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Pacifica/ Quad Eight
Old 15th June 2005
  #1
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Pacifica/ Quad Eight

Hey all,
Here is a picture of the Pacifica, the latest offering from A Designs. We premiered it at Tape Op, and it was used in the recording vocals session. Based on the Quad Eight mic pres. Should be available in late July. Retail $1900.

I love the look! It sounds really nice too.

Old 15th June 2005
  #2
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Peter was going to loan this to me for a session a few weeks ago, but things were too hectic, so I didn't get to try it. There was a thread about Quad 8 that I was reading recently. I'll see if I can find it and post a link.
Old 15th June 2005
  #3
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BradM's Avatar
I have a prototype unit on loan right now. I'm planning to do some comparisons to my API, Great River ME1NV, and Vintech preamps on Friday and then use it Saturday on a session where I'll be recording drums and bass guitar for a Tori-Amos style singer/songwriter project. I'll be sure to share some of my thoughts and impressions once I've tested thoroughly.

Stay tuned...
Brad
Old 16th June 2005
  #4
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I've got one of the prototypes right now and I must say Peter hit it out of the park on this one. I'm loving it now. It is a wonderfully clear sound but with a bit of character and it seems very musical.

I'm using it on a bunch of orchestral stuff and I'm thrilled with the sound I'm getting. I'm also using an MP-2R as well for my solo mics (Royer SF-24) and that is working well, too... Hope this one sells well. Peter is a hell of a guy and his gear sounds great.

--Ben
Old 16th June 2005
  #5
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De chromium cob's Avatar
 

I was also sent a prototype to compare with my original Quad Eights and really like the Pacifica allot.... It has a very even response but with just a tiny bit more high end than the originals. Like the Q8s, its right inbetween a Neve and API for the most part- Not quite as forward as a API, and not as much hyped in the low end as a Neve tends to be....I'd say its closer to the original Q8 than most of the Neve clones are to the pres they are 'inspired' by.
And you'd be hard pressed to find a better company to deal with- Peter is a great guy and a pleasure to deal with.
Old 16th June 2005
  #6
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e-cue's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle
I've got one of the prototypes right now and I must say Peter hit it out of the park on this one. I'm loving it now. It is a wonderfully clear sound but with a bit of character and it seems very musical.

I'm using it on a bunch of orchestral stuff and I'm thrilled with the sound I'm getting. I'm also using an MP-2R as well for my solo mics (Royer SF-24) and that is working well, too... Hope this one sells well. Peter is a hell of a guy and his gear sounds great.

--Ben

I could totally see this pre working great in that [orchestral] situation. For me the main thing I noticed was the way it captured higher frequency information. It worked really great on percussion when I tried it out. Anyone get a chance to check out the D.I. extensively? I've really been curious how it sounds on Strats (as well as basses).
Old 16th June 2005
  #7
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BradM's Avatar
I'll be sure to test out the DI. Peter was specifically asking me for some feedback on this feature. Supposedly it hits the input transformer, which should be a good thing.

Brad
Old 16th June 2005
  #8
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Wiggy Neve Slut's Avatar
 

What about the EQ section?.. as cool as the pres are, the EQ is where the $$$$$ is with the Q8 stuff.

Werd
Wiggy
Old 16th June 2005
  #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wiggy Neve Slut
What about the EQ section?.. as cool as the pres are, the EQ is where the $$$$$ is with the Q8 stuff.

Werd
Wiggy

No plans for EQ yet-lets get the mic pre out!
Brad
Old 21st June 2005
  #10
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Jburn34's Avatar
 

Can't wait to get my hands on one of these....
Old 21st June 2005
  #11
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robot gigante's Avatar
I can't wait to get my hands on one either- if the REDDI and the MP-2 are any indication that is...
Old 21st June 2005
  #12
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Yeah...I'm looking into getting a REDDI myself. Is it as good as they say it is?
Old 21st June 2005
  #13
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robot gigante's Avatar
Well, you should try the REDDI and judge for yourself!

I like it a lot!
Old 21st June 2005
  #14
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Jburn34's Avatar
 

Are you mainly using it on bass?
Old 21st June 2005
  #15
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robot gigante's Avatar
Bass and also Rhodes, DI guitar, synths, pretty much a lot of different stuff.
Old 21st June 2005
  #16
box
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ya i am anxiously waiting to get my Pasifica! i wish they were available rigt now. i own an MP2 and a reddi and find that they get more use then most things things in my studio specifically the reddi! i imagine the Q8 will be extreamly usefull. and i am also excited about the DI!!
Old 22nd June 2005
  #17
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Well good news then. We are taking orders and will have stock to ship within two weeks. List is $1900. It will sell for $1595 through dealers and Las Vegas Pro Audio.

Cheers
Old 22nd June 2005
  #18
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by robot gigante
I can't wait to get my hands on one either- if the REDDI and the MP-2 are any indication that is...
You like the MP2?

