In Focus: Jad Freer

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Words by Christopher Hockey

As the boutique equipment market becomes increasingly saturated, certain manufacturers continue to rise above the noise to create a truly lasting impression.

Jad Freer Audio, an artisan brand based in Brescia, Italy, is one such manufacturer. Steeped in a fifteen-year tradition of quality craftsmanship and meticulous design, Jad Freer has been consistently designing remarkable products since 2008.

From tube amps and cabinets to pedals and MIDI systems, Jad Freer has a plethora of world-class equipment in their catalogue, each designed and manufactured with the most demanding customers in mind. In the words of Jad Freer himself: ‘We are not a multinational company, we are just artisans who love their work and always try to give the best in what they do. Music consists of emotions and our goal is to represent them as faithfully as possible.

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Included in Jad Freer’s high-quality plethora of handcrafted products are the incredibly impressive CAPO bass preamp. Essentially four different preamps in one unit, the CAPO features seemingly limitless routing possibilities in a pedalboard-friendly box. The CAPO serves not only as a preamp, but also as a DI, saturator and FX loop, offering everything from ultra-lush, clean sounds to heavy saturation. With endless textures of overdrive, the CAPO maintains its natural, amp-like dynamic range and complex harmonic content across a spectrum of sounds. With this product, bassists can now experience the sonic power of the studio in a compact stompbox format.

CAPO bass preamp pedal

The CAPO contains two footswitches, one for the ‘A Side’ and one for the corresponding ‘B Side’. These two channels can be used independently or together, creating a wide range of tonal possibilities. The CAPO’s A-side acts as the core of the unit’s sound, modeled on three different preamps. These include a clean, high-impedance preamp with fixed gain and generous headroom, along with two saturators, ‘J’ and ‘F’. These saturators can be combined with the clean preamp using a Blend control and for even more tonal possibilities the mix ratio between J and F can also be changed using the Style control.

The great thing about the CAPO’s A side is that it contains no clipping diodes, meaning it retains a very organic sense of dynamics even when pushed to its limits. This makes the CAPO’s sound much more comparable to a tube amp than a standard overdrive pedal. On the one hand, the J Saturator offers a firm bottom end and fiery highs that serve to accentuate the pick attack. On the other hand, the F Saturator brings a more vintage-inspired sound to the table, with a warmer, more mid-focused tone.

The ability to run these preamps in parallel creates a multi-layered, intricate harmonic texture that bassists will love, without ever sacrificing dynamic range. Additionally, the CAPO’s three-band EQ allows players to shape their sound even further, making the tonal possibilities virtually endless.

‘Side B’ of the CAPO is a FET preamplifier with linear response and adjustable volume and gain. Designed to replicate the classic tube preamps of yesteryear, Side B of the CAPO features a huge dynamic range and multiple stages of saturation with a vibrant, organic response. Side B functions as a discrete preamp or in series with Side A and works very well as a gain boost or simple volume boost, adding to the CAPO’s impressive range of applications and sounds.

SISMA hybrid bass head

Another treat for bassists in the Jad Freer catalog is the brand’s first official bass amplifier, the SISMA. Effortlessly combining the features of an old-fashioned tube amplifier with the sonic heft of a transistor power section, the SISMA is not only immensely powerful, but also surprisingly portable.

Despite its compact size, the SISMA is perfectly capable of shaking some stages, with a power of 700 watts. With a preamp based on the legendary Ampeg B15, the SISMA has that classic old-school sound, but with miles of extra headroom and a more detailed sound.

The SISMA’s beautiful, big open tone is highly versatile thanks to a unique combination of a two-band Baxandall sound stack and an active semi-parametric EQ section. In the style of a vintage Ampeg, the SISMA’s bass and treble are controlled by the classic tube-driven Baxandall circuit, providing a familiar feel that bassists love.

However, the center section of the SISMA is controlled via a highly customizable active circuit based on a studio console channel. This addition maximizes the flexibility of this amplifier in a very unique way, combining the best of both the old and new worlds to make this one of the most complete bass amplifiers on the market.

In addition to this unique EQ section, the ultra-compact SISMA also includes a low-pass filter, carefully adjusted to smooth the amplifier’s highs, along with a Deep switch that serves as a powerful low-end boost. These features, along with the SISMA’s impressive wattage, make it one of the most versatile and powerful Class-G bass amplifiers available today, with a superior level of craftsmanship that is sure to impress.

Jad Freer’s respected artisan builders have been creating custom products for bassists for years, so the addition of these products to their standard catalog is an exciting new chapter for the company, as well as a great opportunity for bassists around the world. to see what all the fuss is about.

It is unmistakably clear in every detail of their products that Jad Freer takes great pride in their work. Their intuitive, simple designs and the lush, detailed sounds they create are evidence of a passion not only for musical equipment, but for the music itself.

So for bassists who want their signal chain to be the purest possible path from their hearts to their audience’s ears, Jad Freer may be the ultimate route.

Visit Jad Freer Audio for local inquiries.

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