We review a lot of basses here at MusicRadar from the low- and high-budget end of the spectrum.
It's obviously fun to play an instrument that costs as much as your annual mortgage. It's also fun to try and get decent sounds out of a chunk of sub-£150 plywood: you never know what marvellous tones lurk beneath the bonnet of the cheapest-looking bass.
But it's less easy to review mid-market guitars: as the immortal lines from Spinal Tap went, they're the lukewarm water between fire and ice. Let's investigate...
The A4 Ultra will set you back an extra £360 compared to the recently-reviewed A5 Plus. The body, with its central stripes, is reminiscent of the recent Aria Pro II reissue and differs from the A5's cheaper timbers by pairing a maple top with mahogany.
It is also a bass with considerable presence: its sustain can be clearly felt, even unplugged. A nice touch is the rubber coating on the controls: why more luthiers don't do this, and save sweaty-fingered bass players much grief, is beyond us.
The A4 is a delight to play. Before you even explore the EQ options, its default tone is a gritty, meaty sound that makes you want to dig in hard.
The neck is extremely player-friendly, with a finish that sits nicely between slippery and sticky, more or less at the point that you don't need to spend time thinking about it. Your fingers will feel more dexterous than usual - always an encouraging sign...
Slip into active mode and push the bottom end: you'll be rewarded with a solid, if not earth-shaking response. This bass is happiest up at the high mids and top end, supplying slap lines with a scintillating tone that retains a bit of crunch.
Slide off the glass-shattering frequencies a touch and your octave disco lines will shine, while tappers will be in a world of comfort thanks to the hot pickups. In passive mode, meanwhile, you'll encounter a range of perfectly useable - if not actually mind-blowing - tones: that active set-up is there to be used.
Give this bass a play with our whole-hearted recommendation: if this were the general standard for the mid-price market, we'd want to hear a lot more basses like these.