Gallo Acoustics Nucleus Reference Floorstanding Speakers

Nucleus Reference

(See reviews)

User Reviews (16)

Showing 1-10 of 16  
daviethek   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 19, 2009]

I am on year 4 with my Gallo Reference pair. Still extremely enjoyable. I still enjoy the nearly complete realism offered by these accurate speakers. They have the least amount of "speaker sound" I have ever heard . They nearly always sond like the source material and not themselves. Awesome....I am already on my second set of electronics and I think I have arrived at a system sound that gets the job done for me. In general, they seem to sould best with more laid back sources and source material.. Mid to upper shelf CD players are recommended. CD players that are described as "laid back yet detailed" in presentation might sound the best. I have a highly modified sony SACD player and with SACD material, it approaches analog sound and feel when played through the Gallos. I have dabbled with tube preamps and since the speakers are so revealing the quality of the preamp is brought to the forefront very quickly. It will take a highly refined tube pre-amp to satisfy with these speakers. Until I can afford that, i am running with a trusted solid state Pre/Power. One thing is for sure, practically every box speaker sounds like a damn box after listening to the Gallos. I heard some properly positioned Joseph speakers recently, which sell for roughly twice the Galllos and man, they sounded boxy to me. These speakers are a spoiler. Since they are extremely accurate, you can easily dettect flaws in the recorded material which will steer you towards making sure you purchase good recordings. Thismay be my last speaker. Bravo to Gallo and continued success.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
5
Kelly Stirman   an Audiophile [Sep 10, 1997]

I am currently running the Nucleus with 8watts, an SET integrated. They are plenty efficient.Gallo's design is so innovated that it almost isn't fair for all the other companies.
When they are properly set up, the Gallos will disappear in a way I didn't know was possible.
Rear wall listening is a must to get the most from these speakers, the bigger the room the better.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Raymond Yun   an Audiophile [Oct 30, 1997]

The closest to a live performance that I have heard. They do this incredible disappearing act that has to be experienced to be believed. My girlfriend kept on checking to see if the sound was actually coming from the speakers! The transition between tweeter and bass ball, achieved without a crossover is seamless. Soundstaging is deep and the bass is tight down to 30Hz. These baby's rock! I cannot gush more about them. The single best audiophile purchase that I have ever made. For the money they are untouchable. For those who have more money and want a bigger name, listen and learn; these will blow anything away.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Barry Smith   an Audio Enthusiast [Nov 20, 1997]

I simply can't say enough good things about the Gallo Nucleus Reference!
While I'm reluctant to label myself an "audiophile" because of my relatively limited technical depth, I am a professional musician and hence an extraordinarily critical listener. Having spent a good many years playing in and listening to live performances, I want my music to sound LIVE! I want clarity, imaging, depth, solidity - yeah, I want it all. And overall, the Gallos are the closest thing I've heard yet to "real."

My basis for comparison includes Quad, Apogee, Thiel, Methaphor, Martin-Logan, Snell, Tannoy, Genesis, ProAc, Gershman, Totem, Accustat, yada, yada. Recently I attended an audio show where I could even go directly from one room to another, listening to many of the above. To my ears, the Nucleus Reference consistently comes out the winner. And this regardless of price - the ~$4,000 Gallos easily hold their own against systems costing ten times (!) as much.

What do I like most? First, the complete absence of "the box." I've long favored various planar designs because of their openness and transparency; if push came to shove, I'd (reluctantly) give up some bass for good space, accuracy, and imaging. The Gallos' cylindrical tweeter gives you all of that and more. Coupled with the spherical woofers, you get fabulous mid & upper range AND solid low end, all without coloration. After hearing the Gallos, no box-based design (regardless of price) can completely escape the effects of the enclosure to my ears.

Next on my list is the wonderful 3-D soundstage. Even when I've been impressed with other very expensive systems, I'm immediately disappointed as soon as I move more than a foot or two away from their ideal listening location. With the Gallos, though, great listening can actually be a SHARED experience. The cylindrical tweeters do a fabulous job of providing great sound across a wide listening area.

I'd also have to call out the delicious smoothness of the Gallos. I suppose it's the cross-over free design, or maybe just good component matching... but ALL the music is there, and beautifully balanced. No bumps or dips, nothing jumps out or hides in the back.

