Realization

Performance Enhancement

FEATURES

Through research and testing our design team has development numerous custom, hi-tech product features and material applications unique to Grand Prix Audio’s construction. Grand Prix Audio doesn’t modify existing designs, we create our own unique features and we design new products based on today’s technology such as our APEX Footer and Formula Shelves.

Multi-Stage Isolation™ is an efficient reference to indicate how each element of the overall structure or unit has intentional design and material choices focused on controlling vibration throughout. Multi-Stage Isolation™ was coined by Grand Prix Audio to show the distinction of our products which have vibration isolation features from top to bottom, inside and out. For example, there are specific material and design choices focused on vibration isolation throughout our support column such as: interior webbing, exterior polymer, multi-damping fill, double o-ring finish cap, stainless steel spike footer, etc. The take-away is Grand Prix Audio deconstructed isolation stands and redesigned each and every element so each and every element would contribute to component isolation to create Multi-Stage Isolation™.

Six Degrees Freedom is a mechanical engineering term worth special mention. It refers to movement in three degrees of translation (up/down, left/right, forward/back) and three degrees of rotation (pitch/tilt, yaw/swivel, roll/pivot) for a total of six degrees of freedom. Mechanically achieving proper six degrees of freedom when encumbered by force and gravity (which applies to all earthling audiophiles!) requires technical expertise.

GFX realization6○ Suspended Damper is a custom Sorbothane damper assembly designed by Grand Prix Audio to suspend a shelf and simultaneously provide six degrees freedom in movement. The assembly has multiple functions: 1) vibration isolation, 2) hanging the shelf, and 3) connecting point for the GP Threaded Link which enables micro leveling for the shelf being suspended.

GPA Threaded Link is a two-part fine-threaded link with ball ends custom designed by Grand Prix Audio for the component isolation system. It serves as a connector between the decoupling and damping device which supports the shelf, and an adjustable bracket fitted in a column or support. The GPA Threaded Link allows for fine adjustment at independent points of the suspended shelf.

Spiked Base Coupler is our standard floor/unit interface with non-standard performance. Custom designed by Grand Prix Audio, the Spiked Base Coupler has a hefty 3/8” mounting stud and it corrects several problems not addressed in typical conical base supports: 1) the pointed spike allows penetration through carpet and pad to make contact with a solid base; 2) the robust 304 Stainless Steel, unlike ferrous metal, is neutral and doesn’t interfere with component electrical signals and has strength to support heavy loads; and 3) has a thru-hole for leveling key adjustment (key provided) for leveling under load. And on a non-technical note, our Spiked Base Coupler is intentionally taller than typical base couplers to allow access underneath for cleaning and dusting.

TrueVector™ Coupling interface is our adaptation of proven efficient single-ball constant rotational joints. Extensive research led us to develop the unique TrueVector™ coupling interface essential to the Monaco Modular Component Isolation System. TrueVector™ Coupling allows unbeatable alignment and fit when stacking modular shelving sections. This innovative and attractive pin/bearing interface replaces the far less effective standard spike/cone interface used by other manufacturers. Spike/Cone coupling is known to suffer from insufficient manufacturing tolerances. Such low-accuracy coupling causes poor force fits which introduce permanent material stress, deflection, and visible deviation from perfectly perpendicular load paths—or simply put, they’re sloppy in comparison to the TrueVector™ Coupling which is a Grand Prix Audio proprietary feature.

Twin O-Ring Decoupler is a unique damping concept which decouples the column closures from the actual columns to create another dissimilar material juncture against vibration propagating upwards into the higher modules or resonating further within a single structure. This feature sandwiches our TrueVector™ Coupling, and is included in column end-cap construction to attenuate at the top termination point of each column. Twin O-Ring Decoupling is a redundant point of resonance control contributing to Multi-Stage Isolation™.

Web-Chamber Column is a custom designed column support with Multi-Stage Isolation™ used in Grand Prix Audio’s isolation stands and bases. This proprietary dampening design taxed the limits of custom aluminum extrusion. Unlike ferrous metals, aluminum is not efficient at transferring vibration and it can be formed into shapes not possible with CNC machining. It features a web-reinforced center chamber with outer dampening ring individually filled with dampening material, and combined with proprietary polymer. There is also an exterior channel designed into the column to control exact fit for shelf brackets. The column shape is roughly 3.5” diameter and the exterior is finished with a coating of damping polymer.

MATERIALS

Through research and testing our design team has development numerous custom, hi-tech product features and material applications unique to Grand Prix Audio’s construction. Grand Prix Audio makes careful and discreet materials choices. Material decisions are intentional and component materials are selected to provide the optimum performance for a quality product throughout.

