CES: Round sound speakers better than boxes?

Box speakers are so 20th century. That's why Anthony Gallo Acoustics makes nothing but round speakers. At the Las Vegas show, it'll unveil its latest spherical triumph: the Strada.

Steve Guttenberg
Ex-movie theater projectionist Steve Guttenberg has also worked as a high-end audio salesman, and as a record producer. Steve currently reviews audio products for CNET and works as a freelance writer for Stereophile.
Steve Guttenberg
2 min read

Anthony Gallo Acoustics never made box speakers.

No, Gallo speakers, from the company's earliest days in 1994, were always designed around spherical cabinets. Yes, others have followed suit, but Gallo was the first to perfect round sound.

At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, which opens Thursday in Las Vegas, Gallo will premiere its latest speaker: the double-balled Strada ($1,000 MSRP each). Measuring a compact 6.5 inches tall by 12.5 inches wide by 5.5 inches deep, the Strada is jam-packed with unique technology.

Round speakers are no cosmetic gimmick; round speakers get around the inherent structural and acoustic problems of boxes, which, to a greater or lesser degree, always adversely affect the speakers' sound. Boxes tend to "sing along" with the drivers, smearing the sound. Gallo's hardened-steel balls are so incredibly rigid that all you hear is the sound of the Stradas' woofer and tweeter.

The Strada: no cosmic gimmick. Anthony Gallo Acoustics

The thing is, small speaker cabinets tend to severely limit bass power and low-frequency oomph. So sure, the Strada would suffer from undernourished bass if it weren't endowed with Gallo's patented S2 Technology. Here's how it works: the balls are packed with polyolefin flakes (they look like snow flakes) that absorb significantly more energy than commonly used wool or synthetic stuffing materials.

The polyolefin flakes' denser-than-air mass also replicates the volume of a much larger enclosure, which allows the Strada's woofers to produce deeper bass, and the flakes minimize performance-degrading reflections within the speaker itself. The Strada makes enough bass on its own that there's no need to add a subwoofer for stereo applications, Gallo claims.

Nestled between the Strada spheres you'll find the latest update of Gallo's proprietary CDT 3 tweeter. Instead of the usual dome tweeter, Gallo's tweeter is a silver-coated cylinder boasting vastly greater radiating area than conventional tweeters. Gallo's tweeter forgoes most of the moving mass elements common to dome tweeters--a voice coil, coil-former, or a suspension--and maybe that's why it produces high-frequency response extending all the way up to 50 kilohertz (dome tweeters barely make it past 20KHz). The tweeter is another reason Gallos sound better than conventional speakers.

The TR-3 subwoofer may be tiny, but it gets the job done in style. Anthony Gallo Acoustics

The company is also introducing a matching subwoofer, the TR-3 ($984 MSRP). It nixes the usual boring cube shape in favor of a cylinder. It's a little thing--just 10.75 inches tall by 12 inches wide by 13.5 inches deep--but since it also uses S2 Technology it delivers deeper and more powerful bass than other minisubs.