Etapas de potencia monofónicas Air Tight ATM-211
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No doubt about it the Air Tight ATM-211 is one gorgeous piece of gear. Its three large transformers occupy about three quarters of the chassis, their covers finished with what looks like automotive metallic lacquer of the highest quality. The rest of the chassis is taken up by the tubes and a bias meter. The big 211 tube is an impressive-looking beast casting a warm glow when fired up. A 12AX7 and a 12BH7A comprise the rest of the tube complement.
The ATM-211's design is said to follow that of Air Tight's highly successful ATM-300 (300B tube, 8Wpc) in permitting high power from the 211 output tube. The ATM-211 operates in class-A with no overall negative feedback, and uses a direct-coupled cathode follower-driver with a DC-driven heater filament that eliminates hum. There is a relay muting circuit intended to protect the electrolytic capacitors for the output tubes. (A blue indicator light flashes during this warmup period.) Volume control is provided by a 100k ohm variable resistor providing a shunt to ground. The output transformer comes set for a nominal 8 ohm load, but can be factory-configured for 4 or 16 ohms. The weight of each monobloc is 30kg.
|Air Tight ATM-211 Mono Amplifier features:|
|?||Unprecedented high power 22W derived from broadcast-oriented 211 valve with direct-coupled cathode-follower stage|
|?||All-stage triode-driven non-NF Class-A operation to achieve pure, unimpaired sound|
|?||Independently coiled transformer for amp-stage, bias, heater and relay circuits to remove mutual interferences|
|?||DC-driven heater filament to eliminate hum of output valve|
|?||Relay-activated muting circuit for long life of electrolytic capacitor|
Bias meter to check operation status of output valve
The character of the Air Tight ATM-211 SET mono amps can be described as hugely dynamic, possessing high definition and notable speed. They throw a rock solid, tightly woven, and excellently described soundstage. A great deal of control is evident?you might call them strong willed. This is most evident in the clarity, density, and unwavering placement of images on the soundstage, but also in their tight grip over the abundant low-end. Plus, they have some of the high purity quotient and sweet tone associated with the SET topology.
Weighing all of these, the ATM-211s, while residing power-wise in the mid-ground between push-pull and the single-digit wattage SETs, seem closer to the former. The ATM-211s have many of the better qualities of powerful tube or even solid-state gear. They are the best of all the SETs I've tried in terms of dynamics, image stability, speed and bass control. They have little of the usual tube amp downsides?operation is quiet, there's no tube rush and. while they sound warm, they're not loose (far from it!). Treble is extended, if a little thinner than down below. And like the better tube amps, there is a total absence of any electro/mechanical signature. The 211s credibility was assisted by their real-life, concert-hall perspective. This guy is rather neutral and communicative. If he doesn't capture you on an emotional level, he will certainly entertain you intellectually.
The 22 watts of the ATM-211 were a dynamic shock after listening to eight-watt SET amps. With everything else equal, the 100dB sensitive Hørning Agathon speakers were transformed. Directed by the ATM-211s, they assumed the air of a precision instrument. With the 89dB Kharma CRM 3.2s, their resolving power, and again, the dynamics flabbergasted me.
Don't be fooled by the 22-watt power rating. Dynamics were excellent into moderately sensitive speakers. If you're used to high-powered tube amps, you'll probably find the ATM-211s are up to the mark. And they'll sweeten the ante with a taste of the magic only SET devices afford.
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