And finally, all these marvelous acoustics come in a livable package! Until I found the Nucleus Reference, I was considering spending more money on behemoths that would have completely taken over my living room (and probably exacted a toll on my marriage, as well). Even with their unorthodox appearance, the Gallos are small enough to be easy to live with. Heck, I can even MOVE THEM AROUND any time I want.

Do I have any gripes? Sure - now it's abundantly clear to me where the REST of my components are lacking! With my system, the bass isn't quite as punchy as I'd like; but I know that with a better amp (I'm looking at the Spectron digital) that problem will be solved. And now that I can hear so much more, I'm becoming lots more critical of the mixing and production on my CDs...but that's another story.

My bottom line: you'll be doing yourself a disservice if you buy ANYTHING before you've had a chance to hear the Gallo Nucleus Reference.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Mark S.   an Audiophile [Sep 22, 1998]

Although this speaker was the more difficult to position correctly in my listening room than any speaker I have owned, once done the sound is utterly magnificent. Far and away,it is the best sound reproducer I've had. Others who have posted reviews to this site have descirbed the physical characteristics of this speaker (the spherical crossoverless design, the revolutionary cyclindrical tweeter). Mine is not the latest rendition of Anthony Gallo's creation (the fourth in the evolution of this design), but its immediate predecessor (series 3). As such, the four spheres are made of polyethelene, not spun aluminum; the crossover is at 3k, not the current 2.5k; they run at either 2 or 8 ohms (I wire mine for 8), not the current factory setting of 8 ohms; are bi-wireable, the new one's aren't; and they sit in rectangular "space frame" stands (each sphere resting on little rubber-tipped metal tripods and is adjustable in any direction), not attached with screws to the curvaceous Barcelona stands of current production. Mine do have the current Nirvana Audio internal wiring. The tweeter assembly on mine doesn't have the special aluminum structure of the current model. Before I bought them (used), I asked Gallo about the difference in sound compared with the current model. He said he could "barely detect any difference" between the two. The biggest difference is styling: the current model looks way cool, mine is, in my wife's words, "rather ugly."
That said,what is the sound like? Fabulous in every way. Let me digress to let you know what you'll likely experience in getting the best sound out of them. (Those easily frustrated can stop reading now and not bother purchasing these speakers.) When I first set them up, about two feet from the side walls and three feet from the front wall, they sounded like crap: dull, muffled, undynamic, boomy bass, with no high frequencies to speak of. The didn't start to sound good until I began moving them away from the front and back walls. Anyone who buys this speaker had better have space big enough that the speaker can be moved well out into the room. My room has brick/plaster walls and reinforced wood floors and is 22 X 16 with 11 foot ceilings. I moved them more than 6 1/2 feet from the front wall and 4 feet from the side walls, with them spaced nearly 6 feet apart. Move them closer to the walls and they loose their magic. My listening position is about 7 1/2 feet from the speakers.

Once positioned in the room, the balls, especially the bass spheres, must be individually adjusted (this has an effect like a non-electronic equalizer). All four spheres can be moved up and down individually on their tripod seats and can be rotated (this isn't possible with the new version because the spheres are screwed tight to the stands, too bad). Anthony stated that the top bass ball/tweeter assembly sounded best when pointing straight ahead. They do. I tried toeing them in, but the speakers lost their transparency and the midrange became "thick." I found that tilting tbe ball/tweeter assembly downward slightly improved the sound in my room, giving it more detail and transparency and tightening the bass response. These speakers can reproduce tremendous bass! It's nearly unbelievable given that they have only a 6 1/2 inch driver in each sphere. But overall, with all four bass balls level and pointing forward, the bass response was just too powerful in my room (which has bass nodes at 65Hz and 100 Hz), and the speakers sounded a bit muddy in the lower midrange, particularly with male voices and piano, and they had a bad bass overhang. Anthony said his preferred arrangment was to turn the bottom two bass balls backwards and use the speakers in a push-pull configuration. I did that, and the sound immediately was better. When I also tilted the bottom bass balls downward, so they fired at an angle to the floor, and moved them slightly off-center, the bass became simply unbelievably realistic, with no overhang anywhere in the bass region. But I had to tweak and tweak and tweak this speaker, moving each bass ball EVER so slightly and listening for the effect. I've always spent long hours setting up speakers (sorry, but a "home audition before you buy" simply won't give you enough time to discover what any decent speaker can ultimately do in your room--I always buy speakers used, then sell them without much loss of money if they don't work out), but I had to spend more than a month-and-a-half, night after night, before I finally found the "spot" that optimized the Gallos. They are not a speaker for the easily frustrated.

