A Designs Pacifica

Dual-channel, Solid-state Microphone Preamp with 1/4" DI, and Custom Input Transformers
A Designs Pacifica image 1
A Designs Pacifica image 1
Sweetwater Savings: $255.00 MSRP: $2,350.00
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Or just $59/month§ for 36 months

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Special Order
Special-ordered from A Designs and usually arrives to you within 1-2 weeks. Please note: special orders cannot be canceled or returned.
Note: While most of the items we sell ship for free, this item does not qualify for free shipping due to special circumstances.

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A Designs Pacifica
Special Order

'70s Vibe "All iron" Solid-state Preamp Brings Back the Quad Eight!

A Designs Pacifica - If you're looking for a preamp with the depth of a Neve, the clear midrange of API, and the top end of a Massenburg, you'll find all that in the Pacifica by A Designs. In fact, that's what people who have access to all of the above are saying about the Pacifica. A Designs Pacifica brings back the sound of the Quad Eight console of the '70s (Pink Floyd's The Wall and Boston's More Than a Feeling were mixed on Quad Eight), which in its day was considered the best of the top three - the other two being Neve and API. If you're a small studio that can only afford one really good preamp, give the A Designs Pacifica some serious consideration.

A-Designs Audio Pacifica at a Glance:
  • Unique preamp based on the legendary Quad Eight Console
  • All analog, custom-wound input and output transformers
  • Two front-panel hi-Z inputs
  • Unique look and sound
  • Phase, -20 Pad, and 48v switches
What makes Pacifica different?

In the early days of large recording consoles there were but three companies that were dominating the studios. Quad Eight was arguably considered as one of the best sounding at that time. The A Designs Audio "Pacifica" recaptures this sound with a preamp unlike any you have heard before. No wonder the Pacifica has been nominated for the Mix Magazine 2006 Tec Award!

Custom wound input AND output transformers

In building any mic-pre with soul, one of the most important elements are the transformers. A Designs actually tracked down the original drawings for the old Quad 8 console transformers and went one step further - they convinced the son of the original Quad 8 designer to rebuilt them for A Designs -by ear-by hand. After many prototypes of core alloys and experiments in winding techniques, the sound of the A Designs Pacifica was born. Employing sonically crafted input and output transformer pairs, the Pacifica's sound is unlike anything on the market.

Direct Inject

Unlike modern transformerless designs, The Direct Inject front panel input is designed to go directly to the input transformer for fullest sound. The Pacifica offers extraordinary tone to today's guitar, bass and keyboard players.

Color Scheme

A Designs Audio wanted to keep the look of the old Quad Eight consoles with its Pacifica; the faceplate is a creamy off-white and the cast-aluminum knobs are red along with the red and gray switch caps. All of these are duplicates of the original colors from that era. The Pacifica is as distinctive in looks as it is in sound.

Pad, Phase and 48v

The Pad is a -20dB, the Phase reverses Polarity, and the 48v is a full 48volt Phantom Power supply for condenser microphones. These three features will provide you with all the tools necessary for a great sound.

A Designs Pacifica Features:
  • 72dB Gain
  • Custom wound input and output transformers
  • -20dB Pad
  • 48v Phantom Power
  • Phase Switch
  • Direct Inject hi-Z
  • Custom cast aluminum knobs
  • Balanced XLR output connectors
  • Red LED Phantom Indicator
  • Blue LED power indicator
  • On/Off power switch and internal power supply
  • Toroidal power transformer
  • Single rackspace form factor
  • Lots of tone without tubes!
  • All solid-state design
If you can only afford one really good preamp for your studio, give the A Designs Pacifica some serious consideration.

What Does "Special Order" Mean?

A special-order product is one that we don't normally keep in stock. We order it from the manufacturer as soon as you order from us. We have great relationships with all the manufacturers we carry, so we can get your special order to you as fast as or faster than anyone else. Remember that special orders are non-returnable and non-cancelable, so make sure the item is right for you. A Sweetwater Sales Engineer can help you decide — call (800) 222-4700 for assistance!

