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A quick review of the A Designs MP-2A
Old 27th April 2006
Lives for gear

A quick review of the A Designs MP-2A

I just wanted to give some quick praise to the A Designs MP-2A I recently demoed. I don't have the means to keep it around at the moment, but it remains on my list of "gear to be acquired asap."

For those of you who own a Pacifica, like myself, you'll find the MP-2A to be a great compliment to that. It did a great job at "softening" sounds that I recorded/ran through it. While the Pacifica seems to make things pleasingly present in the speakers, the MP-2A seems to push them back in its own good fashion.

Before demoing it, I had heard of people using it to great success on multiple things, most notably acoustic guitars, bass, and synths. It shined in all those applications when I used it. Acoustic guitars I noticed the "softening" nature of the MP-2A the most, especially in comparison to the Pacifica. It was such a sweet sound in that regard, but those wishing for an acoustic guitar sound to be more "in your face" might have a slightly harder time achieving that...different tools for different times though.

One of my favorite applications for the MP-2A was running software piano samples through it. It helped give some of the harder and static samples some character, and it helped to promote the character already existing in certain sampled pianos (Art Vista's Malmsjo piano comes to mind). Here's a good time to add that anyone looking at the MP-1A should seriously consider the 2-channel version if only because of the great job it does in stereo applications...such as synth pianos and pads.

I can hear some of you asking about the tone switches that exist on the MP-2A. All I can say is that for each particular sound I messed with, I tried every combination of tone switches until I landed on one that sounded best to me. Don't ask me to describe the differences in detail. In short, the differences were useful per application, though they all pretty much retained the basic character of the normal preamp. They certainly are a much welcome feature in my opinion.

I don't have time to expand anymore, but with all the buzz that goes on about the Pacifica, I thought it'd be nice give props to its brother. I don't normally write reviews, but spend some time with either the Pacifica or MP-2A, along with talking to Peter Montessi on the phone, and you'll understand why I feel this is a company worth supporting.

In case this review sounds too much like an add, I'll say in my "defense" that I ended up choosing the Chandler Germanium as my next preamp purchase...not necessarily because one is better than the other, but the Germanium gave me a vintage-type sound that is going to come in handy on the next few projects I'm doing. Had the projects been geared more toward straight-up acoustic music or something of the sort, I would have chosen the MP-2A as my next purchase based on the way it handles acoustic instruments. Anyway, I'll be quiet now....

Old 27th April 2006
Gear Maniac

I've had the original version MP-2 for a couple years now. Definite love there. I also have a Pacifica, which I dearly love (so much so, my wife is jealous!). But the MP-2 still gets used almost every session. From acoustic instruments, percussion, keys, bass and vox, it has a sweetness that just sounds right. The only way I'd ever sell mine is to get the new one with those toggle switch thingies. Don't know what they do, but you can never have enough toggle thingies.
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