Airtight ATM300 vs. Cary 300SEI

I'm going to mate a SE tube integrated with some vintage Spendor LS3/5A spkrs. Had decided on the 11W Cary 300SEI (with WE's; I'm not a KR fan), but then see Gindi's review of Airtight 8W ATM300 in Ultimate Audio mag raving about the Airtight with, would you believe, these same 15 yr old speakers. Being the societal pawn and audiophobic guy that I am, or seem to be at the moment (we never admit it until that moment) now I'm intrigued about that combo. Cary is plentiful on used market at about $2K and, given the $6300 retail and newness of Airtight piece, it would be a minimum of $3500, so there is a difference. Anyone think its worth it? For context, system will have some type of CD player (Sony, Metronome,etc.), Audio note(Kondo) interconnect, Mapleshade Planar spkr cables, Well Tempered TT w/Koetsu. Thanks for the feedback.
i didnt listen cary but i used airtight 300b its a wonderfull product,wonderfull sound.
Cary is really not in the same league as Airtight. That's why you see so many used Cary. Transformer is the heart of a SET amplifier. Both Sun Audio and Airtight use Tamura transformers. Sun uses the OEM and Airtight uses the regular version. Sun 300B SE amp uses 6SN7 driver which I think is a better driver for power amp. both units use tube rectifying. Sun has a choke in the power supply circuit. All their amplifier can be ordered as a kit. 3 models are available. SV300BE is the stereo SE version. For 20% more, you can have the SV300-BTE monoblock version which has independent power supply circuit and grounding for each channel. I have a PP monoblock and upgrade all the wiring to Cardas and the capcitors to MIT RTX polystyrene and the big electrolytic to Black Gate. It has beat every 300B that I have heard including the med price Audionote, Wavelengths,Cary, Audion and many others. You can order them direct from Sun Audio in assembled form or kit. The best price is from the Hong Kong distributor but you can check around for prices. If possible, order the unit without the tubes. You will want to have WE 300Bs, red base RCA 5692 for the 6SN7, RCA 5U4G and Tungsol or RCA 6V6. Ask about upgrading the electrolytics to Blackgate and the film capcitor to MIT RTX or better. I think the Hong Kong distributor is more flexible on these. But you can call around and see.

The english site for ordering direct and distributor list:

The price in Japanese Yen

Good Luck
Thanks, Terry, for the great feedback. Yes, I've considered Sun...Now you have me really going. Is there a qualitative difference between the regular and OEM Tamura Transformer? I would assume not, but your mentioning it has me wondering. What do you consider to be the best film capacitor for this application (Audionote Tantalus?)? Internal wiring is a tough one. My experience with Cardas internal, phono & spkr wire is that they tend towards the richer end of the spectrum, sometimes losing dynamic contrasts. With that said, XLO and the like make me run from the room screaming. I use NBS & Kondo AN, depending on the application, but really dont have the experience to comment extensively on internal wire. Anyone's opinion on these more esoteric aspects would be appreciated (Come on, where are you die-hard SE folks!)Thanks Asa.
I have compare OEM and regular tamura transformers. The regular seems to be bigger in size. Regarding the capacitor choice, it is partly a personal preference. I know I don't like MIT polypropene in this application. I am happy with MIT RTX but I will try Auricap if I am building another pair.
Hey Egg- Where can the Auricaps be purchased? I figured I should give them a try. Of the MIT line, have you tried the Polyprops and tin foil, PPFX-S ? These are very good and in some applications, I prefer to the RTX. Also, the copper foil-in-oil caps (Jensen, Angela, etc..) are simply amazing! I'll be trying some silver foil-in-oil caps in about a week. Should be interesting! Good luck.
auricap is available from

and michael percy.
I've owned the Cary and heard the Airtight, to me it's a no brainer, the Airtight is far better sounding IMOP. I sold the 300sei, I could never get used to that overly warm(dull?) sound, and the number of 300sei's for sale on A'gon says something, I think.
I've heard the CARY SEI with WE 300B it's a good sounding
amp. But compared to the Sun Audio 300B amp with WE 300B,
RCA 5U4, and Sylvania VT-231/6SN7GT. It's no contest this
amp smokes the CARY.
Nice to see some AirTight talk on this site. To me, this is one of the best marques that no one ever talks about on this site. We hear a lot about Audio Research, Cary, Conrad Johnson, Rogue, VTL, etc., but as has been mentioned previously, the Air Tight is at least one or two steps above these other brands. I have to reiterate, it all starts with the transformers. The most expensive, most important part of ANY tube amp. There are only a few companies who use no holds barred transformers. Air Tight, Audio Note, Jadis, etc. This is what separates the men from the boys. It extends from the lowest lows all the way on up. Of course, the level of parts used in their products doesn't just include the transformers. It's all of their parts that make the grade. Air Tight is sweet, seductive, powerful, and beautiful. Asa, I really hope you opt for this amp. A very good friend wrote to me last week about the same SET amp you are considering. This is a guy who gets his hands on the best of the best. Not what most of us get our hands on, I mean the good stuff. It was obvious he liked it. That speaks volumes. While I have yet to hear this amp, I have to say their EL34 and KT88 based amps impress the absolute heck out of me. The only thing that doesn't really turn me on about their amps is the lack of ability of tube substitution(EL34 for KT88/6550/KT90 and vice versa). I get to hear a lot of tube amps, but these are a different breed. Good luck!
Eggpowder says Cary is really not in the same league as the Airtight ATM300 and I would have to agree. The 805 from Cary at $3000 more sounds slow and and not nearly as involving. There is a lot more light and life in the Airtight and it can soundstage every bit as good as the 805s. IMO this is one good amp and seems much more powerful than it's 8 watts would suggest.
Thanks guys, you really helped me deal with my latest (but not greatest) audio psycho-pathologic attachment. I've got an AirTight ATM 300 on the way - should have in 2d system by end of June. If you are interested, this system comprised of Sony XA7ES to AudioNote Vz IC, to Supratek Syrah preamp through NBS Pro IC to AirTight (Aleph 3 sub-ing now)to AudioNote's new copper spkr cable (on the way, supposed to equal former Vz series at $50/ft - loaned Kimber on there now)to Spendor LS3/5A's all on Rix Rax stand. Will get Well Tempered w/ Koetsu later. I'm also throwing in outtlet strip & conditioner by Quantum to see what that does (I need a strip in this location).Main system is TNT4/Graham2, Joule pre, etc. All NOS tubes, all hard wired - the only way to go, in my humble opinion.

So, another question: what PC for the AirTight. Electraglide sounds good on amps, but I hate the inflexible, fist-sized stuff. Creates a real cable bottle-neck behind the rack (I place cable carefully). A lot of people like the Shunyata KV MkI. What do you guys say? Thanks again. Regards, Mark
try harmonic tech. magic.and i have king cobra,fim gold,fatman.this could best choice if you want to have very best flexible cable.