Well the Gales did indeed come back from the speaker hospital and I took the ATC SIA2-150 down to Brissy this morning to give them a run with it.
Ken is looking for a cd player so our source was his Lynn fed through a Schiit Mani.
Picture 1 (just to prove to any doubters that it did indeed happen).
And here's a picture of me taking a picture... of a very reflective surface. Nice chrome work on that speaker!
We fired up Tracy Chapman for starters, and my first impressions of the Gales sound was that they were very, very "English". Very warm and a little fuzzy but with a good mid range and a fairly strong bass line. This was of course completely incorrect, but more on that in another few lines.
Ken and I talked and swapped a few stories and spun up a record I have brought with me, Gary Moore's "After the War" (the first of my records to be played, ever, I feel like I should write that down somewhere). Anyway, we listened a little more and talked a little more and Ken showed me some pics of the Gales before and after their restoration. This sparked an idea and I asked him if they were set up with both tweeters closest to the inside (ie closer to each other) or on the outside (furthest from each other). He wasn't sure as they aren't the easiest speakers to see in to as you can't just take off the fabric. After moving side to side and bobbing up and down a bit I came to the conclusion that both the speakers were sitting with the tweeter on the left hand side. I suggested turning the left hand speaker so that the tweeter was on the right hand side as this made sense to me.
So I turned the speaker over (putting far to many greasy finger prints onto the new chrome work in the process) and we spun up Gary Moore once again.
It took me 30 seconds or so but I finally realized what I was hearing the first time. Because the left speaker had its woofers in between its tweeter and the speaker on the right the sound stage couldn't form and the bass was dominating the performance. With both of the tweeters on the inside the sound stage could form and the mids and highs from both speakers could get together and make some magic.
This new set up (so to speak) was very mid range focused. I don't know what happened to the bass from the first time I heard it but I was definitely hearing more mid range and top end than I was bass now. This is the sort of mid range I could understand becoming so popular that people rave on about it (as many Gale owners seem to enjoy doing, and why not?).
I can also understand how people could kill amps on this style of presentation. Since there isn't a great deal of bass I can see in my minds eye so many "young-uns" just dialing the volume up and up and up in an effort to get the speakers to force you out of the room, and since they're so inefficient they never quite get there. And then the amp decides that it needs a bit of a lie down.
The ATC was doing a fine job at about 12 o'clock on the volume dial and seemed just as happy at 2 o'clock as well. It did heat up but only to the same level as I've experienced in my system in the past. If Ken decides he want's to annoy his neighbours for a full album or two then it may struggle with heat dissipation in warmer weather but I don't see it having any trouble at more normal "moderate to loud" levels.
Nice to meet you Ken, hope you find a good cd player for your system. Be sure to give the ATC a good serious product testing mate and if you do have any troubles let me know and we'll sort them out.