Mapletree Ultra 4A SE

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Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« on: 18 Apr 2006, 12:19 pm »
Hi to all the forum devotee's,

I just wanted to give my take on my tube experiences. Never tried tube equipment, hell its old fashioned using funny looking bottles that light up when a little power goes through them.

Ask me now what I think and you will see a smile of a cheshire cat across my face that says "Tubes are for me".

I have been in this audio rat race for 25 years just hoping that I can get back that very first real hifi experience (my first system was Dual CS505 turntable, Nad 3020A amp and B&W DM20 speakers). Well I can finally say I am back baby and in full force.

To my ears the Ultra 4A is exactly what I have been missing in music, it presents everything in a emotional and involving manner, try listening to Sarah Brightman and you will know what I mean. Her voice can reach highs you would not believe but the Ultra 4A hangs it all out for all to hear, naturally with no shrillness.

I have had the Ultra for a little over 2 weeks which I guess is hardly enough time to do the Ultra justice, so with that in mind I will save a more indepth review until later.

For now I am just going to listen and enjoy for the first time in years.

Special thanks go out to Donald Glynn for his rave and passion for the Ultra. You have renewed my vigor in music.

Stay tuned for more and if anyone has been contemplating buying one. What are you waiting for? It is a no brainer.



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  • Posts: 17
Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #1 on: 19 Apr 2006, 04:14 pm »
Hey Ricky,

You didn't mention what type of amp you're driving with the Ultra.  Still on solid state?


Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #2 on: 19 Apr 2006, 06:46 pm »

Welcome to AC.
Dr. Lloyd makes a nice preamp.

I had an Ultra 4 - would love to hear an SE, especially with the tubed power supply available now.

Like Garman said - what's the rest of your system?


Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #3 on: 19 Apr 2006, 07:31 pm »
Well here we go.

Here is the rest of my system.

Linn Axis TT with K9 cartridge, Museatex CD-D transport, Museatex Bitstream converted to full Data 2 upgrade. Mapletree Ultra 4A SE, Nad S200 Power amp and finished off to perfection with the Klipsch Cornwall (verticle type). My cables are kimber and Cardas.

Still with solid state for the power but believe me when I say that this pre-amp has made my Nad S100 surplus to requirements by a long shot. No competion at all. Plus I get to do some tube rolling.

Better than a massage and a bar of chocolate. Weird I know but that is what this pre amp has done for me. Musical pleasure has been restored.


Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #4 on: 19 Apr 2006, 08:42 pm »
How do you like the phono stage on the 4SE?

I'm betting the SE is a good step up over the regular 4


Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #5 on: 20 Apr 2006, 01:12 am »
The phono stage is very good although I will say that it is not the equal of the line stage. My old phono pre amp was a Nad PP2 and the Mapletree betters it in all respects.

I am not sure of the differences between the standard Ultra and the SE version either way its a fantastic pre, especially when you factor in the price.

There was another post from Donald Glynn and he said that with nothing playing and the volume turned way up it is dead silent. I tried it and guess what, just pure black silence.

I have since put in some 12sx7 courtesy of a fellow Ultra fan and I am getting ready to play some tunes this evening at 9.00PM. Really looking forward to this one. I will post my comments after a good lengthy listen.

Until then, keep smiling and playing.

Very Happy


Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #6 on: 1 May 2006, 08:33 pm »
The Ultra is a great pre and glad to hear you are enjoying it.  It is definitely a great improvement in my own system.  You mentioned that a friend of yours gave you some nice 12sx7s.  Just curious as to what  brand of tubes they are? I am currently using the 12sx7gt RCA black plates.  They are probably the best I've tried so far, though there don't seem to be many different 12sx7s to choose from.  In my limited experience, changing the rectifier tube seems to have more of a sonic effect in my system than the 12sx7s.  I currently use a Mullard EZ35 for the rectifier which I really like.  There have been a few posts on tube rolling with the Ultra, but not a whole lot.  It would be great to hear of others experiences in this regard.  Anyway, keep on enjoying that Ultra; its a great product.


Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #7 on: 1 May 2006, 10:51 pm »
I have recently aquired some 12sx7GT on Ebay and they ar JAN 12sx7GT from GE. I also have a pair of RCA 12sx7GT.

I have been playing around with these tubes and the 12sn7GT which was supplied with the unit but also the Russian 6n8s.

All of these tubes represent a fantastic level of audio to me but I have to say that for all types of music the 6n8s really floats my boat. Dont get me wrong I love them all but for my taste I love what this tube brings to the table.

I have read on other forums that the 6n8s tube is a waste of time. Maybe my ears are plugged from all the years of listening but I like em.

Right now I have the 12sn7GT in the pre and I have decided I am going to do a lengthy listen (over a month for each type of tube) and then I will catagorize my thoughts and observations.

My system has not been off since I have aquired this pre, so I guess I am enjoying my musical days again.

Stay tuned for some more information on this.



Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #8 on: 2 May 2006, 12:38 am »
Never heard of a 6n8.  Now I'm curious.  I presume from your use that it is interchangeable with the 12sn7 family since you're using it on the Ultra.  But, doesn't the "6" designate six volts? I thought the Ultra had to be modified a bit to use six volt tubes, but I may be confusing this with the use of the 6n7s.  I really don't know all that much about tubes and still learning.  

I know what you mean about not turning off your system.  This is a very musical little pre--engaging and involving.  Are you using the stock power cord? I tried a few after market cords and found that upgrading the power cord brought increased the dynamics and resolution without losing the  warmth.  You may want to experiement when time and finances permit.

Keep on enjoying it and I look forward to your future post on your tube rolling experiences.


Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #9 on: 2 May 2006, 01:30 am »
    What do you think of the phono section?


Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #10 on: 2 May 2006, 12:00 pm »
Good question.  I changed cartridges on my tonearm around the same time i got the Ultra so its hard to say definitively.  I also bought my Ultra used and the previous owner did some mods, particularly to the phono section; essentially, there are some Jensen caps and Vishay Nude resistors in there.  I also don't have a lot of phono pres to compare it to, but the Ultra does best the Hagerman Bugle I was using before that which beat out (by a  long shot) the Radioshack battery powered pre before the Hagerman. Interestingly, the previous owner of my Ultra used the phono section of the unit almost exclusively over that of the linestage.  I am in the opposite camp.   I'm also using the tubes in the phono section that he put in which are not the stock tubes (I forget for the moment what kind they are, but you can always email me if you want me to find out as he sent me a bunch of the 12sn7s with the unit).  That said, the phono section sounds pretty darn good on my end.  

I also recommend (again) that you try rolling some different rectifier tubes as that seemed to make a difference in the phono and linestage together.  (I'm assuming that you have the 2T, tubed, power supply, not the solid state version which I'm not sure Dr. Peppard offers anymore.)


Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #11 on: 2 May 2006, 10:09 pm »
I think the older units had to be modified but the newer units come with a switch for 12 or 6 volt tube types. It makes for a great way to try out all of these tubes, you just have to be careful not to fry any 6 volters on the 12 volt setting.

I am sure there are many other tubes, I think I would like to try some Mullards or Brimars if there is an equivelant tube.

Anyway I will add my thoughts on all of the tube combinations later on.


Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #12 on: 2 May 2006, 10:17 pm »
Still using the stock cord and yes I have the 2T power supply. I would like to try some different rectifier tubes but will have to do some reading up on ones that can be used.

The plan is to change the power cord later on but I have learnt to do little upgrades at a time because then you can hear and appreciate the differences. One thing is for sure I will not be going back to a solid state pre. I have been bitten and infected with that darn tube bug. Great feeling it is too.


