Air Tight ATM-300R or Shindo Cortese 300B


First of all, the english is not my native language. Sorry if I don't make myself understood correctly.

Here in audiogon found a lot of trends with ATM-300R x Cortese 300b, but almost all of them end up deviating to other suggestions or there is no continuity.

My preamp is the Luxman CL38uC and the speaker is an DIY with horn and 98 db and 8 ohms. My listening dedicated space is smal (15' x 10') and I love jazz.

I this context, Air Tight or Shindo?

Comments are welcome!

Shindo tends to work best in all-Shindo setups. With the Luxman I’d tend to lean towards Airtight. I myself have a Wavac EC300b and rate it very highly.
@dinho The ATM-300R has less of what is considered the classic 300B sound than the Shindo. The midrange-centric, lucid beauty that characterizes many other 300B single-ended amps isn’t really where the Air Tight amp is at. It certainly still has a full measure of the single-ended-triode clarity and beauty, it is quite transparent and broadband.  So it really depends what sonic attributes you're looking for.

@antigrunge What other 300b’s did you consider before deciding on the Wavac and what’s the speaker pairing?
Apologies if you are only interested in those two models; I particularly like the TRON Electric Atlantic 300B in that price range.
Dear Dinho, 


NOTE: I also love AirTight.  I have owned both.  

AirTight is very good.  Shindo is just better.  

Note: I ran a shindo preamp (Shindo Monbrison then later upgraded to a Shindo Massetto) with AirTight ATM-3 Monoblocks and Quad speakers.  Sublime!  

The Shindo preamp is amazing.  Truly.

Thank you all for your considerations.

Doubts... doubts... lol

I really like the "classical 300b sound". Then, I could consider the Shindo.

My impressions is the Air Tight are better built than Shindo (and more beautifull too...)

Anyway... the sound is more important.

Dear gestalt,

Thanks for your replay.

Unfortunatelly, here in Brazil, ours choices are lilmited.

I believe that TRON is a great choice too, but we do not have a TRON dealer here.

@three_easy_payments. I run Duevel Bella Lunas with Murata ES103bs and chose Wavac over Shindo, Audionote and Yamamoto for better control of that speaker combo.

Airtight is not better built.  They have a different aesthetic, but not better.  I have owned both Airtight and Shindo.  both are well built.  But Shindo is a bit better.  I have opened up both and looked carefully at the wiring and layouts.  Shindo is essentially hand built with all point to point wiring using silver wire.  

only thing about Shindo is that they color all their boxes green like green wine bottles.  Airtight is usually silver / aluminum faceplates with a gray tone paint on the sides and top.  

Thanks for your considerations.

I think that Shindo have the layout / topology more "free" than Air Tight.

Ken's genius was legendary... often two pieces of equipment of the same model, could be significantly different, depending on the "insight" at the time of assembly.

I believe that Ken's son may have inherited this freedom in assembly... lol...

When I saw both inside, I fell the Air Tight more "clean" and intuitive. The Shindo was more "confuse"... lol

Anyway, the sound is more importat after all.

Salute from Brazil.
I appreciate your insight and impressions from the perspective of someone who has had the pleasure of owning both renown Audio brands. Undoubtedly one could not possibly go wrong with either of these amplifiers. It simply would be what sonic attributes are most desired and cherished. My gut feeling tells me if I can only have one of them I’d choose Shindo.

I get the sense that the AirTight may be more audiophile approved.’neutral ’ yet I suspect that the Shindo grabs deeper into the musical soul and emotion. Speculation I readily admit.

Perfect your summary: Air Tight as a more audiophile trace and Shindo as the essence of musicality.

If you are looking for something ultra musical and very traditional sounding for a 300B, check out the Art Audio Diavolo.  It is supremely well designed and is a popular choice in Europe.  Aesthetically, I think it is very good looking and build quality is first rate.  My biggest issue as the US importer is that these amps never die.  I regularly talk to people who are in year 15 or 20 of ownership and looking at a refurbish, rather than replace.  

Your preamp is well suited to the Diavolo with 1v of output and you will get the lush, musical mid-range that people crave from a 300B.  

Air Tight and Shindo are undeniably brilliant.  I think your comments above are spot on regarding these two brands.  Shindo would be the better choice based on your description but I also agree that Shindo is best with all Shindo.  

Good luck.  
Thanks for your return.

I think the Art Audio could a gret choice too, but here in Brazil we don't have an Art Audio dealer.

Thanks again.
There are so many possibilities. I have an AncientAudio SET. Other good options: BorderPatrol (SET, PSET, and PP), AudioNote, Yamamoto A-09s. And if you follow the various 300b conversations, the choice of the tube is as important as the choice of the amplifier.
I am certain Tom will ship directly to you from the UK or I could arrange for delivery to you as I am always happy to help the brand globally.  
If you were merely being polite, cheers and good luck.  Understand completely.  


Yes... the tube rolling is "another hobby" inside this audiophile crazy hobby... lol...


Thanks for your offer.

Be an audiophile here in Brazil is very difficult. Our customer tax, with an "personal importation", are the 100%... insane...

