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Power amplifier


My Sound

Producent: MY SOUND
Price (in Poland):
Basic version: 7490 EUR
Version with amorphous transformers: 8990 EUR

Contact: Artur Biniak
ul. Różana 3| 64-500 Szamotuły | Polska


Provided for test by: MY SOUND

e've lived to finally see Polish audio brands that offer products of high, not to say - indeed - world-class. And it's not just about the performance anymore, but also about original design and top quality of make&finish. Products offered by My Sound are a “living” proof of my words.

We've known each other with guys from My Sound for several years. I mean we regularly met during audio shows. This Polish manufacturer participates every year in Munich's High End Show, where it made its debut in 2012, but also in the Warsaw Audio Video Show (previously Audio Show). In the Bavarian capital My Sound along with several other Polish brands every year present a system which makes me (and probably many other Polish audiophiles) truly proud. It consists of high-class components. And it is true in terms of performance, workmanship, and even - which in the case of our domestic audio products until recently was a real rarity – attractive look, arousing an interest and even admiration of visitors coming from around the world.

The company was founded 4 years ago, but if you just take look at their website you'll see, that this is not one of the brands that hurries to release new, more or less successful, products every few months. Company's name, My Sound, is a clear message explaining company's approach to what they do. Namely, they build devices that sound the way they want (like) music to sound. Of course, this is not the only such case - from conversations with engineers from many, especially smaller, brands I learned that in their projects they try to realize their own visions of sound, hoping that others (customers) will share their point of view.

In this particular case thing is probably not only in the sound, but also in a very original design. The amplifiers offered by My Sound are called Cube, and the name originates directly from their shape. The basic offer includes three different color version of the chassis, but actually custom versions are welcome too. Each of the color versions is made with utmost care and looks astonishingly well.
I found out an interesting fact about the genesis of these amplifiers - the prototype was made when one of the designers could not find any amplifier on the market to drive his own Sonus Faber Extreme so that he would love the sound. As he told me, he tried out amps by many famous brands, including most powerful solid-state beasts and none of them "clicked", not even once he thought it was IT. And so he built a 12 W tube power mono amplifiers based on one of the relatively few tubes that were actually designed for audio use - the EL84 – and... it turned out that "it was IT!" Nobody would have thought it could be IT and yet it was.

The final form of these amplifiers, and the company producing them came only later. It was the form that gave this amp its name, "Cube", and it is used for all My Sound designs. Today's lineup consists of the mono power amplifiers (under review), and their version with a volume control. When picking up Cubes after review designers revealed to me that they should be finally ready with their matching preamplifier for this year's Audio Video Show. As an option this device will also include a phonostage module. The prototype of the device was already presented in Munich (hence I know how it would look like), but apparently these two men are perfectionists and until they are absolutely sure that the product is ready, finished, perfected in every possible way, they do not intend to release it to the customers (nor reviewers). They also told me they were working on some completely new products too but, as they told me smiling, knowing how long it takes before they think product is finished and ready for release, it might take a while before these will actually see the light of a day. Regardless of how long it will take it is worth the wait especially considering, that one of this new products will be a PSE amplifier with my favorite triode …, guess which one :-)

Recordings used for the test (a selection):

  • Chopin Recital, wyk. Maurizio Pollini, Toshiba-EMI EAC-55137, LP
  • TREME, soundtrack, Season 1, HBO 0602527508450, CD
  • Aerosmith, Pump, Geffen Records, FLAC
  • Cannonball Adderley, Somethin' else, Classic Records BST 1595-45, LP
  • Dead Can Dance, Spiritchaser, 4AD/Mobile Fidelity MOFI 2-002, 180 g LP
  • Dire Straits, Love over gold, VERTIGO 25PP-60, LP
  • Eva Cassidy, The Best of, Blix Street Records G8-10206, LP
  • Georges Bizet, Carmen, RCA Red Seal SPA 25 064-R/1-3, LP
  • Kermit Ruffins, Livin' a Treme life, Basin Street B001T46TVU, CD
  • Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II, Atlantic 8122796438, LP
  • Lee Ritenour, Rhythm sessions, Concord Records CRE 33709-02, CD
  • Miles Davis, Sketches of Spain, Columbia PC8271, LP
  • Mozart, Cosi Fan Tutte, dyr. Teodor Currentzis, MusicAeterna Orchestra, Sony Classical B00O1AZGD6, LP
  • Wycliff Gordon, Dreams of New Orleans, Chesky B0090PX4U4, CD
  • AC/DC, Back in black, SONY B000089RV6, CD/FLAC
  • Guns N' Roses, Use your illusion 2, Geffen Records B000000OSG, CD/FLAC
Japanese CD editions are available from

