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J Retro into a US J Dlx... thoughts?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by rojo412, Mar 26, 2005.


  1. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I am definitely loving my newest bass, which is a 2003 Jazz Deluxe 5. But as with everything I get, I tend to wish for something more. I was thinking about buying another, more boutique, Jazz-Type bass, but would have to sell my Status for that and I don't think I'm ready for that.

    So my questions are as follows:

    How does the J Retro compare to Fender's 3 band (which honestly sounds great if you ask me)?

    Do these pickups require battery power or will they work active/passive?

    Are J Retros still around?

    Will it fit without major modification (I know they are designed for the regular J basses easily enough)?

    Does it work with 18v?

    Is there a site for this info?

    Thanks for any help and personal opinions, as always, they are valued.
     
  2. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I don't own a J Deluxe 5, so I'll answer what I can

    I don't believe the pickups are active, but you can open up to check for sure. If your pickups have two wires coming out of them, chances are they're passive.

    Yes, Jretros are still around.
    It will fit without major modification in a standard J cavity, it's what they were designed for. Some odd shaped cavities, such as the Lakland Daryl Jones bass, require some routing work. But no reason why your cavity would differ from standard one - a cavity with an active preamp in it isn't likely to be smaller than that required for passive electronics.

    The JRetro works with 18v.

    Official web site is http://www.j-retro.co.uk/
    US Distributor is Steve 'Dude' Barr at http://www.thedudepit.com
     
  3. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    They make a special J-retro for the deluxe series basses. On the deluxe the output is on the side, not the top, so they fill the extra hole with a passive tone control.
     
  4. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    good point, forgot about that
     
  5. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Hey, thank you all for the help. It's much appreciated.

    I'm liking the idea of that PTC with the other options. And so far, people seem to LOVE these preamps, so I think I'm heading in the right direction.

    Anyone with personal experience comparing these to standard active fender circuits?
     
  6. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
    I am very interested in this too. I have been considering the same upgrade. I am fairly happy with the pre in my deluxe 5 as well, but what can I say, I'm a knob addict!
     
  7. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Yeah, tell me about it. I have always wanted the ability to shape my tone almost infinitely and have options even beyond that.

    The way I see it, there is your basic active controls (B,M,T). But above and beyond, you can then adjust your mid scoop freq. Then you can add a bright tone. THEN you can soften the shaped tone using a PTC. And if that isn't already the cat's pajamas, you can turn the preamp off for the classic J tone, with tone control. AND THEN you can switch the pickups from blend to straight in. Although I really can't think of a WOW spin on that feature, it's a switch.

    ... If I could just find one in stock...
     
  8. paintandsk8

    paintandsk8 Pushin' my soul through the wire...

    May 12, 2003
    West Lafayette, IN
  9. spiritbass

    spiritbass Supporting Member

    Jun 9, 2004
    Ashland, MO
    Check with The Dude. vintgebass at aol.com
     
  10. Slater

    Slater Bye Millen! Hello?

    Apr 17, 2000
    The Great Lakes State
    I think Brad Johnson had/has a Fender JDV with a J-Retro. Try sending him a PM...
     
  11. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    I emailed all of the dealers in the US and heard back from a couple. I'm guessing it'd be tough to get a custom color configuration, since these guys go through distributors, but I am guessing I'll hear more tomorrow.
     
  12. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    All US dealers go through the same distributor, Steve Barr at the dudepit
     
  13. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Yep, the Dude is the man. I love the J Retro preamp. I love them so much so that I'm one of two people in the US that are authorized by John East to upgrade old J Retro preamps to current specs. I personally have U Retros in 2 of my 5 basses. The other 3 aren't good candidates for a J or U Retro otherwise they would have them, also.
     
  14. I have a J-retro in a US dlx V and it works a treat. Better than the Fender preamp because it gives you more tonal variations, plus you have the option of active/passive. The main benefit of the retro, IMO, is that the two buffer preamps (as opposed to Fender's one) allow an evenness of output when rotating the blend knob from one extreme to the other. Other benefits are a pull up on the treble knob activates an ultrahigh control, while adding more bass lowers the frequency point.
     
  15. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Well, it sounds like these things are the best. Are they quieter than Fender's pre or does my bass need more shielding?

    So far, best price is at Bass Central in FL. No one has the black in stock, though.
     
  16. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    It's a very quiet preamp.
     
  17. :cool: I used to have a J-Retro. I used it in an AmStd J-V and later transferred it to an AmStd J. Then sold it along with the J. Not a problem with the preamp, simply a problem with the J, I don't really like them. But that's not the discussion at hand.

    I found the J-Retro to be a very versatile preamp. It also really helped my J-V to get the "B" string to perform as well as the rest. I was able to compare its tonal variability to some extent with a Fender active as I also owned, and still do, an AmDlx P-Bass. The J-Retro far and away outstripped the Fender. However, to be honest, my AmDlx P is an older 9v model, and I've been told that the newer 18v models are much better. But, are they as good as the J-Retro? I can't say.

    I am buying, in the real near future, as soon as Steve gets them in, a U-Retro Deluxe to put into my AmDlx P. I think that much of them. I've waited this long because I wasn't using that particular P-Bass that much, but I am now, so it's time to upgrade it. I don't what I'll do with the Fender active system when I do, but I'll think of something.

    Just as a word of note; when I checked with Steve a couple of weeks ago, he informed me that the "X"-Retro units were still 9v. Will they actually perform with 18v or do you have to leave one battery out with the newer Fender Deluxe basses? Just curious.
     
  18. RHFusillo

    RHFusillo Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2000
    Phoenix, AZ
    I had an American Deluxe J bass and installed a J-Retro Deluxe preamp. The J-Retro has more "oomph" - it can get considerably louder. The big difference, to me, is the mids. The mid boost/cut frequency of the Fender pre was not in the right place for me. The J-Retro allows you to select the midrange frequency. And the J-Retro deluxe model gives you the passive tone control, which is a treble rolloff. I liked that.
     
  19. rojo412

    rojo412 MARK IT ZERO! Supporting Member

    Feb 26, 2000
    Cleveland, OH.
    Now I have my tax refund, but no one has the pre :crying:

    I guess there is a long wait for these from the Distributor, so I'm kind of bummed, but good things come to those who wait, I guess.
     
  20. John East

    John East Commercial User

    Jan 10, 2002
    Oxford UK
    Owner of E-Pro & East UK
    As the designer/manufacturer, I can confirm that the Retros are designed to work fully to spec on 9V, but are quite happy on 18V, which allows additional headroom, of course. (Not suitable for use on 27V!)

    Since, even on 9V, a Retro is able to drive many power amps into clipping without any other main pre involved, 18V isn't necessary as such, but certainly a nice to have luxury. (I run one at 9V in a stock 78 Jazz and another at 18V in a Ryder 5)

    John