Thursday, January 8, 2009

Bye Bye API -- Hello Pacific-AAAAH!!!

The vaunted A-Designs Pacifica Dual Solid-State Mic Preamp. As Rachel Ray would say, "Yummo!"

I know it's been forever since I blogged. You know how it is -- you get busy, then the stock market tanks, then comes the holiday season, then your toddler starts projectile vomiting, yada yada yada. Sheesh!

Anyhoo, in this first blog of '09 we're singing the praises of the A-Designs Pacifica, the discrete transistor preamp based on the legendary Quad-8 Pacifica console of the 1970s. Over the years, API has been widely heralded by engineers -- myself included -- as being the ultimate "American" sounding mic-pre circuit. Well, maybe not. Read this letter I wrote to A-Designs last week:

For 20 years the API 512 was my go-to mic-pre for pretty much anything and everything in the studio. Lately, I’ve been finding that I go to the A-Designs Pacifica instead. Why? Because it has everything I like about API and then some. It’s midrange character reminds me of the API but the Pacifica is less mid-forward and in general rounder, bigger and more open than the API. It has more high and low frequency response, sort of like a 512 with the “loudness” button on. As a result, the A-Designs is more detailed and airy, while having the fast dynamics that I always liked about the API.

I noticed this when I had a 512 and an A-Designs P-1 Pacifica module side by side in a 500-rack. On a male vocal, using a Mojave MA-200, the P-1 gave a bigger, more present sound. Don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy the sound of British iron (Neve,Trident, Daking) as much as the next guy, but ultimately I guess I lean more on the versatility of that clean, fast “American” sound. The Pacifica, with its Quad Eight heritage, may be the ultimate American preamp. Move over API!

A-Designs Homepage

Pacifica on Analog Planet

The Heritage Desk! A real Quad Eight Pacifica console, circa '79, rocking on in Austin.

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