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 upgraded PAiA 1550 
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Joined: Thu Nov 13, 2014 12:56 pm
Posts: 3
Post upgraded PAiA 1550
I purchased a Stringz n' Thingz way back in 1981. After putting it together, it sat dormant for a number of years before I decided to revive it. That involved the following

- adding the optional 1151 stereo output board. Thankfully, PAiA still had some NOS 1551 boards available when I decided to do that. I was also fortunate enough to already have two Recticon SAD 1024 analog delay chips that board requires.

- modifying the power supply to provide a separate 5+ volt output, which I used to employ a modified volume pedal to allow for voltage control of the string and piano sustain.

- Adding a fuse to 120 AC line, as well as a detachable power cord.

Then, as part of it's configuration:

- Running the stereo outputs through a vintage Ernie Ball stereo keyboard pedal

- feeding the ouput of said pedal into an Alesis M-EQ230 stereo equalizer, which allowed for fine tuning of the sound profile of the high and low string outputs.

- Then running the final output through a Behringer RV600 stereo "Reverb Machine" pedal.

Picture of the rig as confiured is available at the URL below.

Suffice to say these modifications and processing additions lead to a sound profile that is much richer than not just the stock version of this keyboard, but pretty much any 70s vintage string synth. The equalization blended with practicing to play in alternately legato and staccato styles (employing lots of judicious changes in volume and sustain) make the strings take on a much more distinct bowing character. Combining that with the "air" provided by the delay unit results in what some listeners have told me is an almost frighteningly realistic orchestral sound (given it is being produced from a comparatively small keyboard).

Sat Jan 06, 2018 3:12 pm

Joined: Sat Jul 30, 2011 5:46 am
Posts: 70
Post Re: upgraded PAiA 1550
That's awesome! Do you have any sound examples?


Mon Jan 08, 2018 10:34 am
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Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 1:15 am
Posts: 43
Post Re: upgraded PAiA 1550
I'll second James' request for some example sounds. Would love to hear what the upgraded Stringz n Thingz sounds like.

Mikeymars, maybe Scott can post a wav or mp3 file for you if you don't have an external link for posting sound samples.

Has anyone ever modified the Stringz n Thingz to play under midi control? Any thoughts on what would be required to control the SnT electronics with midi?

Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:00 pm
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Joined: Sun Nov 09, 2008 2:49 pm
Posts: 733
Post Re: upgraded PAiA 1550
In recent years, I'd always recommended Highly Liquid and the boards they show on their site for getting discrete voltages from MIDI Note Numbers, but it seems they are sold out or have stopped with these. Looking elsewhere, just now, there looks to be a possibility here at MIDI Boutique:

And, these two sites were just messaged-in:


This one looks pretty good:
$54.00 ... uct=MIDECO

Some of the stuff listed here is obsolete:


Scott Lee

Tue Jan 16, 2018 12:49 pm
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