Customer Feedback on Mapletree Products

Jan. 5/2014


Ear+ Family

"I am listening to some really nice tunes in my new Ear+ Purist [HD].  I went by and picked it up from my local post office this afternoon.  WOW - does it ever sound good.  I was wondering if it would be a big improvement in sound over a Earmax that I have.  Looks like I'll be selling the Earmax soon - no need to keep it, now that I know how good a headphone amp can really sound. I'm currently using some AKG K701 headphones - the sound is very wide and open. I am looking forward to the Ear+ getting fully broken in as I know the sound will improve"

" Finally finished assembling my red/black Ear+ Purist HD kit.  This was the first kit I have ever done. I have never even soldered before buying your kit. Well, it worked correctly from the first time I turned it on! I cannot believe how good it sounds. This will become my main headphone amp, displacing another "boutique" solid state amp I already have. Your instructions are very thorough and easily followed, even by a beginner like me. I'm glad I opted to do the assembly myself, as it was much fun and I now have the satisfaction of knowing that I put such a fine amp together. Thanks for a great product at a great price".
 "I'm pleased to report that the transformer you sent with the pre-wired hexfred diodes arrived safely yesterday. Thank you very much for getting this organised and posted out to me so quickly! As I had the afternoon off from work today, I spent most of it de-soldering the connections of the old transformer and re-soldered this new one into place. I have to say that the mounting bracket that came with this latest transformer is much improved over the one that I had on mine. But in saying that, my old one is 3 yrs old now. I'm very pleased to say that my Ear + purist is back in action and back sounding like it should - hum free! A BIG thank you to you once again for your wealth of knowledge and advice in helping me determine the problem and getting it resolved so quickly"!

"Just a quick note to let you know how happy I am with the HD100(#4) head amp. It's had a good chance to burn in and I'm very pleased with my purchase. It mates wonderfully well with the Grado RS1. Took a couple of weeks to adjust after listening to ss amps for so many years but when I tried my Perreaux amp a couple of days back there is no way I could return to that. Currently running an RCA Command blackplate 5751 and I'm so satisfied with that combo that most of the other 19 5751 tubes I purchased for some serious evaluation have yet to be opened (I did get a bit carried away there but on the plus side I have enough tubes to probably last 20 years or more :)). It only took my friend about 2 minutes listening to my amp to decide he wanted one as well. It's a nice bonus that the amp looks so good as well. Thanks for a wonderful product".

"I want to thank you for the Ear Purist HD100 you built for me. Iím really enjoying listening to music with my Grado RS-1 headphones using a PC computer as the transport (iTunes playing Apple lossless music files) and a USB Apogee Mini-DAC as the source. The pairing of the Ear Purist HD and the Grado headphones is very good. I can listen to music several hours and I donít get the ear fatigue that I get with the Grado RA-1 solid state amplifier. Iím still doing tube rolling, but currently my favorite 5751 tube is the GE triple mica and black plates".

"I recently bought and built the Ear+ kit and I want to tell you how much I enjoy it. With the Sennheiser HD650 headphones the sound is fantastic. I'm just gobsmacked every time I listen. My old CD's are a new listening experience".

"I have just received the amp [Ear+ Purist HD], and it already far exceeds my expectations! The build quality is superb, the packaging secure, and so far it sounds really great. I am sure that once all the components settle in, it will sound even better. Thank you very much for the great work, it was well worth the price, and most probably even more".

"Just a note to thank you for what has been both a great buying AND a great audio experience. It was intensely satisfying to build this amp [Ear+ Purist] from scratch, and finally switch on and ENJOY... Midrange is spectacularly intimate and detailed - I have found myself re-listening to all my old music, and finding new pleasure in the experience. Thank you".

"I received the unit (Ear+ Purist HD) yesterday and, after several hours of burning-in with Widor's organ symphony no. 5, I've already spent some very rewarding hours in its company!!! Ah, that soundstage - it sort of extends in an arch of 180 dgrees behind my neck, performers almost life-like in size (and my head suddenly seeming VERY large, nothing wrong with that ;-) ). Sound is tidy, fluid, coherent, balanced, no nasties except what's recorded o.c., just
right (does this sound familiar to you?). Swapping the 5751 for a GT 12AX7 Mullard remake makes the soundstage even more expansive, with more bite and attack than the 5751 - great for piano, guitar, plucked strings and percussion, maybe a little less tidy, just different, but then the 5751 sounds lovely, too, it's so clean! The difference in gain has been much less audible than I had expected. My cans are 18 years old Beyerdynamic DT990's (open version), interconnects are a pair of 2ft Nordost Red Dawn. I'm a very happy listener".