I don't know about you, but for me EL84 is not a tube associated with high-end performance. Similarly to EL34, this pentode makes me thinking about inexpensive, quite simple amplifiers, nice sounding, but never really achieving anything more but a certain level of performance. It is true that many people like Leben amplifiers and even the famous Japanese Kondo introduced an expensive (maybe not in Kondo terms, but surely in “objective” ones) integrated amplifier based on EL34 a while back, proving once again that the output tube is responsible only for a fraction of the final performance. It's the application that is the key, and Kondo used their extensive knowledge and experience to offer fantastic performance. But could a Polish brand, founded only a few years back, really achieve similar sonic effect?

Listening to Cubes during shows could not have given me a definitive answer to this question, but I knew it was an interesting product that I should listen to in my own system. That is why already some time ago we agreed on this test. Actually we agreed for a review of a set with preamplifier and monoblocks. But – as I already explained - perfectionism of My Sound designers translated into a delay of preamp's premiere. So finally only two mono amplifiers landed in my room and I listened to them using my own trusted ModWright LS100 preamplifier and another one under review, EternalArts HLP OTL preamp/headphone amplifier.

The Cubes deliver 12 watts output per channel, which suggests that they should be combined with relatively easy to drive loudspeakers (although the previously described reason for their creation may suggest otherwise). During shows they usually play horn speakers by Lublin based brand called hORNS and there was even a chance that also during this test I could use products of both brands. Unfortunately, timing failed us and therefore instead I used another high efficiency speakers that I'd been already using for few months. These come from a successful American brand called DeVore Fidelity and the particular model is Orangutan 93. In the name of this speaker manufacturer hid an information revealing their sensitivity - 93 dB, which together with the nominal impedance of 10Ω (min. 7.75Ω) makes them a perfect fit for even low power tube amps. As usually I used both, digital - Lampizator Big7 and analogue - Janusz Sikora turntables (my Basic and a novelty that will debut during Audio Video Show in Warsaw this year called Starter) sources.

I'll start with the feature that in the case of tube amplifiers is not so obvious. The My Sound amplifiers are “trouble-free” products, using them does not require any special attention, treatment or setup, and it was true regardless of which preamplifier and source I played them with. Since the very beginning I could hear a dead silence in highly sensitive speakers, no hum, noise, glitches or whatsoever - I connected the system and right after that I could start enjoying music. I've dealt with more than one, sometimes even great sounding, vacuum tube device, that required a lot of effort to eliminate hum or noise coming from connected speakers. Not this time. Obviously I could not check every possible configuration, so I can not guarantee that it is “trouble-free” in every possible setup, but the few tested suggest that these devices simply do not cause any problems. It is worth noting that this effect was achieved despite the fact that Cubes feature relatively small enclosures which prevented their designers from ensuring there was a big distance between elements that might interfere with others thus effecting the sound. This also explains why it takes so long before new product is ready. As I said – these guys are perfectionists.

Usually the beginning of the test is quite simple – right away it is easy to identify some characteristic qualities for the device under review and start the text with them. But this time it wasn't that easy. Although I always try to have an open mind, free of any prejudice, stereotypes or bias, when I started my listening session, however, at least subconsciously I did have some expectations. In my mind the EL84 translates into sweet, not too fast, warm, nice, but not particularly transparent, resolving nor dynamic sound. That's a stereotype of this pentode that was still there in my head. And yet ... The first thought that came to my mind was something like: it does not sound like a tube amplifier at all. Only a few, maybe a dozen minutes later, in turn, I thought: I was wrong, it does sound like a tube. And so it went for almost the entire first evening I spent listening to the Cubes.

