Grand Prix Audio's Grand New Racks

Grand Prix Audio has two new equipment racks. The first is the four-post Monaco Nouvelle (on the left in the photo above, approx. $27,000-$30,000 for a four-shelf rack, depending upon options). Above that is the top-of-the-line four-post Silverstone 4 (on the right, $37,500 for a four-shelf rack that includes the company's superior Apex ball-bearing feet, and that offers "infinitely adjustable shelves for location and spacing" and even greater damping capacity).

The company has retooled and restructured all of its excellent carbon frames to achieve much larger damper capacity and greater rigidity. Company rep Jesse Luna explained that more carbon results in greater damping and better shielding, while the use of larger dampers allows for greater damping capability.

Although the changes greatly increase prices, Luna called the sum of the changes to the racks "a tremendous upgrade... The four-legged racks create a far blacker background, with far more depth and air between rounded images." Even more sonic improvements can be obtained by upgrading acrylic shelving to carbon-fiber Kevlar formula shelves.

calcutacinema's picture

« It's morally wrong to allow a sucker to keep his money ». I thought the citation was from W.C. Fields. I was wrong. Sorry Grand Prix Audio.

jay.levine's picture

Or does "...$27,000-$30,000 for a four-shelf rack" seem not just over the top but bordering on nuts? Even if I had the money I would never be caught spending this for an equipment rack....

I think it is this kind of reporting that drives many of your readers to fits re: the ridiculous costs some vendors, cables, furniture, other tweeks like spun brass plates, the list goes on, are charging to justify their fallacious claims. For example in this note "...The four-legged racks create a far blacker background, with far more depth and air between rounded images". What the heck does that even mean?

If your job is not to editorialize this stuff, then at least do what Absolute Sound does and label it a press release.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

This is not a press release. It is a report of what is. Furthermore, it is not posted as authored by "staff," which is code for "it's a press release, baby," but rather by a contributing editor who takes full responsibility for its wording.

Your assertion, without even trying the rack, is that Jesse Luna's statement is fallacious. If Stereophile reviews the rack, we will of course examine that claim. Meanwhile, it is hardly beyond the realm of possibility that an equipment stand that claims superior carbon shielding and greater vibration isolation can lower the noise floor of reproduced music, thus allowing more of the depth, air, and three-dimensionality that was captured during the recording process to reach the listener. I've been doing a fair amount of experimentation with racks, supports, and other devices, and am convinced that such possibilities are real.

Having said that, no, it is not just you. Without question, the price of both Grand Prix and HRS's top-of-the-line racks is very high. Whether it is nuts depends upon your mindset. Please see John Atkinson's excellent front page As We See It on the ever-spiraling prices of top-tier high end gear in the February issue of Stereophile, which is available now.

jay.levine's picture

If the price, then you are correct, I look at this piece of kit as I would a toilet made of gold--the only reason to buy it is to claim you can, not to improve performance of the system that sits on it.

Beyond the price, I didn't glean any other facts from the article.

Regarding the claims of improved sound; I think a healthy does of skepticism, especially at that price point, is in order when such claims are made without an explanation offered as to cause/effect.

John Atkinson's picture
jay.levine wrote:
Regarding the claims of improved sound; I think a healthy does of skepticism, especially at that price point, is in order when such claims are made without an explanation offered as to cause/effect.

I thought it clear that the text describing the sonic advantages of the Grand Prix rack was a quotation from the company's rep and was presented without comment. This a report from a show, describing what was being shown in this room, not a review, where critical commentary would be appropriate.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

ChrisS's picture opinion.

Since you were not there nor have you tried this piece of equipment, you don't have much else to offer.

jay.levine's picture

Most everything beyond measurements are opinion, and as a loyal reader and avid consumer of audio gear, I'm entitled to mine. IMHO, your response, ' don't have much else to offer.' is harsh, personal in nature and doesn't add any value or insight to the original thread.

Jason Victor Serinus's picture

Your original comment was not only harsh, but also questioned the credibility of this and other Stereophile show reports. I would also suggest that it did not offer any insight into the original thread.

Scepticism is healthy. Accusations based on a priori assumptions that are not grounded in fact, however, say far more about the accuser than that which is accused.

If you want to have the last word, be our guest. I, for one, am moving on to writing more show reports.

misterc59's picture

Looks like very nice racks, and if they do as advertised, good on the manufacturer for any profit. However, I for one, due to financial considerations, would sooner spend my $$ on a speaker upgrade. I've heard the difference between various $2000 speakers and $30,000 speakers with a huge difference in sound. I have also heard sound differences between lower cost (perhaps not exactly $2000) stands and expensive, (around $20,000 from my recollection) with a nominal improvement in sound to my ears. If I had the speaker upgrade first, and by some miracle, could afford the stand(s), plus be impressed enough by the improved sound quality, I just might pull the trigger. I guess it's all in the perspective and what one feels is necessary to improve one's system. Just my 2 cents.

JBLMVBC's picture

Comprehensive Room Atmospheric Paraseismic controls the quality of air pulsed by your speakers, with musical program adapted adjustments of P, T, Water Vapor, CO2 content -compensation for heavy breathing and length of audition-, and rare gas content dialing (Research suggests Argon concentration MUST have a HUGE influence on sound's psycho-propagation) Affordable products will start $250,000 but quickly will become bargains at $75,000...

HighEnd's picture

... but based upon my experience with the GPA Monaco isolation system, I think that Jesse Luna's description of what it does to the sound is spot on.

Even if the product hardly is attainable for the huge masses, that does not mean that the product does not effectively reduce vibration and resonance that would otherwise degrade the sound quality. My experience is that the GPA Monaco had a dramatic impact on the performance of the audio system, comparable to a signifcant speaker or electronics upgrade.

Is it worth it? That is an endless discussion. There is not only one correct answer. It depends on so many variables. In many cases, no. In some cases, it just might. In my case, yes, for sure. Chasing the perception of utter musical satisfaction is not all about logic. I am the first one to admit that.