If I buy an equipament and pay for you, for example, U$5k, I will need to pay more U$5k in tax.

And I will need pay another tax over freight too...

Even with dealer, if you pay U$10K for an audio gear, here I will pay, in better scenario, U$ 15k for the same audio gear.

I few months before I bought an Dr, Freickert Protractor buying direct from Dr. Freickert in Germany.

Even this protractor being very light with a small package, after all I pay 1K euros for the Protractor.

Imagine an power amp heavy and expensive...

Wow, that is miserable.  I wish you luck in terms of finding the right amp.  Good news is Shindo and Air Tight are not average amps and you aren't settling with either of them.  

Have you thought about the Luxman?  It is phenomenal and ships with Takasuki's?
Luxman would be an excellent choice. But unfortunately it is, at least here, in another price class.

Our Luxman dealer charges a price that makes it much more expensive than Shindo and Air Tight.

The Air Tight itself can, at a higher cost, be ordered with the Takatsuki.

I've been following some topics about the 300b valve and, once I choose the power, I'll have another fun guaranteed with tube rolling.

I heard the Cortese 300b on A23 horns - I actually preferred the little Montille. The 300b was too midrange centric for me, a bit closed in sounding. Shindo amps are more flavor, than better. 
My favorite Shindos were the Lafons, long discontinued. The Haut Brion as well for efficient speakers. 

Montille seems to be almost unanimous. An unbeatable value for money!

I also noticed that, at least here on the audiogon, we have more owners of the Cortese F2a than the Cortese 300b.

. "Shindo amps are more flavor, than better."

That can apply to literally any audio product to one degree or another.  They all will possess some amount of sonic signature and listeners /potential buyers just choose the signature/character they most prefer. 

I definitely appreciate and desire what well implemented 300b amplifiers bring to the table. Now in regard to the Shindo Cortese F2a I can't recall reading anything negative about it. Consistent universal praise over the years. Horses for courses will always ring true.

That's interesting that many prefer the Shindo F2A over the 300b version of the Cortese.  I rarely see a 300b version come on the used market but more often see the F2A's so I presumed perhaps the preference was opposite.  I know the F2A has had 3 design iterations over the last 10 years or so.  I'm not sure I've seen many of the newest iteration come on the used market and it certainly is the version that interests me most.  
I even considered the F2a version of Cortese. In the end, I surrendered to my passion for 300b.

And, nowadays, we have many options, both in terms of quality and price, for the 300b.

Taking advantage of Ken Shindo’s passion for wines, I can say that nowadays, for 300b, we can almost be true "sommeliers", taking advantage of each 300b for its "flavour", "texture", "taste" and "harvest".

Sorry for the weak "poetic license"... lol...

Perhaps slightly off topic and maybe I need to start a different thread but let me pose a quick question on the F2A.   Originally the Cortese F2a was a single 6aw8a tube per F2a tube, and went through an evolutionary change years  later to dual tubes per f2a tube and a few circuit updates. The current model, uses a tube rectifier on top of the chassis and different input/driver tubes altogether and was designed by Takashi Shindo.

Can anyone provide listening impressions between the current and immediately prior version of the F2A amp?  Shindo moved the retail price up by $2,500 during the last version.     
The more I contemplate your comments in this thread,  I believe that the Shindo 300b is the right choice for you in the long run. You are a music lover who loves jazz. That wonderful  genre I suspect would sound  fabulous via the Shindo driving your horn speakers.  Just a hunch 😊.


So far I think Shindo is leading this "informal poll"... lol...

Air tight 300r felt too laid-back for my taste. Lacking excitement and fire within. 

Audio Note UK sounded too much of their own house sound. A bit warm and slow. 

Wavac, Border Patrol & Shindo are very good
Can you avoid the terrible taxes by buying used?

Unfortunately it is not possible, at least in theory, to import used equipment to Brazil.

3rd World is not easy... lol... we need to have a great sense of humor to understand our almost medieval legislation...

Brazil has always been called "the country of the future". I think we will always be like this... a future, but one that never materializes and is fulfilled... lol...

Haven't heard the Shindo. I do own the Air Tight, however, and it's my endgame valve amp - to me, the sound of my system is just the sound of music. I no longer feel the urge to find out whether there may be something better out there somewhere. With my DeVore O/93s, it sounds plenty exciting and fiery to me - the exact opposite of an "audiophile" sound, and I even use the very clean sounding LTA microZOTL MZ3 as a preamp!

FWIW, the late Art Dudley was blown away by the ATM-300R, calling it one of the finest amplifiers he had ever heard. He was enthusiastic about the Shindo F2a as well, but he felt that the Shindo worked better with his 16 ohm speakers.

Good luck!

Thanks for your opinion.

Knowing that apparently there is no way to go wrong with any of them, I think I will opt for the ATM300R (Air Tight has a more "consolidated" importer here in Brazil). Plus, I feel more "comfortable" with the Air Tight import policy.

To reduce costs, Shindo would have to come by ship and would take approximately 7 (seven) months to arrive.