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A Designs Pacifica Stereo Preamp  From A Designs

TEC-Award Nominated, 70s-Style Solid-State Stereo Mic Pre - Wonderfully Versatile with Detail and Color.

A Designs Audio


"Experience the Difference"

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What We Think

We at Sound Pure have been huge advocates of what Peter Montessi and the A-Designs crew have been creating for the past several years. Phenomenal gear priced below the market price of comparable equipment. The Pacifica is indeed something special - don't let its price tag fool you. This thing is a deal.

The Pacifica has smoothness and richness without over saturation, nor over-coloration, and as a result retains a spectacular amount of detail and high-end openness. While it's true to its 1970s heritage, this preamp has a much more usable modern transparency, detail, and noise floor. We tested it on many applications with great success, and really loved how its subtle character warmed up acoustic guitars without sacrificing character, and how detail and richness was revealed in vocals whether you were running tube or solid-state mics. It's amazing how much warmth they have retained without sacrificing on the detail end of the spectrum.

Additionally, a lot of our users have reported wonderful results using the Pacifica as a DI and line level through the 1/4" jacks on the 2-bus. Again, nice warmth, but still very refined detail. Honestly, this thing is a great every-day preamp - the kind of thing that you can use all over the studio, in countless applications, and never feel like you were getting too much color, too much muddiness, or too much Pacifica. Much like the MP-2 has accomplished in the tube domain, the Pacifica is a solid-state preamp that strikes an incredible balance of warmth and clarity, and yet still is delivered at an extremely well built and affordable price point.

Sonic polish without the cloudiness and greatness without the obscene price tag. Congrats to Peter Montessi and A-Designs audio on their 2006 nomination - this preamp deserves every bit of it. We have been behind the thing since we originally tested it on its product release, and are pleased to see others have recognized the Pacifica's brilliance. Whether or not you are building a preamp collection where the Pacifica can round out the solid-state mic pre lineup, or you are looking to purchase a high-end performing preamp that works in just about every situation, no studio should be without a Pacifica.

Classical Guitar Recording Technique: Recording Acoustic & Acoustic/Electric Classical Guitars

In this video, SoundPure Pro Audio Expert, Travis Hall demonstrates different ways to record Acoustic and Acoustic/Electric Nylon Classical Guitars. Using these techniques, we captured the most beautiful and precise sounds from the guitars, with help from SoundPure Guest Musician, Dennis Aberle. If you like what you hear, check out the gear used in this video at SoundPure.com or call us anytime at 919.682.5552. Thanks for watching!

Manufacturer's Description from A Designs

Two-channel, solid-state preamp with custom, “ear-tested” transformers for the “Big Iron” sound of the ’70s

The A-Designs Audio Pacifica harkens back to the golden age of recording, when consoles were spec’d out by studio engineers and custom-built to provide a sound like no other. Designed, built, “ear tested,” and beta tested by long-time recording industry veterans, the Pacifica takes its sonic cues from the mythic Quad Eight console, a recording desk that easily stood toe-to-toe with API and Neve. However, the A-Designs Pacifica is by no means a vintage reissue—it has a sound and character all its own. Said by top professionals to have the depth of a Neve, the midrange of an API and the high-end of a Massenburg, the Pacifica has quickly established itself as the go-to preamp for numerous Grammy-winning and platinum-selling engineers and producers.

In keeping with A-Designs Audio’s mission of sound quality above all, the features of the Pacifica are just what an audio professional needs to record high-quality tracks and no more. Sonically compromising extra switches and components of dubious features are eliminated from the signal path. Plus, with 72dB gain and extremely low-noise operation (-128dB EIN) the ribbon mic-friendly Pacifica ensures clarity and fidelity—whether you’re going for transparency or plenty of punch and character.

Paying homage to the color scheme of the Quad Eight Pacifica console, the hand-crafted Pacifica sports a rich, cream-colored finish with solid-feeling, red metal gain knobs; a red +48V phantom-power push button with red LED indicator—both for easy identification if ribbon mics are involved; plus grey push buttons for phase reverse and –20dB pad—all giving the Pacifica a look reminiscent of California girls, beach boys, and classic Woodies.

It also has two front-panel Hi-Z instrument inputs, but just like a classic Woodie, it’s what’s under the Pacifica’s hood that gives the DIs a special kick. Unlike other preamps, the Pacifica’s DIs are routed through the input transformer, which puts signal through two transformers for added depth and richer tone. And these aren’t just any transformers. Key to the Pacifica’s sound, they’re custom-designed input and output transformers built by Tom Reichenbach of Cinemag (whose father, Ed, built the transformers for the original Quad Eight desks). The output transformers are custom wound and share the same design as those found in the original Quad Eight. Input transformers are pure, proprietary A-Designs.

But transformers don’t tell the whole story. Another key factor to the Pacifica’s sound is its wide-bandwidth design, which ranges from 9Hz to 101kHz with less than 1% distortion. Along with its custom transformers, the linear response down below 10Hz provides the big, punchy sound that the Pacifica has become famous for. It also provides harmonic content well above the range of human hearing, which reduces in-band phase shift for more realism, along with the added benefit of more harmonic information to work with at mixdown—turning your EQ into a creative tool rather than a corrective one.
While some may believe the glory days of recording are over, The Pacifica is “living” proof that those days have never left us, and better days are still ahead. Put an A-Designs Audio Pacifica in your rack in hear the difference.


♦ Two-channel, solid state preamp with two front-panel Hi-Z inputs
♦ Captures the sound quality of the legendary Quad Eight Pacifica console with even more presence and high-end
♦ Very warm and full tone without being dark; wide bandwidth with a sweet top end.
♦ Custom-wound Cinemag input and output transformers
♦ Input transformer: A-Designs proprietary input transformer with unique winding
♦ Output Transformer: A-Designs proprietary alloy using the same massive design as the original Quad Eight.
♦ 72dB of quiet gain, great for use with ribbon mics.
♦ Unique DI design sends signal through the input transformer for two transformers in the signal path.
♦ Balanced XLR I/O
♦ Phase reversal (each channel)
♦ -20dB pad (each channel)
♦ +48V phantom power (each channel)
♦ Solid construction, handmade in the USA

A Designs Audio

About Manufacturer

The A Designs objective is to provide effective extraordinary-sounding solutions with solid technology. They are quickly becoming one of the most respected boutique manufacturers of audio and production tools, at a reasonable price. A Designs Audio brings a combined total of over 60 years in engineering, marketing and sales/customer service experience. Now our firm brings you pro audio technology that is among the best in the business at affordable prices. Their product lines are field tested by professionals in "real-world" working environments and are put through rigorous tests. This assures the dependability and reliability you require in installations and working environments. They understand the demands placed upon you when providing installations or giving live performances. The last thing you should worry about is the extremely high costs of conducting business. There are other factors that make your work highly demanding. The bottom line is that A Designs provides the tools you need for a job well done....and within budget!


Frequency response: 9Hz-101KHz

Input impedance: 1500 ohm

Gain range: 72dB

Noise (EIN): -128dB

Phantom power: Switchable 48V

Mic input phase: Switchable 0 -180°

Instrument Input Jack: 1/4″ Phono

Output: Balanced XLR

Distortion: Less than 1%

Power requirements: 100/120/230 VAC – 23W

Dimensions: 19″ x 1-3/4″ x 10″

Weight: 11 lb.

Shipping weight: 12.5 lb.


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owner's manual