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Joe Osborne 5 Skyline Passive

Discussion in 'Basses [BG]' started by Dr. Cheese, Jul 9, 2004.


  1. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Who among you has played a passive Skyline Joe Osborne 5? I am getting some serious GAS for one of these beauties and someone has got to tell me how they sound. Thanks for any info in advance.
     
  2. i'm heading to a music store that is a lakland dealer. probably tomorrow. if they have any, i'll try one out.
     
  3. gfab333

    gfab333

    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    I've played nearly a half-dozen passive Skyline JO5s. They all sound great. I noted that there's slight difference in tone, from one bass to another, depending on the fingerboard and the weight of the body. I noticed that the weight of Skyline JO5s can vary by several pounds. the heavier ones seem to have a bit more bottom and authority. You basically get that signature "Fender Jazz Bass single-coil pickup" tone, but with a ballsey B string. I venture to say that the Lindy Fralins that come with these basses sound better than stock Fender pickups, to my ears anyway.

    I opted to buy mine with a factory installed J-Retro because I like the additional tonal flexibility that a preamp offers.
     
  4. Lockout

    Lockout

    Dec 24, 2002
    Illinois
    Have you ever auditioned the J-Retro JO side-by-side with a passive JO?

    If so... how do they compare when the J-Retro's EQ is set flat? Does the Retro seem to add any coloration to the sound?
     
  5. gfab333

    gfab333

    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Yes, I have. A friend of mine bought a passive model and brought it over to my house do an A/B test. The primary purpose of the test was to compare the passive Skyline JO5 to the J-Retroed Skyline JO5 with the passive mode engaged.

    The passive J-retroed bass had a slightly lower signal level and slightly less highs, when set to passive. or to put it another way, the passive JO5 had a slightly stronger signal and slightly more presence in the highs than the J-Retroed bass set to passive. Keep in mind both basses have the Lindy Fralin single coils that come stock in these basses. I'm not a tech, but I'm guessing that the explanation for this phenomenon is that the signal from J Retroed bass, even though it's set to passive, still has to run through more wiring and internal hardware than the passive bass, so the result is a slight signal loss. John East, the designer of the J-Retro, states that the passive mode is intended as a "get out of trouble" kind of safeguard in case your battery dies - the bass will still work.

    Now, getting to your specific question. As noted in other posts, the J-Retro in active mode has adds a distinct colorization of tone to the bass, even with all controls set flat... it's kind of a jazz bass tone on steroids with a slight mid dip, ballsey bottom, and refined highs (think Marcus Miller-style slap tone). As would be expected, the signal from the J-Retroed bass, in active mode with tone flat, is significantly louder than the passive bass. The J-Retro offers internal volume trim pots for each pick up if you want to adjust the output. For my tastes, the tone capabilities of the J Retro blow away the sound of a passive bass. I must state, however, that I can appreciate the purists who prefer the more natural and warm tone of a good set of passive jazz bass pick ups. My friend who owns the passive bass in the above-mentioned A/B test indeed prefers the tone of a passive Skyline JO5, and I respect that.

    If you want an in-your-face, kick butt, jazz bass tone, try the J-Retro-ized Skyline JO5. If you prefer the warm, old school, vintage style, Fender Jazz Bass tone, go ahead and get a passive Skyline JO5. Both are great instruments.

    :bassist: :hyper: :bassist:
     
  6. Joelc73

    Joelc73 Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2000
    New York
    Not to get off topic, but have you tried the USA JOB5 w/ the Bartolini circuit? I believe you can run that passively also and I'm wondering how it sounds.
    Thanks,
     
  7. pmkelly

    pmkelly

    Nov 28, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    I tried a j retro in my JO5 and in some other basses, and I have just never been a fan of it.... I will probably try a Sadowsky or an Aguilar OBP3 in the next jazz bass I want to activate!

