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Mapletree Sugarmaple Sidewinder

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

 



 



 





 



I recently bought the Sugarmaple (Mapletree) Sidewinder. This was designed and built by Dr. Al Freundorfer, an Electrical Engineering prof at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, and associate of Dr. Lloyd Peppard.



 



What I purchased is the second of two prototypes for the Sidewinder. It's pretty nicely designed and built. While the finishing on it is less polished than what you'd find on factory-made products, it feels hand-made. Which is exactly what this is, and in part what I like about it.



 



It has a low and high gain output. it was supplied with two Amperex E88CC output tubes and an electro-harmonix 12AX7 driver tube. Front panel has a power switch, volume knob, and two output jacks.



 



It's hooked up to an Anthem Pre1P phono pre, and, as my source, a Rega P7 turntable with a Dynavector 20x2 cartridge. Headphones are Grado HP-1000 drivers (@ 40 Ohms) with custom cups.



 



Upon first listen, my initial impressions were mixed, but after switching the Electro-harmonix 12ax7 driver tube for an RCA Command 5751, the music really came alive. The clarity and overall presentation improved dramatically. It livened up a lot and became what I hoped it would be. It sounds amazing with my Grados. I have no experience with other Mapletree headphone amps, but I'd be curious to compare.  I prefer the high gain output for a bit more punch but the low gain is also nice.



 



Really enjoying the Sidewinder.



 



 



See more pics below.



 





 





 



 



 





 





 





 



 



 



 



 





 







 



 



 


Edited by davstev - 3/30/15 at 6:15am
post #2 of 9

Very nice....thanks for the pics!

post #3 of 9

Looks pretty slick, great pictures. First time seeing this amp outside of the Mapletree website. Do you mind if I ask what were you using to drive your Grados before this? How does this amp differ? I'm trying to decide between this, the od300 and the EAR+. 

post #4 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by D4NGER BIRD View Post
 

Looks pretty slick, great pictures. First time seeing this amp outside of the Mapletree website. Do you mind if I ask what were you using to drive your Grados before this? How does this amp differ? I'm trying to decide between this, the od300 and the EAR+. 


Before this I briefly had a Little Dot i+. It was ok, especially for the money, as it's quite cheap. I also own a Sansui AU-9500 integrated amp that i plugged the Grados into. The sound was really good. If I didn't have the Sidewinder I would be pretty happy with the Sansui amp headphone jack. It beats the little dot considerably. The AU-9500 is a great amp.

 

I am relatively new to the dedicated headphone amp game and for years I've just plugged my phones into the headphone jack on my receiver.

 

Things are improving of late....


Edited by davstev - 3/28/15 at 1:59pm
post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by davstev View Post
 

 

I am relatively new to the dedicated headphone amp game and for years I've just plugged my phones into the headphone jack on my receiver.

 

Things are improving of late....

I can relate. The Au-9500 is an awesome amp. It was on my short list when I was looking for an integrated, I ended up with a Mcintosh MC-6200, but if I ever ran across the right deal on that Sansui I'd probably bite. I use the headphone jack on my MC-6200 to drive my Grados now, and it does sound good, but I've tried a few other amps with the RS1i and I know that it can sound a bit better than what I'm getting from the mac.

 

I've got headphones other than the Grado, it's the only reason I'm on the fence about the Ear+ vs some of the newer offerings at Mapletree. Your post isn't making my decision any easier, ha! Keep us updated on how this amp opens up.

 

By the way, those headphones look fantastic. I've never heard the HP1000, and I've never seen any that look as good as those. 

post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 

 

Well, it's all about "a bit better" when it comes to audiophila.

 

I haven't compared other Mapletree amps to this one, but I really think you can't go wrong when paired with Grados. So it would seem from commentators on Head-fi.

 

I'd love to compare Mapletree head amps! Maybe someday....

 

The Grado HP-1000's came from a pair of SR-200's originally. Yes, they put HP-1000's in some SR-200's back in the day, for reasons not fully known.

 

There is a guy here in Montreal that makes these custom cups from black walnut. The Hp-1000's were extracted from the SR-200's and into the wooden cups, which is how i bought them.

 


Edited by davstev - 3/29/15 at 6:17pm
post #7 of 9


Makes me want to pull the trigger on this amp. I see that the output impedence is really low on this amp with just a bit more power compared to standard Ear+. I bet this is a really versatile amplifier. 

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by D4NGER BIRD View Post



Makes me want to pull the trigger on this amp. I see that the output impedence is really low on this amp with just a bit more power compared to standard Ear+. I bet this is a really versatile amplifier. 


 



In terms of power, all I can say is that this amp doesn't seem to have an abundance of power. Power doesn't seem to be the name of this game. However, it's got enough power to listen loud, if desired. Average listening volume, the volume knob is at the 12 o'clock position. Unlike speakers, I find it uncomfortable to crank the volume with headphones anyway.
Edited by davstev - 4/1/15 at 11:28am
post #9 of 9
@davstev
Beautiful headphones and Amp! Thank you for posting.
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