The Advance Paris WTX-Tubes is a Bluetooth receiver that aims to advance the art of wireless streaming from a smartphone, tablet or DAP. For this purpose, it incorporates a Bluetooth 5.0 controller compatible with aptX and aptX HD, a 24-bit/192kHz DAC with a 32-bit processor, as well as a pair of Raytheon 5703 vacuum tubes. These are designed to bring life, warmth and naturalness to digital music. With its audiophile-grade electronics, is this Advance Paris receiver, priced at €349, the ultimate solution for making the most of all Bluetooth sources?
Advance Paris WTX-Tubes: packaging & accessories
The Advance Paris WTX-Tubes Bluetooth receiver comes in a white box on which the brand proudly displays “designed and developed in France”. On the back there is a diagram of the connectors as well as brief explanations on how to connect the receiver to the source and play music on a hi-fi system. Of course, a more comprehensive manual is present inside the box, but considering the simplicity of the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes installation, it is unlikely that it will be needed. Finally, there is also an AC adapter, as well as a removable rotatable antenna.
Advance Paris WTX-Tubes: presentation
The Advance Paris WTX-Tubes Bluetooth receiver is built around a metal chassis that is 13 cm wide, 4.2 cm high and 11 cm deep. It is relatively compact, making it easy to slip into a cabinet, next to a hi-fi amplifier, or directly on top of it. We decided to leave this elegant receiver in view to admire the glowing red tubes. The front of the device is indeed lined with a tinted plexiglass panel that reveals the two tubes on the right, hidden behind a window cut into the metal frame. The quality of the assembly is good, despite the fact that the two screws on either side somewhat detract from the luxury of the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes receiver. Nevertheless, the metal chassis is an exception in the world of Bluetooth receivers where plastic is often used.
Inside its small chassis, the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes Bluetooth receiver optimizes space with components sorted and selected for their performance. The heart of its architecture is a Bluetooth 5.0 receiver from Qualcomm. This chip supports SBC and AAC codecs to ensure optimal compatibility with any source – smartphone, tablet, computer, etc. – but is also compatible with Bluetooth aptX and aptX HD. With these, the transmission rate can reach up to 576 Kbits in 24-bit/48kHz and offer a listening quality close to that of audio CDs. For this, however, it is necessary that the source is also compatible with Bluetooth aptX and/or aptX HD, without which the resolution is lower. Fortunately, the majority of smartphones, tablets and Android DAPs are now compatible with these two codecs. Unfortunately, there is no support for LDAC and LHDC, which would have allowed even more precise sound up to 24-bit/92kHz.
The Advance Paris WTX-Tubes receiver’s Qualcomm Bluetooth controller delivers the digital audio signals to a tri-core processor, a combination of a 32-bit dual-core processor and a 120 MHz single-core processor. Its role is to ensure the correct timing of the data in order to optimize the precision of the information received by the DAC and to limit jitter. The power of this dual processor provides a smoother and more faithful sound. This section is connected to a Wolfson WM8740 DAC responsible for the conversion of digital signals into analog signals via a I²S bus. This DAC is 24-bit/192kHz compatible in order to precisely convert Bluetooth streams.
Raytheon 5730 tubes
With the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes receiver, the French brand wants to give Bluetooth streaming a warmer and more analog-like sound. This intention is embodied in the pure class A output stage, whose main feature is a pair of Raytheon 5730W military-grade vacuum tubes. The latter are subminiature models, meaning they have a more compact format than standard tubes, as the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes receiver does not need the same level of power as an amplifier or a pre-amp. However, the operating principle remains unchanged and the same advantages can be enjoyed: a warmer, softer and more natural sound. These tubes are held in place by two insulating supports to avoid any microphonic effects (amplification of vibrations and interference) and to improve cooling.
However, the use of vacuum tubes means that the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes receiver gives off a lot of heat, right from the first few minutes of use. Therefore, it is necessary not to obstruct the upper panel so that the device’s passive ventilation can work properly.
The rear panel of the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes Bluetooth receiver integrates the connectors, which include an analog stereo RCA output to facilitate its association with any amplifier or hi-fi system. Thanks to its two digital outputs – one optical and one coaxial – it is possible to associate the Advance WTX-Tubes with an external DAC or a DAC amplifier in order to assign the signal conversion to the chip of your choice. Finally, a screw connector allows you to attach the removable and rotatable antenna to optimize the reception and to extend the range up to approximately 10 meters.
Advance Paris WTX-Tubes: listening conditions
The Advance Paris WTX-Tubes Bluetooth receiver is simple and intuitive to use. Once the device is connected to the power supply and turned on using the front panel on/off button, simply go into the source’s Bluetooth settings and select WTX-Tubes to begin the pairing. From then on, the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes displays the word “connected” on its front panel in elegant blue characters. It is then possible to play music stored in the internal memory of the paired device or played on streaming services, as well as from any other application. The volume can be controlled from the hi-fi system connected to the output of the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes receiver, or directly from the smartphone. Moreover, the most recently used source remains paired and reconnects automatically each time the receiver is switched on. To connect another source, you must disconnect the first one using the disconnect button located on the back of the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes device.
