comboBox font is doing something weird

im using the same font (different font objects with different typeface objects loading the same font data from serialised custom font to be more precise) for different components. the same calls are being made to the text colour and yet the font used for the combobox (set using a custom lookandfeel) is darker, and barely changes in brightness when i switch between bold and regular. when i use this font on an ordinary component there is no problem.

is there some slightly opaque layer covering the text on a combobox?

just revisted this and turns out the text is slightly transparent when there is nothing selected.