"I had a chance to have a good listen to my stereo today...wow! Prior to the Octal 6a I was running my DAC directly into the amplifier - a very clear, detailed sound but a little hard on the ears. The Octal 6a has cleared up the glare and added its own magic. I'm very, very happy. I've tried three pre-amplifiers in the past two years - Conrad Johnson PV2a, ARC LS7, Modified PAS - the Octal 6a is superior in every way"!

"Kudos on your wonderful Ear+ Purist kit. VERY clear instructions and very possible even for a novice like me. I found your suggestion of tinning the leads very helpful in making good connections. I can't remember the last time I've had this much fun with a project. The kit came 3 days ago, and I've been working on it in the basement workshop the last 3 evenings. Last night I started at about 9:30 and after a while was feeling kind of sleepy. I thought, "It's gotta be at least midnight" -- when I went upstairs, the clock said 4:30am...    whoa...    talk about losing track of time. I'm glad today was Saturday and no work. Anyway, it's done (couple of hours ago). Plugged it in...    no noise, no smoke, no blown circuit breaker. The voltages were right on. Plugged in the headphones and WOW...   I'm listening to Winston Marsalis right now and it's really an amazing experience. I'm already planning to put my Grado solid state amp up for sale. I was thinking about tube rolling, but this thing sounds so great with the tubes you supplied, I think I'll just enjoy it for a while. Thanks again, keep up the great work, and I hope to build more of your kits in the future".

"The amp (Ear++) now has over two weeks of heavy use, and it just gets better and better. Nothing has blown up, and it plays damned sweet music. It really improves the bass in all my headphones, much better than my (now sold) Creek OBH-11. Music just sounds so....musical....:-) Again, thanks for an excellent kit. It's been a great entry to the tube-world for me".

"Magic to my ears, no hum whatsoever, quiet as a mouse and the music is coming through as it should, most impressive! Many thanks for all your help and assistance through out this process of trying to identify the root cause [of the kit wiring problem]! Suffice to say this little amp is certianly pride of place and kicks other headphone amps that I've demo'd like the Musical Fidelity Cans V2 into the weeds without breaking a sweat ! Great product and I would recommend this amp to anyone after a GREAT sound
and the power to drive any headphone"!

"Fantastic assembly manual. Really great for a novice".

"I wanted to let the amp [Ear+ Purist HD] run, and try both Grado RS-1 & Senn. HD-600 before getting back to you. The amp is the best I have ever heard!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

"I received the package [Ear+ Purist kit] on Thursday, started construction Friday evening and had first power-on at about 11:30 Saturday night.  I very much enjoyed the assembly process, as it brought back fond memories of hands-on electronic assembly work I did in the 80's and early 90's. After a quick check of the +300V, and then the +12V heater, it was very satisfying to see the tubes warming up. No problems at all. I then spent the next few hours, and most of Sunday enjoying the sound. The kit and instruction were very well put together, and was a pleasure to work on".

"The Ear+ Purist kit I purchased from you a couple of weeks back is complete and I was amazed to discover the music it made through my Grado 225. I was disappointed when I first purchased the headphones and used them through the headphone jack of my Sony receiver. They were okay, but nowhere near the quality to justify the $300. But with the Ear+, I finally discovered what my Grado's capable of. Now, that $300 for the headphone seems like a bargain. All my CDs that I thought I knew so well now sound like new versions of the songs; bigger, fuller, richer versions. And I can't believe the level of bass coming out of them. And all this with less than 10 hours of use. The assembly process took three evenings and was pretty straight forward. The unit worked from the first flick of the switch".

"Just wanted to let everyone know that I just assembled an Ear + Purist headphone amp and I could not be happier. The unit is absolutely quiet, and drives my HD-580's to perfection. I am using a Sony SCD-CE775 as a source. This piece has an unreal neutralness to it's sound. Hard to believe tubes are in the unit. Lloyd was also the best and most responsive person in the audio industry in my over twenty five years of enjoying this hobby! When it came to any questions or situations that arose during assembly, he responded to my e-mails almost instantly".

"It sounds great--just the "tube sound" I wanted. Worked on "turn-on" with no smoke! :)  It brought back a lot of memories of breathing "solder smoke"! :) The kit and instructions are "first rate". My only suggestion on the instructions would be to have the pictorials separate (I separated mine and re-stapled) like Heath used to do. You might print a "ruler" on the pictorials (like Heath did) for those without rulers)".

