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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

found a PAIA 4700
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Fractional Rack Modules  
Author found a PAIA 4700
noahcohn
hi guys,
my dear friend let me take home an item to inspect. i was amazed - it is two big old cases:

http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200835.JPG

inside we find PAIA modular guts and a homemade controller:

http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200828.JPG

http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200829.JPG

http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200830.JPG

also a box of cables, books, etc:

http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200833.JPG

http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200834.JPG

then we have a PAIA Phlanger:

http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200831.JPG

and expression pedal:

http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200832.JPG

would you guys please help me to understand how much money this might be worth? i do not know modulars well enough to test and make sure that all of it works. it was built in the 70's and hasn't been used in some time.

thanks for any input!
Rob_C
I've noticed you have posted the same question on the PAIA.com/talk website, so you are going to the right places to get information. And you probably have checked out the completed listings for PAIA equipment on Ebay. If not, that's the place to start.

You have a PAIA 4700 series synthesizer with some 2700 series modules. The 2700 modules were predecessors of the 4700 modules.

You have:

Mixer (1)
Voltage Controlled Oscillator (3)
Voltage Controlled Filter (1)
Inverter/Buffer (1)
Watt Block Power Supply (3)
2700-series Power Supply (1)
Envelope Generator ADSR (2)
Envelope Follower (1)
Reverb (1)
Balanced Modulator/VCA (1)
2700-series Control Oscillator/Noise Source, used in the 4700 series also. (1)
2700-series Voltage Controlled Amplifier (1) and

two module cases and a controller keyboard with glide.

It's all analog, and probably assembled by the purchaser. PAIA did offer some modules already assembled, but this was an added charge. It looks like the owner did some module swapping from the original configuration. It lacks a sequencer.

A kit like this, with a slightly different (better) module configuration, and adding a sequencer, sold for $525.00 in 1978.

So what's it worth? It's worth what someone is willing to pay for it, If you are unexperienced with synthesizers and this type of equipment then put it on Ebay and let the market bidding determine the price. A dealer will pay wholesale price.

From your photos, your modules still have nice graphics, not worn away or scratched. Same with the Phlanger. But build quality can vary from user to user, so it helps to include a picture of the interior, including the circuit boards and the underside of the boards, for a buyer to get a sense of the craftsmanship.

You want a price, so I'm guessing $500-$800 at Ebay auction for this unit, and sell the Phlanger and pedal together in a separate auction (probably about $100-$250). You could even get more. It seems there's enough bidders that nobody gets a bargain for PAIA stuff anymore when it's put up for bid.
Rob_C
It appears you have at least one additional unused circuit board in the box of things, so you should definitely inventory that box. You may have additional modules.
valis
noahcohn wrote:

would you guys please help me to understand how much money this might be worth?


I won't tell you what it's worth but I'll tell you how to use it! nanners

http://obsolete-synthesis.blogspot.com/
(PAiA blog. Outdated but with all the info you'd need.)

There's really good info in Rob's post.
noahcohn
hey,
please do tell me how to use it?? i am staring at the manual afraid to touch any of these wires.. heh..

i would love to get at least one note out of it before the night is through.. i guess that i have no trigger besides the keyboard since my MCV4 can't do V/hz.. as i understand - i need to run a black 'tip' wire from OUT and TRIG to gate and trig on the OSC - is this almost right? i have black pin wires and red headphone like wires which i assume will carry audio?

thanks a lot for the info so far! indeed there are more strange items in that box - a 4770 and some digital types of boards..?
valis
Rob_C wrote:
It appears you have at least one additional unused circuit board in the box of things, so you should definitely inventory that box. You may have additional modules.


It does. Maybe a module and the original kit? That's pretty neat.