I've owned Legacies (Focus and Whisper), Martin-Logans (Quests, Sequels and CLS II's), Maggies, B & W Matrix 3's, Digital Phase AP 2's, Dunlavy SC III's, Eminent Technology, and other speakers that are less expensive than those, but none could do what the Gallos do: come closer to the sound of live music than any other speakers I've heard. The soundstaging and imaging are stupendous, almost spooky--the walls of my room disappear. Closely miked recordings sound up close, those miked at mid-hall sound that way. The depth of sound on some recordings is remarkable. On small ensembles, you can tell whether the bass is in front of or in back of the guitar, and where the trumpet is located in 3-D space relative to the other instruments. Ambient sounds, subtle ones, are clearly heard. Yet this speaker never sounds cool or analytical. Acoustic instruments sound like they do when you hear them played in concert. And for the human voice? You haven't heard recorded massed choir until you have heard them through the Gallos. Frequency balance is the best I've ever experienced: this is the flattest sounding speaker I've heard in my room. From deep bass (around 35 Hz) to triangles and bells, no one frequency leaps at you. There is no bass overhang, no muddy lower midrange. The top end has no grain except on poor recordings and the midrange doesn't either. I can play these speakers at a volume level unlistenable with others I've had, and the sound is clear and unfatiguing. The bass is detailed and powerful, and if produced with a big solid state amp, will pound your chest like a hammer. The dynamics are tremendous. My amp is capable of putting out 1000 watt peaks, and when big drums hit, it snaps back my head. Everyone who has heard them, including my musician friends, sits in the chair in disbelief at the quality of the sound.

One caveat in addition to the room considerations: although I've read about users powering these with 8 watt/channel single-ended triode amps, I don't know at what volume levels they choose to listen. These speakers like power. At present I'm using a Bedini 100/100 1 Meg class A amp. It has a gigantic power supply and forty output transistors, tests at 150 watts/channel, and puts out enough current to power an electric chair. These speakers suck up everything it's got to give. At times I wish I had another so I could strap them together, especially on big orchestras, big bands, and pipe organ. But I can live with it.

Simply put, in my opinion, this is the most musically accurate speaker I've heard, well worth the money if you buy new ($4000), and a bargain if you buy it used.

(Current equipment: Bedini 100/100 1 Meg amp, Hegeman Hapi 2 preamp w. new caps and outboard power supply, Van Alstine modified Magnavox 16-bit CD player, original Sonographe SG-3 turntable, Grado Lab Standard tonearm w. Goldring Electo II+ mc cartridge, Pioneer RT-707 reel-to-reel recorder w. dbx 150x Pro noise reduction unit, all interconnects and tonearm cable are Dlin Audio Silver Bullet 4's, speaker wire is Monster Cable M1. All electronics are plugged into a Brickwall Series Mode Surge Filter.)

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Geoff R   an Audio Enthusiast [Mar 02, 1998]

After shopping for loudspeakers for 2 years, listening to Martin Logan, Proac, B&W, Thiel, Magnapan, Ariel Accoustics, and ... I can honestly say that the Gallo Nucleus reference speakers are the finest sound transducers available for less than $10,000.00 and may be better than speakers selling for more, except that I didn’t audition in the nosebleed range. I am not one to wax poetic about the incredible soundstaging, transparency, detail, and dynamics. I believe that the other reviews presented here have done this quite succinctly. What I will say is that you have to work to hear these speakers. There is only one dealer in the entire San Francisco Bay Area (Stereo Unlimited in Walnut Creek) and probably large swaths of this Earth that are devoid of a Gallo dealer. DON’T LET THIS PREVENT YOU FROM FINDING A DEALER AND LISTENING. DON’T LISTEN TO IDIOT DEALERS (names not to be mentioned) WHO DISCOUNT THESE SPEAKERS SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY DON’T SELL THEM. At a minimum call the good folks at Gallo, they are very friendly and will help you find heaven for your ears.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Dave King   an Audiophile [May 07, 1998]

I've owned a pair of References for about a year, and find it amazing more people don't know about how good these things are yet.
How many speakers do you know of that have these features?

1. 1 1/4 lb, low energy storage, maximally rigid, spherical bass enclosure.
2. Large surface area (24 sq in) omni directional piezo film tweeter.
3. Zero diffraction, no internal standing waves, no crossover.