"Here is an e-mail to notify you of my receipt of the headphone unit. It arrived yesterday and was waiting for me when I got home from work. I would like to thank you for the time and energy you put into the unit. I am very pleased with it. The aesthetics, sonics, and craftsmanship are very evident with this unit. I did a lot of searching on tube audio sites and had decided on a number of different headphone units when I came upon your site and saw the Commemorative Ear+ 25. I must say that your unit's design and layout was eye catching, to say the least, plus the positive reviews regarding your products, it was a no-brainer! I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to obtain such a top notch unit. Spent some time with it last night after letting it warm up for an hour. I listened to various CDs (primarily blues, rock, baroque/classical for about 4 hours) through Sony 7509 cans. Sonically, the detail and soundstage improve after each CD. I look forward to spending more time with it and my son is salivating over his chances to listen to it and, one day, claiming it as his own".
 

"I got the amp today. Hooked her up and enjoyed the wonderful sound. WOW! What a difference from a normal headphone jack. I was using my Sound Blaster Extigy sound card headphones jack. It was very quiet but not like the EAR+. I can hear hiss on the soundcard ..and nothing on the EAR+! The channel separation is great. Great soundstage. Nice separation between the instruments. Voices are well presented. ( this thing is growing on me!) No distortion. My Grado SR225's can take anything this amp can give it. Bravo! My compliments to the Chef!"

"I completed the Ear+ yesterday. Great project. Very easy to follow directions. My daughter actually did most of the work (except where the spaces were tight). I used Auricaps in the bypass. Also I used carbon resistors in the signal wiring. Turn on went through without a hitch. No smoke or cherry red tubes and the DC voltages were right on target".

"I wanted to write to you to tell you how much I enjoy the Ear+ that I bought from you in August. I brought it back to Saudi Arabia with me and now do most of my solitary music listening on it (with a pair of Grado RS-1s and a quad 77 player -- they seem to be a very good combination). It definintely needs a break-in period. Out of box, it sounded as good as but not better than the Creek I had been using. But as I continued to listen, wonderful things began to happen that quite distinguished it. I began to hear a lot more detailówithout any special concentrationóand inner melodies and ornamentation in symphonic performances were there for the first time. And I am impressed with the sense of space that I had not previously heard. (I have on occasion got up from my chair without taking off the earphones because I forgot that the sound wasn't coming from 'out there'). Space, detail and immediacyóI think the next improvement should be an upsampling source or dac!"

"The Ear+ is assembled--great parts and instructions. I am enjoying every minute of this project".

"Thank you  for designing such a fine product and in kit form ! The sound is spectacular--it blew me away; even my wife was excited. We actually fought for the earphones. Now I have to listen to all my CDs all over again. I have a decent stereo system but with the Ear+ it sounds like a $20,000 setup".

"I find the Ear+ immensely musical and unbelievably quiet for a tube infested beast.  I plan to keep mine for a long time".

"Love the preamp, great! Love the headphone amp, superb! The bass on my Sony MDR3000s is UNBELIEVABLE! The Grados sound good but the Sonys better. The pre amp section drives a small EL34 based set driving the old
Radio Shack LX5 speakers with Lineum tweeters and Kevlar woofer, In the tiny room they are in, it sounds fantastic".

"Just finished wiring up my Ear+. Everything worked fine from the initial turn on. Very good instructions for putting it together".

"I finished the assembly of my Ear+ and have been listening for a week. This email is to thank you for the experience and for the results. First, as for the experience, I was torn between slowing down the process because construction was such a joy and speeding up because I could not wait to listen to my first DIY project. The instructions were extremely easy to follow and I enjoyed following the schematic as I worked. Notice I didn't have to call or write once. I just found building the amp very comforting - me, my soldering iron, and the kit (my wife thinks I'm nuts : ) ). As far as the sound, I am extremely pleased with the fidelity. It completely blows away the headphone circuit in my Micromega CD player. The tonality (particularly the highs and mids) and dynamics are outstanding and I am hearing transparency I've never heard with my Grado SR-80's. My only possible problem with the tone is the lows.  I often think the lows are a little sluggish and not as defined as it should. It is still not a complaint and it very well might be the Grado's. I've read a lot of complaints on the Grado bass . . . Lastly, you should have seen my face when I first turned the amp on and listened (I'm still exited). I think you would have appreciated it". 


"Wanted to get back to you after 6 months of ownership and other experiments. All this IMO of course. And all this with RS1i. The Siemens E34L have stayed. The best input tubes that I tried are RCA Command 5751. Silky... Fluid... But yet with enough details to keep you on your toes. I run a Mac Mini through a Naim Dac V1 in Async USB. USB cable is Locus Design Essentia        ( unfortunately, Lee isnt with us anymore, I'm grateful to have one of his personal cable given by his associate - a true art design ). Then, from the Naim Dac, analog Siltech interconnect SQ28 Classic G5 with WBT 0144 into your fabulous amp. All this is in a dedicated main with superior quality AC cables ( I use Naim Power lines for the Dac and your amp ). Gorgeous. Absolutely gorgeous. Dr Lloyd, your amp is the best I ever had. Of course, I have a good source and good cables and good tubes and good headphones but your amp is the cherry on the sundae. Its the link between all these guys. So, just wanted to take the time to recognize that".

