listening to such an inexpensive system. When you allow yourself to shift out of reviewer's mode and just enjoy what these speakers do so well, they make it really easy to sit back and enjoy.

Integrating the TR1 subwoofer was uneventful for but one thing. When I first introduced the TR1 subwoofer to the system, I noticed that the soundstage became even huger. On the other hand, I lost some imaging specificity and focus I had previously enjoyed. I eventually realized that a reversal of the subwoofer's phase restored everything to pristine clarity and proper size. It was then that I understood the importance of the sub's phase control not only for optimizing the speaker/sub transition but also for maximizing system focus because the sub crosses over higher than it would with larger speakers. As it happens, dialing in the TR1 is actually easier than it would be otherwise. When it's wrong, you know it. When it's right, you know it too and thus much guesswork is eliminated.

I didn't corner-load the TR1 in this room as I had in the multichannel room, which is to say I placed it away from any walls in the same plane as the speakers and between them. When used in this fashion, I obtained very solid bass to below 40Hz that started to fall away after that with plenty of usable bass left down at 30Hz. In my smallish room and with the sub's EQ set to flat, the bass sounded good enough but was serving the ears more than the gut. A flip to the +3dB position added an appreciable amount of weight and allowed me to turn down the sub's gain control just a touch by achieving both lower bass grunt and a smoother hand-off to the speakers. In this way, the TR1 performed admirably and musically throughout its stay in the music room.

The TR1 provided excellent service to the Stevie Ray Vaughn disc, proving that Tommy Shannon's bass lines were perfectly within its grasp. Ditto for Joe Jackson's disc, which sounded even better - bass lines were crisply articulated and nicely detailed. The bass-heavy Gabriel disc is a subwoofer's nightmare and while the TR1 couldn't quite match what I've achieved with larger speakers and subwoofers, it did a more than acceptable job of producing the bass drama. In short, the TR1 is the perfect complement to the little A'Divas. It's relatively inexpensive and what it does, it does very well.

Thus far the diminutive Micro Tis have taken a back seat to the A'Diva in this review. That's because they were originally included only to serve as rear channels in my multichannel system. However, the new Titanium version of the
Micro is worth more than a few passing words. Where voicing is concerned, the Micro Ti is just about an exact replica of the A'Diva which (I suppose) means it should be a great and even less expensive match for Gallo's Reference 3 should one want to assemble a budget-conscious multichannel system around the latter. In the two-channel room, the littlest Gallo provided the same satisfaction as its bigger sibling, the A'Diva Ti. The difference? Because the A'Divas are larger and extend a touch lower in the bass, they are a mite fuller when placed out into the room where all Gallos sound their best. Wall placement of the Micros will fill them out but at the expense of some imaging precision as well as reproduced space. The Micro Tis can be used out into the room by bumping up the sub's low-pass filter frequency which, theoretically, should be a small compromise. The lower the subwoofer enters the picture, the better is the general rule. However, small sacrifices aside, it's notable that Gallo doesn't even claim better dynamics or increased output of the A'Diva over the Micro. That makes the Micro an awfully attractive alternative for those on a budget.