When we last left our hero the build of the PAiA 9700 modular synthesizer was marginal at best.  The 9700 MIDI2CV module worked fine, however, the 9720 VCO had only one of two oscillators working.  Carelessness resulted in one of two matched transistors being damaged in the 9730 VCF build and the 9710 was still just parts in bags. Did I mention the OUTSTANDING service PAiA offers?  So I sent my 9720 in for service rather than try and troubleshoot it myself.  At this stage in the game I don’t have the skills to do deep electrical analysis and I didn’t want to damage the component further.

As it turns out, a solder drip that bridged two components was the culprit.  Not the actual drip itself but rather the trace I cut when clearing the drip. The board was repaired by PAiA and returned in perfect working order. Along with the board I received my transistors plus a resistor which was left out of the 9710 VCA kit.

With these parts I completed the build of the remaining components. Ok…. WOW!

Inside the PAiA 9700 FracRak
Inside the PAiA 9700 FracRak
9700 Connected to Roland A-300
9700 Connected to Roland A-300

The 9700 produces deep, thick, rich sounds right from the start.  I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of what this modular wonder can do.  The first thing I have to do is tune it.  ‘D’ is ‘A’ and everything is out of whack.  I feel like I’m back in the ’70s.  There are patch cables everywhere and still there aren’t enough.

I should mention one change I made to my 9700 MIDI to CV Converter module.  While the documentation instructs you to cut the connector off the power supply and solder the leads directly to the board, I opted to install a connector port so the wall-wart can be removed easily when the unit has to be moved.

Plug Jack Added For Easy Removal
Plug Jack Added For Easy Removal

Now it’s time to learn to use this beast.  So far I’ve been able to generate fat, deep tones and modulate them.  Now it’s time to read more documentation and figure out how to make some sculpted sounds. Stay tuned…..

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