Final yr, I needed to curb my enthusiasm for the Grand Prix Audio Monaco 2.zero turntable, boldly calling it one of the best turntable I’d ever heard – a declare that I don’t make calmly.
When you received $10 for each time I’ve out and out referred to as one thing the perfect in almost 90 problems with TONEAudio, you’d have about 20 or 30 bucks in your pocket. Not even sufficient money to purchase dinner at Applebees. A yr later, I stand behind my judgment of the Monaco 2.zero. It’s nonetheless the perfect turntable I’ve heard. And by that, I imply it reveals extra music with much less alteration of the sign contained within the document grooves than anything I’ve skilled. And I’ve been doing the turntable factor critically for about 35 years now if that’s value something.
Nevertheless, not everybody has $37,000 plus tonearm and cable to spend on a turntable. Grand Prix Audio’s different turntable, the Parabolica (named after one of many quickest curves in Components One) ideas the size at a a lot lighter $17,000, providing most of the strengths of the flagship desk. Granted, that’s nonetheless a good amount of money for a document participant, however these of you already proudly owning a desk within the $3k – $10okay vary, trying to improve the decision of your analog setup, (particularly when you’re nearer to the upper a part of this vary, and simply occur to have a unbelievable tonearm already) that is nowhere close to the identical monetary stretch the two.zero represents.
To save lots of these of you crunched for time eager to know the solutions to the large questions, they’re sure, sure, and no. Is the Parabolica superior? Is it an unimaginable worth? Is it simply nearly as good because the Monaco 2.zero for lower than half the worth?
Most of the options that make the Monaco 2.zero so inspiring are current on the Parabolica. The attractive, carbon fiber development and the precision direct drive encoder that provides this desk its phenomenal velocity accuracy, however the costlier desk advantages from a good greater high quality motor, energy provide and a superior report clamping system as a part of a extra superior platter. No, you’ll be able to’t replace the Parabolica’s clamp with the clamping strain indicator system from the Monaco, in case you’re questioning.
Protecting within the spirit of the Monaco evaluation, I started the listening periods of the Parabolica with the identical TriPlanar 2.zero tonearm used for the prior desk. Staffer Jerold O’Brien was type sufficient to let me snag his Lyra Etna cartridge for every week, so the evaluate might start the place we began on the Monaco 2.zero, however the remainder of my listening was achieved with the Grado Assertion 2.zero and some different cartridges. Because of its fast launch tonearm board, swapping arm/cartridge combos with the Parabolica is extremely straightforward. This operation isn’t fairly as easy with the Monaco 2.zero, so in case you are somebody wanting to do that on a daily, maintain this in thoughts.
Nonetheless, the Monaco 2.zero and the Parabolica stay two of the simplest tables to arrange that I’ve skilled. Because of the direct drive motor (click on right here to get the complete tech evaluation right here on the GPA web site), there’s no platter to fuss with, no belts to string. GPA mentions that eradicating the platter voids the guarantee and can in all probability injury the direct drive system. Unbox it, put it on prime of its three ft, and set up your tonearm. A small, exterior energy provide plugs in on the again. In contrast to the Monaco 2.zero, which controls energy and velocity from its bigger, exterior provide, the Parabolica hides the pc inside the bottom and makes use of a easy capacitive change to regulate energy and velocity. I just like the simplicity of this higher.
As a result of this turntable retrieves such a excessive degree of element, it requires commensurate care in tonearm setup and as Mr. Lloyd says within the guide, “Patience and perfectionism are the order of the day. It is not OK unless it is perfect.” When you’ve got a comparatively high-performance automotive and also you’ve spent the additional cash to have a four-wheel alignment accomplished, you realize what I’m speaking about.
Lloyd additionally talks concerning the significance of a correct platform to place his turntable on. As I’ve been utilizing his excellent Monaco gear racks for the final yr, that base is roofed. Shifting the Parabolica to a regular wooden rack will shrink the dimensions of the three-dimensional image considerably; so be warned, you simply may have to spend a bit extra dough to get probably the most out of your GPA desk. As you’d with any premium turntable.
Although the TriPlanar arm has been right here for some time, and I’m snug setting it up, former TONE contributor Richard Mak’s new Analog Magik software program suite and check document had simply arrived at first of this evaluation. Mr. Mak is probably the most succesful analog setup tech I’ve ever met. He stopped by to arrange a couple of of our tables final yr, and it was like having Michael Schumacher deliver the Ferrari pit crew over to tune and align your automotive, with a driving lesson afterward.
Mak has completed the analog group an incredible service by making the private software program instruments that he has customized out there with a proprietary check document with Analog Magik. (www.analogmagik.com) Combining this with the ASR Sensible Tractor (evaluate right here) that was a TONE product of the yr in 2014, brings the Parabolica/TriPlanar setup to perfection. Ever because the SmartTractor arrived, we’ve got standardized on the Uni-Din alignment geometry, leading to much more knowledge retrieval in our configurations. In fact, you should use whichever of the opposite alignments you favor.
