Mellotron

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Post by Bitexion » Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:34 am

Lots of artists made their own tapesets with their own samples for mellotron. It's not necessarily lying.

I even know of a Norwegian mellotron with samples of bees for every key.
It's been used on a couple albums. The bee sounds were sampled in different pitches and stretched to get exact notes. Sounds very strange.

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Post by Bob-omb » Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:42 am

My favorite Mellotron track has got to be Rolling Stones - 2000 Lightyears From Home. Brian Jones played some relly eerie Mark II strings on that one.

I have played a couple of M400 as well as the new Mark VI. The old ones are not fun to service or to record due to their noisy nature. No hi-fi. But the new ones are really nice and smooth. I would love to have one...but the price is a little steep for my budget.
I have the Mtron right now wich is cool. But since I am a hardware guy I will probably try to get a Memotron in the future.

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Post by gs » Fri Oct 26, 2007 4:13 pm

I LOVE the Mellotron sound, but find all the recent talk about new products and new software to get a more 'authentic' sound pretty ho-hum, I'm not too excited by it. Why? ---

The basic technology for digitally reproducing the Mellotron sound has been with us for over 25 years. The original Mellotron was extremely lo-fi, so people nowadays are mistaken if they think you need 24-bit/96kHz audio to reproduce the sound. The lower the bit resolution and frequency, the better. Older 8-bit and 12-bit samplers (with analog filtering) actually did a better job of it!

The trick is to do a really good job at multisampling the original instrument, and that is proably not an easy job. There was an SOS article about how to make an effective 'vintage sounding' Mellotron sample, and you had to be able to record all the irregularities of the sound, such as the "pffffft" of the tape being taken up by the capstan roller, the warbly effect of stretched/aged tapes, and so on. This WASN"T done by the early sample people in the 80s who looped the samples and tried to make them sound 'more perfect' (this is the stock stuff of most ROMplers, which if you think about it, is nothing more than a digital Mellotron!).

Now the sampling of old tapes and old Mellotrons is getting better because of the care put into the multisampling process, not because of any new hardware/software technological improvements. (It's a complete oxymoron to need BETTER technology for Mellotron sound when it comes out sounding better with OLDER technology, since the original instrument is a very lo-fi sample playback device to begin with). :idea:

In any case, I have tons of Mellotron sounds from many sources pouring out of my ears (from ROMplers, software...). No need to get a specialized device that looks like a Mellotron unless you want to visually impress onstage.
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Post by Bob-omb » Fri Oct 26, 2007 6:56 pm

gs wrote: The original Mellotron was extremely lo-fi, so people nowadays are mistaken if they think you need 24-bit/96kHz audio to reproduce the sound.
You need the hi-fi to hear the lo-fi. :D :wink:

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Post by Bitexion » Fri Oct 26, 2007 8:10 pm

I didn't mean to sample real instruments and trying to make it sound lo-fi like mellotron. But multisampling the actual Mellotron tape sound.

That's why M-Tron is so authentic, they did just that. You get all the sounds but not the cool looks of the hardware thing.

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Post by etcetera » Sat Oct 27, 2007 5:54 pm

Hi

I've been busy lately and have not had the time to contribute.

Anyway, I have an M400, and it's much like owning an old vintage car. You love it, but there's always a new maintenance issue to deal with. So I have multisampled all it's sounds on my AKAI S3000XL.

Here's a rendition of the Genesis Wathcer intro played on the samples of my own M400s string combined with the samples of someone elses M400s brass, and through the AKAIs internal rotary speaker effect. Sounds pretty right to me:

http://212.242.106.33/~etcetera/public/ ... hIntro.mp3

And here's the actual machine:


http://212.242.106.33/~etcetera/public/ ... 00page.htm

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Post by madtheory » Sat Oct 27, 2007 8:38 pm

What a lovely machine. Having the real thing to play must give a totally different vibe. Those chords sound great, so ballsy and atmospheric. Like a distorted guitar. Is the pitch control wound down a bit?

I find M Tron to be great composing tool, it's right there in Pro Tools and there's a large range of sounds with tons of character. Been using it a lot lately...

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Post by etcetera » Sun Oct 28, 2007 8:51 pm

Yes, playing the real machine does not compare. As it was said, you can actually feel the tape rumbling below your fingertips, and you can hear the sound of tapes slipping back into place, every time you lift your fingers.

