air tight atm-3 vs. berning zh270

ATM-3 mono blocks 12,000 new Berning $5500 modded.
both about the same price used.. anyone heard both????
will be used with merlins..
Hi Diamond,
Yes, I have owned both. Both are excellent amps. The positives for the Berning include less than half the tubes and much longer tube life. Plus it is relatively small. Positives for the Air Tights are better bass, great mid-range. My choice would be the Berning.
What speakers & preamp will you use with the amps?
There is a reason why the Berning holds its value so WORKS. And works very well with the Merlin speaker. There are only one or two amps that would make me think about changing from my Bernings and at the price that these amps go for used...I am VERY happy with Merlin/Berning combo.
Go with the Berning Dude.
well, my system is still evolving cables, preamp and power supplies, and i cant say i have heard the ATM's, but i am sure they are very high quality, but let me say this - my Berning has a very tight and controlled bass, plenty of get up and go - I actually prefer its bass over that in several more muscular solid state amps i used to own. Don't confuse quality with quantity.

My Berning has coaxed a wonderful, full bass response from from my Sonus Faber Guarneri Homage's which dont do that much in the bass department, so it is saying something. (In fact, i thought about selling my REL sub, tat's how good the ZH handled my bass needs.). Also, dont let the power rating dissuade you - those 70 watts go an awful long way. Im no bass-head otherwise why would i own monitors, but I do demand solid control across the whoe musical spectrum.

I stopped messing around with solidstate after persistent sterile "audiophile" sound and gravitated towards tubes to inject real MUSIC into my system - I suspect most tube lovers have had similar experiences. So before the Berning I audtioned tubed amps from Audio Research ,Bel Canto's SET80, VTL's, Cary and then fell hard for the OTL's (atma sphere in particular), but there were some serious practical consideratins - like the 5+ degree increase in my listening room temp, all those tubes to content with, the 90+ lbs of weight per bock, waiting for one of my kids to pour apple juice on the exposed tubes, and so on.... and yet i was about to lay down that cash. Then on a whim, i justbought the Bering (also an OTL, but with some crazy-ass design I cant even begin to understand that surpasses all other OTL's - it's light @ 10 pounds!, reliable and runs like a 300w light bulb at full throttle), never having heard it, and let me tell you, it is one piece that will NOT leave my system. AT 5500, you can not do any better!

Ok, i just realized I am hijacking this thread to wax lyrically about the Berning, and that's not your question -I recall you wanted a speciic comparison that i can't directly provide. sorry for the digression, i just feel that positively about this amp. My $0.02
Another vote for the Berning. I used to own the ATM1, which is not quite as good as the ATM3, but sounds pretty similar.
The main reason the 3s cost so much is because of the higher power and the assoiciated high cost/high quality transformers on them. With the Merlins, you don't need that much power, they are relatively easy to drive. The ATM3 makes more sense when you have a more power-hungry speaker and don't want to give up on tubes.
Merlins and OTLs are a match made in heaven! Cheers,
Tried the ATM-3's recently in my 'A' rig- didn't do it for me (bass too thick and a bit slow, and transparency could be better) HOWEVER, picked up the smaller ATM-4, and it's fantastic! Much better PRAT, and better transprency as well, I also found the decay of the note superior, as well as the superior 'delicacy' it brought to the table. It is a vey organic and involcing amp you can just listen too and forget about analyzing the sound. One of the two major U.S. Air Tight dealers agreed that the ATM-4 and ATM-1 were the best sounding of the Air Tight PP lineup due to their simplicity of circuit design; less tubes; however still retaining the extremely high parts and build quality Air Tight is known for. Would love to hear their ATM-211 monos...
you guys are helpful..........thanks
tell us where you end up, and what you think. overall, i think you cant go wrong in either case, despite my obvious biases....
artg... which VTL did you compare the berning to?
MB-125's. I liked them quite a bit, to be honest, but not enough to buy..... Dynamic, a nicely developed bass and fairly transparent and accurate. It's a very good amp, really. Ultimately, though, it and I didn't "click" the way I did with the (OTL) Atma-Sphere. Also, i didnt want monoblocks....

I recommend you listen to as much as you can, because all the words we type mean nothing to your ears in your system..... The one thing you can always trust is people's purchase decisions, and i ended up buying the Berning and will not look back for some time.....
Diamond dude - any follow-up?