Carbon Fiber Composite: Grand Prix Audio was first in the audiophile industry to provide beneficial Carbon Fiber features, which reflects our racing background and has become a signature of our brand. Carbon Fiber trade-secret methods of application and manufacture acquired in auto racing give Grand Prix Audio products performance advantage with surprisingly reasonable pricing. Grand Prix Audio manufactures with Carbon Fiber because of the material’s special properties and manufacturing capacity impossible to achieve with any other material:

  1. Exceptionally light weight paired with exponential strength.
  2. Material strength and damping properties allow for open frame support design which enhance airflow.
  3. Material thinness removes boundaries to design allowing shapes with curves and angles which aren’t optional in machined materials, such as the elegant shape of the Monaco Turntable.
  4. Material stiffness but with flex-capacity which is non-existent in metals which by nature resist flex to retain strength.
  5. Superior inherent damping—better than aluminum, metal, marble, wood—Carbon Fiber beats them all!

Carbon Fiber provides increased dissipation of energy and therefore increased resonance control. Like Go-KARTs which lack primary suspension and rely on chassis flex compliance, our Carbon Fiber isolation system shelf supports combine shock absorption and spring qualities in the same structure. In some applications we add proprietary polymers to span the Carbon Fiber’s directional crystalline grain and create a far stronger cross-fiber netted structure. This modification creates thousands of load paths and yields a stiffer, lighter material without fatigue and ringing typical in ferrous metals which (like bells) are really energy transmitters, not dampers. Grand Prix Audio has the technical capacity to use Carbon Fiber to full advantage without breaking the bank—plus, its appearance is a huge bonus!

Carbon Fiber/Kevlar Composite: To all the benefits of Carbon Fiber, Kevlar is added by strategically engineered placement. Addition of Kevlar makes a more robust composite structure with significantly increased damping capacity. Addition of Kevlar to isolation stand shelf supports lowers the natural frequency of the support. Kevlar is included standard in the Silverstone and Silverstone F1 shelf support, and is a Special Edition (SE) option with the Monaco shelf support.

SE Polymer/Proprietary Polymer refers to two special and proprietary polymers used by Grand Prix Audio to improve performance. Most applications are a proprietary dampening polymer co-developed with aerospace material science engineers. SE Polymer is a proprietary polymer used in the APEX Footer, in the internal construction of the Formula shelves, and in “SE-Special Edition” products. This polymer was discovered by our technicians in auto racing during impact testing for application as a car dashboard safety enhancement. Both polymers used by Grand Prix Audio are cross-industry applications not found in other audio products.

Sorbothane is used in custom molded Sorbothane features and custom applications. Sorbothane is a true Viscoelastic which combines both viscous and elastic properties—rubber is NOT equivalent to Sorbothane. When used with proper compression Sorbothane provides the pinnacle in damping. Accessing Sorbothane’s full benefit in the narrow range where it performs as both spring and shock, thus isolating vibration, requires the tight tolerance execution achieved in Grand Prix Audio products. Improper application can create a disastrous trampoline bounce or reach into your component and deaden performance. Our applications include component weight-matched shelf tuning, shelf to support structure interface, and shelf support damping. For reference we recommend Rod Lakes, “Viscoelasticity Tutorial,” University of Wisconsin: Engineering Mechanics and Rheology Research Center.

Acrylic Shelves: while not unique to Grand Prix Audio, acrylic is an intentional and virtuous materials choice. Unlike glass, metal, or granite which provide virtually no damping and can actually increase resonance; acrylic is lightweight and has both strength and damping properties. Acrylic Shelves are 3/4” thick and come in standard clear, or upgraded smoked and back finishes. Acrylic is also easy to drill and openings look finished with minimal buffing which means customers have the option to dictate location and diameter of cable management holes (modest upcharge). Acrylic aligns well with the aesthetic of our product line, and while Formula Shelves are the ultimate choice Select Acrylic Shelves are a high-performing and cost-effective alternative.

Ceramic: Ceramic was selected for the turntable thrust bearing for the material’s capacity to provide extreme accuracy in the bearing’s sphere. Most other turntable designs on the market use a metal ball thrust bearing which is neither as perfect in shape nor as quiet in performance as ceramic. Ceramic’s performance advantage was one of many materials tested in the turntable’s development.

Magnesium: Magnesium was selected for the turntable platter due to its high silicon content which provides superior damping.

Phosphor Bronze: is a dense non-ferrous material which is the ultimate choice for bearings and its density is an advantage for flywheel weight.

Delrin is a hard plastic customizable with CNC machining. It has an optimal combination of hardness and structural strength, and unparalleled damping compared to other plastics.

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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