Gallo Acoustics Nucleus Reference Strada Speakers Page 3

So what inspired my fevered note-taking? That CDT tweeter. Its broad dispersion produces depth and spaciousness I've only previously heard from large-panel speakers like MartinLogans and Magnepans. The speakers did indeed deliver remarkably consistent sound no matter where I sat on my couch.

One of the best tweeter tests I've found is in "I Only Have Eyes for You," from the CD of the same name by Lester Bowie's Brass Fantasy, a group comprising only horns and a drummer. A tiny, high-pitched splash cym- bal introduces the melody. I often judge a speaker's high-frequency response by how loud or soft this cymbal sounds. Through the Stradas, it sounded not only present but also more detailed than I'd ever heard before. I actually got a sense of its tonal quality, noting that it has a cleaner, somewhat steelier sound than the other cymbals in drummer Phillip Wilson's kit.

"I Only Have Eyes for You" also showed off the Strada's incredible soundstaging. Pressing Play on my CD player felt like opening the doors to a cathedral; it sounded as if I had poked my head into the large, reverberant space where this recording was made.

The Stradas conveyed bombast as effectively as they reproduced subtleties. The dramatic sound-quality differences among the tunes on Double Platinum came through clearly, yet the Stradas treated none with disdain. Whether it was the straightforward groove of "Firehouse" (originally from Kiss's eponymous debut album) or the ethereal clutter of "God of Thunder" (from Destroyer, the band's notoriously overproduced fourth studio release), every tune was delivered with satisfying punch and superb detail. Instruments (particularly percussion, sax, and acoustic guitar) sounded practically alive through the Stradas. However, the speakers added a tonal coloration to voices - an emphasis in the treble that made vocals sound more vivid yet also somewhat bright and occasionally thin. Interestingly, the Stradas were free of the tonal errors I so often hear when reviewing conventional speakers - specifically the bloated sound on male vocals that many box-shaped speakers produce, and the "cupped hands" coloration that makes vocalists sound like they're singing with their hands around their mouths. But all things considered, a well- engineered conventional speaker will deliver better voice reproduction.

The tiny TR-3 kept up fairly well with the Stradas, reproducing the deepest bass notes with surprising vigor. Still, I often found myself pining for more punch in the upper bass region around 60 to 80 Hz. Two TR-3s would have been a wiser

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