Media

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Monaco Turntable

Roy Gregory, Editor Hi-Fi+, declares the Monaco Turntable a new state-of-the-art saying “…and if Grand Prix Audio’s Monaco doesn’t sound like other turntables maybe, just maybe it sounds like the great tables to come.” Read Full Review

French Publication Banc D’Essai declares the Grand Prix Audio Monaco Modular Isolation system as readily identifiable as superior to all other stands they have ever used including direct comparison to other high performance isolation stands. Read Full Review

Danny Kaey of Inner Ear does direct head to head comparisons with Finite Elemente, Townsend Seismic Sink, EquaRack, and clearly details the significant superiority of the Monaco Modular Isolation System to each one of these competitors. Danny states “…handily outpaces them by a wide margin” Nothing compares to Grand Prix Audio! Read Full Review

Brooklands Wall Mount Isolation System

Paul Candy of 6moons raves about the incredible performance and quality of our new wall shelf design.

6moons Feature

PFO Awards

Greg Weaver of Positive Feedback was so impressed with our product not only did he buy it but we were awarded the coveted PFO Writers Choice Award for 2004! Brutus Award
Full Rack

“...While I expected the Monaco to have a positive impact, to say that I was unprepared for the resultant sweeping enhancements resulting from its installation would be the most severe of understatements. The Monaco's influence on overall system performance is, in a word, breathtaking. We are talking about a scale of enhancement that I would have believed unattainable by merely changing one component prior to its arrival, let alone one so patently passive. Its rewards come in three primary categories; resolve, timbre and space.”

Positive Feedback's Monaco Review

"I've consistently placed Grand Prix Audio composite shelves into my "On location" recording work for four years and more. If I'd been able to, I'd have put these invincible partners of stunning sound within the reach of my recording signal path far longer -- if I had been able to. " Truth is stranger than fiction. Grand Prix composite shelves were not available until quite recently. Anyone who (i) loves music reproduction; (ii) records music at its highest sonic reach; (iii) demands the ultimate degree of musical authenticity and sonic clarity from sound reproduction, MUST audition Grand Prix's sonic isolation systems. They make love to gorgeous sound. "Here is the bottom line for me. Grand Prix sonic control devices will leave my grasp when Frank and Ella sing happy birthday to Billie Holiday in my backyard."

Jim Merod / On Sound and Music.com

"...Backgrounds became quieter, low-level detail improved markedly, and dynamic contrasts took on greater subtlety and sharper contrasts. Adding the Formula Shelves under the Ayre D-1x and Classe Omega digital players brought further levels of stability, image definition and overall refinement to their presentations, even greater than the effect of loading the stands... Perched atop the Monaco Modular Isolation System, the Champion's [Clearaudio Level 2] depth of field and downstage resolution improved to a truly surprising degree, and the Zen-like calm I'd already come to expect from the GPA stands was immediately apparent. It was as if another $1000 or so worth of performance had been grafted into the already good-sounding Champion ..."

Note: a post-review conversation with the reviewer revealed that the Champion turntable had previously rested upon an Ultra Resolution Technology stand, a state-of-the-art exampe of the hyper-rigid design school with its massive shelves and welded all-metal support structure, proving our contention that multiple degrees of freedom and visco-elastic damping outperform the old "high-mass, ultra-rigid" paradigm by a significant margin.

December 1, 2002: Grand Prix Audio Monaco Modular Isolation system, by Paul Bolin, Stereophile

"...Every track and tune and musical challenge I have thrown at the Monaco Modular Isolation System has revealed its extraordinary capacity to improve the way music sounds. EXTRA-ORDINARY SONIC IMPROVEMENT. Not by a dot or a dollop or an inch. Not "sort of" or "kinda maybe: why not, uh huh"? but Holy Shit, can you believe this!..."

December 27, 2002: Grand Prix Audio Monaco Modular Isolation system, by Jim Merod, Stereo Times

"... Perhaps by now you can appreciate why Monsieur Monaco won't be leaving. None of the effects described above are unique per se. Upgrading speakers nails some of them. A better DAC will enhance resolution just the same. Likewise, a superior SET will inject more presence and immediacy. Did I just list three fully fledged components to duplicate the "Monaco Effect" though? I sure did. Granted, this is not some hard-line mathematical formula to gauge its magnitude of impact. Rather, it's a deliberate suggestion. On how, once your components have reached a certain level of performance maturity, precious little remains to be done that will effect wholesale quantum leaps without spending obscene amounts of money. Even then, sometimes it doesn't pan out. Money isn't everything. Mostly it's the old White House shuffle - two steps forward, one back. Progress at snail's pace. High-End audio. The big syphon on finances, patience and ultimately, good faith..."

November 1, 2002: Grand Prix Audio Monaco by Srajan Ebaen, 6moons.com

"... At the end of a positive review, one often sees the phrase "you owe it to yourself to hear this product". Here, it might be wiser to counsel that yes, listen to your music with this stand, but only if you are ready to spend the money. Be forewarned: every encounter with music will be fresh, new, and full of pleasant surprises, even after many months living with the Monaco Modular Isolation System. It sheds an entirely new light on how important isolation is, so stark is the improvement in the sound. You may come to the same conclusion as I did: once you've heard how good it can be, there is no going back..."

