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J-Retro on board pre-amp

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by ivanthetrble, May 5, 2004.

  1. ivanthetrble


    Sep 9, 2002
    I'm getting ready to order a new Lakland. Looking at a US Joe Osborn. I have all the options figured out but one and that is the option of the J-Retro on board pre-amp with the 3 band Eq, sweepable mids. Anyone have experience with the J-Retro? Thoughts on it? Wondering if I should just leave the Joe as a Joe and go passive. Mucho grassy ass for any of your experiences with the J-Retro.
  2. BoiNtC


    Nov 25, 2002
    NYC, USA
    John East makes the J-Retro preamp, Steve Dude Barr is a dealer, www.thedudepit.com he also posts here. I have 2 basses with the J-Retro preamp in them and its a AMAZING preamp. I never heard the Lakland preamp for extensive periods of time, but I can guarantee that you won't go wrong with a J-Retro.
  3. sheepdog


    Feb 20, 2003
    Birmingham, AL
    same response....if you are getting a Jazz (or Jazz clone), I would get an outboard preamp. And for the cost of the J Retro, you can get a good outboard. Plus, the J Retro only has a 2 way pickup selector when in passive mode. For $275 I would hope for at least a 3 way selector if not separate volumes.
  4. jja412

    jja412 Fine gear enthusiast

    Feb 2, 2004
    St. Louis
    Great pre. Lots of tone, useful midrange sweep, a bright switch (pull on treble knob), lots of oomph... If you like your bass to sound great by itself, without fiddling with pedals/amp, j-retros are a darn good option.
  5. boo


    Oct 12, 2002
    I had one in my Joe Osborne V (USA) . The retro is "colouring" the sound to much :meh: . I am using the JO (passive) now with the Sadowsky pre-amp and the sound is just F^$#@king amaaaaazing , much more natural then the Retro.
    I would say go for the passive JO with the Sadowsky :hyper:
  6. pmkelly

    pmkelly Supporting Member

    Nov 28, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    I have tried two different j retros in several different j basses.... and they just aren't for me... Just like others say, it is just too much color on the tone... But I have a Sadowsky preamp on the way!

  7. Just to confuse the situation further....

    I've got 2 J-Retro's. One in the custom, chambered Jazz I built and the other in my 1987 MIJITSO Fender Jazz. It makes my basses sound like I want them to sound. Fat, full, with plenty of usable high's and a versatile mid control.

    This is a preamp I can recommend heartily for any bass that is lacking in it's stock trim.
  8. egb41


    Mar 26, 2003
    U.S.A OHIO Columbus
    http://p219.ezboard.com/fthedudepitfrm2 I like it. Yes it colors the sound of the bass but it is a pleasant coloring. Awesome versatility. Control right at your finger tips. Steve is an awesome person to work with and he can explain any questions you may have.
  9. De Teng

    De Teng

    Oct 27, 2003
    Utrecht, Holland
    If you want your bass to sound great by itself, just use it in the passive mode. If it doesn't sound good already, buy another one. Personally I don't like pre-amps, you get a 'pumped, unnatural' sound I think. I'm always relieved in a way, when testing an active bass, when I put it back in the passive mode. Not the volume what matters, but the dynamics and tone, if you ask me. (Quite a different reaction, which you perhaps don't expect...but still a help, hopefully)

    I've e-mailed a few times with Bert Gerecht (the Hotwired Man http://www.hotwire.bass.de) and this man is really honest. He says that in the end, you will switch it off. In the end, you want your bass' sound, not the preamp. Ever knew a guy who gave you the advice, not taking the pre-amp?

