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Author Topic: Paia kits?  (Read 3066 times)
Rodgre
Posts: 1097


Roger L.


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Paia kits?
« on: September 09, 2003, 10:32:00 PM »

How many of us have built Paia kits?

I know a few of us got our feet wet with projects out of Craig Anderton's book, but I'm curious how many of us have purchased and built Paia kits.

Back in the 70's and 80's there seemed to be way more cool projects (all those cool and cheap synth modules!) whereas it wasn't until recently that they were offering anything like that, other than the Fatman synth.

I've got a Synthespin and a Gator that I love and use in the studio. I also got a Gnome synth kit that I never finished....

Anyone else have experiences good or bad with Paia kits? I realize that they usually ship with less-than the highest quality of parts, but I still feel it's a great place to start DIY-ing.

While we're at it.... anyone remember Heathkit?

Roger
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ErikMiller
Posts: 623


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Hot Lyx, Gator, and Pygmy
« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2003, 12:35:46 AM »

Back in the day I built a Hot Lyx sustain, Gator Noise Gate/Attack Delay, and Pygmy amplifier.

I was very low on disposable income, and it was the only way I could afford to have any kind of rig for about a year.

Before these I built a Tube Sound Fuzz for the all-important distortion, and the headphone amp in EPFM. I couldn't even afford to buy all the parts at Radio Shack, so I scavenged what I could.

Actually haven't fired up the Hot Lyx or Gator in years; couldn't find a place for them in my sound.
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Ge_Whiz
Posts: 1937

Phil MillerTime


Paia kits?
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2003, 02:26:54 AM »

Roger, what are your comments on the Synthespin? I was planning to build one. Found two comments on the web, one praising it, the other condemning it as crap. Clearly, the 'physics' of the Synthespin comes nowhere near emulating the principles of real Leslie cabinets, but the real question is - how does it sound? I'm looking for subtlety, not in-yer-face noises.
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Paul Perry (Frostwave)
Posts: 7470

Paul P.


Paia kits?
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2003, 06:03:01 AM »

PAiA are quite helpful people, by all accounts.
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Rodgre
Posts: 1097


Roger L.


WWW
Paia kits?
« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2003, 07:20:30 AM »

Quote from: Ge_Whiz
Roger, what are your comments on the Synthespin? I was planning to build one. Found two comments on the web, one praising it, the other condemning it as crap. Clearly, the 'physics' of the Synthespin comes nowhere near emulating the principles of real Leslie cabinets, but the real question is - how does it sound? I'm looking for subtlety, not in-yer-face noises.


It's a very cool subtle vibrato. It does that sort of bubbly Vox vibrato thing. It is subtle for sure. I did some mods to mine to change the range and the speed of it for more extreme sounds, but just the same, it's still a subtle effect. It reminds me of my old Jordan Vibrasonic Vibrato. It has the sound of a really weak phase shifter. A unique effect.

Roger
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Fp-www.Tonepad.com
Posts: 1130

Francisco Peņa


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Paia kits?
« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2003, 08:11:42 AM »

I built their Theremin kit.

I'm very satisfied with it.

Fp
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www.tonepad.com : Effect PCB Layout artwork classics and originals : www.tonepad.com
marc
Posts: 53


Paia kits?
« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2003, 08:18:24 AM »

i built the fatman. i found it very easy to make, as opposed to working from just a schematic. the part names are all stencilled on the board. components were good. it was pretty much like assembling a model airplane. the only thing i wasn't crazy about was thier cabinet and rack mount. i made my own snazzy wooden enclosure for it (shaped something like a bright-lite). fatman sounds great, my band uses it in a few songs...
marc.
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RickL
Posts: 632

Rick L (what a shock)


Paia kits?
« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2003, 08:48:29 AM »

I've built several of the PAiA kits. Gator,  Rocktave and a couple of the Craig Anderton kits. All of them worked first time. I think they're a great way for a beginner to get into something a little more complicated than the usual LPB-1 or Fuzz Face.
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MJ Harnish
Guest
Paia kits?
« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2003, 01:36:16 PM »

Back when I was living in Oklahoma I dropped by PAiA (which is located in Edmond, OK) to save myself the cost of shipping.  They (as far as I could tell it's a married couple) operate out of a two-room office located in an industrial park.  The place is packed with junk, paperwork, equipment, you name it.  Total chaos, though apparently there was an order to it b/c the owner (whose name I can't recall) was really nice and dug through a stack of papers to find a schematic update for me.  The thermin looks cool...
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Rodgre
Posts: 1097


Roger L.


WWW
Paia kits?
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2003, 02:31:28 PM »

John Simonton is his name, if I recall.

Roger
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sfr
Posts: 727

Joshua Pierce


quadrafuzz?
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2003, 03:09:05 PM »

has anyone built the quadrafuzz?  i ordered one a long while ago -  it said "in stock" on the website, but it wasn't - turns out they were updating the kit to include the powersupply on the same board or whatever, and that meant re-working the manuals and all that jazz )- regardless, i'm still waiting patiently - i ordered the kit because making that whole big mess from the schematic seemed a little over my head - but i'm curious if anyone's built it and what they're impression of it was - it seems like a neat idea, and i wonder if the splitting the frequency up before distorting it thing could be reworked and applied to other distortions.  (maybe even some crazy tube distortion if I ever feel really self-deprecating)
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RickL
Posts: 632

Rick L (what a shock)


Paia kits?
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2003, 03:17:08 PM »

I built one using a hand drawn layout that I found on line (sorry can't remember where). If you do find it beware, one of the voltage regulators is hooked up wrong, compare the schematic and layout before you build.