For our review, we connected the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes Bluetooth receiver to an iPhone 12 Pro Max (AAC codec), an iBasso DX300 DAP (Bluetooth aptX HD) and a FiiO M11 Pro DAP (Bluetooth aptX HD). The receiver’s output was connected to a NAD C375 BEE amplifier using Audioquest Red River RCA-RCA cables, and the amp was connected to KEF LS50 Meta speakers. Afterwards, we used the receiver with a tube headphone amplifier and Audioquest NightHawk headphones.
Advance Paris WTX-Tubes: listening impressions
The Advance Paris WTX-Tubes receiver was quite impressive and managed to erase the flaws that hinder the reputation of Bluetooth transmission for music playback. The contribution of the tubes was undeniable compared to a more conventional receiver and provides more warmth and softness. The sound was even smoother and less metallic and cold, which is often a complaint when listening to music via Bluetooth. Vocals also benefited from a more natural texture and seemed to more easily convey the emotions of the artists.
With the album Home by music duo Rhye streamed via Bluetooth aptX HD from Qobuz, the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes receiver effectively preserved the exquisite atmosphere of the recordings. Each track blending soul, electro and jazz was delivered with a natural and soft feel. The singer’s androgynous and ethereal voice was embodied with tenderness and a natural texture at the center of the soundstage. The excellent signal-to-noise ratio of the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes receiver benefited the soundstage, which gained transparency and spaciousness. It felt like we were immersed in a small and very comforting cocoon and we let ourselves be carried away by the music. The Advance Paris WTX-Tubes successfully brought life and emotion to Bluetooth streaming. It was astonishing!
The Advance Paris WTX-Tubes Bluetooth receiver’s tube output stage definitely gives it a major advantage with jazz, but it doesn’t falter with other musical genres either. With the album AM by British rock band Arctic Monkeys, the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes receiver revealed an impressive dynamic character that really benefited the bright, clear percussion instruments without excessive brightness. The bass had a nice fullness and was perfectly sustained in time. The attacks on the strings of the electric guitar were direct and clear. The song was restituted with energy and vivacity, but never became aggressive thanks to the softness brought by the tubes.
Advance Paris WTX-Tubes: compared to…
Advance Paris WTX-1100: sold for €199, the Advance Paris WTX-1100 uses the same architecture but incorporates an aptX HD chip paired with a 32-bit Dual-Core and 120 Mhz Single-Core processor. However, the conversion is performed by a 24-bit/192kHz Cirrus Logic CS4344 DAC and the output stage is not equipped with vacuum tubes. Despite the absence of tubes, the Advance Paris WTX-1100 is very efficient, with a transparent, clear and analytical reproduction. That said, the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes remains softer and warmer. It manages to more effectively erase the harshness of certain notes, to add more texture to the vocals and to make the listening experience more emotional.
McIntosh MB20: available for €650, this Bluetooth receiver stands out with its greater versatility, being able to act both as a receiver and transmitter. To do this, it has analog and digital inputs (24-bit/192kHz) associated with a DAC to stream the sound of sources in Bluetooth aptX HD on any audio receiver. In receiver mode it also supports Bluetooth aptX HD and provides digital and analog outputs, including an XLR balanced output. It is the only Bluetooth receiver/transmitter to offer such a comprehensive set of connectors. The Advance Paris WTX-Tubes, on the other hand, is undeniably softer and smoother thanks to its vacuum tube output stage.
Advance Paris WTX-Tubes: who is it for?
The Advance Paris WTX-Tubes receiver is designed to reconcile music lovers with Bluetooth transmission. It is a wise choice to enjoy the convenience of wireless streaming and all your music on the living room hi-fi system, without sacrificing listening quality. Its tube output stage is a strong argument to convince Bluetooth critics who accuse this technology of providing a cold and soulless sound. With the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes receiver, Bluetooth becomes warmer and more melodious than ever. Although an aptX and aptX HD compatible source is highly recommended to get the most out of this receiver, a user with an SBC compatible smartphone will still be able to enjoy this gain in smoothness and subtlety, but with less information and detail. Finally, the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes is also a very good solution to rebalance a system that has a little too much character in the top end of the spectrum.
Advance Paris WTX-Tubes: conclusion
With the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes receiver, the French manufacturer has accomplished a remarkable feat by making the listener forget that music is being streamed via Bluetooth. The vacuum tube output stage is particularly elegant and adds warmth, softness and a great refinement in the highs. We find emotion in the vocals, refinement in the different registers and, above all, a finesse rarely found in Bluetooth playback. With such arguments, the Advance Paris WTX-Tubes is currently the best receiver for listening to music in Bluetooth.
- The soft, warm and smooth sound
- The natural texture of the vocals
- Its ability to breathe life into Bluetooth music
We would have liked
- LDAC and LHDC Bluetooth compatibility