Advance Paris A10 Classic Integrated Amplifier Review
It's A Lot To Take In Cost £1590.
Advance Paris is a French company based in Paris and make a huge range of electronics including integrated amplifier, pre/powers, stereo, and monoblock power amplifiers, all-in-one systems, Bluetooth, and internet streamers.
The Advance Paris A10 integrated amplifier certainly makes a statement. There’s a lot to take in and from what I can see it offers a lot for its price. First of all, it’s an integrated amplifier with valves on the input stage, that is visible through a window on the front of the amplifier.
It’s also got cool Blue VU meters on the front panel ( a la McIntosh). Thankfully, the front isn’t cluttered. You’ll only find an on/off switch, a headphone socket, and volume control.
All other functions are done via the remote control which while it has a lot of buttons is fairly straightforward to use.
It’s quite a large amplifier especially at its price point, with a nice methacrylic black front plate which seems to be a very French trait.
The A10 Classic also seems to have a lot of input. Six RCA including an mm/mc switchable phono stage, an XLR balanced input, and five digital inputs (three optical, one SPDIF, one USB, and a Bluetooth dongle input).
The A10 seems to be the baby brother to the Reference Advance Paris Xi-1100 but with a valve input stage and a smaller chassis. Like its bigger brother, it can run in both Class A and Class A/B which gives customers the best of both Worlds and means it can drive almost any type of loudspeaker.
Impressive Tech Specs At This Price Point
First of all, let’s look at the output. The amplifier can run 130 watts into 8 ohms, 190 watts into 4-ohm, and even 250 watts into 2.6 Ohm running in Class AB. That’s seriously impressive for a sub £2000 amplifier.
However, its main trick is that you can also run it in a High Bias Class A mode where it can deliver almost 20 watts of Class A before it reverts into Class AB mode. Therefore, as long as your speakers are not difficult to drive the High Bias Class A mode is the one to use.
The preamp stage is Pure Class A, and the A 10 uses two ECC81 valves in the input stage (again) that’s unusual at this price.
The MM/MC phono stage is impressive as it even allows three capacitance settings. The amplifier uses two separate DACs, one is a DAC DIGITAL AUDIO AKM AK4490 (32bit – 768kHz) and the other for the USB is a DIGITAL AUDIO PCM TRANSCEIVER AK4118 INTERFACE DE RECEPTION USB/DSD.
That is a pretty high spec for an amplifier at this price. You won’t run out of analog and digital inputs. It even boasts an HDMI ARC so you can connect to a TV.
Finally, it has two subwoofer outs and even an RCA out to connect to a Reel to Reel or a cassette deck.
It is certainly one of the best specified integrated amplifiers I have come across. The only feature it does not have is a built-in streamer, however, Advance Paris has a Valve streamer at £350 that you can connect to the amp via optical or SPDIF.
Excellent Sound Quality
I genuinely felt that there had to be a compromise and that the sound quality would be the flaw. I could not have been more wrong. Once the amplifier had the chance to run in I tried it with both analog and digital sources and it is simply excellent.
Especially in the High Bias Class A mode, the A10 is incredibly musical. Vocals and instruments are very natural, and dynamics are both fast and well dynamic. The Class A/B mode gives you more volume and possibly slightly better dynamics, but it’s not nearly as musical or natural.
Despite the built-in phono stage, it does not compromise the performance of vinyl sources. The DACs are also not bright and more natural than many stand-alone DACs I have listened to.
Given the price of this amplifier, its performance is simply remarkable. It’s equally happy playing classical, jazz, acoustic, or rock. It has both musicality and subtlety as well as good dynamics.
I hardly need to write a conclusion. I imagine you have gathered already that I like this amplifier. I’ll go even further this is the best-integrated amplifier I have heard for under £2,000, and it is also one of the best-facilitated amplifiers at its price point.
The build quality is excellent, it’s visually impressive, and it sounds great. Hats off to Advance Paris. This amp is simply brilliant. Ideally, I would have liked a built-in streamer, but it still delivers.
I can only give this amplifier the highest rating possible.