Now, let me ask another question: Why are conventional very high resolution loudspeakers so expensive? Because they typically deal with the problems of mechanical energy storage and distortion inducing resonances so inefficiently.

The Gallo Reference is a brilliant, innovative, form-follows-function design. To quote another friend who also has a pair, "they're round for a reason".

I can honestly say they're the best speakers I've ever owned (and perhaps even know of). The only very slight limitation is that at very, very high SPL's, the woofers (not the tweeter!) begin to compress just a bit. (Bear in mind I'm talking about volume levels most listeners have no interest in going anywhere near.) Rolling off the bass at about 40-50 Hz, and adding a sub-woofer such as the Paradigm Servo-15, puts these speakers in the running to be favorably compared to absolutely anything out there, at any price.

For $4000 a pair.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Chris   an Audiophile [Dec 21, 1998]

These speakers are the end of the road for me. I have owned many speakers in the past including PSB Stratus Golds, Audio Physic Tempos, and Legacy Focus, yet I have never heard a speaker do so many things well as the Gallo's do. They are the fastest speakers I have ever heard (barring electrostat's), and reproduce the sounds that drums and cymbals make like no other speaker I've ever heard.
I am a drummer, and the most irratating flaw that I have found in speakers (other than sloppy bass) is the way that they "muddy" the crispness of a drumstick hitting the head of a drum. Not only can I hear the initial transient with the Gallo's, but I can tell the difference between wood tipped vs. nylon tipped drumsticks hitting the head! The cymbals sound like cymbals, not bacon frying, not muted, but CYMBALS- complete with harmonic overtones! These speakers, in MY experience are even MORE DYNAMIC than the Legacy Focus I owned (albeit not LOUDER).

Most of the music I listen to is heavily instrumental in nature (Rock, Funk, Jazz). Jeff Beck, Stanley Clarke, Pink Floyd, Ian Moore, Extreme, Led Zep, Sabbath, Brooklyn Funk Essentials, Incognito, Bela Fleck, - you get the idea.

If I had to describe what other speaker they sounded like, I would compare these speakers to Audio Physic Virgo's (a speaker that was my second choice), but they have more punch, are a bit faster, and have a more extended top-end than the Virgo's. Maybe a bit more analytical than the Virgo's in the midrange, though.

One cautionary note: These speakers are best suited to higher-powered amps. 60 watts won't cut it if you want REALISTIC SPL's. Forget OTL's, too. The rated impedance is 8 Ohms, but it is really closer to 4 ohms in some areas of the frequency spectrum, so be mindful that these can be a tougher load than the 8 Ohm designation may indicate. Also, these speakers REALLY need room to "breathe". If you can't position these away from side and rear walls, forget it (unless you want a HEAVY room treatment bill $$). Performance drops considerably if not positioned right (this is true of most speakers).

When set-up correctly in the right room, with front-end equipment that is its equal or match, the Gallo's will kick the tar out of most speakers out there- period. Regardless of cost.

My front-end equipment consists of the following: Meridian 500 Transport, Meridian 518 De-jitterer/Volume Control/Resolution enhancer, Meridian 566-24 Bit DAC (modified to use custom tubed (6SN7) output stage). I do not use a preamp! My amplification is a pair of Lumley M-120 Tubed (6550) Monoblocs which have been modified to use a FET driver stage in lieu of the ECC-82's and 83's that were stock with the units. Less than 1/2 db of feedback is employed. Total watts is about 160. Cabling is all home-brew (mostly silver).

For me, I have found the "Holy Grail" of speakers to be the Gallo Nucleus References. This Knight's quest is over.

If I could give it 6 stars, I would. They're THAT good (and for a mere pittance compared to other speakers).



OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Erik   an Audio Enthusiast [Jan 24, 1999]

First off, let me just say that these speakers are incredible. I've recently updated my sound system and purchased a used pair of the Gallo reference's. I've owned some decent speakers (Def Tech, Magneplanar, and Klipsh), and have auditioned a number of high end systems and am an avid live music fan. I know its cliche, but these speakers are awesome in their ability to recreate the live musical event. A number of my friends (non-audiophiles) have made comments such as, "Wow I feel like I'm front row dead center", and "It feels like I can reach out and touch Sting as he sings".
Like Mark S., I too have the previous generation Gallo Reference system in the space frame. While I like the sound and definitely the look of the current generation, I really prefer the adjustability of the older system. In speaking with Gary at Gallo, he mentioned that they intended for the older speakers to be the most adjustable speakers ever designed. The tweeter output and rolloff can be adjusted through the use of different capacitive or resistive values. The speakers can also be positioned independently. It's just these features; however, that can make speaker set up a lengthy process.

