Country of origin : USA
Definitive Audio is the authorised UK distributor for Grand Prix Audio.
Trade enquiries welcome.
Growing up in a music culture, collecting and listening to LPs since childhood, followed by 30 years of professional experience with countless performance-oriented turntables, has revealed that no single turntable design will satisfy every serious listener.
Wittingly or otherwise, with many designs, specific performance virtues are prioritised or traded at the expense of others – an approach which cannot suit all musical genres equally, as it polarises and channels the music that you can enjoy to full potential. If you have a voracious appetite for all good music, irrespective of genre, this simply will not do.
Many will have embraced CD and digital formats in pursuit of those virtues hardest to achieve from a turntable; specifically perfect time coherence and absolute pitch stability; something which digital formats are inherently good at.
Consider too that trends and technologies tend to come and go, on occasion because with hindsight they were something of a conceptual red herring, and sometimes because the engineering complexities weren’t fully understood, or material technology not sufficiently refined. First-generation direct drives are a case in point, superficially technically sophisticated but with inherent shortcomings which curtailed the popularity of the breed at the time.
In the scope of my experience, I’ve seen the whole gamut from idler to belt to direct drive and from ultra low-mass, near skeletal designs to a plethora of recent designs with the apparent gravitational mass of a black hole.
The best solution lies, as is so often the case, in avoiding dogma and extremism. The ‘secret’ is perhaps not so much what you use, but how well you understand and implement it.
Even the highest mass and highest torque decks have shortcomings which make the convincing reproduction of piano music particularly illusive, and the same is true of non-vibrato string tone – very hard to reproduce convincingly without the distraction of subtle pitch variance to wrench you out of your willing suspension of disbelief.
The GPA Monaco V2.0 is completely devoid of this Achilles heel. In many ways, it is more like a reel to reel master tape than either a CD player or a turntable.
No written description, no matter how eloquent, can paint a picture in your imagination of the performance of the Monaco V2.0. It is in a category of one, and unlike any other source component – be they digital or analoge. It has the virtues of both and the shortcomings of neither. The musical experience it delivers is consummate, touching every one of your sensibilities – emotional, aesthetic, cerebral and spiritual. As Herbert Von Karajan once said – “everything else is just gaslight.”
The simpler Parabolica is cut from the same cloth and scaled down with the unmistakable GPA signature performance.
The Monaco V2.0 is an engineering tour de force, combining the performance virtues of digital and analogue formats with none of their associated shortcomings. It delivers a musical performance which transcends the means of reproduction.
The Monaco satisfies our ideal wish list; natural tonality across the full bandwidth; effortless and perfectly scaled dynamic range; time coherence and structural organization, and perfect pitch stability. Its ability to convincingly capture emphatic and powerful musical gestures, and the broad overarching thrust of grand compositions is peerless.
In our experience the tonearms that best suit these decks are the Kuzma 4P Series. Partnered with these bold, assured and sophisticated arms the GPA turntables unlock the doors and invite you to magical places.
The inherent ability of the Monaco to essentially disappear will precisely convey the strengths of any particular combination. Currently we know of no finer partners than arms from Kuzma or Viv Labs, ultimate pairings being very much a matter of personal preference, and with regard to the latter, a certain willingness to embrace the unorthodox (generally a good thing in our view).
Roy Gregory’s celebration of the Monaco 2.0.Review
Manufacturer’s website: Grand Prix Audio