This review page is supported in part by the sponsors whose ad banners are displayed below

This article first appeared in the June 2011 issue of hi-end hifi magazine High Fidelity of Poland. You can also read it in its original Polish version here. We publish its English translation in a mutual syndication arrangement with publisher Wojciech Pacula. As is customary for our own articles, the writer's signature at review's end shows an e-mail address should you have questions or wish to send feedback. All images contained in this review are the property of High Fidelity or Tatatsuki - Ed

Takatsuki is the Japanese city where Air Tight is located. But there is also the big company Takatsuki Electric Industry known for modern LED lighting. Until recently that is. Last year information was released that Takatsuki had decided to manufacture 300B power triodes in Japan. Was Mr. Miura from Air Tight the inspiration? I don't know. Because those two companies operate in such close proximity and because Air Tight is responsible for distributing Takatsuki tubes outside Japan, it is highly possible however.

For a while rumors circulated. During the Munich HighEnd 2011 show I finally saw the bottles at the Air Tight stand and exchanged a few words with Mr. Miura. This only sharpened my appetite. The valves arrived in Poland a month later. I had a pair but ended up needing two because the audition was to use the 18-watt parallel single-ended Ancient Audio Silver Grand Mono. These monos belong to Janusz who built his entire system around Ancient Audio gear with Acrolink and Tara Labs cables and the Base Rack. In daily use he runs Create Audio Golden Jazz Series 300Bs.

Those are splendid but inexpensive Chinese tubes which fared far better than most their Sino predecessors. For some time Janusz had also used their successors, the Create Audio Luxury Series 300B. After some initial euphoria he then changed his mind. Although some assets like incredible smoothness and brilliant midrange required admiration, Janusz returned to the Golden Jazz. This is the context in which we evaluated the Takatsuki tubes during our 78th meeting of the Krakow Audiophile Society. Because we could not make instantaneous ABs, we conducted the classic test of listening to a few pieces using one kind of tube first (the Golden Jazz), then the second (Luxury) and finally the Takatsuki TA-300B. The first impressions were noted after changing one Create Audio tube for another, the second set after listening to the Japanese valves. Our observations follow.

1. Create Audio Golden Jazz Series vs Luxury Series
Wiciu: For me it was better the second time. There was more treble. Or was that the influence of the Proseco champagne? For me there was a visible increase in the amount of air around performers. Możdżer first sounded compressed but with the Luxury series full and pleasing.

Mariusz: I can say easily that each time, first with the Golden Jazz Series, then with the Luxury Series, one can hear all the characteristics of mesh and carbon tubes I know. I always prefer carbon because it has a warm natural midrange. This is most important for me. The mesh plate—and this could be heard here—has a more linear frequency response. There is also more micro plankton in the sound which no longer is empty. With carbon, in this case the Luxury Series, I had much better localization of the instruments. Far better. I would choose the second tubes.