The PAX PX-8 Echo Chamber (Tape Delay)

Here’s a new addition to the Studio Nebula family. It’s a “PAX Echo Chamber”.

PAX PX-8 Front Panel

The PAX PX-8 Echo Chamber Front Panel.

I can’t find any image or reference to this exact device anywhere on the internet. It appears that this PAX PX-8 is functionally identical to the “SOLEC SE-3″. There are other PAX PX-8 machines with a black face, which appear identical to the SOLEC SE-8. After finding some pictures of the SE-8 on the web, it appears that the black-faced unit offers continuously variable tape speed (delay time) control, while this earlier unit uses a 6-position switch.

Unfortunately for me, on my unit the first 4 positions are all the same speed – meaning my Pax has only 3 possible delay times. I’m not going to try to repair it, I’ll mod it instead.

It sounds surprisingly nice. I expected a lot more noise, and I also expected the echo quality to degrade rapidly if left continuously repeating. I am beyond pleased with how nice it sounds … perhaps even “tickled”.

Still, this unit needs a couple of important modifications:

  • Conitnuously variable Tape Speed. The motor is connected to the circuit board with 3 wires. The label says the motor is powered by 13.2 VDC. I think I’ll use a potentiometer wired to a transistor to vary the voltage supplied to the motor.
  • Effects loop mode.The dry signal is always present at the output jack, and it’s quite a bit louder than the delayed signal. This is OK for in-line use with an instrument, but not suitable for processing an effect send. I’m thinking the best solution is to add a pot to attenuate the dry signal. This way, I’ll be able to turn the dry signal down to zero for fx loop mode, and if I’m using it in line with an instrument, I’ll be able to get a wetter instrument-to-echo ratio.This echo is in really good shape cosmetically, so I am reluctant to add any controls to the front panel. Replacing the rotary switch with a pot won’t change the device’s appearance, but the “dry level” is an additional control. It is unlikely that anybody would want to adjust the dry level during normal use – I see it as a set-and-forget knob, so I guess I’ll put it on the rear panel, in the cord compartment, near the tape cartridge.

I was quite taken by this cool-looking thing when I first saw it. Still, even though it’s in excellent condition, I think I probably paid too much.

The seller lives in Mississauga, and he reminds me a lot of … me. I hope to interact more with him in the future.

Korg MS-20 KIT – now SHIPPING!

Korg MS-20 Mini Pieces

Korg MS-20 Mini Promo Shot

I have ponied up for Korg’s new MS-20 Kit. The vendor in California tells me he has the much-publicized limited edition vintage analog semi-modular synth reissue-as-a-kit in stock, so I expect it to find its way into my grimy clutches within the week.

Upon receipt of the kit, I shall immediately join forces with the “Love”-ly and talented DJ Güber for an evening of kit assembly and frivolity. Watch this space for one of the first ever customer MS-20 Kit unboxing / assembly / test / MS-mayhem videos.

See you then! I can’t wait!

MIDIbox 808 Web Site Temporarily (?) Down

An MB-808 Build.I just went to the eight-oh-eight.org site and … it’s dead. Panic briefly set in, but I remembered that Doug owns midiboxaddict.com, so I checked there and found a note! Here’s what it says right now:

MIDIbox Addict

DIY MIDI Projects

February 2014: MB-808 Still Alive

Yes, the MB-808 web site is offline. No, the project has not died or disappeared. Moogah didn’t pay the web hosting bill and he changed the password so I can’t login and pay it myself. I sent him an email message about it and will take care of things as soon as I can.

This weekend, February 22 and 23, 2014, I will try to recreate the web site here on MIDIboxAddict.com.

Quick Status Update

As far as I know, I have processed all refunds that were requested in 2013. I have two refund requests to process from this year. (Yes, requests from batch four have been moved up in the queue.) If you’d like a refund, please ask now, as I will be processing shipments next month (March) and will be asking for final payment then.

You can contact me at doug at midibox addict dot com.

Previously juggernautmusic.com reported on the MIDIbox MB-808 project, a long-overdue TR-808 clone project being looked after by Doug Wellington in Arizona.

As a result of the previous blog entry, juggernaut music amasses a significant number of hits for people searching for MIDIbox 808. So as a service to those who are searching for answers, this post will serve as a pointer to Doug’s temporary page.

I am in no way affiliated with the project and I have not personally heard from Doug in years. Like many people, I did provide a deposit for a “batch 3″ kit, and I remain eager to start building.

In summary:

Leslie! Respect my Organ!

Roland VK-09 OrganA couple months ago I found a 1981 Roland VK-09 organ on Craigslist for a decent price so I figured I’d scoop it up. It has a unique sound, to be sure.  You’ll be hearing more of it in the months to come!

Boss RT-20 Rotary EnsembleNow, of course, I really want to try working with a Leslie simulator. The VK-09′s built-in ensemble effect is nice, but not as pronounced (deep) as I would like.  I was considering the Boss RT-20 Rotary Ensemble Dual Pedal, which seems, as I have now learned, to have fallen out of fashion. It is considered by many to be more of a guitar-oriented processor. Organists instead seem to prefer the uber-expensive Neo Ventilator, supposedly designed by the guy who created the Access Virus, who apparently also hasn’t updated his company’s web site in two years. Supposedly this little box is the holy grail of Leslie speaker sims. Neo has two products: the Neo VentilatorVentilator (at roughly $500), and the Mini Vent For Organ (at roughly $400). Contrast this to $200 for the Boss. Ugh. I only paid $200 for the organ!

My buddy Tomasz just told me he actually has a vintage Leslie speaker. Maybe I’ll see if we can get that working instead.

Meanwhile I came across this most excellent Leslie resource: