[Analog Hardware + Midi] Paia Fatman Synth Kit ???

I’m curious if anyone has ever come across, used, own or owned one of these?

I was searching craigslist last month and found someone selling one complete, tried to contact but they never responded.
I’ve been looking & thinking about it, as I want to do some analog noodling. It’s monophonic but the price looks nice.

Seems this kit may be perfect to join with an arduino, as it’s apparently one of the most modded synthes to ever be created, being as affordable as it is, that’s probably the main thing.
From what I can tell this company stays somewhat hidden in the framework, I recently saw a very small ad in nuts & volts, I only recognized it after I saw the ad on craigslist. With them having been around since the 70’s, I would be lead to believe the quality of the components & instructions to build is good.

That’s the desktop model, there is also a rack mount.



Not sure what model this possibly a 9700, as she says in the recording, a 1974 flexidisc demo of a PAiA synth:

These analog sounds are pretty much exactly what I want.

i recently got a loan of a novation super bass station rack from a mate that i fell in love with. totally great sounds similar to that above. you might find a cheap one second hand? you can also control cv synths from it…

I built 9700 some years ago. Instructions were clear (I hadn’t doodled with electronics much before) and support was good (my kit missed few parts), but quality of jacks and patch sockets was not that great. But then you can easily change those to suit you.

I have a desktop Fatman and I love it. I use it all the time. It’s not very versatile (monophonic, sawtooth-only, no lfos, etc) but it just sounds really sweet and gooey.

I used it as the lead synth in this track.

I’ve got nothing but good things to say about Paia the company, working with them is great. Very personal service, if you email them you talk to the guy that fixes the kits, and he is great.

That video, I think, is from the era that predates the current kits. It’s not something they sell anymore.

Also re: the “build quality” - the build quality is on you. They literally send you resistors and ICs that they buy wholesale. You solder the whole thing together. I found the Fatman kit to be doable, and I was a novice. I got stuck on their tube preamp though. =(

That’s exactly what I wanted to read.

I have a really decent electronics surplus nearby, it’s certainly not Mouser & it’s very confusing and dirty but it has so many components and odd things everywhere. Lot’s of used equipment, so if I need to get any better parts I can just run over there. I’ve been meaning to try and find a tube project also, they have many many NOS tubes at the place & a checker for them too.

I’ve built kits before, but not really of this size. Built a decent voice changer & followed instructions from a German periodical called Interface that at one point had an english version to build a 555 synth.

Also worked at an electronics manufacturer for a few months so I learned how to solder and massage wires & harnesses. That was quite awhile ago, but I can certainly brush up.

Wow that looks incredibly interesting! Its a shame its still rather expensive. Probably around 300 dollars for the kit, case, toolkit and shipping. For less than 100 dollars extra you can get a doepfer dark energy for instance. But I always wanted to build something like this myself… Shit, what to do?! (…again!)

:) I wish I had the Euro over here!
Looks like 258.90 U.S. dollars = 189.07471 Euros w/o shipping and tools.
Would be cheaper to go with the rackmount panel but it looks to be just a screen-printed panel, and I’d like to put it in an enclosure. It’s nice that way.

I pretty much have tools though: multiple irons, an optivisor, a little table vice and a big lighted magnifying lens mounted to a workbench/table/workspace. I don’t have a scope but I have a couple multi-meters. I’d like to have a temperature-controlled soldering station for this, but I do have a cheap butane gas iron with a dial for variable temperature need to find smaller copper-coated tips though.

For something like this I would imagine a multimeter, soldering iron, an optivisor, some small wirecutters, a little holder like hemistats (or alligator clips) and table would suffice. Well, and a computer Very nearby. :)

A tiny little surface mount component fell off a 80G HDD last week, after removing the drive from the case.
I fixed that, It didn’t look too pretty but it works. So I think with a little practice, I should be okay.

I just remembered I have about a dozen photoresistors & a little 555 synth using a photoresistor, I got from ebay a couple years ago.

The thing from ebay was put together with hot-glue, and was basically exactly like this:

Should probably have enough to be able to put an order into Paia soon. :)

i built a PAIA kit, the quadrafuzz unit: http://www.paia.com/proddetail.asp?prod=6720KP&cat=14

the good:

  • extremely good customer support - when i completed the kit and it didn’t work they gave me detailed responses via email within 24 hours helping me to locate the problem. there was also one typo on the instructions but they were able to confirm what it should have said in similarly quick time.
  • apart from the typo, instructions were reasonably clear to follow (although they don’t teach you as much about how it actually works as they perhaps could).
  • seriously fun to build and good learning experience.
  • unique distortion unit for my collection (albeit one which hasn’t really come out my draw as much as i thought it might).

the bad:

  • import taxes i didn’t expect and other extra costs like sorting out a power supply and it ends up being much more expensive than i thought.
  • bought one of these http://www.maplin.co.uk/images/full/n34andraw.jpg then had to return it as the pre-drilled PAIA front panel is designed so that the components are placed too wide and you can’t fit it into a 1U rack box. end result is naked/unprotected and will probably get broken sooner or later.
  • couldn’t get the footswitch to work properly (my bad though as i must have made an error somewhere and just haven’t found the time to fix it).

so overall, i’d say the PAIA kits are worth doing, especially to build skill if you are a novice or want to build confidence with bigger projects. however i wouldn’t really suggest to do them because you want the finished thing and it seems like a cheaper way to get it… in the end its not that cheap and it can go wrong… so you should mainly do it for the fun of building it imo. in the end i would love to do another PAIA kit like the one you’re looking at… so i’d say go for it!

I generally get a great feeling of accomplishment when I build things.
Along the way, I want to see if I can find a way to attach an arduino parallel with it.
As this kit seems it could be a more than applicable way of doing this.
Hoping to get a working knowledge of adding OSC to analog hardware, but mainly how synthes work.
I get a lot of ideas, and this one seems very much do-able. If I should learn something out of this, I might be able to do a few other things I’ve thought a lot about.

Doepfer is coming with their own DIY synth, ‘looks’ pretty good but you have to buy all the knobs and switches yourself which has its pro’s and con’s ofcourse.

Demonstration vid from Namm 2010

That is a great price. I love the sound of that VCF!