Gale GS401A Amplification

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Wammer
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 Poking around in the loft a while back I came across along forgotten pair of Gale GS401As in very sad condition and, if memory serves, they'd been there for 22 years! Unfortunately they were a little too near a small long term leak that developed in the roof (fixed long ago) which did little to improve the chrome work. The main reason they went out of use was a blown tweeter in one of them which at the time was unobtainable and thus irreparable.

     More out of stubbornness than anything else I've decided to restore the old girls back to their 1970's glory. There was something about the sound I rather liked. Naturally I know it would be far more sensible to get rid of them and forget the idea altogether but where's the fun in that?

     So far all I've done is got them down, knocked off the end caps (I don't want to repeat THAT experience!), and cleaned everything up ready for parcelling up and despatch for refurb and chroming. I'm not expecting to be reassembling them this side of new year. When that happy day comes I'm going to find myself in need of some amplification. As they'll be pretty much second string system speakers using my MFs isn't really an option. The 401s are, of course, not the easiest load for amps. 

     Any ideas for economical amplification, power or integrated within £ Three Figures? Thoughts that went through my mind were a Quad 405 (doubtful), an older MF power or integrated and even a pair of bridged Behringer A500s (I do like the vfm that Bellringer offer). 

 

SergeAuckland

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I wouldn't bother with bridging A500s, one on its own is quite powerful enough for those.

At the time, a favourite pairing was the Yamaha CR1000 receiver, around 80 watts pc, and about all the power the Gales need. A Quad 405.2 will also be a decent match. 

Good luck with the restoration. Nice 'speakers when working well. Do you also have the chrome stands?

S

 
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General Factotum

Just the basic facts
Wammer
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I wouldn't bother with bridging A500s, one on its own is quite powerful enough for those.

At the time, a favourite pairing was the Yamaha CR1000 receiver, around 80 watts pc, and about all the power the Gales need. A Quad 405.2 will also be a decent match. 

Good luck with the restoration. Nice 'speakers when working well. Do you also have the chrome stands?

S
     Sadly I never got around to getting a pair of the stands although I always thought they looked 'The Biz' but who knows what the future holds? There have been some made in the past as a 3rd party venture.

     The main reason I was giving thought to a pair of A500s was that paired independent power amps have generally sounded more discrete to me than a straight stereo jobbie. As a user yourself, your knowledge of these little bargains is obviously far better than mine. There is also a second consideration; whilst in my loft I rediscovered a 40-45yo pair of B200 based TL speakers (also with a dead tweeter! :doh: , but not down to me this time). I had a passing thought re replacing the tweeters and going down the active crossover route, after hearing Greybeard's set-up at Harrogate, in which case a second A500 may well come in handy. I wonder who provided his inspiration? ;-)  

 
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THOMO

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A properly restored set of Gales will match modern speakers in the 5000 to 10,000 pound price range so are really deserving of a very good quality amplifier.They will show up lesser amps like Rotels.

A Musical Fidelity A5 would be a good starting point.I use two Usher R 1.5s.

They also sound very nice with any of the Accuphase amps.

The Nord class D amps would also be worth a try.I have heard them sounding surprisingly good.

 

Beobloke

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I wouldn't bother with a bridged pair of Bellringer (hahaha!) A500s. But then I wouldn't use a single one, either. :D

As Serge says, a nice grunty vintage receiver seems like an obvious choice.

 
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toprepairman

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Bridging amps is not generally a very good idea as each amp will 'see' half the speaker impedance. so if your speakers have a dip down to 2  Ohms, then the amp will be subjected to 1 Ohm. Distortion figures double at each halving of load.

 
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SergeAuckland

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Bridging amps is not generally a very good idea as each amp will 'see' half the speaker impedance. so if your speakers have a dip down to 2  Ohms, then the amp will be subjected to 1 Ohm. Distortion figures double at each halving of load.
I agree that bridging isn't always a good idea, but I think is a sensible option if done with care.  Some high-power amplifiers are already bridged to get the high power, but they are designed that way.  

I have never seen the bit highlighted above. Distortion can be higher into four ohms, but firstly, I've not seen evidence it doubles, and secondly, if it's 0.01%, does it matter if it doubles?