Rob do you have an old PAiA system?
noahcohn
someone else asked what is in that box -

there is something labeled 4770 -
http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200842.JPG
http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200838.JPG
then there is like a micro computer board i guess -
http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200840.JPG
http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200839.JPG
then we have the box of remaining parts -
http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200843.JPG
and then something called the 2rd hand which is like a clamp and some micro controller chips -
http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200841.JPG
valis
noahcohn wrote:
hey,
please do tell me how to use it?? i am staring at the manual afraid to touch any of these wires.. heh..

i would love to get at least one note out of it before the night is through.. i guess that i have no trigger besides the keyboard since my MCV4 can't do V/hz.. as i understand - i need to run a black 'tip' wire from OUT and TRIG to gate and trig on the OSC - is this almost right? i have black pin wires and red headphone like wires which i assume will carry audio?

thanks a lot for the info so far! indeed there are more strange items in that box - a 4770 and some digital types of boards..?


I always give the same advice and I've given it often. Disconnect the power supply from the rest of the pcbs and test it before plugging in the whole machine. If there's something wrong with the power supply (and boy are those PAiA power supplies and distribution sources sketchy) then you could do some serious damage to each module.

If the power supply is working correctly, all you need to do is hit the VCO with 1-5V or so and it'll oscillate. Normally, you wouldn't connect a gate or a trigger signal directly to the VCO but it should make a noise if you hit it with either of those signals. The VCO will need voltage to the CV-in to oscillate, unlike some oscillators. If your using an external CV source it is important to consider that you'll need to ground the machines together as the PAiA uses "tip" jacks that are not grounded.

The PAiA does use a linear, hz./volt system, as do some of the old Korg and Yamaha machines. There's some good info on all of that here

The 4770 is just the source for the power cables to connect to their appropriate places and some multiple jacks. Nothing digital there.
valis
noahcohn wrote:
someone else asked what is in that box -

there is something labeled 4770 -
http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200842.JPG
http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200838.JPG
then there is like a micro computer board i guess -
http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200840.JPG
http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200839.JPG
then we have the box of remaining parts -
http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200843.JPG
and then something called the 2rd hand which is like a clamp and some micro controller chips -
http://www.noahcohn.com/paia/P1200841.JPG


Wow. Those sealed modules are really neat. That's quite the score. The 4770 is your power supply (the yellow thing is the transformer). It looks like the other one of those sealed modules is a 8780 D/A Converter. The 8000 series computer and digital modules can be pretty troublesome when your trying to get them to work properly.
Rob_C
valis wrote:

Rob do you have an old PAiA system?


Yes. I couldn't afford the "real" keyboard PAIA synth back in the 70's so I went with the 2700 model synthesizer with the shirt button controller. After listening to Tangerine Dream, I *had* to have a sequencer, so I added the 4780. Later I added additional 2700-series modules and another sequencer and mounted them in separate case.

John Simonton of PAIA was a real genius to design and provide the shirt button controller option - $139 for a complete synthesizer kit was unheard of! Learned a lot from putting it together and spent many hours in the "flow state" creating sounds.

In the past year I pulled it out of storage. I followed your advice on your website and replaced all the electrolytic capacitors in my modules.

I did not go the banana jack route, but cleaned up some of those mono jacks, replaced others that were really tarnished, and made some new patch cords.

The original 2700 power supply only put out 100ma so I kept the front panel but replaced the innards with a regulated power supply that puts out more juice. The two sequencers (one works, one is iffy, both are quirky) pull 50ma each so the power upgrade was necessary.

With that and a few other tweaks, it is now back and better than ever. At least within the constraints of its design. More of a period piece. But PAIA gear is an important piece of synth history, and the gear is still fun to use. And it's great that you and others users post helpful information that keep the tradition going.
themanthatwasused
Great find noahcohn!
I love the look of the 4700.
Wish I can buy a set without a keyboard, then I will proceed to bananafy it.
nanners It's peanut butter jelly time! Dead Banana
valis
Rob_C wrote:
valis wrote:

Rob do you have an old PAiA system?


Yes. I couldn't afford the "real" keyboard PAIA synth back in the 70's so I went with the 2700 model synthesizer with the shirt button controller. After listening to Tangerine Dream, I *had* to have a sequencer, so I added the 4780. Later I added additional 2700-series modules and another sequencer and mounted them in separate case.

