It's no secret that I admire the work of Alvin Lloyd at Grand Prix Audio. I owned two of his Monaco Modular stands and only passed them on when my new room in Switzerland enforced a layout that would not accommodate the considerable depth of the Monacos on the sidewall where the hifi equipment had to go.

Perusing various CES 2010 show reports, I came across an online video on the Wilson Audio site which showed what clearly was a new GPA stand. I forwarded that photo to Alvin, put what's that? in the subject header and another question mark in the email body. He promptly fired back the below artwork which he'd used as hand-out in Las Vegas. Named after the famous English race track which hosts the British Grand Prix, it showed a quite different and far more versatile stand system than the one I was familiar with.

Versus the Monaco, the uprights had grown solid and the cross struts or spyders as GPA calls them now were aluminum to form a very heavy and rigid exo skeleton. This frame with the elongated triangular footprint still decoupled from the floor on the existing Apex footers. Their constrained-layer Carbon cones face up to present to down-facing socketed receivers single ball bearings in their hollow tops.

The shelves still decouple from their triangular Carbon fiber supports with weight-rated Sorbothane discs. The novelty was how these Carbon fiber elements suspended from the uprights to optimize 6-degree of freedom isolation while adding infinite vertical adjustments for custom spacing. Each shelf support hangs from a sleeved stainless steel shaft which itself is adjustable in length by hand or inserting a pin through its hole and turning it. This shaft hangs in a captured socket joint from a protruding triangular module which mounts to the uprights in a precision channel with lock bolts. Sliding these modules up and down in their channels alters the shelf spacing, fine-tuning the shaft lengths affords individual leveling of each corner to an unprecedented degree.

Click here or on the two credited photos for the complete pictorial coverage of Mr. Porter

To the lower end of the shafts mount thick viscoelastic dampers. The Carbon-fiber shelf supports cradle these dampers. By hanging off their swivel shafts, each shelf assembly can move in a small horizontal circle within the rigid super structure. The thick corner dampers create vertical compression and the first element of viscoelastic decoupling, the equivalent Sorbothane discs between each shelf and its support the secondary damper interface. The uprights and their suspension anchors are available in black or silver. To offer a more affordable entry point, the acrylic shelves may be suspended directly off the hangers to initially eliminate the triangular Carbon-fiber braces and their expense. One can thus approach the acquisition of a complete Silverstone system in stages.

If I read it right, the Modular in Monaco had become infinitely modular; there now were two different sizes/footprints for the frame to accommodate equipment of various depths; each frame accepted a flexible rather than fixed number of shelves; and future wood and custom install versions would further broaden cosmetics for more environments and decors. Clearly the man had been busy. What else could he show 'n' tell us? - The five inset detail photos below enlarge to twice the size by clicking on them.

"Our testing is ongoing and very comprehensive. I have raised the bar with regard to that massively. My new test and development equipment allows testing from 20Hz to 20kHz with amplitude controlled from zero input to beyond reality and in octave increments as finite as I chose. The new setup also allows for simulated wood-suspended floor environment testing versus concrete slab testing. The differences between those two are huge. One of the other new items (it will be used with the Silverstone and other stands) to debut later this year will be specific to wood-suspended flooring. I am developing our new isolation designs from this data acquisition test base as we would an Indy Car. This is a huge jump forward not only for us but the industry as a whole. We will indeed publish data such as you request and in fact far more, however it will be a while yet. My goal for disclosure and proof about this product is very high and will take most of this year to fulfill. For a brief unsubstantiated glimpse, one can reasonably conclude that the Silverstone is roughly twice as effective as the Monaco and massively more effective than any other design including active solutions. In the lower frequencies it is far more than twice better than the Monaco which is also true relative to any other designs.

"There is no ferrous metal in this design at all, not even a bolt. The shelf support and shelf do not contact the outer frame at all. There are travel-limiting bumpers (we showed prototypes at the show) which act as stops while installing gear but they do not touch statically, only when the shelf is displaced. You correctly assessed that the outer chassis structure is pretty stiff and high mass, however it is not fully rigid and has a low natural frequency in and of itself, lower yet as an assembly measured at the shelf. However it appears to be rigid. The version shown in the brochure weighs 300 pounds.  

"Most importantly I want to be sure that your readers understand that current owners can upgrade their Monaco Modular to what you are seeing now while maintaining nearly full value equity from their original purchase toward the Silverstone. Pricing remains to be announced. And not only can the shelves be placed as the customer defines but they can add or subtract shelves at any time and very easily. This design has a lifetime reconfiguration capability that is limited only by the height of the column. Of course it is a simple matter to change to a taller column should a client need more capacity. Structurally the design could go to the ceiling and beyond."

That seems to be the perfect closer for this brief product introduction - beyond the ceiling (set by prior efforts) ...
Grand Prix Audio website