We vividly remember seeing this new Advance Paris at the High End Munich 2022: a brute beast with loads of connection options. At the time – May 2022 – it was still named Advance Paris X-i180. But this has since been renamed Advance Paris A12. The reason is that this is more in line with the new naming scheme. Oh well… the beast must have a name. Let’s go see what this brutal, hefty integrated amplifier sounds like!
We do love the wacky French. Where virtually all brands come with similar enclosures, Advance Paris just takes a different approach. Why not use big VU meters, blue LEDs and a shiny front? Does everyone like that? No. But it is distinctive AND just plain fun. Hifi is a hobby. And a hobby can also just be fun.
Advance Paris A12
Fortunately, they don’t just go crazy at Advance Paris. The new A12 is definitely a serious thing. We don’t just see that on the back where it’s a “connnection feast”; even on the inside we see that an engineer has gone pretty wild. We see two thick transformers, thick cooling blocks on the left and right and six thick transistors. That should get that power output of 180 watts into 8 Ohms and 285 watts into 4 Ohms. You can see our measurements below.
For the digital part – and of course this also plays an important role in an integrated amplifier – Advance has deployed a TI PCM1796. A fine chip in this class. However, the chip tells part of the story. More important is the implementation. Again, you can find our measurements further down or under the specification tab.
Advance Paris has filled the cabinet quite nicely. That’s what car manufacturers also do these days: everything is rammed full, because there has to be more and more luxury in a car. It’s a bit the same with audio: we want to be able to connect more and more. So in addition to a series of analog inputs – single ended and balanced – we want digital inputs and nowadays: hdmi. And since the competition is cutthroat, it’s a matter of “you ask, we build.” We find really everything at the back of this amp. From phono to hdmi arc. And everything in between. You can see it in the pictures, too. If this is not enough…. The MC phono input is even partially adjustable. That is quite unique in this class of 2500 Euros.
The Advance Paris A12 is an amplifier with a typical design. It is unlike anything else. That makes it a little “hate it or love it. We think it’s cool, though. Two glowing tubes in the middle and a pair of blue VU meters on the left and right. Lovely. The plastic, glossy front is not always convenient, but on the other hand it does finish it off. A matte finish would be better (less greasy fingers and easier to read). The question is whether that is technically possible.