Is it OK to use 18V?
All East products will operate on 9V or 18V. But since even on 9V, a retro will drive most poweramps into clipping without a preamp, 18V is very much a luxury. 18V doubles the headroom within the system and allows a higher level of output drive.
Is there any useful procedure in setting my J-Retro to work with my rig or recording device.
While it is customary often to use a passive bass with the volume at max, the retro has a lot of tonal variation, and a 9V battery doesn't give enough headroom to take care of the high signal levels it's possible to create, with the volume always set at max. But it will work no problem, if you follow as instructed below. Think of the Retro as a mini channel strip you find on sound mixers, where you rarely see the faders set at maximum. The Retro volume is similar to a channel fader.
Go to passive mode with volume at max, with both pickups selected, and set the volume of the rig to a good level.
Back off the volume and then switch to active.
Set the EQ and adjust the volume to taste.
Backing off the volume effectively creates more headroom.
Note: The above applies to all Retro types, including U-Retros.
Is there a basic flat setting using a J-Retro, what is it?
There isn't a totally flat setting due to a slight in-built preshape.
The flatest setting is:
- Bass fully backed off, it's a boost only function.
- Treble set in centre click, knob in its down postion. (Pull for bright)
- Mid upper knob, boost/cut, in its centre click.
Should the control cavity be shielded for a J-Retro?
As far as sheilding, it is normally much more important to shield the pickup cavities first, with copper foil etc. Then a wire should be soldered to each shield and taken back to the middle wire of the jack which is the ground on the standard Switchcraft jacks I use.
There is normally a black ground wire and a green wire from the retro soldered to this tag on the jack. (Do not connect to the single black wire from the battery, or else the pre is likely to be powered continiuously)
Does the Marcus Retro fit the 5 string signature?
There is a plate version for the 4 string basses, but these are not suitable for the 5 string, which uses a larger plate. For the 5 string, the non-plate Marcus Retro can be used, fitted to the existing plate. The knob spacing for the 5 string is slightly larger, requiring the holes to be modified slightly.
Also, if the Pickups Toggle is to be installed, then an additional hole will be required.