John East on the left, with myself and Steve from East UK

John East on the left, with myself and Steve from East UK

With the arrival of my 2nd Overwater in 2006, came a new preamp from a UK company called East. I wasn’t familiar with the company or their founder John East but after doing some research, I discovered the following…..

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 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.

The upshot of all this pro audio passion and experience, is that East designs are created form a ‘pro audio mindset’. This means emphasis on performance and getting the job done right. Although compromises sometimes have to be made, often due to size and limited power constraints, designs are base
d 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 to do a better job.
This certainly is true of my instruments and I love John’s work so much that I have 4 basses with his preamps in.

Bass Mods K6 with East J-Retro Deluxe

Bass Mods K6 with East J-Retro Deluxe

My Overwater J5 has a J-Retro,
Overwater PJ5 has a P-Retro,
Bass Mods K6 has a J-Retro Deluxe
Musicman SR5 has a MMSR

If you are looking to upgrade your instrument’s electronics, drop John a line and I’m sure he’ll have just the product you need. His latest preamp designs are modular so you can build the exact spec you are looking for.

John’s after-sales service is also second-to-none! I was even invited to his house a few days after xmas so he could personally repair a small issue I had!!

Check out John’s work here