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You Know, I Love My J-Retro But..........

Discussion in 'Pickups & Electronics [BG]' started by ebozzz, Apr 25, 2003.


  1. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    The high frequency hiss that it emits is a turn off! Anyone else have similar issues with theirs?
     
  2. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    I don't have problem with the passive option on mine. I actually prefer it at times. In the passive mode the hiss goes away and the tone has a more, for lack of a better description, natural tone.

    I never crank the treble all the way. If I do, it increases the hiss. If I cut the highs, I get less hiss. I found a thread a while back and it seems that I'm not alone. John East even seems to be aware of it.

    J-Retro Thread

    David King, of Bass Guitar Systems, had this to say about it.

    I've got the standard version and I got it used. What I'm getting is not unbearable, just a lot less acceptable than I would like it to be.
     
  3. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    I changed the pickups & the passive electronics at the same time but I can say that the current passive tone is much superior to the passive tone of the stock electronics. The bass sounds great it's just got a little too much hiss. You can't hear it when playing though.

    I don't remember the specific month but it's a late 1999 model. I just talked to a person that has a deluxe version that he just purchased new and he's having the same issue. Any solution that John would have at this point would involve shipping the preamp to him across the pond and I don't know that it's worth the additional expense that could potentially cost. It may just be better to sell this one and invest in one of the new improve models, right?

    It's still a very cool preamp in my book but it could be quieter. I have no plans to get rid of it unless it's to upgrade to one that would offer a lower noise factor. Decisions, decisions......
     
  4. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    It could be that the pickups play an important part in the outcome. I was just determined to change mine because I just wasn't excited about the tone that I was getting with the stock single coil pups. The bass in question is an MIJ Fender Standard Jazz fretless. I added a set of the Fender Noiseless pickups to the mix. I was happy with the set that came stock on my American Deluxe Jazz so I stuck with what was working for me. ;) What are you using?
     
  5. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    Ah ha! More reading material! I think I'll take a look at that thread then lay my body down. Aeros huh? I've never had the pleasure of hearing any of those but there seems to be a lot of good things being said about them. Thanks!
     
  6. Chace90

    Chace90 Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2002
    Denver, CO
    Hey Charles,
    My j-retro deluxe doesn't hiss at all, but I rarely even touch the treble knob. I can't imagine what would make yours hiss. Could it be a shielding issue?
     
  7. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    Neil,

    All of the cavities are shielded and star-grounded. The hiss only occurs when it's in active mode. When it's in passive mode it's as quiet as can be even if I solo either of the pickups. The pickups are stacked humbuckers though so there shouldn't really be any noise from them. Check that thread out that I posted earlier if you haven't already. There are others who have been experiencing the same thing. :(
     
  8. Chace90

    Chace90 Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2002
    Denver, CO
    Just checked out that thread. Sorry, I totally overlooked that post. I was pretty much skimming.:( I'll read closer next time. Anyway, I hope you find some solution, whether that be shipping it back, buying a newer model, or getting a different pre altogether. Either way, we hope to see your two fenders at the next get together. Are you still planning on coming? It wouldn't be the same without you. :)

    Neil
     
  9. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    I'm sure gonna try to be there Neil. It's been a little crazy for me over the past few weeks dealing with family matters but hanging out with a few of my fellow TB brothers might be what the dotor ordered! ;)
     
  10. Chace90

    Chace90 Supporting Member

    Feb 1, 2002
    Denver, CO
    Hey, I hope everything is alright. We were all getting a little worried when we stopped hear from you. Let me know if I can do anything. Yeah, we should have a great turn out this time. I'm really looking forward to it. I'm sure you already know but it's at Matt's house on May 4th. You can contact matt or adam if you need directions. I need them too! Anyway, hope to see you there!
     
  11. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    I'm cool man. Life just threw some curves at me when I least expected it to happen but that's the way it goes sometimes. Thanks for the offer though. I won't forget that. :)

    We had our first hang out at Matt's so I know where he's at. My biggest obstacle is going to be trying to get free from the ladies of my household (Wife, two daughters). :D I may be able to make it work out even if it's only for a brief moment. It would be nice to see everyone again.
     
