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"passive mid-range booster jack" from Villex

Discussion in 'Stratocaster Discussion Forum' started by tonequester, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. tonequester

    tonequester Strat-Talk Member

    Oct 23, 2013
    Spring Hill, Kansas
    Greetings, tonequester here.

    I have heard talk on more than one forum about a "passive mid-range booster jack" for Strats, offered by Villex for $112.00. Many people were making and agreeing to the point made about "passive boosting" being like a perpetual motion device.....impossible. I too had the same thought. "It's just a high priced bass and treble cut". However, curiosity cause me to check the website. The only thing I could learn from the website, was that it appeared to have a switch, and that it needed no soldering. Just cut the old jack wires and insert the wires into the "booster", then tighten some screws. I found a phone number, and decided to give them a call.It seems that Villex is pretty much a one man show, and I don't know where he is from, but his accent is heavy. I DID listen to a sound bite of all five Strat positions, with and without the device, and was very impressed. Of course anything can be recorded for playback on a website. I was able to talk to the inventor, and was impressed. It seems that his device takes advantage of the loss of output due to the impedance and loading of the pickups, and is able to redirect that energy into mid range frequencies. he assured me that it was NOT a simple capacitor/inductor combo that simulated mid boost.
    The bottom line is that after spending a half hour on the phone with him, I have decided to put my money where HIS mouth is, and buy one for my test-bed "Strat". I will report back the results. Either a big rip off, or great tone.

    tonequester out.:neutral:

    P.S. Again a loss of paragraph indentation, I'm at a loss, but I apologize.

  2. Whittler

    Whittler Senior Stratmaster

    Aug 23, 2013
    If it sounds as good as you were told it should be nice. Please let us know.

  3. OwnYourTone

    OwnYourTone Strat-O-Master

    Nov 25, 2012
    Kansas City

  4. Quillpen

    Quillpen Strat-Talker

    Sep 9, 2013
    Curious to see how this works out...

  5. Stratty

    Stratty Senior Stratmaster

    Dec 13, 2009
    Prattville, Alabama
    Interesting, please post a sound bite when you get it installed!

  6. Robins

    Robins Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 22, 2010
    It is a simple transformer, most probably 1:2
    But they work and if you like the sound and the boost all is good.
    I like the fact it doesn´t need a battery. You could as well use the splitted Seymour Duncan SSL-4s for the same effect but they are more expensive than the booster and the booster works with all pickups (to a point) you put in.

    All the best,

  7. Villex

    Villex New Member!

    Oct 29, 2013
    Hello guys.
    I am William Villex, designer of SJMB mid booster.
    I would be happy to answer any scientific questions
    regarding idea behind passive boost of mid range.
    Respectfully, William Villex.
    79 Vibes likes this.

  8. Robins

    Robins Dr. Stratster Strat-Talk Supporter

    Dec 22, 2010
    Hello and welcome,

    great to have you here on the forum and take your time to answer some questions.
    I like the idea(no battery) and the tone of the boost. But I guess it is not that great for humbuckers. Sure that is fine for a Stratocaster having bright single coils.
    Are there problems having longer cables? I am pretty sure but are there real problems with a normal 18-25 long cable to the amp (which I normally use).

    Thanks in advance,

  9. tonequester

    tonequester Strat-Talk Member

    Oct 23, 2013
    Spring Hill, Kansas
    more on the "passive mid- range booster jack from Villex.

    Greetings to all.

    tonequester here to give an update with my correspondence with William Villex, about his booster jack. I had advised William to get involved with the forum scene, and suggested that Strat Talk was a must. I see that he has joined. Here's something that I still can't believe. I just got an email from him wanting my shipping address, so that he can send me the booster jack, with no money up front ! One has to admit that an offer like this does not smell of any scam. When I called him to investigate this circuit, I had let him know that I couldn't purchase it until 2 to 3 weeks had passed, but if and when I did purchase it, I would post a sound bite of my own. Now I better research just how to do that, as it appears I won't be waiting too long to find out just how it sounds on my gear. My main axe has a humbucker in the bridge position, so I will be able to check it out with single coils and the humbucker. I have just done a complete rewire, with C.T.S pots and 5-way, plus all three pickups are new.
    I didn't have the bucks for expensive pickups. I've only got about $150.00 in all three. They are neck-Bill Lawrence noiseless L-200sn., Mid- Golden Age reverse wound-reverse polarity noiseless(Stew-Mac #5421)., and an older Bill Lawrence design in the bridge position, the L-250 stacked humbucker. If the booster jack sounds great with this combo, it should sound great for anybody's set up. My guitar has not been electronically modded otherwise. I can't wait to get the jack, and share a sound bite here. I had a good feeling about the guy from the start, and while I remain cautious about the circuits performance, I don't doubt the integrity of Mr. Villex at this point. If anybody wants to check out his web site, and the other products he offers, it's Villex. Ont final point I wish to make is that I have no affiliation with Villex, other than as a prospective customer, who is so far impressed with the designer's "prospective" customer service.
    tonequester out, for now.
    P.S. I still don't know what I'm doing to make my paragraphs disappear when I submit.
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
    79 Vibes likes this.