The real machine has a very hot output. It's a real struggle to keep it below distortion. So in that sense it's very much like playing a guitar with a powerful output. It is easy to overdrive an amp with the output - making it sound much like those old recordings of King Crimson in the classic years of 69-74. This is the thing that surprised me the most when I originally got it. In a rehearsal situation it REALLY cuts through with that signature warbly string sound.

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MTron but.......

Post by jplavidfan » Sun Oct 28, 2007 9:11 pm

I own a standalone copy of MTron, and use a nice Edirol Roland to play it.

But I do notice that there are some sounds truly missing.

The choirs seem to be a bit thin, and the Cello Strings has a half dead B key with the cello missing.

Anyone know of add-ins that I could load on my iMac and use it with the Roland USB Board? I know of the Mellotron CD's, but I am not sure what you can use those with.

Are they Wave files? Acid wave does me no good.

Thanks!

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Post by gs » Sun Oct 28, 2007 11:05 pm

Bitexion wrote:I didn't mean to sample real instruments and trying to make it sound lo-fi like mellotron. But multisampling the actual Mellotron tape sound [.....] That's why M-Tron is so authentic, they did just that. You get all the sounds but not the cool looks of the hardware thing.
MTron is (by far) not the first product to feature real Mellotron samples. Many early samplers and early/current ROMplers do have real Mellotron samples in them.

Sure, the MTron people may have gone through a lot more of a painstaking multisampling process to get all 8 seconds of the tape run for every single sound historically made for it, however most musicians were only ever interested in the Strawberry Fields flute and Moody Blues/King Crimson/Genesis strings sounds, that's why they're by and large the only ones you'll find on ROMplers.

Additionally, many ROMplers over-process the sound, but if you strip out the FX and filtering, you'll hear the original samples.
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Re: MTron but.......

Post by madtheory » Mon Oct 29, 2007 1:19 am

jplavidfan wrote:
The choirs seem to be a bit thin, and the Cello Strings has a half dead B key with the cello missing.
There's loads of "mistakes" like that- like the alto running out of breath on the male choir tape, and the cello tape using a double bass from C down.

Not all the choirs are thin, but I'm 85% certain that the flute, choir and strings (the most common tape) were recorded originally on DAT by Julian Colbeck quite a few years before the rest of the collection. They have a bit of digi-itis compared to the rest of the library.
jplavidfan wrote:I know of the Mellotron CD's, but I am not sure what you can use those with.

Are they Wave files? Acid wave does me no good.
The ones on Mellotron.com are Akai, almost all soft samplers can read that format- Halion, Kontakt, Emu X2 etc.

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Post by Track2 » Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:31 am

I have Mtron and love it, but the Tron samples on the Proteus 2500 are fantastic- its the main reason I keep it hanging around.
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Post by hey_timj » Mon Oct 29, 2007 11:15 am

Mtron isn't just for strings and flutes, it's also got all these weird, old sounding special effect and a guitar that's strange. the vibraphone is also excellent. good for auto-sepia tones.

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Thanks for the insights, but......

Post by jplavidfan » Mon Oct 29, 2007 5:45 pm

I am definitely NOT a software person yet. I am a bit old-fashioned in that I have boards, and the MTron thing was a fluke for me. I even bought an iMac to load it on, but I am not even close to understanding software to produce music on.

I even bought a Tascam 2480 Mk2 due to my lameness. I could have had any software around for that money.

I have an older copy of Acid, and hated it. And old Cakewalk and Steinberg something.

I was hoping to get really good choirs and load them on my Motif 6, which has every possible memory upgrade available, and I have some cheap Mellotron samples off eBay, but they are horribly out of tune and freaking noisy as h**l.

I will never be able to afford a Mellotron, so what are the OTHER Romplers that have decent strings/choruses built in? And wind instruments are of interest too.

NEVER tried a Triton, and they seem to be wildly inexpensive and available on eBay, but that probably means a lot of research.

I prefer organ touch to piano, and Triton has both, like Motif, I think.

Thanks!

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Re: Thanks for the insights, but......

Post by gs » Mon Oct 29, 2007 9:59 pm

jplavidfan wrote:I will never be able to afford a Mellotron, so what are the OTHER Romplers that have decent strings/choruses built in? And wind instruments are of interest too.
As was already mentioned, check out Emu Proteus 2500 module. Or, try maybe Alesis QSR module (which has excellent strings and flute, don't know about the other sounds though).
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