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A Designs Pacifica Reviews

5.0 stars based on 14 customer reviews
Questions about the A Designs Pacifica?

Questions about the A Designs Pacifica?

Or call us at (800) 222-4700

Sweetwater Advice

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • from December 14, 2016Music Background:
    KORA, MMQ, live musician and recording artist

    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.

  • from November 26, 2016


    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.

  • from Las.Vegas November 3, 2016Music Background:
    Professional Musician Berkeley Ceritifed Engineer

    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.

  • from CT March 9, 2016Music Background:
    Songwriter / Musician / Home Studio

    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.

  • from April 4, 2015

    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.

  • from Seattle, WA July 8, 2013Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    My Favorite Preamp

    I am a big fan of A Designs gear. In addition to Pete being a really nice guy, the pieces he designs are freakishly good values. I have owned an MP2A for years already and it is an amazingly versatile 2 channel tube pre. As good as it is, the Pacifica has very quickly become my "desert island" pre. I have never put anything through it that it did handle beautifully. It has a clear yet hefty, forward sound that sits perfectly in the mix.

    Obviously these things are great from drums, but I am floored by the versatility of this pre. It is quickly become my go-to for rock and hip-hop vocals. With 72dB of gain it handles low output dynamics like the Re20 with ease. That is also handy if you are a fan of ribbon mics and can't afford a dedicated ribbon pre. You'd be hard pressed to find a better DI sound for bass and guitar than this thing. I have been using mainly Focusrite ISAs for my solid state pres which are no slouches, but this thing is in a different class altogether. Everything sounds more present and somehow wider at the same time. Synths also sound amazing through this thing.

    It's hard to say exactly what it is about this pre that is so musical. Everything I run through it seems to benefit. Barring a bad performance a/o poor mic choice/placement it is hard to get a bad sound out of this.

    I will likely pick up another one up very soon. Unless this thing explodes and burns down my studio I might very well fill up a rack with these things and never again fret about finding that "sound" again.

  • from March 18, 2012Music Background:
    Recording/Mixing Engineer

    This is it!

    Its a top notch weapon for synths. I love it on vocals and on Drum but it shines the most on synths to me

  • from Buffalo, NY August 12, 2011Music Background:
    Pro Studio

    Worth every Penny

    Bought this pre from Sweetwater several months ago. Extremely versatile. This pre gets used as much as possible @ my studio. I find it really excels at electric guitar, acoustic guitar and snare drum specifically. Sounds really good on everything else too, but there are usually better pres for other applications. This pre will work perfectly for all applications if its your first high end preamp (and I recommend this for your first).

    As compared to the 1073, I find this has a far more balanced frequency response. Nothing seems hyped at all. The 1073 is my 1st choice for vocals, bass and kick drum though.

  • from Middle, GA July 14, 2011Music Background:
    Musician, Engineer

    What a Pre!

    First project out of the box was a male vocal(country/rock) paired with a Shure SM7. I was so blown away, i ordered another Pacifica! I've tracked kick drum, snare drum, toms, and acoustic guitar through it so far with a variety of condenser and dynamic microphones. You just can't go wrong with this guy!

  • from Watkinsville, GA March 23, 2010Music Background:
    Home Recording Engineer, Guitar Builder, Tube Amp Builder, Pickup Winder,

    Has the Magic

    I've had this preamp for about 1.5 years and I am still amazed by it. Nothing sounds bad and nothing sounds colored. Just a BIGGER and more OPEN and ARTICULATE version of the original!!!! One of the most refreshing things about A-Designs is their customer service. I had an issue with the PAD buttons and within 30 minutes of contacting A-Designs by e-mail, Peter personally called me back and was very eager to get the problem solved and me back up and running. After several troubleshooting questions, he recommended I send it back to him and he would check it out ASAP. It was back to me within a couple of days and was working perfectly. His primary concern was to make sure that I was completely satisfied and everything was working correctly. I felt like an award winning engineer after the way I was treated. A-Designs is truly a class act in terms of quality and dedication to producing a superior product. I would highly recommend the Pacifica.

  • from Allentown, PA September 15, 2008Music Background:
    Recording Engineer, Live Sound Engineer

    What Can I Say.......WOW!!!!

    This is my first dedicated mic pre for my studio, I've been using the mic pre's on my Allen & Heath GL2400 for a while (which are not bad mic pre's at all), and I wanted dedicated mic pre for vocals. At the recomendation of my sweetwater representative, Mike Picotte, he suggested the Pacifica, along with other mic pre's. So did some online research I decided to go with the Pacifica and I'm very happy. THANKS MIKE!!!!

  • from So. California May 5, 2007Music Background:
    Composer / Multi-Instrumentalist

    Well worth the investment

    My go-to preamp for most pop/rock tracking applications. Sounds great on electric guitars and vocals. Quick and punchy like an API, but with a really nice top end.

    Need a great dual-channel pre? This is it.

  • from February 9, 2017


    Preamps, like microphones... are not great at all applications. In my experience, this preamp shines on saxophones, brass and synths. When I first heard my soprano saxophone through this, I was simply amazed - solid gold tone. I prefer the me-1nv for direct bass and vocals, the mp2h (no longer made) for acoustics and overheads.. but nothing beats pacifica on horns and synths.

  • from Houma, LA August 27, 2007Music Background:
    Professional- Producer/Arranger

    THE mic pre

    I would have given the 'blown away' rating on the horn tracks I cut with this pre. My first impression was 'this sounds like the Tonight Show!' I WAS blown away!... Then the vocal tracks I cut with this pre (I thought, initially) were "better" but 'not quite what I expected'... After listening to this preamp against what I was using before, I've come to realize, this is the real deal. The mixes are MUCH cleaner with more depth and clarity. This amp IS the real deal! Buy it!

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