John Simonton of PAIA was a real genius to design and provide the shirt button controller option - $139 for a complete synthesizer kit was unheard of! Learned a lot from putting it together and spent many hours in the "flow state" creating sounds.

In the past year I pulled it out of storage. I followed your advice on your website and replaced all the electrolytic capacitors in my modules.

I did not go the banana jack route, but cleaned up some of those mono jacks, replaced others that were really tarnished, and made some new patch cords.

The original 2700 power supply only put out 100ma so I kept the front panel but replaced the innards with a regulated power supply that puts out more juice. The two sequencers (one works, one is iffy, both are quirky) pull 50ma each so the power upgrade was necessary.

With that and a few other tweaks, it is now back and better than ever. At least within the constraints of its design. More of a period piece. But PAIA gear is an important piece of synth history, and the gear is still fun to use. And it's great that you and others users post helpful information that keep the tradition going.


Very cool story. John Simonton was a very interesting character and a very innovative designer. His concept of application, design, and budget constraint, as you have already pointed out, was really commendable. I got into the PAiA stuff by being a DIY guy and wanting to go modular. I found that you could buy modules for very cheap and they were fun and easy to understand.

I think, even with the rising costs of these systems, that they are still a pretty amazing deal. It's certainly not easy to find a 1970s complete modular synthesizer for under $1000.

I've never played with the 4780 before but I'd love to. It always struck me as a pretty amazing design for the time in such a small package. At some point I'd like to get around to breadboarding that sequencer.

As far as the pin v banana jacks, it's kind of a double edged sword. I ended up pulling all the pin jacks and replacing them with bananas. Then I felt guilty about having multiple banana jacks because they're stackable so I put more switches, jacks, and pots in those holes to increase functionality. It works well but can get a bit cluttered at times.

Anyway, thanks for sharing the tale of your old system. Certainly stick around muffs and post thumbs up
ben jah men
resurrection!

Picked up a 4700 system myself recently. These things are (at the moment) quite a bit over my head. The manual seems to be.. lacking.. I skimmed through and didn't see a space with a basic description of what the pin connectors do VS the 1/8" jacks. I can assume pin = CV and 1/8" = audio but I guess I'm just blown away by that limitation.. for instance my system has 3 oscillators but only one "control oscillator". Is it really not possible to modulate an oscillator with another?

I'm also trying to follow some posts from Obsolete Synthesis, especially the one saying to take it apart and examine the power module FIRST (of course I'm trying to do that second but), however, I can't even get the modules out! The bottom row modules seem to come strait out just like eurorack but the top (so far) all have the pots fixed to the panels in an orientation that puts the solder tabs BEHIND the mounting rail!! The power module is literally stuck in the case (as far as I can tell).

To top it off.. I must be getting old.. I can't seem to find the link to "register" over at PaiaTalk! lol

jeez.. and this is after waiting over a month for it to arrive and also realizing today that the tr-707 and Korg ex-800 I bought last night do not even power on. bummer(s).

Guinness ftw! SlayerBadger! help d'oh!
ben jah men
emmaker
These can be a lot of fun. This looks like a 4700J which has the computer interface. I started out with a 4700S which has the sequencer. Had fun with that for years.

If it hasn't been done already replace the power supply with a regulated one. If nothing else get a bigger transformer and build a supply with 3 tab regulators. LM317/LM337 regulators are better than the 78XX/79XX series and heat sink which ever you use.
KSS
4700/S had 3 Watt Blocks originally for power. Those were barely adequate and worth an upgrade. The 4771 regulated power supply seen here came later and was a major improvement. It's fine for the +/-9v rails. The ++ (18V) is weak and ripply being a simple diode voltage doubler with too small storage capacitor. Increase the size of this cap to get immediate better results.

Another key thing to do power-wise is replace the module input caps of any ++ power input. If not all, do at least the 4710 VCA's with higher values. 100 uf or more. Adding a decent power supply for the ++ (18v) won't hurt and actually +15v will work fine. The 8700 Poly keyboard requires a few codes be entered on *every* startup or it just sits there. Many were sold as broken as a result. And the clicking you hear when it runs is normal. Put a switch in the speaker to silence it. It clicks at the keyscan rate. It's easy to forget that in some areas PAIA was state of the art at that time. Even if most of their stuff is LoFi at best. In the hands of a competent owner it can still sound amazingly good.