I have one, and I like it a lot, but I've heard it getting slagged abit and was beginning to lose trust in my ears
Old 22nd June 2005
  #19
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Why base your opinions on what others say? If you like it, then use it and enjoy it.

I just tried one for a demo and was quite impressed with what I heard. For my specific work (acoustic music, esp classical), I believe the Pacifica is a bit more appropriate, but I did like the sound a lot. If I had the funds to own everything that I heard that I like, I'd definitely have one in my arsenal.

--Ben
Old 22nd June 2005
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by fifthcircle
Why base your opinions on what others say? If you like it, then use it and enjoy it.

I just tried one for a demo and was quite impressed with what I heard. For my specific work (acoustic music, esp classical), I believe the Pacifica is a bit more appropriate, but I did like the sound a lot. If I had the funds to own everything that I heard that I like, I'd definitely have one in my arsenal.

--Ben
I do lie it, and I do use it, and I have no intention of discarding it.
It's just that I do not have a wealth of experience to draw from, and when you hear people who do have that experience saying that they don't like it, you sort of wonder how badly warped your ears/tastes are.

It's good to know that there are others who like the pre (as I do).

If the quad is as good a solid state as people here seem to think it might be, then maybe that will be my next preamp choice.

Thanks!
Old 22nd June 2005
  #21
box
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when you hear people who do have that experience saying that they don't like it, you sort of wonder how badly warped your ears/tastes are.

or thiers
Old 24th June 2005
  #22
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robot gigante's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by fraz
You like the MP2?

I have one, and I like it a lot, but I've heard it getting slagged abit and was beginning to lose trust in my ears
I don't think it's the perfect pre for everything, but somehow whenever I patch it in to compare with some of my other pres, most of the time it ends up being exactly the sound that I was looking for.

I think you should trust your ears.
Old 24th June 2005
  #23
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I spent the day doing post on the stuff I recorded with the A Designs pres that I used in Oklahoma. Gotta say, I'm very happy with both the tube and solid state versions. I like the tube because it is quite warm, but still very natural and not overly bloated sounding. The solid state has some great body (for lack of a better word) in the low mids and mid range, but the top end is pretty extended and very smooth. Both preamps (and of course my mics which weren't anything to complain about) took to EQ very well.

--Ben
Old 27th June 2005
  #24
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Peter Montessi

I would like to thank our Beta Testers on the great job they did for us with the Pacifica. And also the Quad Eight users/owners who helped us as well. Without their valued input in combination with our Beta Testers none of this would have been possible.
It took us awhile to get the Pacifica up and running. There was a ton of research and testing before the first prototype was made but all and all we are very happy with the results. I hope you will be as well.
I would also like to thank the A Designs MP users who posted too.
If you know me,....... you would know that I seldom post on ANY Forum.
I wish I had the time to but .............that's another story!
So if I don't reply to a post PLEASE don't think anything other than " I am hammered with production". Please feel free to email me because that would be much more effective in getting a response.

Thanks to everyone who continues to believe in our company. We have some good things going on in the very near future and if time permits I will do my best to post whenever I can. Even if my Distributors feel I should be inslaved with production (only kidding)!!

There is one more thank you in order here ...........and that would be to my US Distributor Transamerica Audio Group. Without them buying up the whole first run of Pacificas I wouldn't be posting right now (ouch!).
Thank you Brad.

Gee am I being a "Drama Queen here or what"???????
Thanks,
Peter Montessi
Old 27th June 2005
  #25
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My impressions...

I've been holding off on posting my impressions until I had a little bit of time to really let things settle in and I understood what I was hearing. Here they finally are.

I got to use a prototype of the preamp a bit over the past two weekends. The first weekend I used it to track drums and then did a bunch of comparison tests with my API and Great River ME1NV. So it got used for drums, bass DI, electric guitar, and acoustic guitar so far.

Let me say this--I'm seriously considering selling my Vintech 1272 to replace it with a Pacifica. The preamp had amazing high end detail and I swear went another octave above the API and Great River. I was loving it on drum overheads, which were recorded with a U99 and U195 in fat mode. Transient response was much quicker than both API and Great River as well, which I really dug. Guitar sounded oh so right with the Pacifica...good midrange with my R121. Bass DI was right up there with both the API and Great River. I used a Fender J-Bass with some upgraded passive pickups. I think the Great River had the edge since you can dial in just the right amount of distortion. And the API felt like it went deeper. But the Pacifica sounded very similar to the GR at cleaner settings. Nice! I'm seriously sold on this unit just for drums and guitars alone. My overall impression is that it sits in there like a nice cross between Neve-ish and API-ish tones but with better transient response and more high end detail...overall very musical. I can see it being an extremely versatile preamp that would get a lot of use on everything. Which is perfect for a small studio like mine that can't afford to have 20 different specialty preamps.

After doing more extensive listening tests yesterday...