"I am using this [Ear+ HD] in combination with Shure SRH 840 headphones. True to your notes it took several hours for the amp to really "open up". It was great straight out of the box, just gets better and better. So far I have mainly used CD as the source and the difference is astonishing, even with the noted limitations of the source material.I am no audiophile, so probably don't have the associated vocabulary, but all I can say is that all instruments (including voice) are just so much 'clearer'. Percussion, particularly high frequencies (cymbals etc) are 'real'.The human voice and woodwind seem so much more authentic, with all the inherent issues! Perhaps the biggest difference I have noted is the separation between all the different instruments. Soon to start exploring with vinyl as the source, looking to be impressed even more".



OD300

"Hi Al, Just wanted to drop a quick note. Your amp design is a winner. I haven't tried the LCD-X yet, but the midrange on the Fostex TH-900 has come alive and the slightly hot treble is much more natural. The tubes probably have 20 or less hours on them. I have a $2300 hybrid amp and I would rather listen to the OD300 any day of the week. It sorts out musical and spatial details that the other amp just doesn't get. The amp drives the Audeze phones with ease. The midrange is delicate and more detailed than the Fostex. I have been using the LoZ output, but will try the HiZ when I have time. The LCD-X don't need a lot of power like the LCD3, but your amp doesn't get muddied up like the Woo WA6SE. I have a pair of Hifiman HE-5 I will try with the amp. They are 50ohm but require much more voltage to drive. I prefer the Fostex over the Hifiman, but I'm sure HE-560 owners would be interested to know".

   

Phono 4 SE

"Just letting you know that the Phono 4 SE arrived safe and sound. I was able to hook it up today....it is still on.  It has transformed my TT... The bass/mid-range is the best I have heard via my system... I am sending pictures, as the color and workmanship really fits my system. I have upgraded to McIntosh MC 402 for 2 channel power... I will have it hooked up in the weeks to come.
Thanks... I want MORE!!!"

"I picked up the preamp [Phono 4 SE] yesterday at the post office and got it set up last night. I wanted to let you know how impressed I am with the quality and the sonics. The low end is tight and full, the high end nice and smooth. Mid-range is right on. I can imagine that these things will only improve as I get it 'burned' in more. Thanks for a great product and a most pleasant transaction. We will definitely do business again"!
 

Line 2

"I'm both thrilled and surprised at how much impact your preamp has had on my music. I knew it was a good preamp, but honestly, this is a level of musicality and performance I did not expect to achieve at this price point. The most astonishing thing is that my main source - my beloved Denon 2900 universal player - died on me a few days before the preamp arrived. All I'm using right now is an iPod Nano with a special cable from a company called Audio Line Out, and the majority of my music has been compressed iTunes music downloads! To me, this is absolutely shocking...these iTunes files are simply not supposed to sound this good on a quality system. Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for what may be the best audio buying experience I've ever had. I know I've bugged you quite a bit, but you've taken the time to answer all my questions and help me out as much as I needed you to along the way".

"I want to tell you how enormously pleased I am with the Line 2A SE you built for me. After playing for several hours yesterday I sat down for some critical listening in the evening. My criticalness quickly turned to fun, loading CD after CD for a few tracks on each (which went like: ... Wow! OK, but how about THIS track? Ö Excellent! OK, how about THIS one? Fantastic! Ö) What a joy! This is an awesome preamp. I hear detail unheard before, yet the overall sound is smooth as can be. Regardless of the type of music played, it all sounds fabulous: detailed, rich, full, clear, extended on both ends.  Even with less than stellar recorded material. While testing its capabilities listening to Dave Brubeck, Rory Block, Jennifer Warnes, Edgar Winter, Luca Bloom, Jimi Hendrix, Anita OíDay, Mark Murphy, Patricia Barber, Keb Mo, etc., it quickly became obvious that you build one heck of a preamp. Brass and woodwind instruments sound like brass and woodwind instruments, not just some indiscriminant reproduction of notes. A saxaphone has a reed, and I want to hear that reed. With your preamp I do. I donít understand how one could get a clearer, more detailed sound without losing musicality. This preamp is just darned fun to experience. I wonder why so many preamps out there are so much larger, complicated, and more expensive? For what purpose? But then again I donít care, now that I have one of yours. All I know is at this point I am so completely, overwhelmingly satisfied with my system now, that I am finally done searching for audio nirvana. Seriously. With your preamp, I finally have it! And I (and my wife) LOVE IT!"

