Guitarist George Pajon, Jr. (pictured), who for the past eight years has been an integral member of the multiple Grammy Award–winning Black Eyed Peas, has purchased six A-Designs Audio Pacifica dual-channel, solid-state microphone preamps for his El Cubano Studios in North Hollywood, Calif.
In addition to performing and recording with the Peas, Pajon has co-written many of the group’s most popular hits, including “Let’s Get It Started,” “Where Is The Love,” “Shut Up” and “Don’t Phunk With My Heart.” He has also written songs for Carlos Santana, Ricky Martin, Macy Gray and other artists.
Recording engineer Dylan Dresdow, who rents a studio at El Cubano, introduced Pajon to the Pacifica. A-Designs Audio’s Peter Montessi gave Dresdow an early prototype of the Pacifica.
“We used the Pacifica prototype and a bunch of other A-Designs stuff on my solo record, Fried Plantains, a few years ago, and everybody raved about the drum tones,” says Pajon. “Even guys who were out recording in world-class studios were coming to me and saying ‘Dude, how’d you get those tones? Let me have that!’
“After being out on the road with the Peas, I came back into my studio to work on some projects and found that I wasn’t able to track any decent keyboard sounds—the Clav and Wurlie tones were terrible and the Rhodes sounded like a soft synth,” Pajon continues. “So, I mentioned it to Dylan, who went over to his studio, brought back the same beta [model] Pacifica and told me to use it. I plugged the Rhodes into it and, within a minute, knew I needed four of them right away. And just like the comments we were getting before with our drum tones, now everybody raves about our keyboard sounds.
“I bought a ’57 tweed [Fender] Deluxe and didn’t want anything to change the sound of that amp going into my Pro Tools rig, so I picked up another pair of Pacificas,” he says. “That pre makes the recorded signal as true as possible to what’s really going on. A lot of preamps on the market can overly color the sound, and that might be great for things that suck, but when your tones start off fabulous, you just want to preserve exactly what you’re hearing.”
Pajon’s preferred signal chain for recording guitars lately has been to go from a new Pearlman TM1 tube microphone into the Pacifica and then straight into Pro Tools. “That combination is absolutely awesome, and not just for guitars. Vocalists coming into my studio keep picking the TM1 over some of my $10,000 mics, which is pretty amazing. It just has such a wonderful warmth to the tone and really complements the mic pre.”