Where did this ability come from? To explain that let me start with a question: did Cubes really sound warm like a tube amplifier usually does? Not really. OK, maybe it was not absolutely neutral, say it was more of a +0.5 degree rather than absolute zero. But many, if not most tube amps and even some transistors deliver even warmer performance. So, these are not typically sounding tube amplifiers in this respect. Round, slow, dragged bass? None of these features apply here! There was a very good control over the 10-inch woofers, that were easily pushed to deliver nicely extended bass, that was also rich, full-bodied, very well controlled and differentiated. I listened, for example, to Marcus Miller on bass playing on TuTu and it sounded almost equally well controlled, fast and dynamic as it did during excellent Warsaw concert last year. Leading edge speed was impressive, as well as instant suppression of sounds, or the long decay, when the musician allowed it. Orangutan 93 that are not big speakers driven with Cube's 12 watts filled my mid-size room with music and it truly rocked!

When, for a change, I cued in the Ray Brown's album and listened to his double bass my assessment turned 180 degrees - only tubes can deliver such a “flashy”, but at the same time crispy and fabulously colorful, beautifully differentiated, acoustic bass. It's the vacuum tubes that specialize in delivering proportional amount of wood in this instrument's sound, it's their tangibility that allows listener to “see” how big the bass is. And in the end it is they that take care of the full, long sustain, one of the key features of this instrument's sound.

Just ... not all tube amplifiers are capable of delivering properly fast attack, convey the immediacy of a plucked string, or of a gentle, but extremely quick tap on string on a fretboard. The key is not in the micro-dynamics alone, because that is a strength of most such designs, but in the speed, immediacy which this burgundy (in this version) My Sound amplifiers were able to deliver sound with. What is important is that differentiation of various recordings was also very good – after all not at recordings of double bass sound as good as on Soular energy. On those of a bit lesser quality where there was a bit too much of wood, or sounds were sustained for too long, Polish amplifiers delivered it honestly.

Continuing the convention, it can be said that Cube played like a tube amps, but very good ones, that didn't sugarcoat downsides of the recording, which is true also for high quality solid-state counterparts. And, just as any high quality tube device, they offered bass that sounded organically, was never dry, never featured an underlined phase attack. Yes, high-quality transistor amplifiers can deliver even faster, even more dynamic sound, but in turn only a very few can match a high quality tube amp in terms of timbre presentation and differentiation. I would say that the creators of Cubes found a good balance between the advantages of both technologies. For the bass they preserved the best qualities offered by tubes, but wherever tubes have their weaknesses they managed to eliminate them replacing them with more solid-state-like qualities.

And what about the dynamics on macro level when playing more complex, dense tracks, eg. some orchestral music or rock? To find that out I dropped a needle into the groove of one of the classic albums by Led Zeppelin and pushed the volume knob way up. This is not an audiophile recording, and it was pretty obvious when played with Cubes – again they did not sugarcoat anything, they didn't try to smooth this material over. There was a lot of typical rock 'dirt', a lot of energy, quite good dynamics, clean (as far as it is possible for Plant) vocal. Was is the best presentation of this album I've ever heard? No, I've heard a couple of amplifiers that delivered this music with even bigger momentum and more energy, with better dynamics and better control over the “hottest” moments in the mix thus limiting the chaos. But on the other hand they did not capture the expressiveness of Plant's voice in such a fantastic way as Cubes did, and Page's guitar sounded more dry, less colorful than with Polish monoblocks. I would say that it is more of a individual preference, rather than actual, significant superiority of one method of presentation over another.

Next I listened to some Mozart (The Marriage of Figaro conducted by Currentzis) - a large orchestra plus opera singers in a very good recording, and performance which is one of my favorites. The recording is not as spacious as Carmen with Leontyne Price, so it wasn't my intention to assess this aspect, but the dynamics of the orchestra and the presentation of voices was.