"Itís [Line 2A SE] been on since about 17:00 this afternoon. I would like to congratulate you, you have done a very nice job on this preamp. Itís very smooth and sweet, nicely three dimensional but most of all itís effortless to listen to. Thanks again".
 

"The Line 2A and PS 2 arrived on Saturday. I couldn't be more satisfied with my purchase. The sound is fantastic. Cosmetically, its simple and elegant looking. I'm relatively new to the vacuum tube audio thing. I can't understand why my new tube based stereo which has cost me about $1200.00 total (EL34 based power amp & MAD Line 2A/PS 2) sounds exponentially better than my $1500.00 350 wpc Adcom power amp and $600.00 Adcom preamp. The Adcom system sounds grainy, and for lack of a better word, "cheap" in comparison to the tube setup. Thanks for making a great product".

"This is just to tell you that I am very happy with the Line 2A SE, which arrived last Friday, allowing me to listen to it during a long and rainy week-end. The new design with the larger box and the front cover is for sure an improvement and a step up compared to my old Ultra, all though the design now is a bit more "conventional" and closer to the look of other makes. For the price, it is anyway even higher value than before. More important, the sound improvement was bigger than expected.  Overall impression is that everything sounds more clear, with better contrast and sharper edges than before. Not sharp in the sense too sharp, but some background blurr is gone, allowing voices and instruments to stand out more clear and distinct. I hear details I have not heard before, and on complex music, it is easier to reconise all the different instruments, also those only filling in in the background. Female voices are more natural and on live recordings, the artist has much more life than before, and the sound stage is also wider than befroe. Not much, but noticable.. The sound is also more dynamic, the bass notes seem to start and stop faster than before, if you understand what I mean. All in all, I'm a bit amazed that the improvements could be as big as they are. I was happy with the sound I had with the old Ultra, and I actually have some problems understanding that the better capacitors can make such a big difference. So it has been a learning experience as well, showing that fancy and expensive components are not only "hype", but that they actually do make a difference. Thanks for a very nice product".

"Just thought I'd send you my thoughts on the Line 2m preamp, now that I've had several days to listen to it. It sounds phenomenal! The bass is very deep and solid; there's never the feeling that the power supply is straining to deliver the lows. The highs are extended and sweet; not at all harsh. Also, the lack of noise is really impressive; apart from my usual speaker setup, I've been listening with Grado headphones through the headphone jack of a NAD C350 (the headphone jack is connected to the power amplifier section using a voltage divider network), and this setup is very prone to noise if it exists; but wonderfully there's no audible noise from the Line 2m. Just as a comparison, the Line 2m is head and shoulders above the Melos HA-1 I had before (the Melos is not a slouch, either -- it was Stereophile "Component of the year" for 1992), and the Line 2m is also much more dynamic than the passive attenuator I had been using".
 

Line 5


"Just thought I would drop you a line and give you an update on the Line 5 SE you put together for me. So far, the unit has been fabulous. Both music and movie soundtrack reproduction have gained an organic feeling to them that just was not present before. Sound is very clean, microdynamics (especially on movies) has increased to the point were subtle noises become much more recognizable. The unit is a joy to listen to".
 

Ultra 4

"I must thank you for a wonder piece of equipment -- the Ultra 4A [SE]. The unit is not fully broken in but I can tell that it is a forebringer of much joyful listening yet to come.
My equipment consists of an ordinary DVD player, rebuilt manual AR turntable with wooden tonearm and silver wire cabling, Yamamoto amp with 245 output tubes, and DIY Voigt pipes using Coral 8" full range speakers. The music -- classical, jazz scatting and trio and quartet instrumentals, choral music, rock, and blues -- is more organic and alive... fuller and thicker with details.  At first I could hardly believe my ears.  The speakers were reproducing music with greater dynamics and detail than I have heard before with these speakers.  It is like having a new set of speakers.  The preamplifier is very quiet and I really appreciate that for allowing the details to come thru.  Vocalists are very natural without any metallic or edginess to their voices.  One can hear the overtones/tonality of the piano, cello, violin, guitars, bass, drums, etc. very clearly.  This is a new dimension of the music for me.  The highs, mids and bass are very even.  In fact I find that I have more bass than previously thought available in the music listened to.  The highs are extended with more sparkle to the music.
Succinctly, I appreciate very much the details, quietness, and dynamics resulting with the Ultra 4A.  The soundstage and image are very good.  The left and right channel gain controls for the first time allow me to really balance my speakers correctly to the characteristics of my room acoustics.  I can now hear the recordings as they are, warts and all".

"I received the Ultra 4A SE a few days ago and have been listening to it for many hours. In all dimensions I can discern, the improvements to my system have been dramatic--well beyond what I was expecting. It would take more than a few words to list all the enhancements so I'll confine myself to simply saying thanks for such a significant contribution to my listening pleasure and for ensuring such a smooth transaction. By the way, my wife approves of the Ultra 4A's styling and loves the sound it produces. That's probably higher praise than any words of mine could convey"

"I had another big audio party Saturday and your Ultra 4A SE was a big hit. We had 6 amps and a couple of integrated's there as well. That pre made everything sound so much better. Solid state, hybrid, tube, digital and set amps ALL benefited heavily from your pre, it just fixes lots of problems. Lots of equipment may come and go but that thing stays! I used your 12 sx7gt tubes and they were great. We put your pre in front of a Red Wine Audio battery powered amp with 30 watts. WOW what a combo. It has become my most valued piece of equipment, everyone loved it".

"I brought your Ultra 4[A SE with Black Gate filter caps] to our first norcal event. The response was slack jaws all around. 'How cute', '800$, used?' 'Best bass I ever heard', 'Best preamp I ever heard' '800$ new?'  I walked out of there on a cloud. The little Ultra 4 wowed 'em with centerfill, rich 3d soundstage, retro cool looking, and 800$! This preamp cost less than the wires the guy had in his outboard oxo's. I love having the giant killer preamp, stay tuned for pictures and more reviews from the meet".

"I've been listening to my Ultra 4A SE for a couple of days now and I am very pleased.  Gerry Mulligan and Paul Desmond (Verve MGV-8246) are playing now on the turntable and the sound is terrific: Gerry's baritone is nice and throaty and Paul's alto is breezy and airy. The build quality of the Ultra is superb and now that it's in my living room, I like the red and natural oak combination even more. I just wanted to say thanks to you for a wonderful product and a highly professional transaction".

"All is well and sounding great after several days of extensive use. I'm really enjoying the sound. It is a really synergistic fit with my system. I am using TEAC digital amps bi-amping Strathearn ribbons and 10 in woofers crossed at 200 Hz. The gain and low noise of the preamp makes the combo work great. Thanks for you great value product"!

"The Ultra 4A sure made my holiday a happy one. It is awesome. Beats the hell out of the MFA Magus-B that I had made by Bruce Moore. I used British Racing cones under the pre-amp and what a difference in sound-stage. Best pre-amp so far that I have owned".

"The Cary preamp, while being absolutely beautiful and sounding great, could not better my modified Mapletree Ultra 4A in fact we all agreed Mapletree was the best of the weekend by a small margin that we couldn't quite nail down exactly what it was ... tighter dynamics maybe ? The Lam 6SN7 sounded very much like the Cary with the Cary being slightly bloated on the bottom. Keep in mind everyone were splitting hairs here".

"The 12SX7GT's just arrived and they are plugged in. The difference is not subtle. The preamp now has bass and a lot more depth of field. I am listening to Shawn Colvin, Cover Girl, and it has more detail and character
than my Scott LK-72. I figured I was going to have to get a tube amp very quickly, but now, maybe I can take my time listen to my Acurus SS amp and find the right deal at the right price. WOW! The 12SN7GT's by comparison are the weak sister with what can only be described in my present combination as a hi-fi, SS sound that is slightly softened. They do more for your preamp than the GE triple mica 5751's did for my Scott and they were definitely worth the investment. I was beginning to wonder how the 4A Ultra could compare with a Cary with the standard tubes, but with the 12SX7GT's, I can see where the praise comes from and it is well earned. You have done a wonderful job, thanks, Lloyd".
 

"A quick, first impression of the Ultra 4m: Musical. Dynamic. Quiet. Good looking. As I explained, I can't make general statements since I have only my system in which to audition. I can tell you that my Audio Research SP-3A -1 never sounded so good. The Ultra 4m is more dynamic, more transparent, more involving. A great improvement. So far it exceeds my expectations. I'll give you a fuller report in a couple of weeks. Thanks again. And thanks for installing the Blue Velvet pot after it was ready to ship. I know that caused you extra labor and I appreciate the excellent customer service".
 

"My new Ultra is sounding great with my various amps and I've decided to actually buy another ZEN SET amp since both the Octal and the Ultra compliment it nicely. The phono stage works especially well with the Shure V15 cartridge and thus is also a match".

