Gallo Acoustics Nucleus Reference Strada Speakers

If I review more speakers like the Gallo Acoustics Nucleus Reference Strada, my Office Depot bill will skyrocket. Within the first 2 minutes of listening to this speaker, I filled a page and a half of my lab notebook with verbiage - and the torrential scribbling continued for days, consuming paper faster than a schnauzer snarfs up Snausages.

One sight of the Strada makes this reaction seem well in order. The speaker looks more like an objet d'art than something you'd typically find in S+V. But the Strada isn't the creation of some whimsical designer with a weird haircut. Acoustical principles are responsible for its stack of geometrically shaped components. The Strada's dual metal spheres provide rigid enclosures for its 4-inch woofers. Unlike a box-shaped speaker, the Strada has no corners that could cause sonic diffraction (or reflections) that might interfere with the sound of the woofers.

The half-cylinder connecting the spheres houses a unique tweeter, which Gallo calls the Cylindrical Diaphragm Transducer, or CDT. Gallo chose the hemi-cylindrical shape with the goal of achieving consistent treble response across a 180° area in front of the speaker. Such broad dispersion should give the Strada a more enveloping sound, and it should also expand the "sweet spot," so the sound remains more consistent as you move across the room.

Gallo designed the Strada's drivers to complement one another's response naturally, allowing the company to dispense with an electrical crossover circuit. Some audiophiles will commend this as a purist approach, but I have to point out that it limits Gallo's ability to fine- tune the speaker's performance.

Each Strada comes with your choice of a wall mount or table stand. The speaker is available in a matte black or stainless steel finish at the same price. It's also available as the Strada Center, which turns the tweeter 90° relative to the woofers so that the speaker can be placed horizontally.

Gallo's Web site suggests that the Strada can be used without a subwoofer, but there's only so much that two 4-inch woofers in a small enclosure can do. Fortunately, my review system included the TR-3, a 10-inch subwoofer powered by a 300-watt amp. The company builds the TR-3 from a metal cylinder, lending it some of that treasured stiffness found in the Strada's dual spheres. The usual controls for level and crossover frequency are provided, along with speaker-level and line-level inputs and outputs, and a switch that boosts bass by +3 or +6 dB.