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John East vs Audere Audio Preamps?

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by dbamta, Jul 15, 2011.

  1. dbamta


    Aug 25, 2009
    Who makes the better jazz bass preamp

    John East or Audere Audio?
  2. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    The Audere gets points for being affordable and for the Z-Mode. I've owned 2 so far and I like them. Great product. Never heard the East. The East has an active/passive switch. Not standard on the Audere AFAIK.

  3. Love the East made ACG filter based pre I am sporting in my Acacia Custom, and the standard U-Retro I owned was great too.

    East makes the best pre's in the world.
    'nuff said.
  4. depalm

    depalm Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2004
    Own both and they are great.

    East is very aggresive on boost cut. Not made for purists, the mid sweep control is unique! I like it very much for a modern J tone. Also costumer service is outstanding! Mr East is a great guy to deal with.

    Audere is for people who is searching for a transparent preamp. Very well voiced, Audere sounds very 'passive'. I use it on my CAR J with Lollards pickups.

    My favorite?
  5. joelb79


    Mar 22, 2006
    Lansing, Michigan
    I have owned the following preamps. Audere Jz 2 band, 2 band deluxe, 3 band, 3 band deluxe, John east J-retro 01, Sadowsky VTC... i think that covers it. I've had a LOT of jazz preamps.

    The Audere gets bonus points for its Z-mode stuff. Their EQ's are rather non-aggressive with a their points set to more musical places. this works well if you like the sound of your amp/pedals for adding aggressiveness and possibly just want to add more lows/highs or mids. I think to get the passive tone sound with an Audre you are out of luck and have to twist all three knobs to get there. Bass up a bump, mids down 1/2 way and the treble down all the way. The 2 band does not do the passive tone as well as the 3 bands because the 2/3khz cut point is not what people choose for a tone. Also you need to bump bass up because a tone cap allowed to interact with the pickups sounds that way, boosted bass. The deluxe tone knob works more like a greasebucket tone because again it does not interact/load the pickups. So to get a passive tone there depending on your flavor of that, you might need two knob twists.

    I do not love the Z mode switching. High Z sounds great with a precision pickup but I have tried all the caps in High-Z with Nordstrand jazz pickups and they are just not totally usable. Too much nasal no matter what. Mid Z is just ok, nothing fantastic. where Low-Z excels is mostly just darkening your tone up. you have to use the low boost feature of Low-Z to make up the gain loss in highs, and to be honest it sounds way too thick for me no matter what. Perhaps it is nice to use to dial in a burpy bridge sound on a flick of a switch

    The East.. is.. awesome sauce. The treble knob rolls off at 1khz. Nuff said, this is more passive sounding a la .47uF cap. The bass boost is boost only at 50hz and sounds somewhere between a sadowsky preamp boost aggressiveness and the Audre. Its got a center dent which is a nice feature to use. Its not overbearing by any means. The bright sounds just like that, a little sheen. Nothing drastic. The treble point is perfect IMO. Where the audere sounds glassy in the boost, the east sounds clear and crisp even though they use the same point. The pickup buffer is enough to be noticeable yet is transparent at the same time. But THEN you get a sweep mid. I never noticed how much this usefullness is to me in finding the peaks and dips in my instrument. I can use it to dial in amazing girth by finding the point I want to boost and going with it. most times i leave it around 150hz and just use it along with the low bass knob to tweak my lows into the room. And it works.

    If you need a preamp to dial in the room and make your bass sound awesome, J-Retro will take you there. It also improves the standard jazz tone without adding to it.

    The audere adds to your tones a lot with the Z-mode. The EQ is pretty transparent and cannot go insane in boosts, so if you like your sound and need a boost here and there, and can deal with loosing the tone knob interaction you currently have then an audere is a great addition.

    personally I see the reasons for each tone having owned them all. There is NO WAY to replace the passive tone though with a preamp. Sorry. Cannot be done.

    That said, John East has the best preamp for bass IMO. I could be easily swayed, I have not tried the classic 4 band yet however I think it will sound very similar to what I have heard in the past, and I would miss the 500hz boost, and still want the 250hz one. I will not miss high-low-Z modes. Just what I think will happen when I try it.
    gorneyg and Thaibassman like this.
  6. allexcosta

    allexcosta Banned

    Apr 7, 2004
    Boca Raton - FL
    Endorsing Artist: MLaghus Custom Basses
    Can't stand the sound of any Audere preamp I've used...

    East is tone heaven...
    lovenotfear and MapleBurl like this.
  7. Mike M.

    Mike M.

    Feb 14, 2010
    I have an MIM Deluxe Jazz 5'er that I'd like to re-do, starting with the preamp.

    One thing I do NOT like about the stock preamp is how the treble knob acts. When you turn the treble up, not only does the treble increase but the volume of the bass goes up considerably. The bass and mid knobs act as they should....just can't figure out why the treble knob acts as it does. I don't care for that. (My Ibanez SR505 does not do this).