May 1, 2002: Grand Prix Audio Monaco Modular Isolation system, by Rick Jensen, EnjoyTheMusic.com

July 2001: Grand Prix Audio Monaco by Michael Fremer, Stereophile, Analog Corner

Alvin,

You've seen and responded to my review so there are no surprises. You already know how I feel about the Monaco Modular Isolation System I wrote about and now proudly own. Having been in audio manufacturing myself for years, on the sales & marketing end, I appreciate how an up-and-coming smaller company relies on word-of-mouth from satisfied customers to spread the word.

From my perspective, of having been a classically trained musician, High-End audio salesman, High-End audio National Sales Manager for three different firms -- throw in touring the country and visiting some of its top dealers as well as numerous trade and consumer shows -- I have a reasonably close fix on the status quo. As a reviewer for the last four years, even more equipment now passes through on a regular basis than before.

The word? The word is that the eventual marginal improvements we reap if we've been at this endless upgrade game for a few years are relegated by the Monaco Modular Isolation System to where they belong: marginal advances that, at this stage of the game, costs a heckuva lot more. In my reference system (somewhere upwards of $50,000 these days) the $3,500 expenditure of your stand has made a more pronounced across-the-board improvement than any other equivalent dream purchase I could think up. I'm not saying this lightly. I could have thrown the same money at a new CD player. 'cept I know without a doubt that in order to improve over what I have, I'd have to go a lot higher. And knowing the shrinking gap that nowadays separates really good "reasonable" digital from the so-called SOTA efforts, I'm confident that even going after a $10,000 digital setup wouldn't return the kind of overall transformation the Monaco Modular Isolation System did.

In short, for someone like me whose system has arrived at a high level of sophistication (involving years of trial'n'error and don't-ask how many paychecks) the Monaco Modular Isolation System counts as a true highlight purchase and the best investment I've made of late. I'm happy to hear you've decided to offer a home-trial program. Any mature audiophile in a similar boat to mine would be crazy not to take you up on it!

Equipment list:
• Cairn Fog 24/192 upsampling CD player
• Zanden Model 5000 MkIII tube DAC
• Bel Canto Design PRE6
• AUDIOPAX Model 88 monoblocks
• Avantgarde DUO 2.0
• Unison Research Unico hybrid integrated
• AKG K-1000 with Stefan AudioArt custom cable
• Walker Audio Velocitor
• Acoustic Zen, Analysis Plus, Audio Magic, Harmonic Technology, HMS and i2digital/Sterevox cables
• Grand Prix Audio Monaco Modular Isolation System with acrylic shelves

Best wishes. You and your products highly deserve 'em! Srajan Ebaen, publisher, 6moons.com

The very first thing that attracted me to the Grand Prix Audio Monaco Modular Isolation System equipment rack was its sheer beauty. I had been looking for quite some time for a rack that would look good in my living room. While I wanted something that looked good, I also wanted an improvement sonically. Little did I know just how much it would improve the sound of my system! The makeup of the system is as follows;

• Krell KPS-28c CD player • Krell KCT Pre-amp • Naim FM Tuner • Krell FPB-200c Amplifier

On the power end of things I am using a JPS Labs In-wall Power Cable to go from my electric panel to a Wattgate wall outlet. From the wall outlet I am using a PS Audio Ultimate Lab Cable to a PS Audio Power Plant (P-600). From the P-600 I am using also Ultimate Labs to my pre-amp and CD player and finally an Ultimate lab from the wall to the Krell Amp. My loudspeakers are Totem Acoustic Mani-2's. While I realize this is not an ultra hi-end system; in the grand scheme of things, the Monaco Modular Isolation System took my system up many, many notches.

As suggested, the first thing I did after setting up the rack was to listen to some music with only my CD player place onto the acrylic shelf. Due to insufficient cable lengths, I was unable to use interconnects that I would normally use between my CD player and the pre-amp. I did notice a difference in the music immediately.

It was a bit livelier and very enjoyable to listen to. After listening to the usual array of cuts that I would any time I implement a change to my system, I proceeded to swap out the acrylic shelf for the Formula Shelf. At this point in time I placed my pre-amp in the rack on the acrylic shelf. All I could say was "WOW"... I felt like I had gone out and purchased a new system. The space between the instruments had improved tremendously; the music became more open sounding, more dynamic, more like music.

The thing I liked most about my Totems was the fact that they were on the analytical side of things. I was content with giving up a bit of musicality in exchange for their ability to be relentlessly revealing.

Upon placing an Formula Shelf under my pre-amp, that whole scenario changed. I was totally blown away by the presentation. At this point in time I felt that I was not only listening to the music but that I was now listening to the music in the same exact environment that it originated in.

I felt that it had taken on the character of its place of origin rather than just being there in theory. Everything about the music improved - dynamics, soundstage width and imaging, the depth; at times I felt like the stage had moved out in front of the speakers as well. Most importantly, it was more musical, the one thing I was willing to sacrifice. It was amazing.

