Reader Workbench, Stringz ’n’ Blingz!

August 30, 2010

Stefan Vorkoetter

Paia_beforeI like vintage gear and I also like building stuff, so when a 1978 PAiA Stringz ’n’ Thingz came my way, I set out to completely overhaul it—then improve on it. The overhaul involved a new case and replacing the aging electrolytics. The improvements were more substantial—replacing the 37-key Pratt-Read keyboard with a 44-key Yamaha action and adding circuitry for the extra notes, crystal-controlled tuning, individual level controls for the violin/cello blend, four chorusing modes, keyboard split for the piano voice, and a flute voice.


Paia_afterThe biggest addition was an analog effects section for morphing the flute into something less organ-like. First in the chain is a wave folder to add harmonics. It can be set to a constant depth or modulated by an LFO, AD envelope, or both at once. Next, the audio passes through two VCAs. The first is modulated by an LFO to any depth from zero to 100% (pulsing). The second VCA is controlled by its own AD envelope.

Everything is analog and adjustable using 27 knobs. The keyboard splits just below middle C. Voices, and whether effects are applied, can be selected separately for each half.

For more, visit stefanv.com/stringz.html.

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