I have been listening to various recitations and have noticed a distinct difference between them with regards to the "Ma" at the..

Salaam alaikum,

May Allah (SWT) Bless you for providing such an excellent service to Muslims all around the world. 

My specific question pertains to ayah #4 of Surah al-Fatiha.  I have been listening to various recitations and have noticed a distinct difference between them with regards to the "Ma" at the start.  Some sound like "Maaaliki" (Muhammad Ayyoob) and others like "Maliki" ('Abdul-Baasit 'Abdus-Samad). 
When I read the text it seems to me that the former is more accurate but I would like to  hear your technical response regarding the differences.

Salaam alaikum

Answer

Wa alaikum assalaam wa rahmatu Allahi wa barakatuh.

Jazakum Allahu khairan for your kind dua’. 

The recitation of Hafs ‘an ‘Aasim reads this word with an alif: .  You may notice that the alif is not part of the writing, but a small alif, called a dagger alif.  The majority of other ways of recitation (al-qira’aat) read it without the alif, .  Most likely you were listening to some of the reciters reading one of these other authentic ways of recitation, and thus heard the word without the alif. 

Wa alaikum assalaam wa rahmatu Allah.