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A Designs Pacifica Dual-Channel Preamps
Old 17th August 2008
  #1
Gear Head
 

A Designs Pacifica

So I'm in the market for a preamp. I'm thinking about the A Designs Pacifica.

Of those of you who own / have used them, what do you like about them, what do you dislike about them? Favorite uses? Things that absolutely didn't work? How hot does the unit get (temperature)?

Any other info you can provide would be great! (Including suggestions - Budget is between $1500 and $2000, either single or dual channel, preamp or strip)
Old 17th August 2008
  #2
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Dirty Halo's Avatar
 

More than I can say +1

Hello there,

Ok, I can say this with 100% confidence. I own a good collection of pres and many of them are good, great, even amazing (some not), but I have a good selection of choices for tones, weapons for the job at hand, etc.

BUT... if I could ONLY have one, it would be the A-Designs Pacifica.

Now, I'm not going to get into (or intend to start a war) about what is the best pre (and all that), it's just that the Pacifica does such an amazing job so solidly and seems so balanced, meaning, while it is a great thing, it's not like candy, where you can have TOO MUCH of a good thing. You canhave as MUCH Pacifica as you like and it ALL works in the mix.

I can say without a doubt, I could make an entire album (a great sounding one... ok, a person could) with JUST the Pacific.

Pad in, Pad out, DI, Mic inputs, low gain, high-gain, ALL sound great solid, different and just "plays well with others... even if the 'others' are more Pacifica tracked parts."

I can't say enough good things!


-andrews


P.S. Ok, I'll say MORE good things... gear is not JUST gear, it is ALSO the company behind it and there IS GOOD COMPANY behind it. Peter is truly a rare class act. No matter what, you are in good hands with him and your pre if you buy a Pacifica (and that means a lot, if you ever need a question answered, service, and all that)

BTW... oh man, I'm ranting- I runs medium warm. Right down the middle. Not a worry in the world. At least for me (and I've got plenty of hot-headed tune gear above and below it.)
Old 17th August 2008
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Tony Shepperd's Avatar
So I'm in the market for a preamp. I'm thinking about the A Designs Pacifica.
Of those of you who own / have used them, what do you like about them, what do you dislike about them?


Love the sound.
Love the construction and attention to detail of the box.
Love the ease of use.


Sometimes I dislike that there are no detents on the gain.


Favorite Uses?
Love it on vocals and acoustic guitar.
Hell anything that is acoustic in nature it just sounds amazing on.


Things that absolutely didn't work?
So far, nothing comes to mind, but I have yet to record bag pipes with it. :-)


How hot does the unit get (temperature)?
My Pacifica is in a rack with nothing over the top or bottom.
So I have never had a problem with heat dissipation.

Any other info you can provide would be great!
It's a really good sounding box.
Couple it with the REDDI and it records bass equally as well as vocals.
Add the Hammer and for the "hard to cut" vocalist with harsh midrange you can go in and "fix it to tape.

Trust me. You'll love it.
Old 17th August 2008
  #4
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chrispick's Avatar
 

I own one. I use it in my project studio geared toward music/sound for TV/games.

What I like about it:
  • Seems to work well on any source.
  • Sounds great with mic'ed electric guitars
  • Ditto DI'ing synths, particularly pad in
  • Does something smooth to higher frequencies (to my ears)
What I don't like about it:
  • Nothing yet.
Favorite uses:
  • Mic'ing electric guitar (pad out)
  • Di'ing synths (pad in)
Heat issues:
  • Haven't melted anything yet.
Other comments:
  • It's not a universally loved piece -- there are a few detractors -- but those who like it really like it.
  • It's not what some would call a transparent pre. It imparts very subtle harmonic content which can be tremendous for coloring and filling out pop/rock/R&B stuff, but may not be your cup of tea if you record, say, traditional jazz or classical.
  • I'd buy it if I were you. I did and I'm not.
Old 17th August 2008
  #5
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heyman's Avatar
I have nothing but love for that pre.
If you want that neve sound - look elsewhere..
Words to describe it would be..

Big, open, clear but not clean, shimmering top and Solid bottom that goes on for days.

Think of it as a pre that works great on alot of diffrent sources.

Elec guitar, vox, Acoustic Gtr, Overheads, Percussion..

And my favorite... Bkgorund vox.