Over the course of a couple of weeks I tried some various tweaks from Black Diamond Racing. The first thing I did was to place 3 cones under my CD player; they have two types - Mk3 which are warm sounding, and Mk 4 which are more linear. I tried the Mk3s.

I felt the sound became a bit edgy - as a result less musical. Based on the fact that the Mk4s were more linear I did not try them. I was convinced that the result would be even worse. The next thing I tried was to place the BDR "The Source" under the CD player..

The "Source" is a heavy carbon fiber shelf. I used the racing cones both under the CD player as well as under the "Source"; plus the Pits, which are basically cone footers to de-couple the player from the Formula Shelf and to protect the Formula Shelf from the points of the cones. This smoothed things out again. But now I felt there was a lack of focus. Next I removed the cones and the pits entirely and placed a sheet of paper between the BDR "The Source" and the Formula Shelf. There was more detail but no musicality.

The last thing I tried as far as BDR was concerned was to place the felt pads between the "Source" and the Formula Shelf. This took me closer but nowhere near the performance of the Formula Shelf on its own. Less is more?

The only other things I have done was to place a Bright Star Audio "Little Rock" (12 lbs.) on top of the CD player to mass-load it, I filled the rack with lead shot and I placed a Formula Shelf between my Sound Anchors Amp Stand and my amp. I felt that the "Little Rock" did clean things up. Unfortunately at the time that I got around to adding lead shot, I had to return my PS Audio Power Plant to them for repair. It was creating a mechanical hum in the components that were plugged into it.

Once again I Thank you. Mike Abbate, Select Sound & Vision

"My Goodness Gracious!!! This stand (Monaco Modular Isolation System) is outstanding! I finished the long and arduous task at around 8:30 Saturday evening and started listening even before the components had warmed up sufficiently. I nearly dislocated my jaw on the floor! I have not made use of sand or lead yet, but had to go forward anyway. Across-the-board improvement in all the right ways. At first I thought I might have to re-tune the system, but as it warmed up thoroughly, I realized I wouldn't need to. I listened until 3:30 in the morning! I just couldn't stop. The increased level of focus and transparency was breathtaking.

I'll be writing you with my stepped listening observations, but I can tell you now that every step [replacing the acrylic with the Formula Shelves made a very audible improvement in the sound and that each step was not exactly the same in the improvement it made."

Doug R., Waterloo Gramophone

Apex

Greg Weaver, Positive Feedback Online – Issue 40, says The broadband enrichment in pitch definition, i.e., the perceived fundamental frequencies of virtually all instruments, be they wooden, brass, reed, skin, or human, is remarkably more discernable and, therefore, realistic sounding… Read Full Review

"...Beyond room interaction challenges, high-amplitude, low-Hertz sound pressure waves are the primary muddy-the-waters culprits in this whole vibration game. The more fullrange and output-happy your speakers, the greater their toll on your equipment. It is for such intrepid bass mavens -- which clearly includes yours truly -- that Apex will prove to be a real panacea. My set of triplets ain't going nowhere. I already asked for the bill......"

January 2, 2003: Grand Prix Audio Apex by Srajan Ebaen, 6moons.com

"... It turns out that coupling full-range speakers to the floor is just about the dumbest idea ever to be foisted upon our collective notions of high fidelity. What you want is decoupling, not coupling. Why? Because it transmits high-amplitude, low-frequency resonances from your speakers directly into your equipment stands, which, Golly Gee, happen -- in proper audiophile dress code -- to be spike-coupled to the floor as well. They thus welcome these presumably asinine vibrations with open arms and inject them right back into your components, naturally ever so slightly delayed in time to now overlay, intermodulate and muddy up the crystalline yet fragile signal so carefully encoded and upsampled from the 1 and 0 pits...

Decoupling your speakers on Apex to give your other audio components a much-needed break from resonance abuse isn't elusive or the stuff of feverish fantasies ... a nearly complete absence of boom halos rendering what should be tautly delivered salvos with fuzzy, echo-y smears in time; separation of bass detail previously still somewhat clumped together to reveal actual timbes in parallel rather than appearing overlayed as composites; more broadband transparency set against a quieter background; a notable reduction of overall grunge or murkiness that elevated the see-deeply-into qualities of the soundstage by offering better micro-detail ... Subtle? Not at all ... "

February 13, 2003: Grand Prix Audio Apex, Part 2 by Srajan Ebaen, 6moons.com

Formula Shelves

Greg Weaver, Positive Feedback Online – Issue 40, says The broadband enrichment in pitch definition, i.e., the perceived fundamental frequencies of virtually all instruments, be they wooden, brass, reed, skin, or human, is remarkably more discernable and, therefore, realistic sounding… Read Full Review

Industry and User Reviews

Danny Kaey of Inner Ear does direct head to head comparisons with Finite Elemente, Townsend Seismic Sink, EquaRack, and clearly details the significant superiority of the Monaco Modular Isolation System to each one of these competitors. Danny states "…handily outpaces them by a wide margin" Nothing compares to Grand Prix Audio! Read More Reviews

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