  10. wilsona

    wilsona Strat-Talk Member

    Oct 17, 2013
    I have Villex pickups in my Jazz bass (with the mid pot) and they are superb. Recommended. Keen to hear how you get on with the strat mid boost jack.

  11. tonequester

    tonequester Strat-Talk Member

    Oct 23, 2013
    Spring Hill, Kansas
    Greetings to all, tonequestrer here.

    I just got the jack via Priority mail, and so far am quite satisfied with it. It definitely boosts output. This was VERY apparent with my headphones on, and switching back and forth from boost to bypass. There is a tonal difference of course, but I feel it to be subtle rather than extreme. It IS enough to now have the variety of 10, rather than just 5 positions. I believe that one could actually play rhythm in the mid position, and just flip the booster switch to play a decent solo. I would like to see a longer jack switch lever. When I am able, I do intend to post not only a sound clip, but also some measured data concerning the jack. Now that I'm done spending my spare cash on my guitar, I need to get the software/hardware necessary to do the sound clip, and must have some quality test equipment. tonequester out.

  12. JohnDH

    JohnDH Senior Stratmaster

    Looking forward to hearing it.

    If you want a no cost recording set up, Audacity is a very good recording program that is free. Put your headphone output into ths pc line-in (not the mic in, too sensitive), or, run the guitar into the line-in via a switched off non-true-bypass pedal, to act S a buffer (eg any Boss pedal)

  13. muso.greg

    muso.greg Strat-Talker

    Is the passive mid boost the same boost unit as the one in the Strat jack plate option? I'm thinking that I could then mount the whatever type of switch I want where I want it... Likewise is the rotary boost the same unit with a pot attached?

  14. tonequester

    tonequester Strat-Talk Member

    Oct 23, 2013
    Spring Hill, Kansas
    Greetings muso.greg !

    tonequester here. The Villex jack IS the one with the jack plate option. I received mine a few days ago, and am very happy with it. There is a mini(and I mean mini) switch, ON the jack plate. There is no off/on designation. FYI, the circuit is ON when the switch lever is pointing toward U.S.A. The circuit is bypassed when the switch lever is pointed toward Villex. You would not have a hard time figuring this out yourself, because the output boost is quite noticeable, even to my old ears. I have carried on quite a correspondence with Mr, Villex, and am convinced that he's not only talented, but is a man of integrity. There have been some here who have been critical of his device, perhaps due to the $112.00 plus $8.00 shipping price tag, and that's their prerogative.

    However, I believe that the price is fair enough for what it does. I have three new pickups, the most expensive of which cost me $54.00. to get the mid range "punch" the circuit delivers, I could have spent $112.00 more on just one pickup. The jack, in my opinion, delivers on each pickup that I currently have installed, including a stacked humbucker in the bridge position. Villex told me that the jack would not be as effective with humbuckers, but in my case I can see no difference in peformance. The jack plate is attractive. The switch is no problem to access when playing, again my opinion, and you'd be hard pressed to find a guitar mod that's as easy to install. It fits perfectly in the jack cavity, and doesn't even need soldering. I had mine fired up within 5 minutes time. It may not be for everyone, but I won't be parting with mine anytime soon. I hope this was helpful. I am positive that if for any reason someone does not like the jack for ANY reason, that Villex will refund the full price. Pleased to "meet" you here on the forum.

    tonequester out. P.S. I am in no way affiliated with Villex, other than being a very satisfied customer.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2013
    79 Vibes likes this.

  15. tonequester

    tonequester Strat-Talk Member

    Oct 23, 2013
    Spring Hill, Kansas
    Greetings JohnDH.

