Custom PAiA Fatman Analog Synthesizer

This video, via Harry Axten, captures a demo of his custom build of the PAiA Fatman analog synthesizer. 

The FatMan is a DIY synth that’s available as a kit from PAiA. It can be purchased without a case or with either a desktop or rackmount case. Axten’s build is custom and turns the Fatman into an analog monosynth keyboard.

Axten says, “Although I housed mine in a custom built keyboard, it’s a vanilla unmodified kit. Recorded with no effects.”

If you’ve built a Fatman, share your thoughts on the project in the comments!

15 thoughts on “Custom PAiA Fatman Analog Synthesizer

  1. Well done…I used to own a fatman and there are a bunch of easy to perform mods around in the web that really improve the sonic quality of the synth (replace opamps, improve caps, add sub oscillator, etc). The only issue I found with the original Fatman is the filter (dont get me wrong, it is nice), but I added a ms20 style filter instead and OMG, super creamy bass sounds), I’ll try to find pics of the mods I performed years ago…also I change it from desktop to keyboard (Korg 770 style)…highly recommended for the diy aficionado!

    1. PAiA is sot of at the low end in synths ,(cool for a month )
      unmodified the rang is limited to a few good sweet spots
      and this demo pretty much shows you all of them

      for the money your better off buying a Korg volca and a Teenage Engineering pocket operator

    1. i see your point .. but i think you have never had a PAiA before
      please trust me when i say “cool for a month ”

      i guess the Volca was a bad option ;( ….. may be a used dave smith mopho would be better.

      1. Except you can mod the Paia into whatever you want.

        It’s mostly a Bass Synth and they all sound limited if what you’re after is a lead synth.

  2. I never saw the appeal of the Volcas beyond ‘cheap’.

    They are a fair deal for the money – but very limited gear and cheaply made. For the price of two of the electribes you can get something way more powerful, like the microbrute.

    Anyway – this sounds pretty massive for a cheap analog. It’s about $200 for the kit, so it has to be judged for what it is.

    Nice custom build, too.

  3. Very nice build and a great demo. I’m surprised, how stable is the pitch in this thing, considering the quite crude vco circuit.

    1. cheap volt/hertz scaling is more stable than cheap volt/octave. That is why Paia embraced it on all their early 70s modulars and the stability is why Roland, Korg, etc did the same early on.

      Now cheap volt/octave isn’t a big deal, but the Fatman is an early 90s design meant to be super cheap to get into.

  4. As I still have an old 2720 in rack mount, I like this build of the fat man. Is this linear? if so I am curious about tracking. Very nice panel!

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