I can't comment on Decware but as a MAD line 2 owner I can tell you that this is one of audio's best values. I've heard preamps that cost 10 times it's price that didn't came even close to it's dinamics, clarity and lush sound.
I am looking for an amp that adds a little tube warmth, as I use a Lightspeed Attenuator with my Music Reference RM10 and RM9 SE amps, and it is about as neutral and transparent as any preamp I have ever heard - like a direct connect between source and amp. I'm looking for something to throw into the mix when I want a bit of tube warmth. Does the Mapletree lean toward modern tube neutrality, or a bit of the romantic side of things?
I haven't used a Decware but the Mapletree is a wonderful tube pre that does have a warmth to it...
I've been going back and forth on which of these to get. I've owned some top tube preamps from Joule, CAT, ARC, and Lamm, and they were all wonderful. Would really like to see if a simple, well engineered, and inexpensive design can be just as satisfying. It helps that I have one source and don't need remote, a lot of switching facilities, and no longer need audio jewelry. I get the sense that no one person has actually heard or own both of these. I guess one advatage of the Decware is that it is also a SOTA headphone amp.
Ah, the trouble with fishing in a small pond. I have the same problem from time-to-time because the gear I own, or am interested in, is not widely distributed.
I have heard neither. I have read nothing but positives about both. There is another current thread on this forum about Decware that might provide some additional information. Decware products also come with a 30 day money back guarantee. I don't know if Mapletree has a similar guarantee.
One thing (of many) I like abuot Mapletree is custom gain for each input. This way you can match your gear to play at half volume knob travel - some say the best place.
Decware has that same facility, giving you a gain range from 0v to 36v - Something that should be built into any preamp IMHO, interesting these two guys do it in their <$1000 preamps.
If I am not mistaken, you have owned the Mapletree pre for sometime now. That says something right there...
Yes. Products not up to my idea of good sound get the ziggy quickly. As soon as I dropped the Mapletree into my system I could tell it was special (for me/ my system). Clear, relaxed, full sound. I've yet been tempted to have it replaced and the funny thing is, it is THE least expensive piece (retail) in my whole system.
Separate power supply, point-to-point wiring, simple yet well engineered circuit with schematics provided, sensitive to tube rolling, great sound, cool looks, personal contact with helpful and personable designer/builder before the sale for proper customization, and well after sale customer service, 30 day trial ... all for well under $1k new. What's not to like?
Ordered a 2A SE from Dr. Lloyd - RCA Red and Black trim, Blackgate capacitor upgrade - simply seems like a 0 BS product. I've owned some the finest and most expensive preamps, and I'm very curious to see how this $840 with shipping designed a Professor of Electrical Engineering and an audiophile stacks up against the 5-10K stuff. I suspect I will be pleasantly suprised.
please don't forget to update us as soon as you have 1st impressions
So far, I can say that Dr. Peppard (Mapletree) has been a real pleasure to talk to; reminds me a bit of Roger Modjeski (Music Reference / RAM Labs) in the credibility of what he says and why he does things they way he does.
Pubul57, Have you received this yet?
Nope. But I already bought some NOS RCA 12SN7s and 6x5GTs. I think it will arrive next week. Getting it in RCA Red/Black -- how do you beat that color scheme:)?
Nice! I'm in the same boat as you. I've had all big player preamps before and found that no preamp seemed best to me in a simple SET system. Less wire,less coloration,etc. But, now I've come full circle(again)and would like to try a simple tube circuit preamp with no nonsense engineering. I can always take it out for a change of taste.
I'll be interested in your thoughts.
Have you tried a passive with your SET? I am very impressed with the Lightspeed Attenuator (also have tried various TVC, AVC, and Placette)- after a few months of A/B with my Joule Signature Edition, I sold the Joule, which had been my favourite active preamp (after having owned ARC, CAT, Lamm, and Dodd tube linestages). This Mapletree fella, Dr. Peppard, does seem to have alot of knowledge about what is and isn't important for sound quality. At $800 with the Blackgate capacitor upgrade I felt I had to give it a shot. Have not heard anything negative from owners of his products. It seems that alot of audiophiles, as they get older, seek out simpler, a very common pattern.
Have you received the 2A SE yet? Impressions so far?
nope, not yet the good doctor had eye surgery a few weeks back so things have slowed a bit, expect it later this week or next - getting through canadian customs,
Got it - 8 hours so far. Wow, really a wonderful piece of equipment for $800. Most recently had CAT, Joule, and Lamm active tube stages - I can tell you that if you don't have that kind of money to spend, Dr. Peppard has definitely given audiophiles a gift by offering this well thought out two-box preamp. Does one need better than this? I'm not so sure. Match this up with a Music Reference RM10 MKII ($1,950) and sit back and relax, these (especially the RM10) are both great pieces.
Pub, after you listen a little more could you give some thoughts on how the Mapletree compares to other preamps you've had? Thanks
Hi Rudge. Not sure I will be able to do a meaningful comparison since I have not had any of those preamps in my system for quite some while, even the Joule is at least six months or longer. I will be A/B the Lightspeed Attenuator with the Mapletree, I can only say that I prefered the LSA to the Joule which had been my favourite tube preamp (over the CAT, ARC, and Lamm). I will say that for $800 (I got the blackgate capacitor option)this is one heck of a good sounding preamp in my system (using EMM Labs, Music Reference RM9 Special Edition amp, and Merlin VSMs. So my opnion is that for $800 you can buy one heck of a fine preamp that plays very well with much higher $$$ components - this preamp is good on any scale, but simply tremendous value and lets audiophile with limited budgets buy into true high-end gear without the prices some think you need to pay.
Pubul thanks for your response. I appreciate it.
Rolled in RCA 12SN7s and 6X5s - The more time I spend with the 2A SE, the more appreciate what a fine sounding piece of gear it is. Not sure how the Mapletree might compare with the Decware - but I suggest you A/B this piece with much more expensive stuff, see what you think - I'm enjoying my system every bit as much with this preamp in my system - I don't know, maybe I'm just getting less critical as I simply sit back and enjoy the music.
I know this thread is old and may not mean anything at this point. I have owned a couple of Mapletree Pre-amps. They are great. I currently own the Decware Phono ZP3 and integrated Amp. If you are going digital you can go either way and be satisfied. I personally will lean a little to Mapletree. If you are doing LP's then Decware all the way. Keep in mind I do not own the Decware Line level pre amp. Just the integrated and Phono.
Perhaps others to consider in this grouping would be the Transcendent Sound and Van Alstine Line Stages - seems these 4 companies offer quite a bit of bang for the buck.
Pubul57, it doesn't look like the Mapletree is in your system any longer. What prompted the change? I can't tell from your system edits. Thanks.
Made the commitment to passives (Lightspeed Attenuator) in the system I was using the Mapletree; but I am actually thinking of buying it again as I do miss putting it into the mix.
Having had both the Mapletree and the Transcendent Grounded Grid, I believe the Grounded Grid is the superior preamp.
DId you use both with the same amp, and if so which amp? A nice thing about the Mapletree is the DACT stepped attenuator option, which is not available to me with the Transcendent since I can't do DIY.
I can't quite remember. There was a little while there where I went through a number of preamps pretty quickly. I believe the Grounded Grid followed the Mapletree immediately, so they were likely paired with the same amplifier, but I don't remember which amplifier that was now. I want to say it was a bespoke SET 421A, but I am not 100% sure.
The otherwise is the value camp I might consider: Van Alstine T8.
Would love to do a shootout
Transcendent Grounded Grid
Very interesting array, for high value, minimal BS.