Advance Acoustic MAA402 review

It's nice to see a reasonably priced power amp, but Advance Acoustic's MAA402 is too flawed for us to recommend Tested at £730

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

A cheap power amp, but beset with a multitude of sonic flaws


  • +

    Low price

  • +

    colourful power meters

  • +

    relatively open sound


  • -

    Dynamically deficient

  • -

    messy presentation

  • -

    lack of finesse and resolution

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There’s something quite traditional and ‘hi-fi’ about owning a preamp/power amp combination.

And, French company Advance Acoustic gives you the chance for relatively little money in the shape of the MPP202/MAA402 pair.

The cost is reflected in the build quality, though: the front panel of the MAA402 power amp feels relatively sturdy but the rest of the chassis is a little flimsy.

The MPP202 preamp is equipped reasonably well, and features five sets of analogue inputs together with a 3.5mm input for hooking up a digital music player.

We’re a sucker for power-level meters, and those equipped on the MAA402 emit a subtle blue glow, each one pierced by a bright red needle. It’s satisfying seeing them bobbing away to a beat.

A severe lack of finesse
Unfortunately, there’s something deeply unsatisfying about the sound.

To be fair, you’re greeted with nice spaciousness – but within that space there’s little order given to instrument and vocal placement.

Tunes are tainted with coarseness and a serious lack of refinement; music sounds flat and dynamically deficient, and it isn’t long before the amp loses your attention.

The pre-amp’s Boost EQ button provides a subtle boost to low frequencies for standmount speakers, but it doesn’t improve on the overall quality of sound.

The harsh reality is that a good integrated amp at this level such as a Roksan Kandy K2 or Naim Nait 5i tramples all over the Advance Acoustic pairing. And our star rating has to reflect this.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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