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  2700/4700 Series Modules At a Glance
Click for larger view arrowReleased: 1970's  Specifications
arrowUser rating: 4.0/5 |  Read reviews (1)
Fred Rayworth (Rayworth1969@hotmail.com) writes:
If it were not for John Simonton and PAIA, I would never have been able to afford to get into analog synthesis. I purchased my very first system from him for $150.00 and it had one of every module and a shirt button keyboard! The system had one VCO, one EG, one VCA, one LFO/Noise, one LP filter (non-resonant) and one BP filter. I loved it!

I finally upgraded to a real Pratt-Reed keyboard and started adding more modules.

The original oscillators (2720 series) were very unstable. They came out with the improved 2720A oscillator and I upgraded all my boards. They worked a little better.

The original 2720 LP filter was just a tone control and had little effect on the sound. The 2720 BP filter had some good bite and worked well though there was no control for resonance. The sine converter/pulse width modulator was a nice add-on before they came out with the 4700 series VCO which incorporated that into them. The VCA/Ring Modulator was a great little module too.

In the middle of adding more 2720 modules, John came out with the 4700 series modules. By then I was making my own front panels because it was very annoying using those flimsy 1/8" patch cords. Another problem was the mixed cords; 1/8" for the audio signal path, and pin jacks for the control voltages. There was no mixing of audio and voltage because they were of different standards (unlike most modulars today). But what the hell, for the price, it was a huge foot through the door of synthesis.

I soon converted most of my critical modules to the 4700 series and started adding Electronotes modules of things that PAIA did not offer. A sample and hold module, three type noise source, and linear/log portamento come to mind. At least these Electronotes modules did not require those damn Tempco resistors or AD-821 special transistors (like their VCO's and VCF’s did).

I built onto and played my modular system for about ten years. It was not compatible with other synths out there because instead of 1v/octave, John used voltage to hertz like the Korg MS series (but before they came out). Wouldn't have mattered because I could not afford other gear to interface it with anyway!

Playing on stage could be a bitch. Even the 4700 series oscillators were a bit dodgy for tuning and I had to constantly twiddle with the fine-tuning control to keep them in tune, especially when I was using more than one VCO. I also tried to add an octave switch to them but could not get then to tune correctly (it would have been easy with 1v/octave).

The sequencer was a nice toy to play with but it was a real bitch to program a melody! Even with the ten turn pots, it took a lot of tweaking to get the exact note. With even just twelve steps, it could take 45 minutes to an hour to program a sequence. The thing also drifted like there was no tomorrow!

I used my system for solos and sound effects, and despite its shortcomings, I loved that synth. I finally ended up selling it while I was overseas because it was a monster that took up weight and nobody else in the family could even turn it on! I often regret selling it, especially for what I replaced it with (a Yamaha PSR-36).

During that time I also picked up the Organtua, Strings and Things, and the Proteus. (I'll review them later). I sold the whole lot together.

Today I see these units going for ridiculous prices on e-bay and wonder why people are paying such stupid prices for them. Okay... if I had the money, I would be sorely tempted myself. But still...

I can say nothing but good things about PAIA, John, and Scott. They provided help and support much better than companies that sold the big units would. I just wish there were more companies out there like that!

Today, John and PAIA are still in business and selling a new line of modules. One of these days I want to start up building a system again as I know they will treat me right.

If you can find a system or modules, you're a little adventurous, and the price isn't insane, I highly recommend these old jewels. They certainly opened doors for me!

Comments About the Sounds:
Great for making noises, original filters a little weak, but nice. Original envelope generators limited to A/R. Oscillator tuning iffy but great for the price.

(Thanks to Fred Rayworth for this info.)
and Picture supplied bt Robert Morley, Norway for the pic

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