"My pal Misho paid a visit to yours truly on his way in his roundtrip to another common friend, Markus Klug in Bavaria... he was accompanied by his wife Irina and his son, Misho..."

Misho Myronov, Misho Jr. and... Gotorama.

He was able to squeeze in his car trunk the full WoodenAmps' monty - i.e. the world - at least among discerning, braveheart audiophiles in Australia, Philippines and... Italy - renowned birch plywood chassis tubes pieces of gear using seldom seen valves.

I unwrapped the carefully bubble-plastic cocooned line-stage, phono-stage and PSU and 3,5W amp and... simply admired the care for details, the smooth surfaces, the hex-nuts choices, even the smell of this freshly brewed handicrafts, carefully hand-made in Bulgaria.

First of all, as I plan to take my time to taste and enjoy the above mentioned electronics, I was sooo curious about the Siemens C3M tubes' based line-stage and I immediately connected to the smaller system, swapping it for the ex-residing Luxman AT-3000 passive preamp.

The first disk I enjoyed was a Stefan Micus' ECM... I immediately appreciated a sense of free-flowing easiness, a definite improved headroom and an impressive load of highly realistic detailing: the Stefan's shakuhachi has impressively dynamic, the before-the-note breathing and inspiring was absolutely true-to-life, as well.

The one of a kind, variable-strings classical guitar had a voice superbly various, rich in texture, decay and loudness, with extremely precise and dramatic dynamic changes...

The strong sensation of an inspired musician playing, improvising, breathing in front of me was nothing short of awesome.

The Partridge 300Bs mono blocks were like they found a new partner, a companion... a lover!

... and the WoodenAmp line-stage proved to be a truly fantastic lover: it owns one of the rarest capabilities - i.e. to work so well with amps it seems they were done one for each other.

I listened to the smaller, Tandberg System 11/300B/Meridian based system since yesterday early morning, for about 5 hours, now... tand he overall sound seems to blossom at every track, on and on...

This evening, I swapped the Foundation Designer/Tandberg System 11 for the larger Tandberg 114-116-8 speakers, sweating and puffing just to learn more and find confirmation of the merits of the just added Misho's line-stage.

Something really special whose building quality is up-to-par with its superb sound qualities, a single-stage with a 6x amplifying factor using a sought-after, great sounding, transparent Siemens tube used decades ago by German Post for trans-oceanic, long distance telephone calls.

The tubes were extremely expensive at DM 200 each, when a Volkswagen was DM 5,000.00... but what impresses is the transparency, resolution and dynamics... everything is so fresh and beefy.

I look forward in the next tasting on Gotorama, with RIAA phono-stage and Neumann DST and Tim de Paravicini's The Head, The Peak arm and Garrardzilla... my dream-system.

Ohhh, yes!

Bravo to Misho and his Audio Antiquary's partner Yanislav... his success and worldwide recognition as a first-class builder of bespoke, hand-made gears is my sincere wish to a friend and a man of integrity.

Personally knowing who de-facto winded the transformers used in these units only adds some drama to the whole matter... but, hey!... sounds and music first: the technical aspects are functional to the musical result, NOT a per-se exercise of hype & complication, as sometimes (too often?) happens...

Something which definitely I find quite boring and annoying these days.

Someway wrong, I should better say...

P.S. - forgetting to say this a w e s o m e unit is conservatively priced at EUR 3,200.00... including the premium, N.O.S. tubes! A bargain of HUGE proportions, IMHO.

This afternoon I felt the time was come to bring the Wooden (power) Amp from the shelf where it was for the last few days...

Disconnected the RCAs and speakers cables from the Partridge/300B mono blocks and connected Misho's line stage to his stereo power amp, straight to the 1965 Tandberg 114-116-8 coaxials.


The immediate sensation was like "Hey! THIS AMP IS SOOO QUIET... DEADLY SILENT!"

... then sound came...

The amp is gorgeously built, every detail, wooden feet (x3) are lathed from birch plywood, every screw and hex nut is chosen and best quality parts and workmanship pour from this piece of handcrafted gear.

... the Sound, then...

The combo of Audio Antiquary's line-stage and power-amp sounds so modern, quick, untubey, I'd dare!

Sure the sought-after Siemens C3M tubes used in line stage are guilty of this feature I so much admire on a tube-based gear - i.e. introspection, unveiled, hyper-detailing and natural, free-wheeling, breathing sound... the matching with the 3,5 power amp is just perfect...

I know and am well aware I'm quite naive and primitive in my description, but - please - forgive me for a moment about lessical shortcomings as I truly wish to write what I wrote...

Yes, perfect... p e r f e c t... P E R F E C T!

Please note not saying Misho's is the best in world, the most expensive (sure it's not, so kindly priced at a earthly EUR 4,000.00, N.O.S. premium, matched tubes included), and hypes and hypes a-plenty...

No, folks... I'm just meaning that this moderately priced combo used with moderately priced ancillaries in my studio sounds flawlessly natural, dynamic and correct... thus, perfect.

... not wishing any other sound aesthetic of sort or any other gears...

Meaning - better yet - I didn't miss nor my exotic 300B mono blocks, neither the larger Gotorama... I only wished to listen to every note and pause and tiny details coming from the Tandbergs'... hic et nunc, here and now!

Someone will guess I'm softening and becoming more and more - while getting older - easy to enthusiasm or something...

Let me decline on above: I'm lately even more fussy, instead: immediately recognizing unmusical systems, lean or hi-fi-ish or too romantic - i.e. forgiving - sounding.

What happened, sound-wise... I sort-of felt as something cool to do choosing some music from Eastern Europe and the superb, music- and sound-wise Purpura Echo by Sousedi came to me from the disks shelves.

The disk and music on it is of seldom heard quality, a mix of smooth electric guitar and cello, where the gentle humming and buzzing of the tube guitar amp is functional to music, like a bow stroke or an organ air flowing give a sense of reality and expecting next note and dynamic.

The level of resolution of the combo is truly stellar... I was in awe when listening to end of any track and fading down down down to the barely audible whispering...

Every note came with a sense of life... strange enough my pal Misho insists in saying again and again the amp is brand new and giving some hours of playing it will blossom further... I can barely imagine where will be going after breaking-in!

Some technical details:

driver tubes are EF86 (originally they were EF12, but those are too old, rare and problematic).

EF86 is used in triode mode driving EL12N in triode mode. EF86 coupled to EL12N by the very specially designed and made interstage transformer.

The output transformer is big enough to insure the full power frequency range starting from 10 Hz.

The rectifier - mostly unknown but extremely great tube - is EYY13 tube.

Well... I only listened to two disks, following with Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit's Secret Rhythms... percussions, explosive vibes and thundering bass... the blossoming to full bloom is subtle but sure my enjoyment increased during the two hours long listening session...

Was just me or the amp?

Am I really listening to a 3,5W amp?

Is matching among gears everything's needed?

I don't know or care... what I know for sure is this very combo will give to me goosebumps and shivers for the next weeks and I'll be gladly forced to soon listen to Misho's phono-stage, as well...

What cannot say but... I'm in love for the beauty of these pieces of art... these music man-made machines gives to yours truly such an enthusiasm to further and further explore any possible combination among different ancillaries.

A Statement coming from Varna, Bulgaria... a land of strong contrasts and long history, a crossroad of people and history, the land of roses in bloom... the home of WoodenAmp, made by Men for Men with care and love for details.

I had to push me out of studietto, homebound, again... cannot stop listening, having had such a... perfect evening!

Stefano Bertoncello