    Thanks for the Audacity tip. I will check into Audacity, and try to figure out how to best use it to make a sound clip of the Villex jack, as it now works on my guitar. I've gotten a few ideas on how to do this in the recording section, but this might be the best lead yet. I'm thinking that I will want to get some hardware for doing this kind of thing, but the cheapest thing I've found is $100.00 plus, and I'm not certain it would suffice in this case. Is it any wonder that I still cling to my flip-phone ? I really appreciate your kind of help !

    tonequester out.

  16. tonequester

    tonequester Strat-Talk Member

    Oct 23, 2013
    Spring Hill, Kansas
    Crude test of Villex jack.

    Greetings to all from tonequester.

    I am still working on getting up a sound clip of the Villex jack, with some helpful suggestions on how to do this, dinosaur that I am. I also lack test equipment of the caliber most on the forum no doubt have. However, my curiosity hasn't waned with age, so I tried "something" that most likely will not impress anyone here, and may draw heaps of criticism..................What the heck !

    Quite awhile ago, I stumbled onto a tone generator download for free. I downloaded it thinking it might be fun to play with sometime. The generator is able to deliver frequencies from 100Hz to 15kHz. So I jury rigged a mini jack from my speaker output on my laptop, and ran it to the jack, sans guitar. I tested frequencies from 100Hz to 1100 Hz with my DMM set for millivolts.

    The results that I got, I do not claim to have any value other than relatively speaking. However, that being said, there was a pretty flat response over the given range of fq. I averaged the results, and bypassing the jack, gave 219.7mv. Using the booster jack gave 390.3mv. The tone generator has a level control, and I had it set at maximum. The surprising thing for me was that the "boost" was within a few millivolts, much the same from 100Hz to 1100Hz, which pretty well covers my guitars range. From a purely audio aspect, I guess this range is considered to be from the bottom, high bass-low mid range, up to still being mid range at the top(1108.73Hz). I guess that I thought that the jack would only boost the "mid range" of the guitar. Here's another opportunity for somebody to set me straight" again !

    As I stated, I may get slammed for this. If so.......oh well. I'm trying to get better equiped, but have a fixed budget to work with, not to mention being saddled with a lack of kjnowledge. The sound clip will be the best test in my opinion, as I am more the musician than I am the tech. I just thought it might be interesting to post, while I have nothing else to offer.I guess I leave myself open to critique, but I'm trying to learn as I can, and I don't mean to insult anybody's intelligence. Anyway, it was a fun experience. I look forward to better designed experiments, and to better hardware/software/KNOWLEDGE !

    tonequester out.

  17. tonequester

    tonequester Strat-Talk Member

    Oct 23, 2013
    Spring Hill, Kansas
    more on Villex booster jack

    Greetings to anybody still interested.

    As I type this I am downloading Audacity to get started on a sound clip. A guy on DIY Audio forum is giving me instructions on how he uses it for this purpose, so hopefully it won't be long now.

    I have to take this opportunity to say that I am completely satisfied with the Villex jack as it works on my guitar with single coils, humbucker, or combinations of both. It really makes it easy to cut through the mix with solos. It has just the right boost at the flip of one switch. It's tempting to leave it on at all times, but I like to vary my tone during most things I play. The thing may be very simple to some here, but I don't care as much about how the circuit works, as I do about how the circuit sounds as I use it. I don't use a lot of pedals, pretty much guitar and tube amp. The jack works well with what I've got, and in my book, Villex is a fine designer/dealer. tonequester out.

  18. Mbornhorst23

    Mbornhorst23 New Member!

    Oct 30, 2016
    I just put the Villex passive mid boost in my strat. What I found was that it works most effectively when there is no buffer in your signal chain. When running your strat right into the amp, the effect of the switch is pretty profound. Well worth it in that setup. However, when running it into a pedal with a buffer, the effect is very subtle, sometimes not even noticeable at all. It does drive the pedal a little bit harder but not your amp. I assume this is because it works by increasing the impedance of your signal whereas the buffer of corse turns that into a low impedance signal. I would suggest getting one only if you are not using it with a buffer.
    79 Vibes likes this.

  19. ozob

    ozob New Member!

    Mar 19, 2017
    Right, so you hear only the tonal differences, not a real difference in db, because the pedal is controlling that. Wouldn't this also apply to single coils vs humbuckers, though? You'd hear the tonal differences, but not necessarily a volume difference after the signal goes through the buffer.

  20. Pulsar

    Pulsar Strat-Talker

    Feb 6, 2016