Thanx for your reply. I emailed EveAnna @ Manley and she was nice enough to help me work with my dealer (Thanx guys, if you ever read this) to let me have a 300B pre demo to try in my system. Here's my impression of the Manley 300B (5k) vs. Air Tight ATC-3 (3.5K with Mulards tubes)
1. Noise: The Air Tight is quieter when idle...The Manley emits a light buzz audible with my ear about 4-5" from the tweeter..its transformer also buzz a little too...but all of these are all inaudible from a few feet away.
2. The Air Tight is crisper in the Hi (but not bright)..Manley 's softer (but not dull)
3. Air Tight is quicker and tighter in the bass..but the Manley can go a bit deeper.
4. I LOVE the Manley's midrange!!!!! It sounds so lush when rendering strings and detailed at the same time. I hear more friction of the bow/strings more through the Manley.
5. Manley throws such a DEEP soundstage !!! I listened to the Firebird suit on Mercury with Antal Dorati on my Avid Acutus and i was speechless. The Air Tight is very very good too but i feel it's more direct, more upfront , closer to the orchestra
6. Tonally, i felt the Manley is a bit darker...just love it reproducing Oboe sound.
7. Just a personal preference, i DO NOT like the Manley's step-volume..cuz it's kinda hard to dial in the right loudness..sure it sounds good..but the Air Tight's volume is much easier to fine tune to the loudness i want.
Man...The Air Tight is so good considering 2k different in price..but i am so tempted right now to sell it or trade it in for the Manley..To be honest, i am not very crazy about Manley gears' look (Some might love them though), but something's interesting with this 300B...it's just ..charming!!
What am i gonna do??????