    Passive, my JO5 does just fine... it holds up with my other 2 j's wonderfully (a 99 MIA fender and a Warmoth/fender that I built) and it covers the sounds I like with ease! My one beef with it, is it seems that the saddles are moving slightly, leaving the b not perfectly aligned with the polepieces on the pickups... not a big deal, and a quick fix...

    http://www.talkbass.com/forum/showthread.php?t=135106


    P@
     
  8. Joelc73

    Joelc73 Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2000
    New York
    I'm not crazy about the J-Retro either. I used it in an NYBW 5 string for awhile. It wasn't a bad pre-amp, but there others I like more. Is the Aguilar an option on the USA JOB5? It's not on the price list, so I'm thinking it isn't...
     
  9. Rezdog

    Rezdog Supporting Member

    Feb 17, 2004
    T.Rez, Canada
    Greetings from the North,
    Ditto for most of what gfab333 wrote. I liked the passive JO5, it was well made, played great, nice B, and the Fralins were good too. And I gotta admit I think it's one of the best looking in all of bassdom. But.....I wanted just a little bit more sound wise and I still wanted a Fender oriented sound. So I went for the Reverend Brad Houser instead.The double banked J pick ups give that extra oomph without going active. It was indeed a difficult choice.
    Rezdog
     
  10. Joelc73

    Joelc73 Supporting Member

    Nov 13, 2000
    New York
    I have a BH5 too and I love it. It comes to most gigs with me along with my trusty Fodera 5. An odd pairing to some, but play a BH5 and you will understand - A really good bass indeed.

    Anyway, I'm interested in hearing other thoughts on the JOB5, particularly the USA model. I think I may order one to check it out. I'm a sucker for a good Jazz bass!
     
  11. Lockout

    Lockout

    Dec 24, 2002
    Illinois
    Wow! That's a great-looking bass. :bassist:

    So the picture on the left is a stock Skyline JO5?

    Also... did you notice any difference in sound between the two necks?
     
  12. pmkelly

    pmkelly

    Nov 28, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    I don't know for sure.... I was thinking about another cheap body to route myself for the Sadowsky or the Aggie.... But I have a feeling that you could call up to Lakland and they would work an Aggie... They are pretty accomodating!


    P@
     
  13. pmkelly

    pmkelly

    Nov 28, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    Yeah, the maple is the original neck, the rosewood is the MIA...

    I think the difference in tone is pretty standard to what you might find on most jazz basses... the maple would be a little brighter, the rosewood is a little warmer. I am probably going to swap the necks around a little bit, maybe I will make a sound bite or two.... I did also notice that the MIA lakie headstock is slightly thicker than the Skyline, maybe by 1/8". Not sure if we are really talking about a huge difference sonically, but you never can tell!


    P@
     
  14. Dr. Cheese

    Dr. Cheese Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 3, 2004
    Metro St. Louis
    Thanks again for the replies. I'm gonna see if I can find one to play myself.
     
  15. gfab333

    gfab333

    Mar 22, 2000
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    Joelc73,

    No, I haven't tried the USA JO5 with Bartolini preamp. At the time that I was shopping around (when they first came out) I don't recall them coming with the Bart preamp as an option.

    In answer to your question on the USA JO5... I suspect that most active basses, when set to passive mode, won't sound as good as a passive bass tone-wise. The active bass's passive mode is typically there so that you can still play the bass if your battery dies.

    IMHO, if you want a true passive bass tone, you just have to buy a passive bass tone.
     
  16. Lockout

    Lockout

    Dec 24, 2002
    Illinois
    Can't basses with active preamps be wired with a switch that completely bypasses the preamp?
     
  17. pmkelly

    pmkelly

    Nov 28, 2000
    Kansas City, MO
    I am by no means an electrical engineer, but I would imagine if it were that easy to bypass all the preamp to make a passive bass by means of a switch, then it might have been done by now.... someone please correct me if I am wrong!


    P@