Paia 1750 Pygmy Amp

and Electro-Larynx option

Front View

Inside View

The Pygmy was designed when monolithic audio power amps started appearing in the mid 70's. Obviously it is a take-off on the popularity of the Pignose amps at the time. The circuit design is minimal, thanks to the simplicity of the power amp IC used. But the amp has a lot of handy functions built in.

The Pygmy owners manual is in the Paia Documents section of my archives here.

The Inside View (above, right) shows the 12 volt battery pack (8 X AA batteries, same as used for the Oz mini organ) and output mode switch, which allowed the front panel Output jack to be configured either as a stereo headphone jack or a line out jack. The specific unit in this picture is a later model, with a cost-reduced speaker. The original models used an orange frame Utah acoustic suspension speaker, for which the box volume was specifically designed for maximum bass response. The use of the original speaker, and the tuned cabinet, was what made the Pygmy such a great small synth amp. It also made guitar use sound more full than the Pignose amps, which did not use wideband amp and speaker design.

Many Paia 1750 Pygmy amps and 3760 Oz mini organs show up on the used market without the battery packs, and people are using these devices with only a 9 volt battery, due to the use of the battery snaps for the power connection internally. A 9 volt battery does not have the current capacity to adequately power the power amp IC and the current requirements of driving the speaker. The result is very short battery life and massive distortion. Replacement battery packs are generally available at Radio Shack, as item number 270-387, for around $1.99. Or you can use Eagle part # BH381, available through Mouser Electronics. I've also seen these battery holders available through "Philmore" electronic distributors, as part # BH383.

Guitar strap buttons were provided, as can be seen in the upper right corner, so the unit could be worn. (See the Minstrel Synthesist brochure pics)

At the time I was finishing up the Pygmy design for production, John was experimenting with vacuum formed plastics to use for bezels for various products. The speaker rings for the Pygmy and Oz are examples. So I had a mock-up made for the Pygmy speaker ring which was solid, but allowed flexible plastic tubing to be attached to the center. This allowed an easy way to produce "talk box" effects, as popularized by the Heil Talk Box, used by Peter Frampton, Joe Walsh and others. It wasn't as high an output level as the units that used HF compression drivers, but for home recording applications in quiter environments it worked very well. A shot of that plastic piece is shown below, on the left :


Electro-Larynx option

Front panel close-up
Linda Kay Simonton designed the Pygmy logo guy

updated 12/28/07