    Note that even Richard Bona pulled his preamp out of the Fodera... and if he does it with that money-sucking pre-amp, then the J-rethro will have that same effect too.
  10. I had one in my Acacia custom 6er. Didn't care much for it either. IMO a little to hi fi. Prefer the 3band bartolinis, more versatile.
  11. sheepdog


    Feb 20, 2003
    Birmingham, AL
    Get a Sadowsky outboard preamp.
  12. ivanthetrble


    Sep 9, 2002
    This is sounding like a better option.
  13. sheepdog


    Feb 20, 2003
    Birmingham, AL

    or an aguilar depending on the deal. Shouldn't be that much of a difference.
  14. jja412

    jja412 Fine gear enthusiast

    Feb 2, 2004
    St. Louis
    I have 2 jazz basses, both of which had a jretro installed. My Geddy Lee Jazz has Nordstrands in it, and I found I was using the bypass more than the Jretro. So, I took out the Jretro and wired it with a passive series mod.
    I love the sound, and use a Sadowsky outboard pedal pre if I want to boost the bass/treble. The Sadowsky is a very nice little box. Not overwhelming or over the top, just good clean tone boosting.
    The J retro has a voice of it's own, and if you don't like the voice...
    But on the flip side, my other jazz has Barts in it - I never flip to passive on the J retro, and I love the souind. I also like the ability to tweak the sound during performance, and it is very convenient to have all the tone controls on the bass, instead of on the amp/floor.

    Both are great options, and both have their ups/downs.
  15. sheepdog


    Feb 20, 2003
    Birmingham, AL

    how? sound clips demonstrating the difference?

    I have heard an aguilar with a bass, and the bass passive. There was no coloration added to the sound other than whatever bass/treble boost was used. That was the main thing I was referring to.
  16. gfab333


    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    One of my basses is a Skyline JO5 w/ factory installed J-Retro. I've had it for over a year, and I really like it. With a search, you'll find that there are a few previous threads with detailed comments.

    I will share that I find that it's true that you won't achieve the same tone as a passive JO5 (with no preamp) by running the J-Retro in passive mode. I've A/Bed my bass with a similar JO5 that didn't have a preamp. There's a noticable difference in tone. Nonetheless I really like the tone capabilities of the J-Retro. If I really want that truely passive Jazz Bass tone, I can use my Fender.

    Although I don't own one, I've played through Sadowsky preamps. They're great too.

    There are pros and cons for all the choices out there. Only you can decide what's right for you. Good luck and enjoy the hunt for tone! :bassist:
  17. ivanthetrble


    Sep 9, 2002
    Someone a lot smarter than me once gave me some advice about modifying basses: he said don't try to make them into something they are not. Seems like the main design theme of the Lakland Joe Osborn is to recreate the vibe of Joe's '60 Jazz bass. It wasn't to make a modern Hifi Jazz on steroids. Might be best to leave it as it was designed. If I'm not happy with that tone then: A) I bought the wrong bass or B) I could always add an outboard pre such as the Sadowsky DI box or C) I could always get the J-Retro added on at a later date. Seems to me the logical thing would be to go passive and then proceed to option B or C as needed. Mucho grassy ass for all the input guys and gals. :bassist:
  18. Scot

    Scot Supporting Member

    Mar 20, 2004
    Pacifica, CA, USA
    I've had mine for about 3 years, I think. I love it. I used to own a Sadowsky outboard and it is also a great preamp. The Retro does add more color but I like the color it adds. I like the featurres it offers becasue I don't like turning around and messing with my amp on a gig. The Retro is very musical to my ears. I don't find it to be over-the-top sounding, even in more extreme settings. As far as active vs. passive goes, you either like the active bass sound or you don't. If you do like it, the Retro is a great preamp. If you don't I guess that none of them will sound good to you.
  19. Jerry J

    Jerry J Supporting Member

    Mar 27, 2000
    P-town, OR
    Smash, have you tried the Raven Labs JBR-1? I haven't heard much talk about them. Most of the Ravan Labs stuff gets thumbs up.

    I need to do a search. :ninja:
  20. David Wilson

    David Wilson Administrator Staff Member Administrator Supporting Member

    Oct 14, 2002
    Lower Westchester, NY
    I just got one recently (surprising, huh?) ;)
    Will post review soon in pickups forum