Field Test: Anthony Gallo A'Diva Ti Speakers, TR-2 SubACTIVE REFERENCE SYSTEM FOR MIXING AND MASTERING 8/01/2006 8:00 AM Eastern
New from Anthony Gallo Acoustics, the A'Diva Ti loudspeaker (with companion TR-2 subwoofer) is the newest product in an acclaimed line of audiophile speakers. Unlike other Gallo efforts, the speakers and sub are not in any kind of fixed array; rather, they are broken up into two 1.9-pound “orbs” using a supplied rubber O-ring support and a separate sub, allowing you to angle/tilt the satellite speakers to fit your room or listening area. Gallo recommends a 50-hour break-in period for the rig. My demo system seemed to require less time than that to sound its best; your mileage may vary.
Nominal impedance for the speaker is 8 ohms, and it can handle up to 120 watts of power when the sub is being used as the source, or 50W if you choose to use your own amplification. Gallo cautions against sending the satellites a lot of bass directly from a power amp's unfiltered output. The five-way (high-power) banana output jacks on the sub roll off some of the low end, letting the satellites have a little more power without damaging them with too much low-frequency info. (More on connections later.) There is no crossover inside the 5-inch sphere, only one 3-inch driver (made of paper-damped titanium) rated at 90 to 22k Hz bandwidth measured on stands, with a slightly better response down to 76 Hz when wall-mounted.
The TR-2 offers a 250W high-current Class-A/B amplifier with increased bass EQ. The 10-inch long-throw speaker is housed in a heavy (36 pounds!) enclosure that measures 12×10.75×13.5 inches (H×W×D) and sits on four sturdy support legs. A variety of controls are available on the back panel. Three trim pots provide crossover point (50 to 180 Hz), phase and level. One three-way toggle switch selects EQ boost (0/+3/+6) and the other selects always on vs. auto-on. Internal thermal protection against heat buildup and overload is also provided. A handy red/green power-status LED rounds out the rear.
There are two ways to connect the TR-2 sub: as a separate, stand-alone unit via stereo RCA input jacks (with bass management from a receiver or multichannel delivery system) or as the lower end of a composite system, running full amplifier power into the stereo five-way binding posts (with additional stereo speaker outs for the satellites). Note: If you're running the speakers alone from a powered source, then select “small” for your speaker settings. If you're running them after the TR-2's crossover, then use “normal” settings for the satellites and let the TR-2 handle things to avoid redundant crossover errors.
ROUND SPHERES OF SOUND
Once they were out of the box, I simply followed the quick-start guide and set up the speakers for some initial background listening while I worked on other pressing issues, not expecting much. Boy, was I pleasantly surprised!
The heart of the system is, of course, the sub, which never seemed to lag or sound overtaxed. Organ recital recordings with plenty of low bass and tracks with huge sonic blasts all sounded great — at times, almost scary. I never felt like I needed more from the sub. The system also sounded great with a variety of material; it responds well to being pushed hard. I tend to listen at comfortable levels, but I admit there were times when I was cranking these things and enjoying the never-harsh results, wondering what the neighbors were going to say.
In a case of form following function, there is essentially no crossover for most of the system's bandwidth (aside from the subwoofer's lowpass filter, of course) and this is always a good thing for phase coherency. When one is aware of what crossovers can do to any (upper or) midrange image, there's always a sense of relief and less restriction when listening to speakers without crossovers. The 3-inch driver in the A'Diva Ti's spheres takes full advantage of this phenomenon, and the result is an open, effortless upper midrange that's pleasant and direct. Listener fatigue is minimal.
THE A, B OR Cs OF REFERENCE AUDIO
Specs and techs aside, I found this system to be a respectable and sonically comfortable “bridge” between my professional system and home theater setup. The A'Diva Ti speakers offer all the strengths and features of pro gear while looking and sounding great in any modern home environment. Because many of us are constantly testing mixes (in stereo and surround) on systems other than our studios for reality checks, this is another great option to have. Even when used in a small mixing suite, this system is a great A, B or C option to have when checking mixes. When properly set up, the sub-to-satellite integration was smooth and seamless, with little or no loss or phase problems at the 120Hz crossover point that I selected for my demo space.
This is a smart, clever, all-in-one system that sounds great (way better than it should, especially for its size) and will let you enjoy your mixes on a console top or anywhere you prefer.
Prices: A'Diva Ti, $275 each or $300 each for stainless; TR-2, $700.
Anthony Gallo Acoustics, 800/459-4183, www.roundsound.com.
Joe Hannigan runs Weston Sound & Video in Philadelphia.