You don't have to be a member to read the PAIA talk forum and most all of what you'll want to know is already up there. At least download the Using the 4700 synth booklet, and you'll want the rest of the building manuals too. Each has the circuit description and use examples. 200DPI are available on the site for free and are readable and usable. The Friendly Stories book is also something you'll want to download and read as it details the development and workings of the computer poly aspect of your synth. The DAC sucks until you add the fine trim PCB but the Quash is ok and useful.

4700's can be great fun and it's worth saying that Buchla's and a few others also separate the CV jacks from the audio. They are tip jacks on the PAIA, not bananas. Links for everything you need is at PAIA Talk. You'll be hard pressed to find a more helpful and PAIA knowledgeable person than Scott. Not always quick to reply as it's pretty much a 2 man show now. One in TX and Scott in OK.
KSS
Removing the 4771
Pull the 4 screws and then you swing the lower part out and then down to remove the 4771. It doesn't come out completely anyways if it's built according to the roadcase instructions. Easier really to remove everything else first and attend to the power that way.

A simple resistor divider patchcord is explained in one of the module build and use which will allow one VCO to modulate another. If those spaces in the photo are truly empty a simple pot attenuators module will very useful to add DIY.

Build a minimoog ladder filter and prepare to be blown away. It was designed for +/-10v and you have +/-9v here. As Kevin Lightner once said, the PAIA oscs are closer to the moog than just about anything else. A DIY 901A moog OSC driver along with the ladder filter will have you wondering why everybody talks shit about these synths.
davebr
KSS wrote:
Build a minimoog ladder filter and prepare to be blown away. It was designed for +/-10v and you have +/-9v here. As Kevin Lightner once said, the PAIA oscs are closer to the moog than just about anything else. A DIY 901A moog OSC driver along with the ladder filter will have you wondering why everybody talks shit about these synths.


PAiA Moog Ladder Filter

JohnLRice
davebr wrote:
PAiA Moog Ladder Filter

Beautiful work as always, Dave! love thumbs up
emmaker
Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the 4700 have linear voltage control for frequency and the ladder filter have expo.

So how would you use this in the system?
davebr
emmaker wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the 4700 have linear voltage control for frequency and the ladder filter have expo.

So how would you use this in the system?

Yes. If you drive the filter with the keyboard CV it will not track properly. However, driving it from an envelope generator, random voltage, sample & hold, etc. it works just fine. I can't speak for the customer but I use the latter a lot more than the keyboard CV.

Dave
Rob_C
Dave, you've created a number of individual PAIA system modules such as the Moog ladder filter and the scope module and others. If your client permits, can you tell us anything about the intended system for these modules? Anything unique about it?
KSS


Here's another moog 24dB filter in PAIA drag. This one was in a 2720.

emmaker wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't the 4700 have linear voltage control for frequency and the ladder filter have expo .So how would you use this in the system?


Jim Patchell made up an expo mod and used to sell a kit for 4720's. There was at least one other also. The 901a moog driver worked too. Didn't have big bucks so the 3019s were made up from matched diodes assembled cordwood style. If you look at the earliest moog modulars they didn't use 3019's either. Discrete can diodes.
There was a lot more going on in the hinterlands with these synths than the stock units marketing showed. Polyphony mag had tons of upgrades and add-ons. The computer control and interface also let you do other than an expo keyboard for linear oscs and filters. The DAC suffered from a custom blue resistor pack that didn't maintain the proper ratios for the DAC. So there was an add on trim PCB with 4 pots to fix that. Most of the DACs never saw that upgrade and live in infamy to this day.

The moog satellite is a Bob design and it runs on +/-9v. The patent on the presets carries the full schematic People complain about its weak low pass filter but it's just missing a couple poles, easily added. The BPF and some parts of a satellite are a good source of PAIA add-on phun.

The Steiner diode VCF can play well with a modded PAIA.
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