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Product Review
 

Anthony Gallo A'Diva Ti Series Speakers and TR-2 Subwoofer

March, 2006

Ross Jones

 

Specifications:

 

A'Diva Ti:


5" Metal Sphere
Drivers: One 3" Pure Titanium Full-range
Cone Material: Paper-damped Titanium
● MFR: 76 Hz – 22 kHz (on wall); 90 Hz - 22 kHz
    (on stand)
Crossover: N/A
Nominal Impedance: 8 Ohms
Dimensions: 5" Sphere; 37" on Supplied Stands.
Weight: 1.8 Pounds


TR-2:


Sealed Steel Cylinder Powered Subwoofer

Driver: 10" Long-throw Driver
Amplifier: 250 Watts RMS, Class A/B
● MFR: 22 Hz – 180 Hz
Crossover (defeatable): Variable Low-Pass, 50 Hz
    – 180 Hz; High-Pass at 80 Hz Fixed (only on
    high-level output)
Equalizer: 0, +3 dB, +6 dB
Dimensions: 12" H x 10.75" W x 13.5" D
Weight: 36 Pounds

5.1 System Price (Black Matte): $1,975 USA

 

Anthony Gallo Speakers

www.roundsound.com

Introduction

In a little more than a decade, Anthony Gallo Acoustics has developed a reputation for high-quality, high value speaker systems. It has also earned a reputation for its unusual design, with speakers that look more like tennis balls than "conventional" speakers.

The A'Diva Tis represent the latest addition to the Gallo product line, and bring to mind the old adage about good things coming in small packages.

The Design

Anthony Gallo was definitely thinking "outside of the box" when designing the foundation of the A'Diva (and before that, Micro) speaker ranges. The satellite speaker is a five-inch metal sphere, containing a single three-inch titanium full-range (highs and mids) driver.

The spheroid design is the product of function over fashion. According to Gallo, the spherical shape reduces standing waves inherent in box-like cabinet designs, and has no external baffle diffraction to smear the signal. Gallo also claims that because of the inherent strength of the sphere (it's why chicken eggs are ellipsoid rather than shaped like boxes), it provides a lightweight stable cabinet without need of internal bracing.

This design approach carries over to the TR-2 subwoofer, a cylindrical steel tube containing a long-throw, 10" front-firing woofer mated to an internal 250 watt Class A/B amplifier. The back panel of the TR-2 has the usual controls, including variable low-pass filter (from 50 to 180 Hz), line and speaker level inputs, continuously variable phase, and automatic standby. The subwoofer also has a fixed, three-way toggle equalizer that adds +3 or +6 dB boost when engaged. The TR-2 is quite small for a subwoofer, standing a scant 12 inches high and less than 11 inches wide, but will give you a surprise when you try to lift it out of the box. The enclosure is solid steel (no MDF), and weighs a hefty 36 pounds. Gallo also offers a smaller, 100 watt subwoofer, the TR-1.

The other unique aspect of the A'Diva Tis, even in a satellite system, is the use of a single driver in the main speaker. The three-inch titanium driver covers the entire frequency range above THX crossover (80 Hz), thus eliminating the need for an internal crossover.

Gallo claims that there is no such thing as a good crossover, since they introduce time and phase distortion that degrade the original signal (note however, that the natural roll-off of a driver does produce phase shift on its own, even without a crossover in the circuit).

Of course, my clock-radio also uses a single driver without a crossover, but no one would confuse it with audiophile quality sound. So, leaving the engineering debates to the online forums, the real question, is how does it sound?

The Set-up

The A'Diva Ti system (as reviewed) consists of five identical satellite speakers, plus the TR-2 subwoofer. The satellite speakers each come with a rubber O-ring, for mounting on a bookshelf, table, or TV. Gallo also sells custom stands, four of which were supplied for the review. The center channel speaker was placed on the O-ring atop my RPTV, while the other four speakers were mounted on the 37" stands. The speakers attach to the stands using a ball-and-socket joint, which conveniently allowed me to tilt the side-surround speakers so that they pointed above and behind the seating position, simulating the more conventional above-the-head, side-wall location.

The A'Diva Ti stands allow for speaker wire to be threaded up the interior of the metal shaft. However, the combination of the curved vertical column, along with a rather tight clearance on the binding posts, dictated using relatively thin 14-gauge speaker wire. In fact, Gallo sells 18-gauge solid core speaker wire as an available accessory. Although the A'Diva Tis had binding posts capable of accepting spades or banana plugs, the tight spacing made using bare wire the preferred connection method.

