Anthony Gallo Nucleus Micro's, a brief look

Discussion in 'Home Cinema Speakers' started by uncle eric, Aug 31, 2002.

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  1. uncle eric

    uncle eric
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    I've recently recieved a set of Nucleus Micro's from Anthony Gallo's David Baxter for evaluation. The set of five NM's came with the companys small but solid MPS 150 subwoofer. Having now spent most of yesterday and some of this morning with these speakers I'd like to say a few words.
    Although I've heard good things about this equipment on this and other forums, I've also read negative remarks. Namely HE's recent (daft) review.
    Prior to going on Holiday, I did get a chance to listen to a stereo pair in a london department store but wasn't really impressed. I have to say however that a busy (hence noisy) department store that demonstrates speakers in what is probably an area measuring 50,000 cubic feet is not really the ideal environment for critical listening. What amplifier were they using to drive the NM's? Which front end did they use? How about the wiring, was that in phase? The answer to these questions is "who knows?". While my initial reaction was negative, due to the above I decided not to post anything untill such time as I got some serious listening done in my room. Friends now call it "The Batcave"

    Its been said that this system must be viewed/listened to in "context". In the context of what? Lifestyle products presumably! Or is it price? Could it be size and convenience?
    Sorry, I don't do context. Things are very much black and white in my world. If I drive a car, its either good or bad. I have the same attitude to everything. If I listen to speakers, I don't care how much they cost, I have minimum requirements in my brain. A line if you will. If they fail to reach that line its end of story. Doesn't matter if it cost a pound, its a pound too much. Of course, there is such a thing as value. Performance can sometimes go over that line and disappear into the distance. When the cost of that product is so low in comparrison to its performance, I regard it as high value, plain and simple. The greater distance between the right side of "the line" and the cost, the better value the product is.

    I sat the Micro's atop my newly aquired M&K MPS2510P's angled equidistantly to the main listening postion.
    The Anthony Gallo MPS 150 (two piece) sub was placed to the left of the centre channel. Subs should always be "with" the front soundstage. This business about bass being non-directional is another common fallacy. Bass is still very much directional well into the 30Hz's and subs should be placed out on the front soundstage where they are most coherent with this soundstage. In the case of forward firing units, its also directional further down the frequency range. Why? You may not hear where the low frequencies are coming from but you can feel where they are coming from. In the case of downward firers such as Anthony Gallos little 150, this positioning is a little less relevent but still prefered non the less. The little gem of a sub, while not having the ultimate bass of larger units that I normally play with, seemed to work beautifully with the NM's. Its my view that this was not designed to simply convey the San Fransisco earthquake. Rather, its main pastime is to work in conjunction with the Micros and lend them body and substance.

    For my front end, I used another new piece of kit, Pioneers new 757 SACD/DVD-A player, all powered by my old faithfull, soon to be replaced Denon AVCA1SE.

    First up, my favourite multi channel disc and track, Al Greens "Tired of being Alone" on DVD-A.
    There's a lot of brass on this track which does not bode well for "thin" sounding speakers. This came across superbly. The fullness of the instruments trully belied the size of these things. Whoops, there I go again with context. Forget size, they sounded incredible. Its obvious that Al Greens fantastic voice was at its peak when this album was recorded and this can clearly be heard on this brilliantly mastered disc. Beautifull smooth vocals were constantly interupted with the punch of clean solid brass. I just could not believe what I was hearing.
    Joni Micthells "Both Sides Now" on DVD-A has a slight simblance on many a speaker. Not here. Her slightly gruff, cigarette hardened voice mixed with what seems like ten orchestra's of strings came across superbly. The soundstage was vast and powerfull while at the same time even the tiniest details were clearly revealed. Imaging was pin point throughout.
    I'm into french music at the moment and I threw in Natalie Cohen's La Boheme which is a mixture of vocals together with jazzy piano. Her rich moody voice is just perfect for mid-range listening and the NM's once again performed their magic. This track often brings out hardness in the mid frequencies with lesser speakers. Not the Micro's, they simply sparkled.
    By now, I was trying to fluster the Micros, well, trip them up really.
    What better than Roger Waters "In the Flesh" DVD with one of the most dynamic DD tracks available. "Money" is one of the most complicated, tracks on this disc. Its pounding beats, endless lead and bass guitar together with hugely dynamic male vocals will kill many a speaker system at 50 yards. The Micros were by this time up to around -5 below reference level. Absolutely incredible. With the lights off, watching this DVD in the darkness of my almost black room with the screen seemingly suspended in mid-air, I swear I could not equate this sound from these tiny speakers. It was almost unreal.
    Paul Simons "Night in Paris" DVD is just as complex. "You can call me Al" seems to have a hundred different percusion instruments going on at any one time. Once again all picked out with ease with a superb cohesive soundstage that just opens out in front of you.

