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Srajan Ebaen
Financial Interests: click here
27" iMac with 3.4GHz quad-core Intel Core i7, 16GB 1.333MHz RAM, 2TB hard disc, 256GB SSD drive, ADM Radeon HD 6970M with 2GB of GDDR5 memory, OSX 10.8.2, PureMusic 1.88a in hybrid memory play with pre-allocated RAM and AIFF files up to 24/192; Audirvana in direct/integer mode, April Music Eximus DP1, Esoteric/APL Hifi UX1/NWO-M w. Bakoon BPS-02 battery-powered Audiophilleo 2
Preamp/Integrated: ModWright LS-100 with Psvane tubes, Esoteric C-03, Bent Audio Tap-X,
TruLife Audio Athena, Bakoon AMP-11R
: First Watt SIT1, FirstWatt SIT2, ModWright KWA100SE
Speakers: Aries Cerat Gladius, Boenicke Aud
io B10, Voxativ Ampeggio
Desktop: Apple iPod Classic 160GB/AIFF, Cambridge Audio iD100, Aura Vivid & Vita, EBTB Terra III, Ardán Audio stands
Cables: Complete loom of Zu Audio Event,
KingRex uArt USB cable with Bakoon BPS-02
Artesania Esoteric double-wide 3-tier with TT glass shelf, Rajasthani solid hardwood console for amps
Powerline conditioning: GigaWatt PF2
on amps, GigaWatt PC-3 SE Evo on front-end components

Sundry accessories: Extensive use of Acoustic System Resonators, noise filters and phase inverters
Room size: 5m x 11.5m W x D, 2.6m ceiling with exposed wooden cross beams every 60cm, plaster over brick walls, suspended wood floor with Tatami-type throw rugs. The listening space opens into the second storey via a staircase and the kitchen/dining room are behind the main listening chair. The latter is thus positioned in the middle of this open floor plan without the usual nearby back wall.
Review Component Retail: $1.998/pr with either wall mounts or table-table top stands, $984.50 for subwoofer
What had I done? I couldn't remember. It's rare to get credit yet feel completely undeserving. Just so I was twice curious about the outcome: "I am really excited! The production Strada 2 have been in for almost a month and I just can't pull myself away. It's happened to me before but just for a few days, not weeks at a time. And there's no end in sight. I am so happy that I have to express my appreciation once again. You had the largest influence on my decision to shift the CDT transition point up to 6kHz. By doing so it forced certain driver parameters to change which all culminated in improvements I still can't believe. A 3dB increase in sensitivity is just one of several more important improvements which materialized. I should have realized all this sooner. Just cut two layers off the voice coils and you'll never go back. Lower inductance, lighter moving mass along with the narrowing of the magnetic gap allows the transient snap and detail to finally rival that of the CDT. The new wave-launch pattern approximates a mini line source from 1kHz up with projection into the room reminiscent of a horn but with true 180° horizontal dispersion top to bottom. This also gives it the ability to sound the same from whisper to eviction levels with no loss of detail, coherence or 3D holography. Works equally well in a one-foot near-field setup (min. distance) to well over 30 feet away. Even outdoors it carries effortlessly. Oh yeah, we will be offering an outdoor version shortly. All that needs change are the screws in the back (to be replaced by a stainless version). But all this pales in comparison to just how much more natural, organic and emotionally involving they are now. Sorry that I'm gushing. All I'm trying to say is that you were the catalyst behind all this and my ears are so f*****g happy! - Anthony Gallo

Anthony was being far too generous. My Strada review (reference it for specs and tech descriptions) had simply made the usual subjective observations which some applaud, others refute. Had he translated those into technical adjustments, those were his very own. He's the speaker genius after all. But I too was excited. In many ways—in the big system I'd insist on adding a subwoofer—the desk-top Strada has been my all-time favorite Gallo. From its futuristic looks to the very compact size with integral stand that allows proper angling up; from its monstrous dispersion and consequently outrageous soundstaging to very high transient fidelity with excellent inner jump factor... I'd always thought that it exemplified Gallo's very best at its most condensed. Essence pure* if you will. I'd secretly belaboured more than once not having bought the loaners below at the time.

* This hasn't prevented competitors from cashing in on the success of Gallo's spherical mini concept. Without his CDT cylindrical diaphragm tweeter for the most obvious difference, copies like the above left are naturally an altogether different proposition.

Strada 1 setup in our prior Chardonne residence two years prior

Here was my chance at a second date with an old flame that'd gotten away. Would the sparks fly again? As reported elsewhere, Anthony's Classico range had made good sonic progress in the interim. Far simpler construction had also driven down pricing to counter the recession smartly. Frankly though I wasn't fond of the Classico cosmetics. At all. To me the Strada and Ref 3.5 were the true Gallos. Rather than consign the Strada to the scrap heap of the outdated and overtaken however, Anthony had now applied his ongoing passion for the craft to the real classic. Better yet, these sonic updates—new ferrite-motor carbon-fiber drivers with 2-layer voice coils instead of 4, new CDT-drive PCB with new DC blocking and bypass caps plus new multi-tap matching transformer, recalibrated values for two S2 pods plus a new S2 pod and recalibrated OPT Level 1 mechanical parameters (electrical Level 2 system unchanged)—had left no visible traces. The uniquely winning form factor was intact. My pink bits were getting red, the old itch was coming on. Shown at left is a Strada mounted to the costly but solid Mapleshade stand. If you're curious what went into a Strada 1 prototype two years ago, take a look here.

Asking Anthony about Pierre Sprey's aftermarket stands, "they are fairly massive and have a much greater tilt-back angle, perhaps too much for your desktop although they do sound very good especially when accompanied by his TR subwoofer mounting system. With that he gets absolutely flawless integration between Strada and TR sub. When connecting the Strada 2, go directly to your main amplifier's outputs without using the TR-3D's high-pass crossover. In fact anything in line with the Strada 2 does kill some of the magic. Remember to try reversed absolute phase again too.

Strada 1 and 2 driver: identical from the front but...

"Even though your loaners are fully broken in, it is very likely you won't get much bass or lower midrange output from the Stradas until the S2 has repositioned itself. This is also true of any TR subwoofer so I don't recommend trying to dial in the system until everything has been running for a while (1-3 hours of playing time with solid bass material at a conversational level should recalibrate the S2 after the speakers have been transported). Start out with the TR-3D's level and crossover controls at 12:00PM not AM (very important :-) with no LF EQ during warm-up. Also mind the phase and crossover/bypass switch positions. Best practice for TR-3D positioning (near-field) is in-between the Stradas equidistant from the ears. In the far-field I start out as I would in a near-field setup but incrementally push the sub back closer to the boundary (wall) behind it until I get the optimal balance between integration with sats and LF extension/dynamics."

... not from the side. The right driver with the bigger Ferrite motor belongs to the Strada 2.