My current positioning in a 14'x18' room is 4-3/4' from the rear wall by 3'from the side walls, with 7' between the speakers and 10' to the listening position. This room opens up into a fairly large hallway and then pantry. Due to this, the room has very poor low frequency performance. To compensate, I've positioned the Mid/Tweeter units pointing forward and toe'd in a couple of degrees, while also tilted back a few degrees. The bottom bass ball faces the rear wall (as recommended by Anthony Gallo) and is toe'd out a bit toward the side wall. Positioning the lower bass ball this way has two effects: increased bass output and even greater 3D imaging---no doubt due to the delay of the tweeter and bottom bass balls midrange as they reflect off the back wall. Finally, I've hung a large, thick blanket on the rear wall from the roof to about 4' feet from the floor, midway between the speakers. This cleans up some of the reflections off the rear wall and brings images into even greater focus.

To rap it up the positives about these speakers are:
-Transparency (I need to get within 2-3' of the speakers to actually tell they are emitting the sounds I'm hearing)
-Imaging (3D, with very clear delineation between instruments and people's voices)
-Speed (These speakers are as fast as the Magneplanar's I've owned and as fast as any ML ESL I've ever heard)
-High End Clarity, without graininess (The CDT tweeter needs to be experienced to really understand this statement)

The negatives are:
-The lowest octave or two of bass is not reproduced as loudly as it could be (I don't feel I'm really missing anything, though I know a good fast sub will help to extend the freq. response and help to increase the soundstage even further)
-Looks (the older models I own are not as nice looking as the latest version, but the price and adjustability more than makes up for it)

Notes to owners of the older Gallo Systems, with externally adjustable capicitance/resistance for the CDT tweeter. Check out the TRT Infinicaps, instead of the included Hovland Musicaps. The infinicaps cost less and sound better. Make sure you discuss with a knowledgeable person though as a multi-capacitor network will create the most desireable, transparent high end you'e ever experienced. Oh yeah, when ordering the Infinicaps, make sure to ask about their SETI Caps, which try to recreated the warmth of a single ended tube amp---awesome. My 4 microfarad capacitor network is made up of 2x2 microfarad caps, plus 1x.01 microfarad cap, plus 1x.1 microfarad cap per speaker.

System:
-Monarchy SE100 Delux Single Ended, Class A monoblock SS Amplifiers
-Monarchy Model 33 Class A Line Preamp and dual 20-bit dac
-Sony D100 DAT
-Aiwa Portable CD player (upgrading soon, but the results with the rest of the system are still pretty amazing)
-Homebrew Speaker Cables-Cost $75/6' pair---Sound Awesome
-Homebrew RCA and XLR interconnects $20/1meter pair---Also sound awesome---See www.soundstage.com, look for Synergizing Section by Greg Weaver, find his write up on Signal Tape, you won't be sorry
-Anthony Gallo Nucleus (previous generation)

Finally, the best part of all. I paid $1400 for the used pair of Gallo Reference's in AS NEW Condition. I'm in audio heaven.

Support Live Music!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!






OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Richard Unanue   an Audiophile [May 04, 1999]

Can't disagree with all reviews of this marvellous speaker. Have one of the earlier models and with the possibility of external adjustments and modifications would recommend to new buyers to seriously consider the space frame References.
Would disagree with one aspect of the comments. The amplifier match would under ordinary circumstances limit these speakers to non-SET, low powered amps and OTLs. And yet the best combination I have heard on the Gallo References has been the Transcendent OTL with all of 30 wpc in a 18/30 room! This compared to VTLs, ARC, and a Pass single end. Wasn't the only one with that opinion. Believe the reason for the incredible difference was that Simplicity Ruled. In other words, you have a signal direct from a tube to an enclosureless, crossoverless speaker. Folks, the difference was not subtle. Good listening.

OVERALL
RATING
5
VALUE
RATING
Showing 1-10 of 16  

(C) Copyright 1996-2018. All Rights Reserved.

audioreview.com and the ConsumerReview Network are business units of Invenda Corporation

Other Web Sites in the ConsumerReview Network:

mtbr.com | roadbikereview.com | carreview.com | photographyreview.com | audioreview.com