John East U Retro Deluxe

$325.00 - $350.00


The U Retro's high quality circuit uses one single knob and three dual concentric knob stacks. It includes a passive blend plus a 3 band equalizer with bass, variable frequency mid, treble and bright function.


Control Configuration

  1. Volume/Blend Stack
  2. Treble/Bass Stack
  3. Mid/Mid Stack
  4. Passive Tone Push/Pull Active/Passive
  5. Available in Black, Chrome, or Gold Finish


The U Retro's high quality circuit uses three single knobs and two dual concentric knob stacks. It includes a passive blend plus a 3 band equalizer with bass, variable frequency mid, treble and bright function. A passive tone circuit is also included which operates in both active and passive modes.

The passive tone pot has a push/pull function which switches between active and passive paths:

Active - Signals from the pickups pass through the passive blend, passive tone, into the preamp input stage. Then through the equalizer and volume section within the active circuitry, and on through a low impedance output stage to the jack.

Passive - Signals from the pickups pass through the passive blend, passive tone and then on through the passive volume control section which feeds the jack.A very gentle built in contour gives immediate colour without detracting from the basic sound of any bass. The active blend circuit prevents the loss associated with many passive basses where, when both pickups are up full, the signal from one pickup feeds into the other and vice versa.A standard 9v battery is used to power the U Retro.

Technical Specifications

    Volume/Blend Stack

  • Volume

  • The Volume has two sections under the same knob. A high impedance section is used for the passive path and a separate additional section is utilised in setting the volume for the active path.

    When used active, this knob has active circuitry after it'so that the feed to your amplifier is a low impedance drive. A 0-12dB preset allows gain adjustment for the imput stage of the preamp.

  • Blend

  • The Blend knob, fully operational in both active and passive modes, sets the balance between the pickups. This is a very conventional control type, used on many different types of basses. Turn it fully clockwise for the neck pickup alone and full anti-clockwise for the bridge pickup. The midway position, which has an indent, gives an equal mix of both pickups.

    Treble/Bass Stack

  • Treble:(+12dB @ 3 kHz, -12dB @ 1kHz)

  • The upper knob is the Treble control with boost and cut. The central 'flat' position is indented. The cut settings work on lower frequencies compared to boost to give a deeper sound when the top is rolled off.

  • Bright:(+8dB @ 7kHz)

  • Pull the Treble knob for the Bright setting.

  • Bass: (+15dB @ 50Hz)

  • The lower outer knob is the boost only Bass control. The frequency band of boost gets progressively lower as the boost is increased. An indent midway is included to aid the setting of this control.

    Mid/Mid Stack

  • Mid Boost/Cut: (+/- 12dB)

  • The upper knob controls the amount of Mid boost or cut at frequencies according to the setting of the Frequency knob. The midway indent is the 'flat' position.

  • Mid Freq:(150Hz - 3kHz)

  • The lower outer knob is continuously variable and sets the Mid frequencies for boost or cut.

    Passive Tone Push/Pull Active/Passive - Pull up for Passive, Push in for Active

  • Passive Tone

  • The passive tone pot consists of two sections, one for each pickup. Two sections are necessary since the pickup signals are kept separate and fed to their own individual input amplifiers prior to the electronic blend circuitry.

    To retain the characteristics of a true passive tone, its circuitry is connected directly to the pickups at all times and therefore function in both active and passive modes. The roll-off frequency is set to give a deep mellow sound.


Rate and Review this item
Verified Buyer
By Dave from on 1/17/2014
Great Tone,
Fastastic for a Fender Bass.
But you may try anyother bass..It's good to be creative...once YWIM?
Retro fit is Precise...!
Well built.!
Good Gold hardware material..!


No question about it..

Verified Buyer
Feedback Review for John East U Retro Deluxe 4 Knobs Black
By DAVID from on 1/17/2014
I am sorry guys out there..!!!

John East Preamps are AMAZINGLY the Best for ANY...!!!!! bass out there.!
If you are thinking of upgrading your preamp AND if you want to keep that Fender SOUND. Do Not search no more.
I have been using these preamps for the last 8 years and they seem to work and sound Incredible. The Best Place and the Best Prices you will find them at BESTBASSGEAR.COM
Verified Buyer
John East U-Retro Deluxe
By Nick Salazar from on 1/17/2014
This is a great preamp! The passive mode gives you pure passive tone and the active mode gives you just the right subtle amount of color to make your bass sound even better!

The passive tone also works with active pickups!

Made my bass sound 3 times better and now it's as if I have two basses in one with the pure passive tone and active tone.

A bit pricey but the quality is the reason why. You really do get what you pay for with this product. Highly recommended.