My Sound amplifiers confirmed they impressive abilities in terms of micro-dynamics, showed clearly that there was nothing to complain about in terms of resolution and selectivity and that in terms of expressiveness they could go (almost) head-to-head with the best SET amps. Therefore the singers sounding amazingly well and the ambiance of the presentation simply drew me into the story causing time and again a smile on my face. Orchestra playing in the background sounded very pure, its placement in the space seemed natural (as far as it is possible in a home system). There was a lot of those small details, subtleties nicely delivered by the reviewed amplifiers, just as any true performer should do. This was this type of performance that made me quickly forget that my reason for these sessions was a review, an assessment of these amps and not just enjoying the music and wonderful performance caught in the recording.

To be quite objective, however, I have to say that I've heard this opera played with in even more vivid, energetic way, with even higher levels of this incredible, joyful energy that the great Amadeus hid in the notes and MusicAeterna conducted by Currentzis so perfectly conveyed. To be clear – I would not give up this level of expressiveness, beauty of the vocals, and saturated, full color of instruments for a higher level of dynamics. But I realize that some of Mozart fans to be completely satisfied must feel the power of the orchestra deeply in their guts. That they can not expect from Cubes, at least not with the speakers that I had available (which are easy to drive but not large, which in itself does not help in portraying the scale orchestra) and most likely macro-dynamics aficionados might keep it against these amps.

I listened also to one of Patricia Barber's albums and I was immediately grabbed by her fantastic vocals, delivered by Polish Cubes in a way that resembled me my favorite SETs. Maybe Patricia's voice wasn't just quite as "moist", and her presence in my room wasn't quite as strong as with amps based on 45 or 300B triodes (in SET mode), but tonally the presentation was very alike and the level of expression was quite unique too. In short – it sounded like a good tube again. But it was a very pure, resolving and detailed tube, more of a 2A3 (in a good application) than 45 or even 300B (although there is again a question of a specific application – I elaborated on the issue in my review of Tektron amplifier; review in Polish).

The reviewed amp gives a good insight into the mix, allowing listener to look close at the smallest details presented in a very clear, but not intrusive/aggressive way. I wouldn't call this an analytical sounding device, but simply very resolving and highly detailed. It offer a great micro-dynamics, but is also very good in presenting the timbre of voices and instruments and smallest subtleties hidden within the recording.

How much more realistic get a sounds of an acoustic guitar, when you can hear individual strings being struck one after the other instead of one compact sound of all of them presented simultaneously, how much more convincing is knowing from the first pluck whether musician uses nylon or metal strings, hearing perfectly fingers moving along the strings, or even minor knocks on the soundbox. How much more beautiful is a presentation of a trumpet, when you can hear a musician when he takes on the air, as he works the valves, as he moves the trumpet around the microphone following the rhythm. Listening to the famous Koeln concert I heard every Jarrett's grunt, every tap of his leg, not to mention the surprisingly large colony of constantly coughing people in the audience. When listening to the Jazz at the Pawnshop I became agitated by the clang of the cutlery and the clatter of dishes made by those who didn't manage to finish their meal before concert started… I could go on and on with more examples to tell you how good Cubes are, but I hope you're already convinced.

At this point I can smoothly move to the next item on the list, which makes Cubes sound like very good tube amplifier. I'm talking about spaciousness of the soundstage, about three-dimensionality and the tangibility of phantom images, about how precisely each of them is placed in particular part of soundstage's space and last but not least about the already mentioned feeling of the presence of the musicians in the room. The latter is achieved without pushing the closest instruments forward in front of the loudspeakers. Everything takes place behind the line connecting fronts of the speakers and the depth of the stage goes on and on. The phantom images are rendered in a "tube" way – or in other words their real feeling, palpability comes from density and mass of instrument's or vocalist bodies rather than from outlining their shape in particularly distinct way. Yes, the best SET amps are even more convincing in this aspect of the presentation, but the Cubes while being a slight disadvantage here have also an upper hand in a few other aspects described above.