Additional Media

Pacifica User Manual
Studio Preamp Buying Guide
New in Stock at Sweetwater

Tech Specs

Preamp Type Solid State
Number of Channels 2
Frequency Response 9Hz-101kHz
Phantom Power Yes
Analog Inputs 2 x XLR
Analog Outputs 2 x XLR
Rack Spaces 1U
Height 1.75"
Depth 10"
Width 19"
Weight 11 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number PACIFICA

Customer Reviews

Based on 14 reviews
Write your review

7 years as my go to pre.

The Pacifica/Quade Eight is the sound I love the most. Stack multiple tracks, and come to mix down the separation is a breeze. It has a beautiful clean open sound, its well balanced, and although its clean it has that touch of magic that has become 'my' sound. Its simple, sounds beautiful, and never disappoints.
Music background: KORA, MMQ, live musician and recording artist


I have a Pacifica and Ventura. Love them both. A few other reviewers said the Pacifica is a great pre for synths. I agree 100%. It especially brings my Prophet '08 to a whole new level. It's like I can hear the insides of every oscillator, filter, etc.. The low end definition and depth is life changing (seriously), while the top end is noticeably articulate/sweet. Build quality is superior to other preamps in this price range. The fat red gain knobs are amazingly smooth and scream quality. Also, having emailed back and forth with Peter Montessi like a few other reviewers, I doubt anyone can top the level of customer satisfaction that A Designs provides.

A Foundational Pre

I owned this pre for several years and sold it when I closed my commercial studio. It is one of two pres I have missed ever since. I haves used in recording classically and choral music and it excels as an overhead pre I have never found anything better for pop, rock or jazz. It has a color that is pleasing not overbearing but magically there. I was rcording a choral group with 50 singers and my first thought was to use a pair of transparent pres for left and right duties. As we dialed in everything I felt everything was a little lifeless overall. I brought in the the choral director and we ABed the sound with the Pacifica and the other pres. When we used the Pacifica it just brought out the choral group in an organic rich way that just brought out a smile to both of us. This experience just sold me on that pre. It brings it own something special unlike any clone of vintage gear. The studio owner I sold it to says it is one of the best pres he has used on his electric guitars hands down. If you are looking for something special or your first pre look no further this has a mojo all its own. I guess I will be calling my sales person Jason cause I miss having that in my arsena as a go to.
Music background: Professional Musician Berkeley Ceritifed Engineer

Bold, Detailed, Impressive.

This is really something. I struggle whether to define this stereo preamp as "colored" or not. It dishes big, bold low end in the most pleasing way, and really sweet air and detail on the highs. So it's definitely not linear, but it's effect on your signal is so natural, pleasing, and comfortable to the ears (without making itself obvious to the listener!) that I'm not sure what to call it other than just saying it's awesome. This and a pair of Earthworks is acoustic instrument heaven to my ears - I've never gotten better acoustic guitar and mandolin sounds since trying this pairing. The Pacifica has been taking a lot of work away from my Neve Portico II's, which is saying something because I love those channels. GREAT bass DI, too. Generally a better match for non-tube condenser mics than tubed.
Music background: Songwriter / Musician / Home Studio

Amazing Gear

Best mic PreAmp I ever had. My mic is the Pearlman Tube TM-47, and this PreAmp is making the maximum out of it.

Sweetwater Advice

Carson McClain

Trying to get an amazing, minimal, acoustic drum sound? Get the Pacifica and a matched pair of Earthworks microphones. Your entire world of drum recording will be changed forever. This is a must-have preamp for the minimalist or the full-blown recording studio.

Nick Schenkel

This preamp has changed everything for me. My guitar tracks have never sounded this good with this little effort. Vocals sit beautifully in the mix. I tried for months to justify buying a Pacifica, and now that I have one I can’t believe that I waited so long. The classic “Quad-Eight” sound that I’ve been longing for is now a reality!
See also: A Designs, A Designs Preamps