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Retrospec SqueezeBox & JuiceBox Owners

Discussion in 'Effects [BG]' started by GuzBaas, Dec 6, 2013.

  1. GuzBaas


    Oct 10, 2008
    Hello Bass fellas!

    I think there's not much info about this company and its (just 2) products...so maybe we the people need to speak a little more...

    I would like to know your experiences with Retrospec, what you own (owned) from the company, how do you compare the products with other products you have owned from other companies, etc.

    Maybe we can make a club. :hyper:

    Yo Bludog where are ya? :ninja:
  2. GuzBaas


    Oct 10, 2008
    I'd like to thanks BongoMania... because without his "tasty" review about the Squeeezbox I'd never know about this incredible compressor.

    This frase is the selling point "The tone and action of this unit are legendary."

    When I read it, I GAS'd so hard that I made the most awesome purchase/trade/gamble that I have ever made (or will made).

    Thanks a lot Bongo. Now I'm a heavily compressed bass amateur :D
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  4. Jared Lash

    Jared Lash Born under punches Supporting Member

    Aug 21, 2006
    Northern California
    I loved my Squeezebox when I had it.


    I wished it was signifcantly smaller and ran off standard power, but it did wonderful things to my tone.

    I bought mine back when I was playing in an ambient/experimental dub band and used it to get a classic dub tone in conjunction with a Moog LPF and Creation Audio Holy Fire. Amazing sound. Like a Mad Professor, Scientist or King Tubby record but live. Really cool.

    But it was also great for the old school Motown vibe as well.
    dinoadventures likes this.
  5. I now own both the Squeeze Box and the Juice Box. Both are originals, not reissues. It's true there is not much out there on Retrospec or McKim. I'm a big fan though. Would be nice to have a place where people can come for questions/answers and more.

    The Squeeze Box is my favorite compressor. I love the way it colors my tone and the compression is easy to dial in just right. I also have an Origin Effects Cali76TX, which is fantastic. Takes me a bit longer to get the right settings but when I do I love it. A bit more transparent than the Squeeze Box but a very nice unit. FWIW, I'm oddly quite fond of Mike Piera's (Analogman) Orange Squeezer clone, the Juicer. For the price and the size, it's a great one, - good tone color, not too noisy, just the right amount of squish and a simple one knob design... plus it runs at 18v for more headroom. I've tried quite a few other comps out there (FEA, 3Leaf, etc) but these 3 are my favorite.

    As a little aside, I just changed the tubes in my Squeeze Box last night. One of them was microphonic and it was finally getting to the point that it was causing problems I could no longer ignore. Hard to tell what was in it, but I put in 2 NOS 60's era Sylvania 12AU7WA's. NOS and vintage wasn't really important to me other than I thought it might be smart to put military spec tubes in this time to ensure they last longer. I also picked up a pair of NOS 60's Sylvania (Mil. Spec) 12AT7WA's in case I want to try a lower gain option... I'm not entirely sure which came in it originally so I figured this covered me and let me experiment a little. Was too late to give it a test run so no feedback for you yet. With some time I'll report back.

    As for the Juice Box, I like it just fine. It has a good quality tube warmth and yet is very transparent. However, I must admit that I like my A-Designs REDDI much better. The Juice Box is still a great tube DI, but the REDDI just seems to sing a bit more, especially higher up the neck and on the ghost/muted notes. I think it sounds more like an actual tube amp, probably due to the transformer. Retrospec positions the Juice Box as a transformerless tube DI, which makes it quieter and more transparent according to the marketing, which I find to be true. Despite preferring the REDDI, if all I had was the Juice Box, I would be happy to use it in the studio or live. My feeling is it's better suited for keyboards, at least for me. I'm considering getting another to have a stereo pair for my electric piano and synth stuff. Tried it on guitar and it was better then direct into my interface but still not the sound I'm looking for when it comes to guitar... seems mic'ing the amp is the only way to get the tone I'm after. I also have a Countryman Type 85 that I used to use between my '76 Ampeg V4B and the cab when playing live. But once I got the REDDI that method was retired. The REDDI just sounds SOOOOOO good, both clean and running effects into it. I'm a huge REDDI fan, definitely my first recommendation for those that have the budget.

    That was more than I expected to add (too much?), but I hope it's helpful for somebody out there. Long story short is: Squeeze Box is a really fantastic compressor. If you dig the LA2A, this is a great alternative that gets you awfully close. The Juice Box is cool but, for me, there are richer sounding tube DI's out there. Depends what you're after. Some may find the Juice Box to be perfect for them should they prefer less color and don't mind a tad less bass in the upper register.

    Thanks for getting this started, Guz! If you come across any technical info or just some useful observations from your experience, share them here. Would be great to have a central place on TB for all things Retrospec. Let's just stay away from dogging them about the delays on their reissues. I hate when these threads go negative.
    alotabass likes this.
  6. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    Juicebox is one of my all-time favorite DIs. Killer piece of kit.
  7. GuzBaas


    Oct 10, 2008
    You know, we have been talking via DM about starting this thread...the info about the squeezebox is very limited.