    I could go on all night about how wonderful these speakers are but I probably won't do them justice.

    The dreaded word "Lifestyle" usually means bad news for serious Hi Fi or Home Cinema fans. Fear not. In the case of the Anthony Gallo Nucleus Micro's it means almost invisible high resolution sound at the best value I've known for a long time. It comes with my highest recommendation.

    A special thanks to Nic who first brought these speakers to our attention.
     
  2. Guest

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    hmmmm.... so are they out of my budget any more?!!? I wonder.
     
  3. uncle eric

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    Close up of a Nucleus Micro with the grill removed
     

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  4. uncle eric

    uncle eric
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    The tiny MPS-150 sub with another Nucleus Micro
     

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  5. uncle eric

    uncle eric
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    Last but not least, The Batcave.
    Thats Godzilla over to the right of the centre speaker. She's been sitting quietly all day.
     

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  6. uncle eric

    uncle eric
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    James,
    My next step is to grovel to Mr Baxter on Monday to allow us a power-buy. Lets see what happens.
     
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    ah keep me posted!! I am interested. I had struck them off my list because at £1560 with sub (decent colours) they were about £600 over my budget.

    The batcave looks gorgeous, how does one get an invite as I would be very (no make that VERY) interested in hearing the high standards some of you lot aspire to!
     
  8. uncle eric

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    James,
    When the Denon gets replaced next month I will hold several mini events. You would be most welcome.
    Regards
    Eric
     
  9. Guest

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    Interesting, I had the micros on loan this week along with some Energy Encores. I have to admit that I didn't have time to properly audition them, only around 1/2 an hour each but in that limited time I thought the encores had the edge over the micros and that the micros really struggled with music. I put Bruce Springsteen live in new york on, track 15 '41 shots' is a good test track, good bass line, quiet bits and a great guitar solo. I only managed about -20 volume on my AVC-A1SE before I had to stop as it really sounded like the micros were struggling and beginning to distort. How on earth you got to -5 I don't know, they're only rated at 100W after all! I also tried Saving Private Ryan which I have to admit sounded great (but not as great as with my normal B&W speakers), like you say it's hard to believe such sound can come from speakers so small...

    Were the micros you had properly run in as I know the ones I had only had about 1 or 2 hrs use on them, could well be a big factor in my disappointment with them. I didn't use the Anthony Gallo sub, used my REL Q100E instead and I didn't use the supplied AG cable (which is unbelievably thin!) although my QED profile biwire cable wasn't very suitable for use with the micros, what cable were you using?

    I'm going to audition some M&K K series speakers as I've heard good things about them, and I think I'll have to borrow the micros again and also audition the dues which are due soon I believe (excuse the pun!).

    Interesting review anyway, what speakers do you usually use by the way?

    Cheers
    Andy
     
  10. uncle eric

    uncle eric
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    Andy,
    The Micro's I was sent were actually run in. Over the years, I've found that dependent on the speaker, this makes from quite a difference to a heck of a lot of difference.
    Regarding the Micro's 100 watt rating, one would do considerable damage to this or any speaker running a 60 watt amp to clipping as opposed to running the Denon to -5 below reference (well within the Denons capabilities and it seems the NM's)
    This was for a brief period only and also remember that the Denons rated 170 watts into 8 ohms is NOT to all channels driven. This firewall figure is actually much lower at around the140 watts per channel mark or there abouts.

    I use QED Silver Anniversary which are on 4mm banana plugs and they slot straight into the Gallo's once the plastic bung is removed from the high quality terminals.

