Mellotron: Mike Pinder vs EIIIx

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gcoudert
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Mellotron: Mike Pinder vs EIIIx

Post by gcoudert » Sun Jun 14, 2015 4:15 pm

This is a quick recording I made using samples from the "Mike Pinder Mellotron Archives" and the "EIIIX E-mu Classics" CD-ROMs. The phrases were played from an Akai S5000 sampler and the samples are unedited in any way. No effects were used. The Mike Pinder samples are on the left channel and the E-mu ones on the right. You will find that the EIII samples sound a lot cleaner and it makes me wonder whether they were sampled from the Mellotron tapes rather than through an actual Mellotron or if they were simply EQ-ed. Some patches sound as though they have some sort of chorus on them. You will undoubtedly notice that neither set captured the Mellotron attack. The EIII samples are looped; the Pinder ones aren't. The former collection is limited to 3 choirs, brass, violins and flute; the latter is much more comprehensive. I will post examples of the Roland Mellotron samples (from the "Ultimate Keys" SRX card) later, along with examples of the samples from Syntec's "Wall of Sounds Vol.3" CD. Requests to share the samples will be ignored, sorry.

MP Flute
EIII Flute
MP Violins
EIII Violins
MP 8-Voice
EIII Males
MP Boys
EIII Boys
MP Brass
MP Half speed brass
MP Half speed brass pitch-shifted 12 semitones up
EIII Brass

https://soundcloud.com/gcoudert/mellotron

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madtheory
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Re: Mellotron: Mike Pinder vs EIIIx

Post by madtheory » Mon Jun 15, 2015 3:57 pm

Great stuff, I love Mellotron :)

Yes the Emu ones are from the master tapes, whereas Mike's are from his Mellotron so the attack is often "chirpy" due to old tapes, but his set has a lovely tone and the half speed stuff is great. But like you I tend to use a wide range of samples for Mellotron- The Pinder and Emu, plus Propeller Island and G-Force M-Tron (which I recently transferred into Kontakt). I also use Chamberlin, Optigan and Orchestron a lot. Dig those ancient grooves!

If you want the exact Strawberry Fields sound, you'll have to varispeed the sound down (by a third I think) that's how they did it originally. Way more psychedelic :)

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Re: Mellotron: Mike Pinder vs EIIIx

Post by gcoudert » Mon Jun 15, 2015 5:25 pm

madtheory wrote:If you want the exact Strawberry Fields sound, you'll have to varispeed the sound down (by a third I think) that's how they did it originally. Way more psychedelic :)
Thanks for the info! By the way, do you know how far the pitch could be changed either side of the note played using the varispeed knob? Also, I read somewhere that if you pressed a key harder, the sound would get louder, a bit like aftertouch assigned to volume. How much louder did the notes get?
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Re: Mellotron: Mike Pinder vs EIIIx

Post by madtheory » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:01 am

I don't know about the volume thing, my guess would be that would only happen on a machine with a worn out transport?

As for pitch, the range of the oscillator controlling motor speed was 10Hz to 100Hz. 50Hz would, I assume, be "normal" speed. I guess you could work it out by converting frequency to percentage, and then you could figure out the musical interval. I'm messaging a Mellotron expert at the mo, I'll let you know what he comes up with.

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Re: Mellotron: Mike Pinder vs EIIIx

Post by madtheory » Tue Jun 16, 2015 10:55 am

I asked Norm Leete, who designed the M4000. He says:
"Well the answer is that each Mark II was different dependent on how well the motor controller worked and the pulley used. Usually more range down than up and considerably less than the +/- 20% of an M400. Strawberry Fields the opening flutes, for example, have been down pitched much further by using varispeed on the recordings afterwards rather than recording an instrument that has been tuned down to get to pitch".

So the varispeed on the Strawberry Fields flutes might be a combination of Paul doing it on the Mellotron itself (you can hear him playing around with it quite creatively on earlier takes on the Anthology) and the varispeed used to get the two different takes into the same key. I'll test this theory by checking how much varispeed was used on the recording, and apply that to the sampled Mellotron flute I have.

Last time I tried it I used MTron and simply lowered its pitch until it sounded suitably psychedelic :)

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Re: Mellotron: Mike Pinder vs EIIIx

Post by gcoudert » Tue Jun 16, 2015 12:05 pm

Thanks ever so much, Tomas! This is fascinating. The Mellotron isn't a machine I would like to own but I do love its sound.
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Re: Mellotron: Mike Pinder vs EIIIx

Post by Sonus » Tue Jun 16, 2015 2:55 pm

madtheory wrote:Usually more range down than up and considerably less than the +/- 20% of an M400.
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My pleasure!
Last edited by Sonus on Wed Jun 17, 2015 7:18 am, edited 2 times in total.

gcoudert
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Re: Mellotron: Mike Pinder vs EIIIx

Post by gcoudert » Tue Jun 16, 2015 6:16 pm

Amazing! Thanks!
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