"Thanks for the opportunity to audition your Ultra 4m.  I am definitely keeping it. It makes many positive change in my system, bringing it to life with dynamics and clarity without "brightening" the sound.  Most impressive is the quality of sound in the lower octaves giving texture and a solid foundation to the music.  The mid and high octaves have reveal more information which is well organized into spatial and harmonic structures.  My previously polite system has found a clear and authoritative voice. My equipment is not especially high end, but over the years I have tried to select musical and cost effective components:

Vinyl:         VPI HW-19 Mk 3, Rega B300, Dynavector 10X4
CD:            Parasound CDP-1000 (used as transport), Cambridge DACMagic Mk II
Amplifiers:  Bryston 2B, Dynaco Stereo 70 (Triode Electronics mod), QUAD II monoblocks
Speakers:  QUAD 57, Rogers LS3/5A
Also:         24db electronic crossover and 10" isobaric subs for biamping

In the past I have used Dyna PAS mods, both Van Alstine and Curcio, but the Ultra 4m is definitely superior".

"The Ultra 4M allows that elusive window into the music that lets me relax and enjoy the performance. Detail is excellent, but not overly analytical. The soundstage, on those few recordings that have veridical spatial qualities, is wide and deep. Timbre of instrumnets is true to life. In short, nothing the Ultra 4M does offends my ears".
 

SR 70 Driver Board

"Been having my totally overhauled ST-70 in my house for about a month, and the work was done by one of the biggest tube-amp-specialists in Norway. He had to do some reconfiguration on the amp by replacing some components...But, the result is truly astonishing!! He had the amp in his own setup for about 2 weeks and did more or less compare it to his own DIY which should be in a higher league than the ST-70 [with SR 70 driver board]. But it didn't and he actally liked... uhm... loved the amp... a lot! The sound? Like crystal clear water... Giving life to subtle information in the music, which use to be invisible for the Gainclone (which i used as a replacement for a year), and also bringing back the joy of hi-fi!! During the last month i've been listening to just as much music as 've been doing all year! Would i ever consider selling it?!! Not over my dead body!! So, thanks for an exellent upgrade!!"

"I built my ST-70 from the ground up using all new parts except the output transformers which are the original cloth lead Dynacos. Sounds simply wonderful! I'm thoroughly impressed. I've owned/built a lot of ST-70s with different driver boards including Welborne, Audio Research (ST-70 C3 mod), VTA, Kara Chaffee and now yours. I love the sound you've created and will recommend your board to others". 


Stealth Monoblocs

"Yippee! I'm listening to Dire Straits "Six Blade Knife" right now, via the
Super Stealth power amps. I love the sound!!! Bonaparte (my poodle) is aggitated and cocking
his head in bewilderment...   "Ok, Boss...   Where are those musicians hiding??" Now THAT's realism. Thanks for making another wonderful product at a price mere married mortals can afford (and in an easy-to-follow kit form which is really fun to build). Thanks, also, for choosing tubes which are readily available and affordable. Now that I've purchased and built every kit you offer, I'm wondering...    What's next???"

"Well, I finally set 'em up last night and this morning [Stealth 5s and Octal 6]. They sound really nice -- and I'm very pleased. I'm using them in my small home office, with an NAD 541i CD player and Axiom 3ti speakers, an all-Canadian stereo. Unfortunately, speaker placement is still temporary, due to space constraints, but judicious use of the balance control results in truly enjoyable sound. And they look great".

Thingy

"I have finally put the whole system together and WOW I am over the moon, the system is phenomenal, I could not have it any better. The Thingy [high level crossover] is well worth the investment into a system, I did not relies how much bass you don't hear, and the Ambient channels are amazing, I hooked up all my back channels 4 speakers in total into this output, and it just makes the music come from every where, all in perspective with the front channels, and if the music does not suit it, you can turn it off, simple. I have not found much that does not benefit from this channel.  Also the detail that comes through with a low volume settings is amazing,  on CD the volume control is set at 8.00 o'clock and you here every little instrument and note + some . No more wife telling me to turn the system down she was astounded at what was coming through at the small volume setting. As you can tell I am a pretty happy chappy and in the 35+ years of HIFI buying and listening, and in that time I have owned some pretty expensive gear from Plinith, Niam, Linn, etc etc.  I am sure I have a system that I will be happy with for the next 35 years. Many thanks Dr Lloyd it sure shows with good  simple design,  you cannot go wrong.

Octal 6/6A/SE/Magic 5/5B

"The preamp[Magic 5B SE] arrived safely..so far the sound with the 45 SET amp is fantastic...I am using the mode that is dialed all the way to the right [CF]...it sounds alive... much deeper than I remember a friend's preamp [borrowed] sounding... and tonally quite beautiful. Thanks... for all of your help... and for adding all of the wonderful options and for creating a truly incredible sounding preamp... truly remarkable. I will write more as I listen... I have only been listening to it for perhaps 11 hours...it should improve... although already it sounds so fantastic that I am very very happy with it 'as is'".