  12. grib

    grib

    Apr 29, 2003
    I've read a couple of different things on this thread about "old" vs "new" design J-Retros. You might check <a href="http://pub41.ezboard.com/fthedudepitfrm2.showMessageRange?topicID=338.topic&start=1&stop=20">
    this thread</a> on the Dudepit J-Retro forum. A few interesting dates from that thread:

    <ul><li>On Jan 5 2003, John East did not have a solution for the noise problem but was going to look into it
    <li>On Jan 20 2003, John announced that he had completed a design mod that addressed the problem
    <li>On Mar 31 the first installed modification is reported by a guy who sent his Retro back to John for the mod
    <li>Today, Apr 29, John mentioned that for a little while he has been building new J-Retros using the new circuit design. </ul>

    So it's unlikely that anybody posting here has a "new model" J-Retro unless they asked for it.

    The good news is that the early users report dramatic improvements in noise performance with the same tone.

    Hopefully I'll find out soon -- I'm waiting for one of the new ones right now :)

    <p>Bill Gribble
     
  13. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    Bill,

    That's the same thread that I posted earlier in this thread. John also stated that any J-Retros that he had shipped to Steve Barr recently included the modification. Bob Amstadt has done the modification to his and it was successful. He has offered to do mine for me but I have to think about that. It would cost a minimum of $100.00 on top of what I already have invested in this unit. I think that I would prefer to just go for a new one instead of having the changes made.
     
  14. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    Hey guys, the scoop is this:

    John has made a change in the design to reduce the noise floor in the J Retro. The current design is 6 dB quieter with the volume fully up and the other knobs at their center detents. He also states that with the treble turned all the way up the new J Retro is 15 dB quieter. I have modified my own bass and am very happy with the results.

    I am Bob Amstadt and am now authorized by John East to upgrade J Retros for $50 + shipping. If you would like to discuss upgrading your J Retro, contact me via email at bob@amstadt.com or by telephone at 408-921-9626.

    Please forgive the commercial nature of this post, but I wanted to make sure that everyone has the correct information. If the moderators feel that this post is in any way inappropriate, please feel free to edit it or remove it to bring it into compliance with your posting guidelines.
     
  15. Nino Valenti

    Nino Valenti Commercial User

    Feb 2, 2001
    Staten Island NYC
    Builder: Valenti Basses
    I remember Adrian Garcia having similar problems from the J-Retro in his USA Customs Jazz Bass.
     
  16. grib

    grib

    Apr 29, 2003
    Now that I have installed a "new model" U-Retro in my bass I just want to comment on it. I haven't spent any significant time with the older model, so I don't have a point of reference, but the new U-Retro is pretty darn quiet.

    The kinds of sounds I tend to dial in are more in the world of fingerstyle/flatwounds than "modern"/slap, so I will probably never boost the treble above center. Even so, it doesn't really have a marked hiss if I do.

    In headphones on a studio mixer I can certainly hear that there is a noise floor with treble cranked up. But it's really in the weeds as far as being of audible significance. I wouldn't hesitate to use my U-Retro'd bass in any live or studio situation.

    b.g.
     
  17. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    That lower price of $50.00 plus shipping has me really thinking now! Bob can you provide us with a fair estimate of the turn around time to have the upgrade performed? I guess that I'm asking for a worse case scenario.
     
  18. xyllion

    xyllion Commercial User

    Jan 14, 2003
    San Jose, CA, USA
    Owner, Looperlative Audio Products
    I will work on these on a first come first served basis. Since this announcement was just made today, I don't have any units in line to be upgraded, yet.

    In general, turn around time will depend on how many are waiting to be upgraded and availability of parts. I currently have parts in hand to upgrade 5 J Retros. The actual work to do the upgrade can be completed in less than a day if there are no problems.

    So, best case would be that unit would be shipped back to you the next day. Worst case, would be if we needed to send the unit to John East for repair. I hope never to have to do this, but there is no way that I could promise that this will never happen.

    Also, when you contact me for the shipping address, I should be able to give you an estimated turn around time.
     
  19. ebozzz

    ebozzz Supporting Member

    May 17, 2001
    Denver, Colorado
    Thanks for the info Bob. :)