I really don’t do product reviews. I have to really like something to give it an endorsement here on my website. And I’m endorsing some speakers today. Here’s my Anthony Gallo Acoustics Micro SE Speaker Review…
I haven’t blogged a whole lot lately. It’s because I’ve been listening to music.
Ok, a lame excuse, but it’s kind of true. My new speakers and subwoofer arrived about two weeks ago, and since then my life has been… different. That’s a good word for it.
Let me explain a bit. I’ve always been a music lover. When I was younger, I had the biggest box of tapes in my car (two sides of cassette goodness!), and I like music enough that I can appreciate almost any genre or style. One thing that always bugged me is people who put themselves into a little box musically – for example, I know people that love heavy metal, but “hate” the Beatles. Dude, friggen’ Metallica themselves love the Beatles, ok?
Anyway, I care about music. I remember parts of songs. I listen for the bass line. I like that soft drum that’s hit every eight seconds. I’ll wait the ten minutes it takes to get to the drum solo in Ina Gadda Da Vida (and the love the buildup to the end, culminating with the “…three, four” before the final verse.) I like it when Van Morrison goes “watch this” before the chorus in Jackie Wilson Said, or Lou Reed’s “heh” after telling us he’s in a rock and roll band. I like Phish’s playfulness, and thirty minute Grateful Dead jams. I like everything Neil Young, seventies pop, eighties hair metal, almost all Jazz, tons of classical… I’m all over the place. I even love Disco. If it’s good, I’ll listen, and listen closely.
But this love of music never really translated to equipment. I grew up in the 80’s, kind of after the HIFI era. I didn’t do much vinyl – my age group was cassette, then CD. When I was a kid, I never had a car worth putting a good stereo in, and once computers and awesome TV’s / VCR’s hit, that’s where my entertainment dollar went. I subscribed to the “good enough” school of thought regarding speakers.
Until now. Until Anthony Gallo Acoustics.
I’ve done some work for these guys, and read all about their speakers. And I’m older now (47 to be exact), and am at a point in my life where quality is important. If I’m going to listen to music, I want it to sound as good as possible.
So anyway, I worked out a deal with Gallo – in exchange for some work, I’ll get a 5.1 speaker setup. Not wanting to break the bank, I chose the Micro SE, which, for Gallo, is just above their entry level. But that entry level is still far better than anything you can buy at Best Buy (which tops out with Bose). The setup is five of their Micro SE speakers, and the TR 1D subwoofer.
Ok, I get the package, and am immediately shocked at the weight and feel of the speakers. About the size of a large orange, the Micro SE’s are made of steel, and have a feel that screams “excellent quality”. And the subwoofer is also encased in steel, and is heavy. These are not toys.
So I get to work installing them. I figured I’d go all out and buy a new receiver, as my old “good enough” setup was a “home theater in a box” (5 speakers, subwoofer and receiver – MSRP $479… basically garbage… as a reference point, my new Gallo subwoofer retails for more than my entire last setup.)
I hook everything up, and get to work choosing the first song to play. I picked “Baker Street” because it’s a classic tune that crosses several genres, and has a lot going on. Sax, guitar, vocals, keyboards, a heavy bass… you name it. I turned everything on, used the recommended settings, and listened…
Oh. My. God.
Blown away is an understatement. It’s not just how loud these speakers go, it’s the depth of the music. I’m a writer, and words are hard to come by to describe the difference – the music simply envelops you. There’s a warmth and a… a refinement to what you are hearing that is unlike anything I have ever heard before. My old “home theater in a box” may as well have been a transistor radio – that’s the difference we’re looking at. Try as I might, closing my eyes, I can’t pinpoint anything – I don’t know where the subwoofer is, I can’t tell where the speakers are mounted – it’s all just “there”. Some seriously good acoustics here.
I am not alone in this opinion. My wife was equally as impressed. My wife loves music as well, but doesn’t listen like I do (for example, she doesn’t care about a song’s nuances – she just wants something that sounds good.) In other words, my wife is a “surface” listener, and, as such, a LOT harder to impress in terms of musical quality (she just doesn’t care that much – she’s perfectly happy with her kitchen radio.) But my wife LOVES these, and has been hanging out in my basement office with me, just listening. We even danced yesterday!
Then my friend Craig came over. Craig is one of those people I mention in the beginning – he likes 70’s Progressive Rock (YES, Jethro Tull, older ELO, ELP, etc), and little else. He doesn’t know who Nirvana or Pearl Jam are, nevermind (ha!) something from 2013 (unless it’s a new YES album, of course).
But he’d be picky in sound quality, for sure – Progressive Rock is known for all kinds of weird nuances and similar. I played him Livin’ Thing (ELO), which is another song that has a ton going on. He was amazed at how good it sounded. He agreed with me – there are no words. It’s as if he was hearing this song he knew so well for the first time. Dude was very impressed. It’s hard not to be when the violin/cello crescendo rolls effortlessly from left to right (then back again) in a way that you never noticed before.
I’ve been listening every day – a LOT. I even listen when I write, which is something I have never done before. But for some reason, these aren’t “distracting”. I find that cool.
I also find it cool that Gallo actually makes better speakers than what I now have. It’s really a little hard to believe, but then again, the ones I own are hard to believe as well.
I love these speakers, and they are easily my best purchase of this century. I cannot recommend Anthony Gallo Acoustics enough. If you are looking for high end speakers, they are easily the best I have ever heard. The set I have retails for about $1,600, and is worth every penny.
(oh, and I haven’t even discussed how these make movies or xbox games sound. I think I’ll need another thousand-plus words for that one.)