    I think just the same as you do... The SqueezeBox and the Origin Cali are the best pedal compressor I have tried, both do wonderful things to the tone, I see them more in the "compression as an effect" category, I don't like "transparent" compression, it's not my thing...

    In the latest "revision" of the review by BongoMania he compares/highlights the similarities of the SqueezeBox with the Effectrode PC-2A.. I have owned both and I can say Bongo is right in part because both "effect" the tone in a VERY similar way, BUT the squeezebox covers WAYYY more ground. The Effectrode is pure vintage finger-motown style, very useful in that department and the Retrospec can do all from 60's to 2013...

    What the SqueezeBox can't do?? Slap/Modern bass... and of course is not the SqueezeBox fault, is the nature of the compression itself. (I think)

    In my experience with the SqueezeBox I like more the 12AT7... mine came with JJ 12AU7... I changed for a set of military spec Mullard 12AT7 tubes... and to my ears the change make my tone brighter and more lively....

    I'm a weird guy... I like the "Jamerson" tone... I use flats... 3-4 year old LaBellas... but from time to time I like to rock... The Squeezebox does it all.

    I'm going to buy an Origin Cali next month when I move to London so I can have both, because what the Origin Cali gives, is so unique... but if I have to choose just one, the SqueezeBox is the one!
  8. GuzBaas


    Oct 10, 2008
    What you like about it?
  9. GuzBaas


    Oct 10, 2008
    That's a very sexy and very tasteful pedalboard :bassist:
  10. Roscoe East

    Roscoe East

    Aug 22, 2011
    It provides sonic corn starch -- i.e., it's a thickener -- without compromising fidelity. Everything you plug into it just comes out sounding "better".
  11. GuzBaas


    Oct 10, 2008
    I'd like to know how it compares to the DI of the Squeezebox...

    Bludog? :D
  12. WahmBoomAh


    Oct 11, 2009
    How much are the Squeezeboxes going for these days ?

  13. I have yet to try the squeezebox as a DI, but maybe I should try it. When I get some extra time in the studio I'll see if I can do a comparison.

    I think it just acts like a buffer when the compression is not engaged. But maybe it's more similar to the Juice Box. I think I remember reading that the signal still runs through the tube gain stage when not engaged, but I don't really know though... I'm not that technical. I just try to trust my ears.
  14. Hard to say really because they don't come up very often. I think they are about $500 - $800 depending on the market and timing.

    Supposedly the reissues are coming soon so it will be interesting to see what that does to the price. Could be that they are so similar that the RI substitutes drive the price down. Or if people really covet the olds ones more, they could actually go up. :eek:
  15. FWIW...


    It's an old pic of my "small" effects setup, with a little Squeezebox photobomb.

    The Squeezebox is almost half the size of that board. I actually have so many bigass pedals that I think need to do a group shot of them all (Deep Impact, Korg G5, Squeezebox, ADA Flanger, Swell B-Max, etc, etc.) There should really be a PYBAP (post-your-big-ass-pedals) thread. Oops... little tangent there.
  16. WahmBoomAh


    Oct 11, 2009
    thanks .... I`ve read somewhere that the RI would go for about 700 ... we`ll see .
  17. Heads up... there's a Squeezebox in the Effects Classifieds as of 13 minutes ago. Not mine, just thought you might be curious.
  18. WahmBoomAh


    Oct 11, 2009
  19. cvkaiser


    Jan 20, 2005
    Hi all,
    would be interested how the Cali76 compares against the Retrospec Squeezebox or if they are just very different... I currently own a MarkBass Compressore and would like to have at least one of the other two to check them out.
    To get an idea of my playing style you can go to https://itunes.apple.com/de/album/superstring/id405460851
    Would be very interested what you would prefer.

    Best regards - Christoph
  20. I just got back from a bass tracking session. To my surprise they had a Retrospec Juice Box which he was prepared to run my bass thru. I always bring my REDDI with me just in case and I asked if we could A/B them. The REDDI has a much rounder and fuller sound. The Juicebox was flatter and more neutral. I preferred the REDDI personally so we went with that. I used my Sadowsky NYC 5 String and ran that into an Origin Cali 76 1176 clone compressor and from there to the REDDI. I attached a photo from tonight's session.

    Attached Files:

    warrplayer likes this.
  21. warrplayer


    Apr 16, 2008
    Charlotte, NC
    I've got a Juice Box. Never heard a better DI. Some just as good (Evil Twin). The Reddi is great; it imparts a particular vibe. A really nice rock vibe. The Juice Box is more for when you just want the unaltered character of your bass on the track, but I wouldn't actually consider the Juice Box to be neutral though. It adds a heft or better sense of presence to your bass.
    Roscoe East likes this.