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Those who fault this choice are hereby pragmatically reminded that the inverse would have been a bright tendency since the necessary counterweight in the bass remains physically out of reach either way. One could massage the upper bass while hoping that nobody pays sufficient attention and this used to be called speaker baby fat. But Advance declined and decided on rather missing a bit way down low and way on top to have what occurs between those extremes sound highly linear. Those who love to read between the lines are wrong to suspect that this makes the speaker midrange-centric. It doesn't and it isn't.

Bass, Stage & Co.
Still, the bass range deserves a special compliment. Even approached completely backwards by responding to lust for electronic bass (Massive Attack, Leftfield, The Kills etc) with a valve amp (Lua 4040) while cranking the volume as though cruising for mishap, nothing droned. The 17cm cone nearly jumped out of its hoop which actually looked rather scary but why the heck didn't anything boom? I could not correlate visible with audible action. Needless to say, the amount of information in the bass gets considerably higher with a better damped amplifier particularly on this type of music. Structural articulation improves, the tempo perks up because the driver no longer pursues breaking while the next attack says go. So I do recommend more powerful and reasonably damped amplifiers. The bass tightens up and becomes more intelligible. But that was not what caught me unawares. I was shocked by the utter absence of boom even under top SPLs while the amp's output impedance was completely neglected.

The concomitant masking effects were limited only to the bass. The midband remained transparent and open, a rather unusual but very positive trait. Nothing is as ruinous as bass that floods everything like a warm bath and turns the music into soup. I was rather suspicious about that ominous rubber egg having something to do with this. Strange but efficacious. With two strengths already covered -- the linear frequency response and the informative boom-free bass -- the EL170 of course also has weaker moments which are far less surprising for an investment of just €898. After the mandatory break-in, soundstaging gets quite liberated and commendably broad but the performers play mostly in a chorus line. Depth perspective is anything but extreme. Ancillaries dialed for that aspect pay dividends but great layering was never in the gene pool of this 2-way monitor. The soundstage is plenty involving however. One simply has to abandon overly ambitious high-end precedents or be prepared to shell out more. Involvement is key also for macrodynamics. I often caught myself listening to the Advance quite loudly because she was willing and because dynamic contrasts improved. This is not any in-yer-face design and the stage remains behind the speakers. It's a kind of gentleman's box that's averse to full frontal assaults. If you want to kick things up a notch, you simply have to prime the pump. That's not necessary for microdynamics however.

Besides the usual speaker swaps during such reviews, I was curious about changing out electronics regardless of sane amp/speaker price matching. I simply wanted to know how resolved the Advance EL-170 would play. No sooner was the question raised than I got embroiled in a quickie amplifier comparo. It clearly didn't require bat ears to make out 'perhaps' differences. The EL-170 was far more specific. Armed with three test tracks and inclusive of all re-cabling, the entire exercise lasted 1.5 hours but netted plenty of notes on the amps. Why would I share those here? I've already covered some and others will follow in due time (Electrocompaniet integrated amp / SAC monos).

The relevant point was that a/ the Advance EL 170 played ball and b/ decisively so to suggest that this design is rather free of self sound and its additive tricks which would filter, mask or color such amplifier differences. It's no hyperbole to call this speaker surprisingly lucid and to an extent that honestly surprised. Yet the EL-170 specifically does not act like that clichéd, gnarly, relentlessly analytical transducer. Rather, this French speaker is friendly, pleasant, very balanced and fit for the long haul - plus very differentiated and insightful. That's a very crafty combination if I may say so. In a very good way, it makes the asking price nearly a joke.

Advance Acoustic's EL-170 compact box offers a high return for the money not just on looks but build quality in general. It not only looks more expensive but also handles as such - if that's important. Sonically, superficial fireworks are shunned. This speaker impressed with long-term-suitable restraint and exceptional balance.

  • The frequency response is very linear and no area moves into the foreground through emphasis.
  • Considering physical size, the bass extends impressively without being boosted in the upper bass. This speaker is exceptionally free of drone and boom even under high SPLs which is further advantageous by not masking the midband. A true forté and bonus.
  • The treble is clear but veers into the soft. For the money, treble resolution is good.
  • The stage is nicely broad but limited in depth.
  • Microdynamically astute, macrodynamic attacks and punch can be maximized with a suitably powerful amplifier.
  • In its class, this speaker is highly transparent and distinguished.
  • For a compact design, it can play surprisingly loud and stable.


  • Concept: 2-way bass-reflex compact
  • Sensitivity: 87dB / 2,83V / 1m
  • Nominal impedance: 6 Ohm
  • Dimensions: 40 x 21 x 35cm (HxWxD)
  • Trim: Hand-rubbed and oiled Cherry or high-gloss black
  • Other: Internally suspended rubber egg minimizes enclosure resonances
  • Website
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