Re: Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #13 on: 13 Oct 2006, 02:55 pm »
I just received my ultra4.
I am in disbelief that a tube pre could make such a drastic change for the good.
I am going to order some tubes, I think Dr Lloyd has a newsletter with some tube rolling.
I'll start there. Anyone ever fuss with the rectifier tube?


Re: Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #14 on: 13 Oct 2006, 05:27 pm »
Hey Berndt:  So glad you like the Ultra.  I think Lloyd's products are some of the most underrated and great values in audio today.  Don't know if this will be good for Dr. Peppard or not, but the word on MAD products needs to get out.  Anyway, I haven't done a tremendous amount of tube rolling on the Ultra, but will briefly report on some findings (assuming my sonic memory is accurate).  Again, the usual caveats, my gear, my room, my tastes apply here.  There were some NOS GE 12sn7gts that were in the line stage that I replaced with some NOS RCA 12sx7gt and never looked back.  The RCAs seemed like solid well balanced performers and I had no need to look further (and was having trouble looking anyway as I couldn't find all that many 12sx7s that I thought would equal or better the RCAs).  Also found that the rectifier tube made for more dramatic changes.  I currently use a Mullard GZ35 in the 6x5 spot.  I have tried a Bendix 6x5 which I found charmingly thick and romantic, but was way too syrupy for my taste.  I also tried a Sylvania 6x5, coke bottle shape, which was way cool looking.  It was a well balanced tube from top to bottom.  Definitely more energy on top than the Mullard.  Ultimately, it did not have the midrange warmth and 3D bloom of the Mullard so it did not stay in my system all that long.  There was another one I tried, a GE I think, but for the life of me I can't remember.  Must not have made an impression.  So far, I have liked the Mullard as the rectifier tube the best.  Hope some of this helps.   Keep on enjoying the Ultra. Its a great procuct  and happy listening.  


Re: Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #15 on: 13 Oct 2006, 05:47 pm »
any ideas on sourcing?


Re: Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #16 on: 14 Oct 2006, 12:19 am »
Hi Berndt,

I have to let you know that this musical game is brilliant, especially with the Ultra in the loop.

I am really glad you are impressed just as I and many other forum members have been and continue to be. I agree completely with Hartwerger!!!!!

As for tube rolling, I have been buying and using many different types from 12sx7 to 6sn7. The RCA 12sx7 is the most even from treble to bass but you will need to find the tube(s) for your taste.

I have just purchased some Brimar 6sn7 tubes and they sound absolutely fantastic, a slightly different picture than the 12sx7 but still a fantastic sound. The fun in all this is the trying and experimenting. Good luck with the tube rolling.

As for sourcing, I am assuming tube sourcing? If this is the case then eBay, audiogon or canuck audio mart are great places to look.

All the best.


steve k

Re: Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #17 on: 14 Oct 2006, 01:01 am »
Glad to hear you got your Ultra 4 up and running. Doc's preamps are something really special and very underrated as Hartwerger says. Hartwerger was instrumental in my buying the Magic 5B and I haven't looked back ever since. It has been like the missing link in my system for total system synergy. I'm also using the RCA 12sx7gt's and quite happy with them over the stock GE and Sylvanias that came with my kit. I bought my RCA's from Jim McShane. They were quite reasonably priced and he is a gentlemen to do business with. Buying 12sn7's sure beats the NOS 9-pin game I used to play. The prices for good NOS 9 pin tubes are ridiculous. Good luck and keep us posted on the burn-in.


Re: Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #18 on: 14 Oct 2006, 02:06 am »
thanks all!


Re: Mapletree Ultra 4A SE
« Reply #19 on: 18 Oct 2006, 11:20 pm »
Got some rcas from Jim Mcshane. they sounded great before warming up!
I have some others on the way.
BTW, I have received a starter set of signal cables, power, ic's, and speaker.
Just hooked up they presented a deeper, blacker, richer presentation, just like advertised!