East designs are created from a ‘pro audio mindset’
This means an emphasis on performance and getting the job done right. They can be heard on just about every genre of music. Although compromises sometimes have to be made, often due to size and limited power constraints, designs are based on building blocks as might be conceived for a channel strip in a professional mixing console.
In creating any product, John’s aim is always to improve what’s heard in order that the player feels good and can hear himself more easily, which in turn helps him the player to do a better job.
John and the team are driven to design and build affordable high-quality preamps to help players achieve that elusive tone.
E-Pro (East-Professional), now East UK (official title East Tone UK Ltd), was formed by John East in 1998 in order to market one of his first products, the J-Retro 01, drop-in retro-fit preamp designed for J style basses.
The J-Retro unit came into being due to John being unable to obtain what wanted for his basses, in terms of sound, without comprehensive outboard EQ units. Over many years of live gigs, he constructed a number of small outboard preamps and decided, in the end, to create a reasonably comprehensive unit that would fit directly in a Jazz and J style workhorse basses. One important factor was that it could be installed without modification to the bass itself. Since then, often driven by luthier requests and players, he has designed a number of other products which you can see on this site.
John was a professional bass player many years ago, but most of his work experience involves pro audio design, relating to high-end recording and broadcast studios. He’s worked on a good number of high-end systems, such as Solid State Logic desks, designing virtually every type of building block, from microphone amplifiers, EQ & filter stages, all the way through to high-performance power supplies.
During the late 80s John, along with four other key engineers, left Solid State Logic to start a new pro-audio design company called Oxford Digital, set up specifically as an independent design group for the Sony Corporation. This team expanded and subsequently became Sony Oxford in the mid-90s. A major product design from the Oxford Design Group was the OXF-R3 Digital Mixing Console, often called ‘The Oxford’. All aspects of this system, hardware, software & control surface, were conceived and designed by the Oxford Group, and later turned into a commercial product by Sony Japan. John’s responsibility was the design of the control surface in all aspects, mechanical & cosmetic, plus audio specs & functionality.