One hint, and a point that is not covered in any of the Gallo manuals to my knowledge, is that users can have some control over treble output levels for the Classico models. The CDT 3 tweeter needs to be driven at higher voltage levels and therefore is, by design, transformer coupled. Gallo has thoughtfully designed its coupling transformer with multiple output taps that allow the tweeter to be driven to higher or lower output levels for a given level of input signal. The default output tap settings give well-balanced results in many environments, but if you wish, you can remove the tweeter to access the coupling transformer (it’s mounted just behind the tweeter) to experiment with other output taps/output levels. For our listening tests we used the standard Gallo settings.
Midrange frequencies sound very clean, pure, and transparent—almost like those produced by high quality electrostatic or planar magnetic speakers. I attribute these qualities to the fact that Gallo’s carbon fiber mid/bass drivers are light, stiff, and very responsive, and to the fact that there is no crossover network to potentially cloud the transition region between the mid-bass drivers and the CDT 3 tweeter. Even though the piston-type mid/bass drivers and the semi-cylindrical CDT 3 tweeter have somewhat different dispersion patterns, I found the transition region between the two was artfully managed and essentially seamless.
One distinctive quality about the Classico speakers involves their nuanced and highly expressive dynamics. Where other speaker systems tend to sound ever so slightly compressed or a little “too tightly wound,” the Classico’s sing with palpable gusto—never sounding “squeezed” or “throttled,” as some competing systems do. On the contract, the Classico system has a nuanced and decidedly full-throated quality that frees dynamic details from unwanted constraint. In my view, dynamic expressiveness is one are where the Classico’s equal or even surpass Gallo’s more costly Reference-series models.
What gives the Classicos so much dynamic agility? I think one key part of the answer involves the fact that Classicos use proprietary S2 damping material in vented, transmission line-type enclosure (where previous Gallo models have always used S2 in sealed-box enclosures). Based on conversations with Anthony Gallo, I think one discovery that came with creation of the Classico models is that S2 material may offer different advantages when applied in a vented enclosure, thus giving the speakers an exceptional degree of dynamic fluidity.
When first you see the CL-3, CL-2, or CL-C speakers, your first thought might be that both their enclosures and their mid/bass drivers are too small for there to be any realistic hope of the speakers producing deep, meaningful bass. As I noted in my CL-3 review for The Absolute Sound, though, the Classico's are actually capable of producing surprisingly powerful, extended bass—provided you play by Gallo’s rules. Specifically this means placing the speakers between four and 24 inches from wall surfaces that will help provide necessary low-end reinforcement. I found this “near-to-the-wall” placement was fairly easy to arrange in stereo systems (where there’s no screen to contend with), but not so easy for home theater/surround applications.
I raise this point for two reasons. First, most home theater enthusiasts prefer to position their front speakers in an arc whose focal point is the main listening position for the room—an arc that can leave the left and right main speakers pulled out more than two feet from the wall. Second, given the wide dispersion of the CDT 3 tweeters, it is advisable to place the main Classico speakers well in front of the viewing screen (to avoid treble reflections bouncing off of screen surfaces). Again, leads to placing the main speaker more than two feet from the wall.
All of this is a roundabout way of say that, even though Classico’s can produce great bass on their own, you should still think in terms of using a Classico subwoofer in home theater applications. The sub not only adds bass depth and punch, but just as importantly buys you the freedom to place the main, center channel, and surround speakers wherever you wish (within reason).