The Grand Prix Audio Monaco Turntable

Grand Prix Audio Monaco
The Grand Prix Audio Monaco Turntable

Instead the plinth is supported on three conical alloy feet, each tipped with a large diameter ceramic ball, the ball and socket arrangement allowing the feet to pivot, ensuring a firm footing. One of the feet is fixed in height and this is located immediately beneath the tonearm outrigger to avoid introducing an unwanted element of flexibility or source of vibration at this critical point. The others support the opposite side of the plinth, their balls seated in very finely threaded sockets that allow for precise height adjustment. The underside of each foot is finished off with a thin layer of Sorbothane, again selected to match the weight distribution and mass of the deck. Set up consists of installing the plinth and platter on the feet, levelling the whole and filling the bearing oil bath through ports provided in the label area of the platter with the syringe provided, then sealing them with self-adhesive labels. As well as the syringe you also get a machinist’s level, a beautifully executed spanner to fit the levelling sockets, a holder on which to store the compression washers for the platter, and a superbly machined plate to support your tonearm’s external termination box (should it have one).

Control is provided by the small external micro-processor unit and this provides on/off, 33 and 45, with a 10-second lag between switch on and full speed at 33. There’s also fine pitch control in 0.2% steps, with an illuminated scale showing the current setting. The control unit is fed from a small DC transformer and connected to the ‘table via a locking Lemo connector. Once assembled the deck’s diminutive proportions will come as something of a shock to audiophiles brought up on the “bigger is better” school of turntable design, although the all-up weight of 18kg and the lightweight platter gives you a fair indication of just how inert the plinth element really is.

I installed the Monaco turntable in two locations, atop the heavy-duty top shelf mounted on my finite elemente HD-03 rack and also on GPA’s own superbly engineered Perspex and carbon-fibre Brooklands wall-shelf, a unit that shares materials and the critically-damped approach of the deck. The deck proved remarkably impervious to differences in support, and subtly greater transparency and focus from the wall shelf could simply reflect its solid mounting compared to the floor standing rack. Either way, the deck performed superbly. Tonearm used was a current Triplanar VIIi, with a range of different cartridges. As previously described, setting the deck up is an object lesson in engineering exactitude with both the tools and the measure available to ensure perfect results easily achieved. Moving it short distances is similarly simple; just make sure that you keep it level to prevent spillage from the oil bath (and having a second pair of hands available to place the feet is a real bonus).

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