Try it on Bkgrnd's. It doesnt smear the vox the way alot of other pre's can. All voices remain articulate and clear.
Old 17th August 2008
  #6
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numrologst's Avatar
As always, the pacifica is my favorite preamp. I like the color. It is very smooth and it just sounds great on everything.
Old 17th August 2008
  #7
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Shepperd View Post
[
Things that absolutely didn't work?
So far, nothing comes to mind, but I have yet to record bag pipes with it. :-)
.
I swear I am not making this up. What I am working on today is mixing a record where the bagpipes were recorded with a Pacifica (a celtic rock band) and they sound great.
Old 17th August 2008
  #8
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm View Post
I swear I am not making this up. What I am working on today is mixing a record where the bagpipes were recorded with a Pacifica (a celtic rock band) and they sound great.
That's hilarious! LOL
Let us know how it sounds.
Old 17th August 2008
  #9
I have the p-1, which is the Pacifica's little cousin. If I only could only have one pre-amp, I think it would probably be the Great River, based on my limited range of experience. But, if it was the P-1, that would be fine also. It's a really good bass DI and sounds really good with the Pearlman.
Old 17th August 2008
  #10
Gear Addict
 

Pacifica:

Bought the first one about a year ago. Now we have 3. 'nuff said

They get used on just about everything - rock vocals are wonderful with a TM-1/47/67/87/251.
Great on elec' guitars with a 121/i5/421 etc.
I've never heard a 414 sound better than with a Pacifica, especially on a heavyweight acoustic guitar.
Did a great job with a small brass section just recently with a pair of 121's.
Also a very nice kick and tom pre.

Hot? I wouldn't say they get hotter than any other pre of their layout and 1U size.

Nice piece.

<GM>
Old 17th August 2008
  #11
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Don S's Avatar
 

Worked with one many times. Love the sound. Wish it had stepped gain pots! I've done stereo micing with this and it's sometimes difficult to get the image precisely balanced. Same goes for when you have to return the pot exactly where you left it from a previous session.
Old 18th August 2008
  #12
Moderator
 
James Lugo's Avatar
 

Can't go wrong with a pacifica. Works well on just about everything, got 2 use'm almost everyday. Especially great on female vocals, drum overs and acoustic guitar.
Old 18th August 2008
  #13
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bcgood's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tony Shepperd View Post
Let us know how it sounds.
Um, I think he already did...
Old 18th August 2008
  #14
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Midlandmorgan's Avatar
 

Have had one for a couple of years...sounds superlative on anything that requires a mic...the Pacifica and a pair of P1s are the go-to pres for everything of a lead nature...

If I could afford 4 more Pacificas and forego some of the other stuff, I'd do it in a heartbeat.
Old 18th August 2008
  #15
Gear Addict
 
telejustin's Avatar
 

Yeah, I have nothing but love for my P-1's. Use them on all kinds of stuff all of the time. You won't regret it at all...
Old 18th August 2008
  #16
Gear Head
 

Thanks for all the info guys!

Others pres I was considering -

Hardy M1
Focusrite ISA220
GML 8302
Millennia HV-3C
GT SuPRE


Any thoughts?

I LOVE using the ISA on vocals - its like performing surgery...but I've never used it on anything else...I don't know if I want that much transparency on acoustic gtr or a fender twin...

I do a lot of electro rock...think Number One Gun, Minus the Bear, M83, etc... and acoustic stuff...think Owen, Iron and Wine, Nick Drake....vocals like the Postal Service
Old 18th August 2008
  #17
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peeder's Avatar
 

Pacifica is a heavily scooped preamp that is initially seductive but you might find loses out in the end to a combo of a better pre and a nice EQ. It has a nice sound out of the gate, no question, but its coloration and relative lack of detail might grow old for you fairly quickly.

(Burn the heretic! )
Old 18th August 2008
  #18
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by moink123 View Post
Thanks for all the info guys!

Others pres I was considering -

Hardy M1
Focusrite ISA220
GML 8302
Millennia HV-3C
GT SuPRE


Any thoughts?

I LOVE using the ISA on vocals - its like performing surgery...but I've never used it on anything else...I don't know if I want that much transparency on acoustic gtr or a fender twin...

