The merits of Gallo’s Nucleus Reference 3 have been dutifully noted in this magazine—the sleek speaker was the recipient of TAS’ 2004 Product of the Year Award. And while it consistently provides excellent soundstaging, dynamic punch, and frequency response, the Gallo has two noticeable shortcomings. At less than four-feet tall, the floorstander is rather short—especially for taller listeners, like me. And when pressed at louder volumes (which it handles without blowing), it can audibly vibrate on hard surfaces—particularly if the metal spikes are attached.
Both problems are cured by the IsoRock GR3 Speaker Stand, an aftermarket product developed by Bright Star Audio exclusively for the Reference 3. The stands are shipped empty, so it is up to you to fill their center chambers with sand or shot. While optional, this step is highly recommended for better stability and absorption. Without requiring much effort, the IsoRocks flushly attach to the bottom of the Gallos via a quartet of custom- designed and machined locking pins. The Reference 3’s spikes screw directly into the GR3’s base; setup takes all of 20 minutes.
The sonic payoffs are immediate. If you enjoy cranking up your amplifier or play anything other than chamber quartets or artificially meticulous easy-listening vocalists, they are a must. The GR3s bolster the Gallos to a fixed position and cancel undesirable vibrations, hums, and resonances. The upgraded elevation translates to an increase in both the height and scale of images, as well as drastic improvements in soundstage width, depth, and realism.
To see whether I could get the speakers to budge from their spots or vibrate as they had before the IsoRocks were added, I blasted Slayer’s crushing God Hates Us All [American] at more than 100dB SPL. Aside from ringing ears and dropped jaws, nothing else moved. The IsoRock’d Gallos survived that test and have given me a truer, more lifelike presentation of every recording I’ve played since.
If you’ve invested in the Reference 3 or are planning to do so, consider the IsoRock GR3 not as a tricked-out accessory item but an essential component.