Let me end this review the same way I began it – it is really great to see that our countrymen create such a high quality and beautiful audio products. The market share of such amplifiers is and always will be rather small. I think, however, that many people looking for musically engaging, beautifully sounding amplifier who don't mind spending some time looking for proper loudspeakers might find that Cubes are exactly what they need. Because EL84, as it turns out, does not necessarily sound warm and slow. It can sound clean, resolving, detailed, with a very good micro- and good macro-dynamics.

They do give way to some high-end SETs in terms of holography of the presentation, tangibility of the sound, but on the other hand, they are more versatile than many triode based amplifiers. They shall deliver a lot of fun while you're listening to acoustic jazz or vocals, but also with the good old rock, blues, or even with classical music including operas and symphonies. The more drama, emotions in music, the better Polish Cubes convey them. It's too bad that, like many other wonderful Polish products, also these amplifiers are more appreciated abroad than in our country.

That's why let me put it this way - if you are looking for low-power tube amplifier, or simply a wonderfully musical, natural sounding and yet detailed, precise amplifier, next to the products of well-known foreign brands you simply have to give a chance to the My Sound Cube too! These sound as great, as they look (or even better), and are made in Poland by a small manufacturer, by the people who put in a piece of their heart. Give them a chance and you shall be wowed!

The Cubes are tube push-pull amplifiers featuring EL84 power tubes, and delivering 12 watts output per channel. As we received pure power amps for the test (manufacturer offers same amps with volume control based on the 48-step resistor ladder) there are no buttons or knobs on the front panel but only a single power LED located near the bottom, and the model name located near the upper edge. On the top surface there are three sockets hosting tubes- a 12AX7 driver and two power tubes – EL84 pentodes.

On the back one finds a very solid RCA jack (input) and speaker terminals with separate taps for 8 and 4 Ω. There is also an IEC socket, on/off switch and that's it. Almost. Almost, because the amplifiers are not equipped with an auto-bias system. Bias current has to be set manually (surely it is done by manufacturer prior to delivery to the customer but later it should be check from time to time and if necessary adjusted). That's what the extra slot (Bias interface) and two mini-potentiometers are for.

The element, which further distinguishes these amplifiers is a glass protective cover. Guys form My Sound felt that this element, usually used in the form of a not necessarily beautiful grille/metal mesh, that does not add to device's appeal, in this case may constitute the originality and beauty of the Cube. They created a sort of glass C, which encompasses the amplifier from the bottom, through the front, to the top panel, It a C with the "belly" in front of the amp, and the opening at the rear for an easy access to rear wall with all the connectors.

In the lower part there are four holes and four very nice and effective anti-vibration feet go through them fixing also the glass cover to amplifier's body. The edges of C connecting the bottom and upper parts with the front are nicely rounded. At the top there is a lot of space between amp's enclosure and the glass to leave enough space for tubes. Photos, especially mine, don't do Cubes justice - in fact they look much, much better.

The color version delivered for this review is called Red Wine and just one look at the picture will tell you why. The other two standard finishes are: Gold and Black & White. Regardless of the color version side panels are made of bubinga wood. The Black & White's cover is made of lightly smoked glass, which better matches the color of the housing. Beauty is always a matter of taste, but I think that the percentage of people delighted with that design is extremely high. Inside manufacturer used high quality components such as Mundorf capacitors or CMC tube sockets.

The most important elements (of each tube amplifier), however, are the output transformers. Polish manufacturer uses two versions – the one under review featured the more expensive transformers with amorphous cores. They are shielded, filled with special resin and additionally isolated from the rest of circuit with anti-vibration elements. As declared by the manufacturer, much attention was also paid to the issue of power - all voltages are stabilized.

Specifications (according to manufacturer):

Tubes: EL84 PP, 12AX7
Output: 12W
Input sensitivity: 1V
Frequency range: 16 Hz-65kHz 
THD+N: 0.1% (1W)
TIM: 0.08% (1W)
Output impedance: 4 Ω/8Ω
Weight: 12.5kg/PC.
Dimensions (W/D/H): 210/260/340mm