Subwoofers

Gallo Strada 2 Speakers and TR-3D Subwoofers

ARTICLE INDEX

Design and Setup of the Gallo Strada 2 Speakers and TR-3D Subwoofers

If you don't look very closely, you could very easily mistake the new Strada 2 and TR-3D for their predecessors. You'd be forgiven, because they really do look identical from the outside. All the improvements to the speakers are internal. The Strada 2 is essentially the midrange and tweeter unit from the floorstanding Reference 3.5s, my current reference speaker. They consist of a pair of spherical stainless steel midrange enclosures with 4" carbon fiber cone drivers, and Gallo's patented CDT3 cylindrical diaphragm tweeter. This tweeter is the third iteration of the driver that launched Anthony Gallo Acoustics speakers many years ago. The tweeter has a very wide lateral dispersion pattern, and wide frequency response from 6 kHz to past 20 kHz. The midrange pods are now filled with Gallo's S2 internal damping, a proprietary fiber filling that increases the mass loading of the driver. As with most all other Gallo speakers, there is no electronic crossover between the midrange and tweeter. The acoustic properties of the drivers and enclosures provide the crossover. The pods weigh a hefty 13.5 lbs each, given their small size. These pods can be either stand or wall mounted. Separate floor stands are available for $450. I consider these essential for realizing the remarkable imaging and soundstaging the speakers are capable of. The stands are entirely cast aluminum, powder coated black. They are unusually tall, placing the tweeter axis 37" above the floor. This can be a challenge for home theater setups. In my room, the speakers partially block the view from seating off to the sides of the screen when placed well out in the room for best sound quality. I placed them in the same location I keep the Reference 3.5s, but the Strada 2s are a good foot taller on their stands. I don't believe this will be an issue for most people, but realize the speakers with stands are quite tall.

The TR-3D subwoofer also looks identical to the earlier TR3. The new speaker has the same dual voice coil ceramic cone driver as the Reference 3.5. In addition, the 300W Class AB power amplifier of the TR3 has been replaced with a new 300W Class D digital amplifier. The controls and connections on the rear panel remain the same: RCA and speaker level inputs, and RCA outputs (both pass through and with a 100 Hz high pass filter). The low pass crossover is continuously variable from 50 to 180 Hz, as is the gain. Phase is switchable from 0 to 180 degrees, and a 30 Hz bass boost is selectable at 0, +3 dB and +6 dB. These are similar controls to that on the Reference SA subwoofer amp I use to drive the second voice coil of the Reference 3.5s. The Ref SA adds continuously adjustable phase and continuously adjustable bass boost settings to that of the TR-3D, but has considerably less power. The TR-3D is spec'd to reach 18 Hz on the low end, 4 Hz lower than the earlier model, and 2 Hz lower than the Reference 3.5 with active bass.

In the last test of the Strada and TR3, the bass was the one place my older Reference 3.1s won the battle. To make the playing field more level, this time I asked Gallo to send me a pair of TR-3Ds, allowing me to set up full stereo bass. I placed the Strada 2s well out into the room in the same location as I had the Reference 3.5s, toed in toward the listener about half way between straight ahead and pointing right at me. I put the TR-3Ds just inboard of the Strada 2s firing forward. I set the crossover and gain by ear for listening tests before doing any measurements.