A Request From Dubai: Anthony Gallo's 5ls Loudspeaker
Jon Iverson, our magazine group's self-proclaimed “Web Monkey”—that’s how his business card describes his role—mentioned that a reader, now living in Dubai, wrote him Tuesday night about Gallo Loudspeakers. "I'm hoping your CES 2008 show blog will bring me up to speed on the latest loudspeaker from Anthony Gallo," he wrote.
Jon and I found Anthony Gallo's Venetian suite early this morning. In fact, we were the first visitors On Wednesday, arriving even before Anthony Gallo did. When he did appear, Jon took his photograph next to the company's flagship loudspeaker, the $18,000/pair 5LS full range, floorstanding loudspeakers. After Jon left, Anthony got down to work, adjusting the bass controls and absolute phase. Sure enough, the chorus in the Reference Recording CD I brought along—RR57, Rutter's Requiem—snapped into focus after Anthony did his magic.
"I don't know what happens each night," said Anthony, "but the 5LS always sounds sluggish in the morning, and some controls on our Reference SA amplifier for the woofers have been fiddled with." I was about to comment that I always am sluggish in the morning, especially if my controls have been fiddled with. However, I bit my tongue.
Anthony then ran his hands over the 5LS's 70" tall, 11" thick, stainless steel column, and begin to describe the company's flagship. The enclosure is made of stainless steel with cast-aluminum endcaps. Stainless steel was found to be more rigid than aluminum. The front of the column holds a line array of eight 4" midranges in spherical enclosures, interspersed with seven piezoelectric cylindrical-diaphragm tweeters. The front of the enclosure has a vertical elastic-string curtain, similar to those that first appeared on the Sonus Faber Extrema speaker. Around back, there are a dozen 4" subwoofer drivers, also in line array. The speaker has only one crossover for the woofer section, essentially a single inductor that acts as a first order, 6dB/octave, filter at 80Hz. Above that, the midrange and tweeter drivers run full-range.
I listened to two of my recordings, including the first two cuts from our magazine's Editor's Choice CD to check phase and channel identification. I found that the announcer—Richard Lehnert—sounded most natural from the second row of seats in the large suite Gallo occupied. Anthony, by the way, preferred another row. However, I was satisfied by the quality of midrange, bass, transparency, and soundstaging. This loudspeaker is definitely a contender.