Size matters. This is a catch phrase we tend to hear in advertising, and one that men have heard throughout the ages as a sort of mantra. However, when it comes to technology, bigger isn't always better. With cell phones, computers and personal digital assistants (PDAs), smaller is always better. With cars, houses and women's upper body endowments, bigger is always better.
The same is generally considered true when it comes to loudspeakers. Sure, some may love those cute little Bose cube speakers, but they simply don't compare sonically to Definitive Technology BP- 3000 tower speakers or Revel full range speakers (or even smaller comparable speakers, for that matter). There are some speakers that have come along in recent years, however, that are diminutive in size, but sonically "large." The Anthony Gallo Due is just such a speaker.
The Due speakers each measure about 11" tall and about 5" wide, and are based on the company's best-selling Nucleus Micro speakers. In fact, each Due speaker is comprised of two of these spherically shaped 4" speakers separated by Gallo's patented CDT tweeter. The Due speakers come with unique mounting brackets, providing the option for easy wall mounting. Alternatively, and because of their small size, the Due speakers can be placed inconspicuously on a bookcase, a media center shelf, or atop a TV. Aesthetically, the Due speaker is designed to blend well with any contemporary decor; its petite size and high-tech appearance compliment both space and styling. The Due speakers I received for this review had a striking silver finish and would be a very nice accompaniment to a plasma display or any silver fascia monitor (like a Sony Wega or any one of the new widescreen silver-finish tube TVs currently on the market). Each Due also features a sconce-shaped grille with a high-tech industrial design making the speaker drivers virtually disappear. Aside from the silver, the Dues are available in a black or white finish.
The binding posts on the back of each speaker are of the basic variety providing a fair connection. The opening in the binding post is relatively narrow demonstrating that they are suited to accommodate higher gauge (basic quality) speaker cables only.
The MPS subwoofer is an interesting addition. It is basically comprised of two capsules that mount vertically one on top of the other, exhibiting a unique "science fiction" appearance. The MPS is a powered subwoofer, with an internal amplifier producing 240 watts of power through a respectable 10" long throw driver
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Installation/Setup/Ease of Use
Setting up the entire Due speaker system was straightforward. The supplied speaker stands work pretty well, and set up in a matter of seconds. The five speakers temporarily replaced my reference Definitive Technology PM900 system, and were placed in their respective locations. The Anthony Gallo Due center channel speaker (which is the same as the others) I mounted horizontally atop a cabinet directly below my plasma TV, and the right/left front and rear pairs were mounted in their respective listening positions. Since these speakers are direct firing (which means that they have tweeters that are meant to be aimed at the listener), I aimed the rear speakers at the listening position for full
surround effect. The front left and right speakers were also aimed at the listening position, creating an "arc-like" circular array. The subwoofer was best set up in the front of the room, and off to the side. In my devoted theater room, the MPS subwoofer produced the best low-end bass reverberation from that location.
On 5.1 action movie material, such as Reign of Fire and the classic 00 7 film GoldenEye, my reactions were very positive. The sound passed from one speaker to the next, when a helicopter flew around or when a bullet whirred by, and it sounded very natural and exciting. There is a sense of cohesiveness to this system
that makes movie soundtracks come alive. However, the Dues are basically mini-monitor speakers, and are therefore bass-limited. This is not a bad thing, but it means that you will be getting most of your low-end information from your subwoofer, so to achieve proper sound reproduction, you will need a well-matched subwoofer.
I have to say that I truly enjoyed my movie sessions with the Due system, and I ended up watching many movies with it. Even in talkie films like Glengarry Glen Ross (newly released on DVD, and an excellent disc, by the way), dialog was also very natural and the center speaker (as it's the same as the left and right speakers, which is a good idea sonically) blended in with the package very nicely. On Alec Baldwin's famous "ABC lecture" scene, I was drawn in completely, never noticing the system, but just noticing the movie, which is the best compliment you can give a speaker system. When speakers just step out of the way, and let you watch the movie, the movie experience is a grand one. The subwoofer was solid on action movie material, filling in the low end nicely. Particularly noticeable on the dragon's fire-breathing scenes in Reign of Fire, I thought the subwoofer did a really nice job. As this system is specially designed for a small to medium sized room, it worked really well in my test center (read: living room) environment. However, move this system into a larger room, and additional subwoofers will surely be required.
On music material, I was a little less enthused, as the speakers limitations were a little more evident. Listening to Tony Levin's wonderful new live recording, Double Espresso, I found the soundstage to be wide and the imaging straight-forward, but the bass wasn't as clearly defined and enunciated as it was on movie material, and overall didn't quite have the realism that high end music reproduction needs. On more main-stream music material, such as Peter Gabriel's
very demanding recording Up, the vocals were pleasing but, here again, the soundstage wasn't quite as large as I had expected. The drums and bass were exciting, but the performance felt a little bit flat for my tastes. This is a very dynamic recording, with sounds coming from all around the front of the room, done properly, and I just didn't feel that. However, this package is really designed for home theater excitement, rather than serious stereo music listening.
Final Take - The Due speaker package is an excellent performer in a small to mid-sized room, providing an exciting home theater surround experience. If serious listening to music discs is your primary goal with a speaker system, I recommend auditioning some other packages in addition to the Due. However, if you enjoy watching movies, and want to watch them in a convincing manner, then I definitely recommend the Anthony Gallo Due speaker ensemble. If your dedicated theater or A/V room is on the larger side, I recommend implementing two of the MPS subwoofers, as bass is limited from the Due speakers themselves. This will help to round out the low-end sound in a larger room. The industrial design of these speakers is very appealing, and the entire system is a cinch to set up, whether mounted on the wall or placed on the stands. All in all, this system produces big home theater sound from a small set of speakers.
Suggested Retail Prices
Due Speakers $599/each