I do a lot of electro rock...think Number One Gun, Minus the Bear, M83, etc... and acoustic stuff...think Owen, Iron and Wine, Nick Drake....vocals like the Postal Service

BTW, I won't be able to afford anther pre for another year, so this one has to count!
Old 18th August 2008
  #19
Gear Maniac
 
RonCarlston's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm View Post
I swear I am not making this up. What I am working on today is mixing a record where the bagpipes were recorded with a Pacifica (a celtic rock band) and they sound great.

hahahah
Old 18th August 2008
  #20
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picksail's Avatar
 

The Pacifica is a brilliant piece of gear.

Unfortunately I don't get to use it as often as I'd like.
It's the only piece of gear in the studio that seems to find it's way to every other studio on our floor. It amazes me how everyone wants to use the Pacifica. No one ever asks to borrow anything but that one preamp. Amazing!

Dammit... I miss it and want it back!!!!
Old 18th August 2008
  #21
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RCM - Ronan's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by peeder View Post
Pacifica is a heavily scooped preamp that is initially seductive but you might find loses out in the end to a combo of a better pre and a nice EQ. It has a nice sound out of the gate, no question, but its coloration and relative lack of detail might grow old for you fairly quickly.

(Burn the heretic! )
Your not a heretic for not being a big fan of the pacifica, but I am a bit confused about your lack of detail comment. It seems completely opposite from my experience. The first thing that sucked me into digging the pre was how much detail it had.
Old 18th August 2008
  #22
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asagaai's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm View Post
Your not a heretic for not being a big fan of the pacifica, but I am a bit confused about your lack of detail comment. It seems completely opposite from my experience. The first thing that sucked me into digging the pre was how much detail it had.

With pad out I have found the Pacifica very detailed- not as much perhaps as my ADL600- but still very detailed. With pad in Pacifica on vocals/drums becomes thick, not as quick with transients and less detailed. With pad in I agree with Peeders comments, pad out I do not agree- its a detailed pre.

I have never liked pad in on Pacifica. I am mixing a track done with vocals on Pacifica with pad in- and in the mix it is thick and not as present as say a track with ADL when a/b side by side. However, I ran the mix out through my outboard boxes, and then on the printed outboard treated mix ran it through digital limiters for volume-and I see the light. With a hot mix- the pad in vocals become sufficiently present -but has no harshness that sometimes very detailed big pres give and is sooo smooth/polished -and gooey.

Just goes to show-do not judge a track until the final burn process in mix.

GJ
Newcastle/OZ
Old 18th August 2008
  #23
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Tony Shepperd's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bcgood View Post
Um, I think he already did...
I meant more details of how he recorded it (what mics) and what the characteristics of the pre with the instruments sounded like.
Old 18th August 2008
  #24
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Dirty Halo's Avatar
 

If that's not an overwhelming YES, I don't know what is!

To the OP,

Well, there ya go! That's a pretty overwhelming YES. I hope you can feel as comfortable as ANYONE could going in to buy a new piece of gear.

The only final deciding factor will be you and YOUR taste, and there again, you are in good hands because I don't know of a fairer guy behind his gear than Peter or Vintage King of anyone he does business with!

You're in good hands on all counts.

Now go BUY IT already! heh ... and tell us what YOU think!

-andrews
Old 18th August 2008
  #25
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

They are well made, with a solid construction.... Very good preamps.

There are other choices in that price range.... it all depends on the sound YOU want.
Old 18th August 2008
  #26
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TobyToby's Avatar
 

It's nearly boring because a longish hunt has become an end . . .

I am now using the Pacifica for all the electric string stuff and the EM Blue for all the acoustic things with very satisfying results . . . . Maybe I will solder out the input tranny of the Blue and plug it into one channel of the Paci. Just out of curiosity how it will sound with the beefier output tranny of the unit.
Old 19th August 2008
  #27
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Dirty Halo's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyBelmont View Post
They are well made, with a solid construction.... Very good preamps.

There are other choices in that price range.... it all depends on the sound YOU want.
Do you sell A-Designs Pacifica?

-andrews
Old 19th August 2008
  #28
Moderator
 
TonyBelmont's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirty Halo View Post
Do you sell A-Designs Pacifica?

-andrews
Yes.

For future reference, you can easily go to my website to see if I am a dealer for a product. It's hard to miss the link in my signature, just click on the words High Profile Audio below. heh
Old 19th August 2008
  #29
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jslevin's Avatar
I agree, I like having an output pot (ideally an attenuator), but when it comes right down to it, is there any real need for one, at least for digital recording?

JSL
Old 19th August 2008
  #30
Gear Head
 

Any thoughts on the Pacifica vs. the P1?
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