A-Designs Pacifica is a stereo solid state microphone preamplifier by A-Designs Audio, inspired by legendary Quad Eight preamplifiers. The Pacifica was probably the first real hit from A-Designs Audio for recording industry, while they already had A-Designs MP2 all tube top notch preamp out before the Pacifica, the popularity of it wasn’t that high.
A-Designs Pacifica features:
- Balanced XLR Inputs & outputs
- Gain, DI jack, phantom power switch, 20db pad & phase shift for each
- 72dB Gain Range
- 9Hz-101KHz Frequency Response
So the Pacifica is pretty simple, with awkward red body & white/yellowish front plate. Well, I suppose it’s simple for a young guy like me :) It’s a very powerful wide range preamp, will drive any microphone with ease, kind of colorful, yet not overpowering, which allows you to stack many channels over & over, without having too much color, gives you sort of polished sound with a little “vanilla” in it. The versatility of this preamp is one of the key elements of its success in my opinion. I’ve recorded so many sourced with the Pacifica, half of which I can’t even remember; it never sounded bad & most of the time it was really good. It sounds great on drums, acoustic guitars, pianos, vocals, shakers, woodwinds etc. If you try to record a 120wt half stack at really loud volumes, you might need to use an inline pad in front of it, but then you will need it with almost anything. I found I could get an interesting compression type of thing going on with the Pacifica if I drove the input a lot. Like with any other preamp A-Designs Pacifica offers its unique range of characters & dynamics if you take the time to experiment with different gain settings or you can just set it & forget it, that works too. I guess it all depends on how obsessed you are with tone. Overall, I’d say if you need a preamp to be used on many sources to give them a focused space in the mix & stack well together, you might want to really consider an A-Designs Pacifica.
For the 500 series users A-Designs Audio has also released A-Designs P1, 500 chassis unit inspired by the Pacifica.
What’s the difference between A-Designs Pacifica & P1?
In Peter Montessi’s words:
“The Pacifica v P-1:
It's really funny now that more of our products are out there and people email/call me with their results after A/Bing the 2 units. And sometimes I'm even surprised by the results!!!
Some people LOVE the P-1 over the Pacifica and some love the Pacifica over the P-1.
There IS a difference ..........I don't see it as night and day type of difference. Of course in the end it all depends on you and your needs!
The reason for the slight difference is this....
28v going across the rails, larger output transformer
16v across the rails, smaller transformer
Both of these two factors result in a slightly different sound.
IMO the P-1 comes closest to the sound of the old Quad Eight where as with the Pacifica we tried to match that sound and then did our best to improve on it.”
A-Designs Pacifica Solid State Stereo Microphone Preamplifier Dealer
A-Designs Audio Website