This is where the hi-fi section of this website becomes the 'ee-fee' section, with the arrival of a whole range of products from Toulouse-based Advance Acoustic. The line-up, distributed in the UK for the first time, includes CD players and amplifiers and some novel products, such as a stereo amp with five digital inputs, and this novel tuner/amp with built in-iPod dock, the EZY-7 (above).
And the pricing seems very competitive indeed: the company's most affordable amp is just £350, while the EZY-7 is yours for £50 more.
Founded in 1995, Advance Acoustic at first made speakers and powered subwoofers, branching out into amplification and source components in 2002. The launch line-up for the UK comprises three integrated amps, two preamps, a 2x150W power amp, 120W monoblocs, a CD player with valve output stage, and iPod preamp and the EZY-7, as well as the company's range of speakers. A separate CD transport and DAC are on the way.
The entry-level amp, the MAP105 (above), sells for £350 and has five inputs, a phono stage, remote control and a 2x70W output. For those after more power the MAP305II offers 2x100W for £500, or you can buy it as the MAP305DA II (below) at £600, adding four electrical digital inputs and one optical to the standard four line-ins and a phono stage.
The two preamps are the £300 MPP206 and the £550 MPP505, the latter again adding those digital inputs, and these can be used with the £500 MAA406 stereo power amp or the massive 20kg MAA705 monoblocs, which are £600 apiece.
The MCD-203II CD player (above) offers Analog Devices 24-bit/192kHz conversion, HDCD decoding and a valve output stage for £400, and the electronics range is rounded out by two iPod devices.
The £400 EZY-7 at the top of this piece combines a four-input 50W per channel amp with an FM/AM tuner, iPod dock and remote control, while the £250 MIP Station II (below) is a full-width remote-control iPod dock and valve preamp, designed for use with other amplifiers.
The whole range, including the speakers, is handled in the UK by Transparent Distribution.