E-mu Vintage Keys mellotron sounds?

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Cirrus Winery
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E-mu Vintage Keys mellotron sounds?

Post by Cirrus Winery » Tue Mar 11, 2008 11:20 pm

How good are they, really? I'm considering buying a used one and not being able to try before i buy i'd like to know just how good they are.

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Post by redchapterjubilee » Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:13 pm

I guess it depends on what you think a Mellotron should sound like. I have M-Tron, Tapeworm and probably one other Mellotron sample-based softsynth plus the original VK+ module and a huge soundfont set of samples from the VK Pro module. My favorite Mellotron is the VK+ module. It is really dry and immediate, like it was sampled from a line out as opposed to M-Tron, which was sampled from a mic recording of the internal speaker from a Mellotron. I think I read on her a year or so ago that the E-Mu samples were from an Emulator library from the early '80s.

In the Vintage Keys Plus the Mellotron strings and flute I think are dead-on, but the brass is horrible and I just don't dig on the choirs. I use M-Tron or Tapeworm for choirs instead. On my MySpace page you can hear Mellotron strings from the VK+ on "Power Word: Kill" and "A Message From Screwtape".
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Post by madtheory » Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:59 pm

redchapterjubilee wrote:...M-Tron, which was sampled from a mic recording of the internal speaker from a Mellotron.
Where did you get that information from? It certainly does not sound that way. Some of the tapes are rough, and that's part of the charm. But it definitely sounds like a DI recording. The Mellotrons speaker systems were quite narrow bandwidth.

The Emu Mellotron and Chamberlin samples are very clean and loop forever, unlike the real thing. I've always assumed they came from the master tapes, but I've no idea how Emu got their hands on those in the eighties, because the company that owned them was in liquidation for a long time, and David Kean bought them from Les Bradley in 1990.

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Post by Cirrus Winery » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:00 pm

Thanks guys. Well i guess the quality is atleast passable then, eh? I found a used one for about 300 usd and i'm considering picking it up for stage use.

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Post by Syn303 » Wed Mar 12, 2008 8:05 pm

The E-Mu vintage keys, classic keys and vintage pro and the roland mvs-1 mellotron sounds are all basically rubbish.

I use real mellotron samples with all the tape imperfections, squeaks, glitches and groans, makes it much more real than the above lot mentioned. Get a sampler and put in real tron samples.
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Post by gcoudert » Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:47 pm

I use the Mellotron samples from the EIIIx CD-ROM "E-mu Classics" (Vol. 7). Yes, they're looped, but they sound great. I guess they were the original Emulator samples. The CD case says:
Mellotron samples were digitally transferred directly from 1" 8-track masters courtesy of David Kean - Mellotron Archive. The instruments are arranged 3 to a bank, one sample per key, just like the original 3-track tape racks. Mellotron VF&B includes Violins, Flute and Brass. Mellotron Choir includes male, female and boys choirs. All samples are looped.
Someone on the EmusOnAcid forum has one for sale. Oh, and that CD also has beautiful Chamberlin strings.

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Last edited by gcoudert on Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by redchapterjubilee » Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:31 pm

madtheory wrote:
redchapterjubilee wrote:...M-Tron, which was sampled from a mic recording of the internal speaker from a Mellotron.
Where did you get that information from?
My bad. It's the Mellotron samples from http://www.mellotron.com that were sampled from the internal speaker.

The point I guess is that there are different qualities to all the Mellotron samples out there. Some are cleaner, some are dirtier, some bear little resemblance to the real thing. Me, I like the VK+ string samples so much that, short of having a real Mellotron, I will never ever sell my VK+ module. I really on that sound way too much.
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Post by Cirrus Winery » Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:03 pm

redchapterjubilee wrote:
madtheory wrote:
redchapterjubilee wrote:...M-Tron, which was sampled from a mic recording of the internal speaker from a Mellotron.
Where did you get that information from?
My bad. It's the Mellotron samples from http://www.mellotron.com that were sampled from the internal speaker.

The point I guess is that there are different qualities to all the Mellotron samples out there. Some are cleaner, some are dirtier, some bear little resemblance to the real thing. Me, I like the VK+ string samples so much that, short of having a real Mellotron, I will never ever sell my VK+ module. I really on that sound way too much.
What's the difference between VK+ and the normal VK?

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Post by madtheory » Wed Mar 12, 2008 11:55 pm

redchapterjubilee wrote: The point I guess is that there are different qualities to all the Mellotron samples out there. Some are cleaner, some are dirtier, some bear little resemblance to the real thing.
That's a great point. I agree with you. I have a whole selection of Mellotron samples from different sources, each with their own merits.

WIth my ESI4000, I sometimes use the clean EIIIx samples in preference to M Tron, particularly for the choir. I use the low memory versions I made for my TX16W with the Propeller Island samples, and I have those in their full glory too. I also have the original EII choir, which is made from Mellotron choirs, it sounds great and takes up less than 1 Meg!

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Post by Syn303 » Thu Mar 13, 2008 1:08 am

gcoudert wrote:I use the Mellotron samples from the EIIIx CD-ROM "E-mu Classics" (Vol. 7). Yes, they're looped, but they sound great.

Gilles
None of my samples are looped, all 8 seconds in length, i have the standard mellotron sets and some rarer sample sets as well, not available on M-Tron
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Post by cornutt » Thu Mar 13, 2008 3:07 am

Actually, the M-Tron documentation says that some of the Mk II tape banks were indeed miked. Their reasoning: That's the way the Mk II was recorded back in the day. Apparently the earlier Mk II's did not have a line out.
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Post by redchapterjubilee » Fri Mar 14, 2008 12:53 am

Cirrus Winery wrote:What's the difference between VK+ and the normal VK?
The VK+ has another ROM chip with extra samples. It just gives you more sounds to work with when programming your own.
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Post by tallowwaters » Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:04 am

i love all mellotron samples. while not all are great raw, they work great for breath, fluff, dirt, and crumbs when layered with wimpy synth sounds a few times over.
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Post by gcoudert » Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:16 pm

Syn303 wrote:None of my samples are looped, all 8 seconds in length, i have the standard mellotron sets and some rarer sample sets as well, not available on M-Tron
Wow! Can you hear the tapes rewind when the 8 seconds are over?!

Gilles
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Post by Syn303 » Fri Mar 14, 2008 7:40 pm

gcoudert wrote:
Syn303 wrote:None of my samples are looped, all 8 seconds in length, i have the standard mellotron sets and some rarer sample sets as well, not available on M-Tron
Wow! Can you hear the tapes rewind when the 8 seconds are over?!

Gilles

On a lot of them there is a distinct wobble sound and others a sharp strained cut off at the end as the tape gets ready to roll back. I think looped tron samples sound un-natural, take for instance the Roland MVS-1, the tron sounds on that unit and on the SR-JV04 VS board, the samples have been pitch corrected which is why they sound a bit horrible, thin and tinny. And the tron sounds on the keys of the 60's and 70's board sounds likey have been taken from a tron with either bad pitching or a wonky motor.
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