The TR-2 was placed in my usual subwoofer location, the front right corner of the listening room, where it also benefited from room loading. The owner's manual suggests setting your receiver/processor crossover between 80 and 120 Hz, although Gallo prefers the THX standard 80 Hz setting. During the review period, I alternated between the 80 Hz setting, and allowing my receiver's automatic calibration software to custom-set each speaker's crossover setting to account for room acoustics.

Fit and finish were excellent on the speakers, the brushed metal conveying strength and heft. Although the review samples were matte black, Gallo also sells the A'Diva Tis in matte white, silver-gray, and stainless steel (Gallo's Nucleus Micro speakers are available in a virtual rainbow of designer colors). The A'Diva Tis retail for $275 each ($300 for stainless steel), and the TR-2 subwoofer lists at $700. However, you can purchase the complete system (five A'Diva Tis and a TR-2) for $1,975.

The style of the A'Diva Tis, especially on the supplied stands, are a matter of subjective taste. Personally, I loved the futuristic look, although several visitors thought they were accent lights. Their confusion was short-lived, however, once I fired up the system. The fact that they look like accent lights could be a plus in terms of spouse acceptance factor, since they just blend into the room that way.

The Sound

I initially mated the Gallos with Onkyo's entry-level receiver, the TX-SR502 (since Onkyo is known for its high-quality, high-value receivers, I thought they would make a good match).

No one should expect a small satellite system, especially with only one driver per speaker, to reproduce sound that rivals full-range speakers. So with my expectations set accordingly, I ran through a selection of hi-rez multi-channel discs.

Usually, it takes a while to get used to the feel of a particular system before critical listening is worthwhile. However, it was apparent from the get-go that the Gallo's were something special. First up was the opening track from Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (SACD), "Funeral For A Friend-Love Lies Bleeding". The A'Diva Ti's disappeared, leaving an enormous soundstage that enveloped the listener. I simply could not believe the level of imaging, of resolving individual instruments, that was possible with only five drivers (plus the subwoofer).

Determined to see what the A'Diva Tis were capable of, I replaced the modest Onkyo receiver with Integra's new DTR 7.6 receiver (review forthcoming). Not surprisingly, it was like the proverbial lifting of the veil. "Heart of the Sunrise", from Yes’ Fragile (DVD-A), contains multiple guitar tracks, electric bass, and keyboards flying in ascending and descending counterpart scales. On lesser systems, the track can turn into indistinguishable mush, but with the Gallo/Integra combination I could distinctly hear each Steve Howe guitar riff.

Even on Redbook CDs, the A'Diva Tis were capable of amazing detail. I sat through the entire Rubber Soul album (if you need to ask by whom, don’t bother), admiring Ringo's flourishes on the tambourine. During the review period, Gallo's PR firm mentioned that the A'Diva Tis had just been used to mix Stevie Wonder's new album, and I'm not surprised. The Gallos have the transparency that one would expect from studio monitors.

Switching to movies, Mel Gibson's We Were Soldiers is like watching the Omaha Beach scene from Saving Private Ryan, except that it lasts twice as long. The Gallos put me right into the middle of the battlefield, with tracer rounds flying overhead and the sounds of the M-16s and AK-47s distinct. The TR-2 subwoofer convincingly reproduced the whoomp of artillery shells, although the limits of the smaller enclosure became apparent when pushed to extremes in my larger-than-average listening space.

In fact, the only downside (if that's even a fair term) of the Gallos is the recognition that, in larger spaces and higher decibels, you can only move so much air with a three-inch driver. But if you’re looking to fill a large space with wall-shaking sound, you should not be auditioning small satellite/sub systems in any event. Remember, these speakers are designed not to overpower a room with big boxes, but to still deliver quality sound even though they are diminutive.

Conclusions

There are several ways to evaluate the Gallo A'Diva Ti system. Judged solely on the basis of a micro-satellite system, the A'Diva Tis wildly exceed expectations. On a pure bang-for-the-buck basis, $1,975 buys you an audiophile system for a fraction of the price typically charged for full-range floor-standing systems of similar quality. Will the A'Diva Tis totally eliminate the need for those full-range speakers? In larger spaces, the answer is no. But if you are looking for an integrated system to suit a moderately sized room, you will definitely want to audition the A'Diva Tis. Highly recommended!


- Ross Jones -

© Copyright 2006 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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