    Does the East preamp act like this as well? Heard some clips and I really liked what I was hearing. Like how you could get into passive mode as well.
  8. BassyBill

    BassyBill The smooth moderator... Gold Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2005
    West Midlands UK
    I haven't noticed any unpredictable effects on volume when using the J-Retro EQ. This thread I started after 6 years on owning and gigging with the John East design may be of interest.


    Note that the passive mode is a bit limited - you can only have a 50:50 pickup blend or bridge pickup soloed. Doesn't bother me at all, though, as mine's on all the time and the passive mode is just there for safety if the battery fails on a gig (never happened to me, battery life goes on and on and on until I change it just for the hell of it).

    I can't say a lot about the Audere because I've only tried one out very briefly and that wasn't in a gig situation.
  9. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    Z-Mode in the middle and all tone knobs set flat will get you the passive tone sound. I'm having a bass built and am trying out different pres and the Audere is first in line. Gonna try out an East U-Retro next.
  10. depalm

    depalm Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 22, 2004
    Yeah, I thought this way and it sounds very transparent indeed but when I hook it to some effects, like an overdrive, it seems to lack some warmth. Maybe it's just me…but it sounds different from a truly passive bass.
  11. I had an Audere and to me, it had an unacceptable amount of electronic hiss (not hum, or any kind of interference noise)

    Loved the John East preamp and the ACG.
  12. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    I have 3 East preamps (2 custom made and one deluxe) and an Audere custom made. Both are excellent and either one will do just abount anything you want.
    The cost factor goes to Audere - US to UK exchange rates hurt the East
    The tone factor goes to East (I like deep and dark, it goes there in spades)
    The flexibility factor is a tie - Audere has the z thing and East has the passive switch and mid sweep
    The installation ease goes hands down to East - it really is a drop in upgrade vs the Audere
    The build quality is a tie
    The "finished" or "stock" look goes to East - lots of wires and bundles and wire ties and "bird nest" effects in the control cavity with the Audere, the East is all circut board and very orderly high quality ribbon wire.
    Customer service is a tie - both are great to work with for support and questions

    Overall my favorite - East
  13. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    I found the Audere a wiz to drop in. Screw in 4 wires, tie in the ground, add battery, screw down plate (if you have the jazz plate version) and voila! Took me all of 20 minutes to a half hour. I'm sure the East is just as easy. Wish more companies would offer Jazz plate drop ins!

    The plate versions of both brands are just as neat. East on the left and Audere on the right.
  14. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    Thanks for the correction, you're probably right about the Audere being just as easy to install if you get the plate type. Mine was not the control plate type and it's a cluge of wires comming out of the epoxy covered block.
  15. GBassNorth


    Dec 23, 2006
    Let's be honest - to make your point you've pasted pictures of plate mounted units. Just so you don't give people the wrong impression here's links to non-plate mounted versions of each. The Audere is a "cluge" of wires any way you look at it. I haven't reopened my control cavity to check but I recall about 30 to 40 different wires coming out of the epoxy blocks. Compare that to several ribbon strands on the East and you'll quickly agree one looks more tidy or "finished" or "OEM" than the other.
    Audere (nicely bundled, will look very different installed)
    Audere Audio 3ZB

    East (nice ribbon wire connections, looks just like this installed)
    jazzycats likes this.
  16. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather

    When comparing these 2 companies, correct. As far as I know, East is the only pre using the ribbon style wires (which is pretty neat). Most others will have the same deluge of wires like the Audere. In addition, the wires usually get tie wrapped in some form or fashion. It's not a make or break point for me.

    Remember, these are at different price points. The Audere offers quite a lot at a lower price point.
    jazzycats likes this.
  17. Randyt

    Randyt RAAPT Custom Wood Productions

    Jul 21, 2010
    Barrie, Canada
    I have not tried the Audere..but my J-Retro in my Jazz V sounds great!...goes from mild to wild very easily and I will agree...that the j-retro does take away from stock(vintage tone) but this is defiantely a good thing!!!

    +1 East
  18. Customer Service With John East is spot on! I don't live that far from John and he invited me over for coffee and a chat, showed me round and let me ask all the silly questions I wanted, and play before I bought. Made it very clear if I have any problems I can return with bass in hand for advice. Never had to do so as the install was so easy. And the sounds I get? Perfect, just perfect.
    Oh mine was a retro onto a MIM jazz BTW.
  19. Stonetown Lows

    Stonetown Lows Supporting Member Commercial User

    Jan 23, 2014
    Ringwood NJ
    Owner, M&V Guitars &Pickups
    I know this is an old thread, but I've got to cast my vote for East. We've tried Audere and Bartolini, and neither are close to the quality and extreme versatility of both the U Retro and the J Retro series. And John East is the real deal, with the best customer service. We use John East preamps exclusively in all our active model basses.
    CoolBassvibes and rojo412 like this.