"I got the Octal [Magic 5B SE] finished and man this thing sounds fantastic. Huge soundstage and great detail! You've really done your homework!"

"The Octal 6A SE arrived today. It's installed and it is playing as I type. Beautiful work you do. I especially like that toggle switch [option]. P.S. Man, what a nice looking preamp"!

"I'm finally ready with my Octal 6A Triplex, and I am VERY happy with it. It plays like nothing I ever heard. I have tested many preamplifiers, but nothing can compete with the Octal. As you can see from the pictures I have
designed my own case in wood, with copper plates inside as a shield. I have also built in an ALPS motorized potentiometer with an external power source. Since the tubes are inexpensive I have bought tubes from many different
producers. The combination I'm running now is: Mullard 6R7GT, GE 12J5GT and RCA 12SN7GT tubes".

" . . . first of all, I wanted to thank you for the Octal 6A -- it is, without a doubt, the most remarkable bit of audio equipment I have ever owned. I look forward to adding a MAD headphone amp to the setup..."

"I just upgraded the caps in my Octal 6A. Spend the $50! Its very worthwhile. Soundstage is much wider, more detailed sound, cleaner. A major step up. I would HIGHLY recommend this upgrade".

"I have received the unit [Octal 6A SE] and early impressions are most favorable. I've used it to replace the [Quad] preamp in my old Quad set up and it is much more transparent. I've yet to decide which active circuit I prefer but its early days yet. It's better looking than I expected and has earned praise for both aesthetics and performance from several people at a recent party".

"You have designed one phenomenal sounding pre amp for the money, primarily using the cathode follower topology. With minimal hours I hear a more open sound plus a definite improvement in the bottom end and lower midrange over my Assemblage preamp. I am always happy to hear something new on a recording which I am very familiar with. Incidentally I  use a Radio Shack digital sound meter to set similar levels when comparing equipment. I was always somewhat cynical of owner reviews that claimed that a significantly cheaper piece of equipment kicked butt over a higher value piece, well not any more. I wonder what your phonostage would do to my 9 month old Ear 834p, actually due to the price difference I don't want to know. If only I had found your site last fall".

"Sound is really great, and powerful! Better than my Denon AVR 3200. Your design is simply a great work. It has been a pleasure to build it myself".

"I very much enjoyed building this amp. Although I happen to be an electronics technician (though I'm no engineer and haven't had any previous experience with tubes outside of school), the instuctions were so well written, somebody who has no knowledge of electonics could easily build the kit with no problems. And the sound is great. Smooth, warm music, vastly improving the sound of digital".

"My  wife observes that [the Octal 6] sounds better than the preamp which it will replace (McIntosh C-32, a solid state unit), in ways which she cannot define. I think the difference is in clarity, transparency. I am glad to have all three circuits on call for different music".

"Finished your "Octal 6 " and I was impressed....The unit competes with Audio Electronics AE1 that I built a long time ago..."

"I received the kit today. Thanks! It looks beautiful, with great attention to detail".

"Success! First time, no problems. Voltages checked, tubes lit, sound emerged, all controls function!!! Initial sound is quite promising. I expect it will take a few hours to "run in".

"The preamp's looks are stunning. You have got everything absolutely right".

"The sound of your [Octal 6] preamp is extremely satisfying. The soundstage is rich and deep, as is tone".

"The manual is very impressive, worthy of H. H. Scott and then some".

"[The Octal 6 is] an awesome kit and the documentation is top notch! Thanks for helping to bring back tube audio!"

"Finished the [Octal 6] preamp. Great kit! I'm listening to it right now. It's pretty cool to be able to do comparisons on the fly."

"A complete steal at $375 for the kit." (audioXpress review of the Octal 6). [Even better at $345].

"Right out of the gate [the Octal 6] sounds better than the Counterpoint SA5.1 ($1,500 new) it replaces. Congratulations on a great  product".

"The Octal 6 arrived and is running fine - I love it.  Very transparent, detailed, warm and a really good soundstage. It's everything I hoped for - and it's not even broken in yet"!

"I purchased and built an Octal 6 kit about a year and a half ago.  I enjoyed the project very much, and enjoy listening to my stereo with your pre-amp immensely.  I usually use the SRPP topology"

"Now that I've used the Octal 6 you built for me past the initial burn-in period I wanted you to know that I am very happy with it's performance and looks.  It has become the center piece to my living room audio system".

   

PS 1t (PS 2) Tube Power Supply

"I am really amazed at how much difference the [PS 1t] power supply makes. Bass is tighter and highs are cleaner. All instruments are more distinct and more clearly separated from each other. There is a very noticeable gain in clarity and there is more of an 'ease' to the sound. Very nice improvement".