A-Designs Audio P-1 by terraamb01
A Design's P-1 is the luxury sedan of their 500 series mic preamps. It is built around the same basic architecture as the rack mounted Pacifica preamps. But don't let the smaller package fool you, these are NOT dumbed down Pacifica's. The P-1 provides its own mojo and is by no means a weaker sibling to its big brother.
The P-1 is built like a little tank. Powder coated front, Solid buttons and a metal dial that feel nice and resistant. In short, it's built to last.
The P-1 is about as simple to use as one could hope to get.
A di patch, 48-volt phantom power button, 20dB pad button, a Phase switch, and an gain knob. The unit switches over to DI automatically when you jack in. Very simple to use, so you can get down to business.
The P-1 shines all around. It's really that broad. There isn't anything that I've run through the P-1 that hasn't come out the back side sounding brilliant. Thanks to the custom wound transformers, the P-1 is very forward sounding, but not harsh. It has a flavor not unlike an API, but to my ear, its a little smoother and warm sounding than an API. There is acute detail, but theres also punch and heft! Starting with an acoustic guitar (mic'd with a Miktek C5 small diaphragm condenser) i was immediately struck with the clarity and presence, with just a hint of color that warmed up the sound very nicely. Same with hand percussion. Everything was there, the high frequency taks of the drum, bold ring out on the transients, and even a little air moving on the low mids. On bass (di) the P-1 held its own remarkably well. Not muddy at all, the P-1 had heft and boom but managed to stay tight and controlled sounding. Likewise, vocals (mic'd with a Charter Oaks E700 LDC) were detailed sounding and warm and open. Combined with a BAC 500, the P-1 is a force to be reckoned with on just about everything i could throw at it.
The P-1 isn't an API. It's not a Neve. It's not a Millennia. It's its own beast. Bright but not brittle, punchy but not boomy, warm without being dull sounding and just a touch of color, the P-1 shines with just about every application. It's a great mic pre for any 500 series arsenal, a workhorse that will make just about anything you play through it sound better than it really is.