    For quite some time, I've used a full M&K set up including THX150 fronts and SS150 Tri-poles. I've just changed the fronts to M&K's top of the range professional MPS2510P. The pro version of their domestic S150P. This is a powered speaker which use's a pair of M&K designed 150 watt internal amps to drive this monster. One to drive the two 5.25" mid range drivers and one to drive the three tweeters. I've just recieved these and will do "A brief look" at these sometime in the future. The M&K's are nowhere near run in yet as they came out of their boxes on Friday but first impressions are awsome.
     
  11. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Eric,

    I completely concur about stocking equipment based on performance. SS chose to take on the Gallo's not becuase they looked cute (although that's a bonus) but because they offered superior performance to products we already had down at that level.

    They are a good product. Whether they are good value depends on whether their performance meets your minimum threshold of enjoyment. To find that out you need to listen to some. Get over to your Gallo stockist, or Eric's now!

    Gordon
     
  12. GJC

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    Uncle Eric,

    Thanks for the review!

    I was hoping to audition some Gallo's this weekend but spent yesterday at work, so unfortunately I will have to wait.

    Can you tell me the dimensions (h/w/d) of the 'Batcave' that you tested the Gallos in please.

    I am considering a sub/sat setup for Movies only.

    -------

    GJC
     
  13. uncle eric

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    GJC,
    The Batcave is around 21ft x 12.5ft x 8.5ft (L/W/H)
     
  14. Harold Corbet

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    Eric.
    These sound perfect for what I need. Do you live far from Tottenham? Any chance I could come round for a listen? Do they have a website where we can see more info?
    And one last question, will you be doing these on a power buy. Say yes.

    Cheers
     
  15. Mr Pleasant

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    Eric, a truly fascinating review. Do you mind me asking, since I'm in the market for something small (not 'lifestyle', just small), have you ever performed a similar experiment with the long-standing forum favourite the Kef Eggs? Don't pull any punches, now!
     
  16. triplebj

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    Oh, now you've done it, Eric - I will have to listen to these as well ;-)

    So, the question is, how do they compare to "traditionel" speakers, such as Q1, CDM1NT or S-85 ???

    Oh, and will they go well with a Q100 ?

    Thanx,
    BJ
     
  17. MikeK

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    UncleEric,

    Can you expand on why you think the £500 Gallo sub is a little gem?

    How does it compare with other subwoofers available for similar (or less) money?
     
  18. Nic Rhodes

    Nic Rhodes
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    I opened this thread with dread but knowing what I know about the Gallos and how good Eric is at this stuff I shouldn’t have worried. Eric and others are now finding out what Gordon and I have known for a while (and many non posters on this board if my PMs are anything to go by). Many of us are picking these speakers on performance, satisfying a fussy audiophiles like me, but they look cute as well as an added bonus. In may ways it reminds me of Tag, who said, good sounding equipment need not look crap!

    Bring people up to speed I now have 5 balls running at home and they have displaced 5 Q15s in my small set up. Re the sub, it just does what it is designed to and is so small / cute / amenable to stereo sub operation. The 5.1 set up works really well with an additional sub at a later stage. A sort of 5.1.1. High level connection via Gallo sub to L and R and then you add the HGS 18 for the LFE!! This works well if you can hide the HGS from the wife!

    I said in my original stuff on this and I haven’t changed my mind on this but if small sub is required, this is where my money would be (outside of the Sunfire / Velodyne HGS 10). Don’t expect 15 hz but it is just right in what it does. It will satisfy most and as I have said already, the enthusiast who wants more can add a LFE sub at a later stage.

    People must remember I am a fussy bugger looking for excellence in everything. I don’t praise many things openly but when I do they are generally ‘a bit special’. This is what the Gallos are. They make music and films fun, very few things do that now days……………

    Don’t forget you can build your system bit by bit to spread the cost…

    HE are just so wide of the mark it is untrue. :mad: Do they listen to stuff? I was really disappointed when I read this. Gallos are a very capable speaker, it is an answer to many enthusiast prayers.

    Eric thanks for your review, most interesting. I can tally many of you comments with my observations. High resolution, imaging, clarity, spatial information etc etc As I have already said these speakers have abilities that few speakers can match, they have strong strengths and minor weaknesses.

    I think they make AV fun again. A breath of fresh air in the AV field.
    :)
     
  19. Guest

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    Eric any word on the poss Power Buy yet?!?
     