Because of Analog Magik and the Sensible Tractor, I used to be capable of optimize the setup in about an hour, working methodically. I can’t advocate these two instruments to the intense analog fanatic extremely sufficient. You wouldn’t let the blokes at Costco put tires in your Porsche, don’t use substandard instruments on a high-performance turntable, otherwise you’re not getting what you paid the large bucks for. Rant over.
Now the bliss begins
Succesful as this desk is with A+ recordings, the quantity of musical element it pulls from data you thought have been naff will startle you. Method too lots of my audiophile buddies have this stack of 50 data worthy of their consideration, but on the similar time I’m guessing all of us have data falling into that “I really love the music on that album, but it kind of sucks sound-wise” class. The Parabolica shifts this curve dramatically, shifting a whole lot of these data into the “love em” class. That alone justifies the asking worth.
However, rattling. Superior data sound superb when performed on the Parabolica. Due to the extremely advanced direct drive system within the GPA turntables, they each possess unimaginable velocity accuracy. Extra so than in another desk I’ve skilled. This interprets right into a musical basis that’s just like listening to the most effective digital recordings, but the extra tonal saturation that’s most of the time a spotlight of analog comes by way of as nicely.
As talked about earlier, that is what permits so many extra data to completely interact you. The Parabolica’s good pitch makes for a way more strong musical tempo and basis to your data. The ensuing ease and smoothness looks like analog tape the best way the music effortlessly unfolds out of your audio system. There’s nothing fairly prefer it, aside from listening to a grasp tape. Combining this degree of velocity accuracy with a phenomenally low mechanical noise flooring provides all your recordings extra punch and dynamic drive too. Musical devices float between your audio system in a method they didn’t earlier than.
Simply as I skilled with the Monaco 2.zero, the Parabolica retains me glued to the listening chair for hours, for days. It supplies such an attractive expertise; I by no means take into consideration anything once I’m within the listening chair – that’s the very best praise I pays any audio element. The Grand Prix Audio Parabolica stops time and instructions your consideration. That is what analog is all about. That is really what a fantastic high-end audio system is about.
Most of you realize I’m a automotive man. Alvin Lloyd is a race carguy. In racing, there’s no room for error. You make a mistake and championships are misplaced, and even worse, individuals get harm. The extent of precision in construct and execution of the Grand Prix Tables needs to be seen and touched to be believed.
I’ve typically in contrast hi-fi elements to varied automobiles as a result of it’s a superb metaphor that many can wrap their heads round. The Grand Prix tables are each like race automobiles within the sense that there’s nothing pointless. The one criticisms I’ve heard is that they lack the bling that a number of the $100okay – $200okay tables supply. Would you like bling or do you need to win the race? Bling provides weight and complexity. The Parabolica, just like the Monaco 2.zero is all enterprise and its job is to extract musical info. If that’s your mission as nicely, there’s no higher method to accomplish it.
Which to decide on?
If you’d like a bit of artwork that occurs to play music, (and you’ve got loopy cash) purchase a type of different tables. I gained’t name you a nasty individual; there’s room for everybody. Nevertheless, if you need the last word expression of type meets perform, with nothing unessential to the duty of enjoying a report, I recommend the Grand Prix Turntables.
Consider the Parabolica as a Porsche 911 GT3 and the Monaco 2.zero as a GT2RS. Each tables have such a unprecedented degree of efficiency you’ll be blown away. But when solely the 700hp GT2RS will do, and also you’ve obtained the system and document assortment…
And I don’t imply this to make the Parabolica really feel “less than.” Simply because the Monaco 2.zero is on the prime of the cash no object class of turntable, the Parabolica is on the high quality for every little thing else. So long as you by no means expertise the Monaco 2.zero, you’ll in all probability by no means need anything. There are plenty of glad Porsche GT3 house owners that may by no means expertise a GT2RS. And so it goes.
Buying a product at this degree means a dedication to the medium. I not solely give the Grand Prix Audio Parabolica my highest suggestion, I hope that you’ll take one for a check drive and see for those who prefer it as a lot as I do. I feel you will see it irresistible. I’m maintaining this one, so plan on a long-term revisit in a yr. -Jeff Dorgay
The Grand Prix Audio Parabolica
$17,000 (minus tonearm)
Preamplifier Cross Labs XS Preamplifier
Phonostage Cross Labs XS Phono
Amplifier Cross Labs XA200.eight monoblocks
Audio system Focal Sopra no.three with 2- REL 212SE subwoofers
Cable Cardas Clear
Isolation Grand Prix Audio Monaco Racks