Bookshelf Speakers

Anthony Gallo Acoustics Reference Strada Speakers and TR3 Subwoofer

ARTICLE INDEX

Design

The Strada design will be familiar to fans of Gallo speakers. The Strada looks similar to the midrange/treble module of the reference 3.1, or the Reference AV speakers. While they look similar, they are completely redesigned speakers. While they still use spherical woofer enclosures and a custom cylindrical ribbon tweeter, both components have been completely redesigned, with new enclosures and drivers. Both the carbon fiber woofers and the bespoke tweeter require no crossovers. The woofers are acoustically crossed over using the enclosure design. The spherical enclosure has fewer and more widely spaced resonant modes than a box type enclosure, allowing Gallo to provide a sealed enclosure suspension while avoiding resonant modes that might require a crossover.

The tweeter is also designed to avoid the need of a crossover as well. These are the same mid-treble modules used for the new Reference 3.5 speaker (which has a MSRP of $5,995). Unlike the Reference 3.1, both the woofers and the tweeter are covered with permanently mounted mesh grilles, which are very attractive and integrated with the design. The speakers are equipped with well made gold plated 5-way binding posts that are rather small in size to fit on the back of the Stradas. They easily accepted the large spades on my Wireworld Eclipse speaker cable, but you'd have problems cramming in banana plugs with the speakers installed on the floor stands. I later learned at the suggestion of Gallo that I could have just turned the speakers upside down when attaching them to the stands to gain more access to the binding posts.

The review units were delivered with black painted aluminum floor stands that integrate very well with the Strada speakers. The floor stands are rather tall, putting the tweeter about 40" above floor level. The stands are cast and extruded aluminum. They're very slim and match the styling of the speakers. The speakers bolt onto the pillars from behind, making the interface between the speakers and stands rigid and completely hidden. The pillars are hollow, allowing you to route speaker cables inside, but only for relatively small and flexible speaker wire, not big, stiff audiophile cable. Each stand has three floor spikes on the base. They initially seemed a little tippy, but even my two big German Shorthaired Pointers playing with each other in the room never threatened to knock them over. I think they're even more attractive and stylish than the Reference 3.1's, which I also like very much. They fit into my modern house very nicely!

The frequency response of the Stradas is specified down to 45 Hz when used near a wall, but is higher when placed out in the room. While I'm sure they would sound fantastic on their own, most enthusiasts will want to combine the Strada with a subwoofer. The new TR-3 is a cylinder sub similar to Gallo's TR-1 subwoofer and replaces the older TR-2 subwoofer. The older TR-2 had a 250W amplifier and used the same 10" woofer used in the Reference 3.1. The new TR-3 has an uprated 300W class AB amplifier, with a new ceramic coated aluminum cone woofer from the Reference 3.5. The cylindrical enclosure is the same as the lower power TR-1, but offers response down to 22 Hz, with plenty of power and the agility that a smaller 10" woofer can deliver.

While one TR-3 should do the job for most, stereo bass or more output for large rooms could be accommodated with two TR-3s. The controls on the TR-3 are similar to the stand-alone Gallo Reference SA sub amplifier. Crossover frequency, phase (0 or 180 degrees), volume plus a bass EQ switch (0 dB, +3 dB and +6 dB below 32 Hz) are available. In addition, a high pass output is there for use with satellites that need a high pass crossover. The power can be switched on or off, or set to signal sensing. A pair of RCA inputs are present, along with binding posts for speaker level inputs. The speaker level inputs are high impedance and do not consume any amplifier power. I drove the TR-3 using the RCA inputs from the second output of my preamp. I did not use the high pass crossovers. I ended up crossing over the TR-3 at about 60 Hz, and set the gain first with bass test tones and a level meter, and then tuned the crossover and level by ear.