Micro TI/TR-1 review

One single transducer for all purposes

TechRadar Verdict

A delightful miniature, with massive clarity and output


  • +

    Dramatic sound quality

    tiny footprint

    easy-on-the-eye looks


  • -

    Limited sound pressure level

    fiddly to mount

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Anthony Gallo Acoustics is a very rare sort of speaker company. As far as I am aware, only one other maker has ever taken a similar approach. I refer to the use of a single transducer to recreate the whole music spectrum, reaching sensibly into the lower midband - as many smaller drivers in hi-fi can do - but also extending madly up, into the stratosphere of high frequencies. And all from the same speaker cone and without the safety net of a passive crossover to act as 'traffic cop' for directing the right pitch tones to the right sized driver.

The other main outfit would be Lowther, whose famous white celluloid speaker cones have a fat nosepiece and a 'whizzer' cone appended to the base, protruding like the anti-scratch shield that veterinarians place on ill dogs' necks. The sticky-out bit makes the high frequencies, and, indeed, is found on some cheaper speakers; this 'whizzer' cone works well. However, the Gallo driver is a paper-dampened Titanium item with no 'whizzer' and, being metallic, can conduct heat away from its voice coil at the same speed that roasting foil can cool down as soon as it is taken from the Sunday joint. This means the voice coil tends to run cooler and thus not alter so much in its response to the magnetic forces acting upon it - making for less distortion and thus better reproduction, even when driven hard.

Also, the suspension of this driver is amazingly compliant, and, coupled with the very low moving mass of the whole driver, means that like a lightweight car, it can accelerate like a bastard, very fast indeed. This in turn translates to rapid transient response, or in other words, these drivers are clean-sounding, rapid-responding paragons of wide range, clarity and performance. Of course MJ Acoustics is another single-driver company, but I understand the company did some R&D under Anthony's aegis and have taken the Transmission Line approach to their bass end.

Back to the future

Many years ago, I owned a set of Executive Audio 'Highball' loudspeakers. These were nothing more than a quality 5in paper driver inside a brown felt-flocked goldfish bowl.

The sound was amazing, due to the spherical enclosure. There can be no standing wave interference inside a sphere. It imparts perfect acoustic resistance instead, allowing the driver to reach deeper than you might expect. This is the final 'how they do that' bit of why these tiny 3in driver equipped 4in balls of steel - the Anthony Gallo Acoustics Micro Ti speakers - can actually create a disproportionately powerful and clean soundstage. Put all five on a decently powerful amplifier, spin up a DVD on a Denon DVD A-1 reference player and the results are amazing.

Bass in the supplied system comes via what looks just like an in-car bass tube - in that it is a simple sealed cylinder called TR-1. A specially-made 10in driver sits in one end and a bunch of connections and controls show at the far end, stuck on the outside of a metal plate, the other side of which lives a 100W RMS amplifier.

It's a Class AB design, rather than the rougher-sounding Class D that is so often used these days, and it sounds clean and melodic, although it can't drop particularly deep. You get a set of ins and outs at speaker level, so you could use this in a stereo system, as well as ins and outs on phono plugholes for use with the LFE feed and to connect more than one woofer to a system.

The crossover on the subwoofer is changeable between 50Hz and 180Hz. A single switch deals with on/Auto or off. The tubular shape sits upon two rubber stubby footed curved brackets.

My only gripe with the system affected both subwoofer and speaker. The sub's feet were wonky and I couldn't adjust them. One leg section was unscrewed and the foot wouldn't rotate to screw it back on, Moreover, the £25 tabletop stand, comprising a piece of bended steel rod, a plinth plate and connection to the round bushing on the speaker, came in two versions, both poor.

You could easily scratch the Micro Ti with its bracket doing it up and it was a twizzling act to get them all tight on their stands with the badges the same way up. The big 'wallflower' stands just screw on, with no retaining cowl at all. In fact one of the table stands was obviously a MkI version of the thing and had a single-ended spanner and no retainer for the top nut.

Apart from slight niggles regarding build/mounting quality, this Gallo design is a delightful miniature, with massive clarity and output. Yes, the lack of overall driver surface area does limit loudness and sound pressure levels, but apart from this, and mounting issues, the Micro Ti is a neat small footprint speaker. Adam Rayner

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