  20. uncle eric

    uncle eric
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    I mainly like to spend my time writing about products I like (with one or two notable exceptions of course such as the now infamous "Rel Subterfuge" thread.
    I have had a good listen to the eggs but I'm afraid to say I prefer mine free range. They just don't do it for me.
    Regards
    Eric
     
  21. uncle eric

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    Hi Mike,
    Without bringing the dreaded word context into this its a tough one to answer. As mentioned, the Gallo MPS 150 does not have anywhere near the bass extension of my two favourite sub £500 subwoofers, the now deceased (but nowhere near obselete) REL Q100E (around £300 used when you can find one) and the very much alive (untouchable for the money) £325 pound Velodyne CHT-10.
    Dont get me wrong, the Gallo MPS 150 is a good solid performer. Fairly trouble free to set up, and good, solid and smooth in the 30Hz-80Hz area.
    Gallo are realistic and will be the first to tell you that things do of course tail off this baby once it hits around the 30Hz level.

    The strength of this sub actually lies in the marriage with its off spring, the Nucleus Micro's. It seems to give them just the right amount of mid-range body, substance and articulation that they need below the 80Hz mark. As should be the case, the soul of the Micro's seems to be lost when this little beauty is disengaged.

    Also, due to the massive Wife acceptancy Factor (or WAF as we now call it on the forum) aesthetics will also play a role with these lovely looking globes. Many folks who buy a set of these for use in their living rooms would have bought them for their looks as well as performance. In these cases, I really can't see these customers accepting a big black Velodyne regardless of its superior performance. Especially given the fact that the little sub (very much like its off spring) looks like it will drop dead at the slightest whif of a signal but actually far exceeds expectations. Basicaly, its an (almost) invisible sub for a discrete system that does its job very well.

    Is this sub of high value at £500? Truthfully?, on its own thats a tough one to say yes to.

    Paired with the Nucleus Micro's? I wouldn't consider anything else in the world.

    Regards
    Eric
     
  22. uncle eric

    uncle eric
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    Harold, James, Ahmed
    I'm waiting to hear from Mr Baxter regarding allowing me to do a power-buy. Fingers crossed.

    Regards
    Eric
     
  23. Guest

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    and remember folks the sub is a two-module job with seperate amp and woofer modules. I've just discovered that you can add a second woofer module and run both off the one amp module.

    come on Mr Baxter tell us what we want to hear!:D
     
  24. Guest

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    Well, thanks in no small part to Eric, looks like I'll have to eat my words. I had a proper demo of these speakers yesterday and was quite amazed. Hats off to you Eric, I don't think I would have bothered had you not posted your thoughts.
    I'm also up for a power buy on these when the become available.
     
  25. uncle eric

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    James, that dead on. This is a great option indeed.
    Regards
    Eric
     
  26. uncle eric

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    Ok, thanks to Mr Baxter of Anthony Gallo, the power-buys will be up on the Nucleus Micros (and sub) at some point later today. Mr Baxter has forewarned me that whilst he appreciates the support of the forum, this may go against the grain of some of his dealers hence has said that he reserves the right to ask me to stop the power-buy if the dealers scream blue murder. Of course I understand and have agreed.
    Thanks everyone
    Eric
     
  27. Guest

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    excellent news! looks like I'm going to have to get some of these before I get the amp then... still at least they won't take up much space!:D Wonder how good a deal we'll get?!
     
  28. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    I am a dealer and I reserve the right to throw my dummy out of the pram in outrage!!!! Or alternatively why not go to the poor dealer where you took up the time and had the dem and ask him to match the powerbuy price.....

    Gordon
     
  29. Guest

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    I feel vindicated in the knowledge I have taken up no dealers' time with this purchase:D I'm rushing in blind, uninformed and uneducated... most unlike me.:p
     
  30. John Watts

    John Watts

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    I dont want to look like a hijacker on this thread as i am refering to its first posts.
    Are we to assume that now speaker makers can make small speakers sound as good as large ones?

    Or is it a case that they sound great but not as good as "bigger" boxes?

    I ask because a general although not always true rule of thumb is you needed to buy bigger speakers for a better sound but if thats not the case then there is no point buying larger boxes(just wait for other companies to respond or buy the gallos).

    If im wrong please correct me.

    Also can you compare the gallos to a big box package? I know this is a bit of a silly question but would you say they were worse/as good/better than the B&W series3 package?
    Thanks and regards,John.
     
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