The Grand Prix Audio Monaco Turntable

Grand Prix Audio Monaco
The Grand Prix Audio Monaco Turntable

Taken as a whole, this system has consistently delivered speed accuracy better than 0.002% peak error, measured under the most exacting conditions and with no measurable rumble. This compares to the 0.001% claimed for the (also direct drive) Sirius III – although no parameters or measurement protocol are published to support that figure. The next best (and rather more relevant) published claim for speed consistency is in the region of 0.005% and that comes from the belt-driven Continuum. But GPA go a stage further, applying a 3-Sigma protocol to the platter itself, rather than the motor, thus eliminating downstream inaccuracy in the drive system and measuring actual speed consistency on a nanosecond by nanosecond basis. This means that no more than three individual instances of speed variation approaching the chosen parameters are acceptable within a thousand samples, a dramatically more accurate standard than the RMS method usually applied. Do the maths and you discover that in practice, it’s entirely possible for the Monaco to play an entire 20minute LP side without deviating from its speed by more than 0.002% on a single occasion, confining any speed deviation to far lower levels – an astonishing degree of speed consistency.

Given the inherent accuracy and low noise levels of the table, it’s no surprise that GPA were unwilling to compromise concentric accuracy with a peripheral clamp, or risk the noise and variability associated with vacuum clamping. Instead they’ve opted for a simple screwdown clamp, but use it in conjunction with a soft washer that is placed beneath the disc and compressed by it, thus damping the record. The washers come in three different durometers (or hardnesses) to optimally damp different weight records, another example of the meticulous engineering that’s been applied throughout this record player. The end result is a near textbook speed performance from a critically damped platter system whose drive is contained within the lateral dimensions of the platter itself.

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