That said, I was less than impressed. It works, all the controls have an effect but for the time and money it took to build it would have been more logical to build 4 or 5 other, simpler, different sounding distortion boxes.

I'm glad I built it, 'cause I'm one one those guys who just has to have one of everything but in one man's opinion (worth what you paid for it) it doesn't give big bang for the buck.

Mark Hammer will probably chime in here at some point. I believe he has a different opinion, as well as some thoughts on how to improve it. Consider his opinion too.
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Peter Snow
Posts: 278


PAiA Kits
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2003, 04:52:35 PM »

Well, here are my comments on PAiA FWIW:

- Though it is a "family" business it is more than a mom & pop outfit.  John Simonton has been around for years. Browse around the PAiA website to get an idea.

- I have built the following PAiA kits over the years:
  Vocoder
  Fatman
  Complete 9700 series synth
  Tube Head (x2)
  Drum Brain
  I also have several bare boards that I will be populating soon, including the Stereo Compressor and the Ducker/Gate.  And I plan to get the Theremin kit as soon as I have more time for building.

- So far I have had only two problems. When building the 9700 I was supplied with a wrong pair of transistors for the VCO exp convertor.  I explained via email and the correct replacement parts arrived within the week - no questions asked.

Second, I could not get the Drum Brain working (this was my first kit) - it seemed to be spewing out random MIDI messages.  First I called and their tech (Scott Lee?) suggested several things to try.  After a few calls with no luck in tracking down the problem, he suggested I replace some of the larger chips one by one to see if one was bad.  He started off by sending me a replacement PROM and as luck would have it, it cured the problem.  However, he was prepared to send me replacement chips one by one until it was fixed.  Where else could you get that kind of support?

In short, I think they are great for the hobbyist. They get my hearty recommendation.

My 2c.

Peter
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Remember - A closed mouth gathers no foot.
george
Posts: 637


Paia kits?
« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2003, 09:42:39 PM »

I built the SIAB (Stack in a Box) but I've never been impressed with it's
- fairly low gain
- muddy tone

Even considering it is more of a bluesy than a balls-to-the-wall Marshall stack sound, I fiddled with it for years trying to get a tone that I was happy with.  I did Frank Clarke's mods (the first ones, not his later 'and a second tube (valve)') and I was still unhappy.

I then built Aron's Shaka Tube and I got exactly the tone I wanted after only a bit of experimentation with input and output caps.

So anyone that's considering this project be aware that it doesn't really deliver on it's promise.  

My conclusion is that it was designed by someone who didn't really understand how to get a good overdriven/distorted guitar sound.

hth ...
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cd
Posts: 1784



Paia kits?
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2003, 07:38:01 AM »

Regarding the SIAB, IMHO anything that runs a tube at low voltage (<200V) is not going to sound satisfying.  That being said I built one from scratch (no kit) and was pleased with the sound.  Seems to me it's more of a studio tool, into an amp it was just so-so, into a mixer with some FX it was way better (used it with Cubase for years until I finally got Amplitube.)

Regarding the Quadrafuzz, it has great sounds in it but it takes a LOT of fiddling with the knobs to get there.  This runs counter to many guitarist's thinking, which is why the TS-9 is so popular IMHO: it sounds good (maybe even great) but any knob position works.  With the Quadrafuzz, I found the biggest weakness to be the lack of presets... it takes you a long time to find a nice sound (not only fiddling the knobs on the QF but on you amp as well), then you either have to write down the knob positions or try to remember them (impossible!)  Interestingly enough this was "fixed" with the plug-in VST version (which sounds the same and better).  I would start by distorting the high end only, then working your way down, adjusting the volume of your guitar and/or any other FX before the QF since it seems to be sensitive to levels.
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V!N
Posts: 91


Paia kits?
« Reply #15 on: September 28, 2003, 05:28:17 AM »

I'm very interested in the Synthspin, but I'm not that advanced yet to completely do this project with the PDF at hammer .

Is there any more DIY information on this one ? or .. at least a decent shot of the PCB, parts layout and wiring ?

thanks,

Vince
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Rodgre
Posts: 1097


Roger L.


WWW
Paia kits?
« Reply #16 on: September 28, 2003, 06:58:22 AM »

I have a Synthespin, but I actually got it assembled (a client at the studio found it and gave it to me saying "you look like you might be into this"!!!!!)

It's a pretty neat subtle vibrato unit. Had I had the money when I was younger, and they were selling that kit (and it's companion, the Ping Pong tremolo/panner) I would have been all over it.

Roger
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V!N
Posts: 91


Paia kits?
« Reply #17 on: September 28, 2003, 07:38:50 AM »

Quote from: Rodgre
a client at the studio found it and gave it to me


 :x No, I'm not jealous ..  Cheesy


If you have a digital cam, could you please take some high resolution shots of the PCB, parts layout, wiring and layout of the controls on top of the box ?

Hm, sounds like a lot of work. Well, if you have the time, I could create a dummy-friendly PDF with all the info and the toner transfer images in it all together.

Would be neat !

V!N
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Rodgre
Posts: 1097


Roger L.


WWW
Paia kits?
« Reply #18 on: September 28, 2003, 08:03:09 AM »

I'll give it a "shot" later this afternoon.

Roger
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Greek Acrobat
Posts: 54


Paia kits?
« Reply #19 on: September 28, 2003, 08:48:26 AM »

I'm just starting out and I ordered an anderton bi-filter from EPFM from PAIA about 3 months ago. I've been told it's on back order and will be for some time to come. I'm sure they're customer service is great and all but it just kinda sucks having to wait this long.
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