S.

 
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General Factotum

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     Hmm, certainly some food for thought here and some options I hadn't considered as well as some I had. Thanks all for your insights :)

 

THOMO

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I have tried my Usher R1.5s in bridged mode but they sound much better when just used as one per channel.

My best sounding pair of Gales have had the crossovers rebuilt, the attenuators replaced with a resistor and the fuses bypassed.

 
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General Factotum

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I have tried my Usher R1.5s in bridged mode but they sound much better when just used as one per channel.

My best sounding pair of Gales have had the crossovers rebuilt, the attenuators replaced with a resistor and the fuses bypassed.
Mine will be as per original when they return from being rebuilt though I don't doubt various things can improve the sound, as you point out.  

 

THOMO

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Some recordings just sound wonderful on Gales.Eva Cassidy live at Blues Alley,Jimmy Smith- Dot Com Blues,James Taylor-Hourglass and October Road,,Willie Nelson-The Songs of Cindy Walker,Traincha-The Look of Love to name a few choice ones but there are a great many.

To me they always sound their best with a really good valve preamp.Suprateks for example.

 
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General Factotum

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Wammer
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I can see I'll be giving them a long term test/run in on my main set up when they finally resurface, if only out of idle curiosity. I do remember some excellent sounds from the 18 years or so that they were my main speakers. Something to distract me from the more mundane issues in life for a wee while. :D

 

ems

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Years ago (25+) a friend had a set linked with a Pink Triangle / Helios Orion arm / AT something and a set on Meridian monos and Meridian pre ( very small box with Phono/tuner /tape ) inputs. I can remember being very impressed with the sound but it was that long ago I could not describe it at the time it was one of the best sounding systems my young ears had experienced. It may well have been instrumental in developing this life long hifi addiction I suffer from.

 
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Wammer
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Years ago (25+) a friend had a set linked with a Pink Triangle / Helios Orion arm / AT something and a set on Meridian monos and Meridian pre ( very small box with Phono/tuner /tape ) inputs. I can remember being very impressed with the sound but it was that long ago I could not describe it at the time it was one of the best sounding systems my young ears had experienced. It may well have been instrumental in developing this life long hifi addiction I suffer from.
The PT/Orion combo was a classic mating back in the day, as you found out first hand (the best way!). :)

 

britishcomposers

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I had a client, a multi-millionaire in property who lived in one of those cream-coloured Crown Estate mansions that run along part of the perimeter road of Regents Park.  He had various items of gear that all needed servicing.  Quad ESL-63's being just one part of his collection, along with an LP12;  all possibly via Studio 99 at Swiss Cottage/Hampstead way in the day.  Anyway, he had four Gale 401's with the forward/upward facing units; most needing work doing to them.  

This huge property was steeped in what reflected the state of the 1973 art of interior design, - which was when this client had moved in;  setting about with 'the look', - which included a red bathroom suite with multiple lights adorning the ceiling.  Quite retro upon my 1998 visit there.

I suggested having all four of these speakers restored and putting onto sturdy stands and using them as a 4.0 system in place of the tv-based system he was using in the huge main reception room.  A large CRT Loewe tv was in place and so with his Denon flagship amp, it all worked very well, including the serviced LP12.  He no longer wanted the Quads in this room, so as non-working items, I bought them and has them refurbished;  the proceeds going toward an engagement ring that has long since disappeared along with the wife.

Anyway, the point of all this Ronnie Corbett preamble was that this guy was a close friend of Ira Gale who commissioned him to design a loudspeaker best suited to his eclectic taste in chrome-plated modern interior design, and hence the birth of the 401

.... and yes, those chrome end-caps are a bugger to remove!

 
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oldius

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I presume you meant specifically the 401’s. That’s still a bold statement!
Not really IMO. I have heard several pairs of vintage speakers for whom I believe this to be true. The Gale 401, NS1000M, Ditton 66 et al.

I listened again to my old 801's on New Year's Eve at a party at their new owner's house. They are something! Built in 1979.

If the point was in reference to them showing up the Rotel then I have no idea.

 
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