A-Designs Pacifica by creative.control
The A Designs Pacifica is a two channel preamp, replicating the sound of the well-respected, yet rare, “quad eight” preamps from the 1970s. It offers simple, but effective controls; each channel has a DI input (1/4 inch jack), gain pot, a 48 volt phantom power switch, a pad switch (20db) and a phase switch.
Although this may seem a little light on functionality I’ve found it works well in my studio, as I prefer having a simple gain stage to get signal into my DAW and don’t want to be playing around with a preamp for ages, when an artist is ready to start tracking.
I’m a big fan of keeping the signal as pure as possible when tracking, allowing for further manipulation in the DAW or outboard during mixing and the Pacifica is ideal for this purpose.
The Pacifica is a high end preamp and I’ve yet to dislike it on any source. I use it as my main preamp in the studio for vocals, bass guitar, kick, snare, acoustic guitars, I could go on.
The unit has a sound all of it’s own, it never gets pristinely clean, due to it’s Cinemag transformers, but what it does offer is a full sound that pushes an element to the front of a mix, offering punch and clarity in equal measures.
The Pacifica offers two sound flavours, by making good use of it’s PAD switch. With the PAD switch not engaged, the unit sounds quite clean and has actually a fairly flat response, with perhaps the mids ever so slightly tucked back and a nice open high end. With the PAD switch engaged it gets slightly more aggressive sounding, with the mids pushed backed a touch more and a slight bass and top end lift, I’ve found this is great for tracking kick, snare and vocals.
I should also mention the quality of the DI inputs; when tracking bass or keys through this unit, it’ll give the source a nice open 3D like sound, with a glossy high end sheen and extended low end.
If your looking for a high end 2 channel package, that is fairly priced, easy to use and dependable, I can highly recommend this preamp. It has a unique sound, so it may be worth renting one before buying to make sure you like the colour it imparts to the source. Hand built in California by A-Designs, the unit is very solid, the switches and gain pots are very high quality and just feel good to use.