Grand Prix Audio – High End 2018, München
Grand Prix Audio was showing their latest turntable models, the flagship Monaco v2.0 and the Parabolica, both for the first time in Europe. We will also be showing the latest iterations of our modular support system, in both Silverstone suspended guise and Monaco stackable, rigid form
We’re also extremely proud to announce that Living Voice has chosen to use the Monaco v2.0 in their room, Atrium 4, E220, to demonstrate the legendary Vox Olympian speakers, the first time in Munich that they have ever used an analogue source.
Monaco v2.0 Turntable
A massive technological and musical advance over earlier versions, the Monaco v2.0 takes accuracy in analog replay to previously unprecedented levels. That may sound like hyperbole, but verifiable performance figures of average speed accuracy better than 20 parts per billion and peak speed deviation lower than 0.0001% are orders of magnitude better than the competition. The proprietary direct-drive motor, oil-bath bearing (with hydro-dynamic thrust force reduction to minimize noise) is linked to a 74,000 line optical encoder disc, allowing the predictive motion speed control software to sample (and adjust) the platter’s rotational behavior anything up to 300,000 times per revolution. The magnesium platter is fitted with a phosphor-bronze flywheel to optimize mass and distribution. No other drive system even comes close. You hear it in the clarity of the presentation, you hear it in the expressive quality of the music.
But there is more to making the best record player than just having the most accurate drive system – as important as that is. The Monaco v2.0 retains the compact, incredibly dense and inert carbon/polymer composite chassis of the earlier Monaco designs, with its stainless steel hard-points and milled from solid armboard, an arrangement that provides the stylus/groove interface with a silent and incredibly stable environment. That stability is further enhanced by GPA’s new True Pressure Clamp System. A platter-mounted sensor allows the user to define a precise, preferred clamping pressure, an LED in the clamp itself lighting as soon as that pressure is reached. This combination of precision arm/platter alignment and precision clamping maximizes retrieval of information in both the vertical and horizontal planes, generating natural dynamics and an effortless sense of rhythmic and musical flow.
The Monaco v2.0 turntable is priced at € 37,500 ex. VAT, with the cost option of a custom coloured platter and clamp. It might be smaller than other turntables and it costs considerably less, but every single aspect and element of the Monaco v2.0 is dedicated to improving performance, something that becomes all too clear when you compare it to the competition, irrespective of price. If this record player were made in Denmark, would we state that it’s the best in the World? Probably.
Parabolica Direct Drive Turntable
The Monaco v2.0 sets the benchmark against which even the most expensive turntables should be measured, but even though, in the context of the competition it is remarkably affordable, it is still beyond the means of many.
We set out to offer performance second only to the Monaco v2.0 but in a package that was simpler, more cost-effective and significantly more affordable than our flagship product. It proved a complex and demanding challenge – just like the legendary corner at Monza after which it’s named – but we are immensely proud of the Parabolica turntable.
By building a braced and selectively damped chassis based on our existing carbon monocoque, we were able to install the motor control electronics inside the chassis, saving considerable cost with minimum impact on mechanical performance. An aluminium platter and conventional clamp saved further money, as did a factory sealed drive system based on the selected motor used in earlier Monaco ‘tables, paired with the new 74,000 line encoder disc. Speed stability still betters anything other than the Monaco v2.0 (average speed stability better than 30 parts per million – 0.00012% RMS – with peak deviation lower than 0.00025%) and musical performance is superior to the previous version of the Monaco (the v1.5). Along the way we were also able to include capacitive, touch sensitive power and speed switching, a shorter, simpler but still accurate link between the motor and its controller and a quick release armboard arrangement that allows users to replace complete tonearm and cartridge assemblies in a matter of minutes, with no compromise in the accuracy of alignment or vital physical integrity.
At €16,500 ex.VAT, the Parabolica represents a cost/performance equation that is unprecedented and unbeatable. More affordable than the Monaco v1.5, second only in performance to the Monaco v2.0 – yet less than half the price of our flagship ‘table, the Parabolica establishes a completely new level of performance and musical expectation at its price.
Grand Prix Audio Modular Support Solutions
Equipment support and signal isolation have received considerable attention recently, with many new miracle cures and magic products on offer. Yet these theories and the performance benefits that they offer – if carefully implemented – are merely the same issues confronted by the original Grand Prix Audio Racks, well over a decade ago. Constantly refined over the years, the GPA support system still establishes the benchmark for effective equipment support. But what few people appreciate is the sheer versatility, upgradability and optimizable nature of the GPA solution.
At the heart of the system lies the U-Tube composite support structure, a rigidly braced, lightweight carbon-fiber frame that supports acrylic or F1 five-layer sandwich shelves in a constrained damping arrangement that combined with our Apex footers, effectively dissipates structural, airborne and self-energy. Available in three or four leg format, the U-Tube support levels can be combined with Monaco Modular stackable, decoupled leg elements for a reconfigurable and expandable solution, or single-piece composite construction Silverstone uprights, with infinitely height adjustable suspension units (delivering effective isolation below 20Hz) and individual, mass-specific damping of each support level.
Customers can thus expand an existing rack to accept system growth or upgrades, or upgrade the rack itself to improve system performance still further. In a world where equipment supports seem to be getting more and more impractical and expensive, the GPA Modular Support System offers an oasis of high performance, cost effective and highly configurable audio sanity. Based on proven, high-quality materials such as stainless-steel uprights or fixings and proprietary aluminium extrusions, hand-laid carbon-fiber frames and selected polymer or sandwich elements, this is pure engineering, expertly executed – and it shows in the results.
Proven materials: a proven approach: proven performance benefits.