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.