The Launch: Back when Peter Montessi was a bassist touring the East Coast—and later when he moved to L.A. and became a session player— he found himself gravitating toward recording engineers, fascinated by how they created sonic masterpieces. Shifting into the business end of the audio world, he served as VP of Sales for CM Automation (Motor Mix) for a few years before flexing his entrepreneurial skills and launching A Designs Audio Inc. in 1999.
Quality Without Compromise: The boutique company’s clientele includes everyone from bass legends Stanley Clarke and Reggie Hamilton to Grammy-winning mix engineer Dave Pensado, producer-engineer Tony Shepperd, Dylan Dresdow, Ronan Chris Murphy, John Rodd, and many more. A Designs Audio offers a combined total of 60+ years in engineering, sales and service. Their objective has long been to provide the best possible audio solutions in the form of products built on solid technology for top level performance in the studio, on stage or for standalone applications. While living up to their motto “Quality Without Compromise,” they take the concept of customer service to a new level with Montessi serving as “the face of A Designs Audio.” While A Designs spotlights innovative products developed by Montessi and Designers, he created Pete’s Place Audio as a subsidiary company that provides a unique collection of high- quality gear designed by industry leaders like Ken Hirsch of Electrodyne and Brad Avenson of Avenson Audio.
Quote from Peter Montessi: “One of the advantages to being a smaller company is the personal service I am able to provide for our current and prospective clients. There are many consumers who won’t buy a product without talking to the owner or designer. If you believe in your product, you should engage in that crucial step. If they’re not sure exactly what they need, I ask them questions and let their responses guide me to finding them what will fit their applications. Say with preamps, I’ll ask ‘Who are you going to use it with—a male, female, soprano, alto? What mic will you be using? After that, what is your signal chain? They have to take everything into consideration—the room, the monitors, the tone they’re seek
ing, something with good air, solid bottom. It all hinges on the individual. I often bring up questions they hadn’t even considered asking.”
Product Highlights: One of A Designs’ flagship products is the Pacifica preamp, which takes its sonic signature and name from the revered Quad Eight mixing console, but has a sound and character all its own. It has been praised for having the depth of a Neve, the midrange of an API and high end of a Massenberg. The company’s most recent rollout is the Reddi V-2, the 2-channel, dual mono 2RU rack mount version of the renowned, all-tube Reddi D.I. Box, with custom wound CineMag transformers and powerful sound based on the Ampeg B-15. A Designs says “there is no better way to convert an instrument or line level signal to XLR.”