I'm selling my Vintech 1272. Done. I'm replacing it with the Pacifica. That was an easy decision to make. I recorded multiple passes playing my SG Standard through a Marshall JMP. I had two mics up--a Sennheiser e609s and a Royer R121. I did takes with both mics being recorded through both the Pacifica and the Vintech 1272. I then did some takes cranking up the input gain of the Vintech to get it in its sweet spot. For kicks I put the ATTY on the back end of the Pacifica to be able to hit the input transformer hard in a similar way to the Vintech. The verdict...the Vintech was slightly darker up top and was creamier in the low-mids, especially when the input was pushed. The Pacifica had a little more of an edge which I personally liked and a tighter sound overall. When I put the ATTY on the output and took off the input pad and slammed the input, then things really got kicked up a notch! That was the moment when I looked at the Vintech and said my goodbyes..."you've been such a good preamp, but now you have to go!" I liked the midrange of the Pacifica much more than the Vintech when using the R121. I'm really looking forward to recording a lot of guitars with this thing!

I then did some bass (Fender J-Bass) with the DI, connecting the output of the first channel to mic input of the second channel. After figuring out the gain staging so that I wasn't getting nasty distortion, I was able to get a fatter sound than what was achieved with just one channel. However, I still preferred the sound of the Great River with the input gain cranked...it's just meatier and thicker, and sounds more tube-like overall. However, the Pacifica DI is no slouch and is totally useable. I would hesitate to use if for DI if the Great River was being used elsewhere. The API DI felt like it goes a little lower than the Pacifica though, but it's not as tight sounding. In a mix that would probably be a good thing in favor of the Pacifica.

Overall I'm really digging the color of this preamp. It's colored yet not overly so. The high end detail is superb. It's fast yet smooth and rich. Basically I'm sold! If anyone is interested in buying my Vintech 1272 then let me know...it's now for sale.

Brad
Old 11th July 2005
  #26
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wooster's Avatar
 

i got to play with the pacifica to put up against my original Quad Eights, Neve 1272(orig), and as mentioned before, you can witness extra octaves, harmonics
and a rich, bitey, in-your-face sound. i've got to have this stereo unit! the DI's are killer for Bass, synths and MPC's. i have found that with A Designs tube gear, they go more for an audiophile high end vibe, but this Pacifica with its iron tranny's, has
all the attitude of class A's with the ultra low noise of new gear. these guys have
hit another home run. Peter Montessi design genius continues

wooster pburn
i/s/x global intramural copulants
Old 12th July 2005
  #27
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robot gigante's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by wooster
Peter Montessi design genius continues
No kidding- I would love to see a new compressor or eq or something along those lines from A Designs!

Get to work Peter! (only kidding- sort of...)

BTW great job with the Pacifica (I finally got my hands on one).

I think Brad's and woosters' posts pretty much sum things up as far as the sound goes though I was really suprised at the mids- I did a tiny shootout between the Pacifica and a Chandler TG Channel without the eq engaged on guitar and suprise suprise I liked the mids on the Pacifica better on that specific track! I absolutely love how the TG handles the mids so that was something I didn't think would happen with the Pacifica. I can see how both pre's would complement each other however- the Pacifica is a bit more 'bitey' like wooster says but not harsh at all and the open top is also a nice thing too.

I can't wait to try it on drums.
Old 12th July 2005
  #28
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For what I like to hear, I think the Pacifica is awesome on drums. I'm in the middle of a session recording my own band and we just used the Pacifica for all the drum overhead tracks with a Royer SF12. The detail and transient response was fantastic and just what I wanted to hear. It's almost like a John Hardy and Neve had a bastard child...with maybe a voyeuristic API watching from the closet. I have been using my API 3124+ on drum overheads for the last few years, but it was never quite what I wanted to hear. The Pacifica prototype I have in my hands now is as close to the sound I've been hearing in my head for the last few years. I also did an acoustic guitar track with the Pacifica using an Oktava MC012 in omni on a Taylor 612CE...a few dBs compressed with a Distressor. The track sounds sublime in the mix. I expect to use very little EQ during mixdown.

I'm a big fan of this preamp!!! I absolutely love it on everything I put through it. I might have to get another one when they hit the street.

Brad
Old 12th July 2005
  #29
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Mine is supposed to come in today. I'm getting excited about it. I've tired the MP2, REDDI and ATTY and find them all very useful additions to the studio and up against some very stiff competition including Neve, API, Daking, Calrec, Avalon blah blah blah. I've been wanting a good overhead/guitar pre (not that the Neve's suck on guitar or Dakings on overheads) so I may finally feel like I have a pre for everything. The dakings send phantom at all times which makes me not want to use them with the 4038's.
Old 12th July 2005
  #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad McGowan
I might have to get another one when they hit the street.

Brad
We have them in stock and ready to ship right now... Just let us know what street to hit.
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