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 Digital Mellotron

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dronescape
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 29, 2010 9:00 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

« Eric G » wrote:
« qwave » wrote:
I think we never heard a first or second generation tape on a Tron at all. So what is wrong with the Manikin samples of real used frames? This is how a real Mellotron sounds like.
The words "clean" and "noiseless" never matched to a real Mellotron.


Alright, so who will first release an FX box that makes clean tron sounds sound like worn-out tapes?? Laughing


There´s one already:

Roland RE-201 Space Echo.

Or a Dynacord Echocord Super 76.

Stephen

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 6:55 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

This is an iteresting discussion.
It seems a lot of misinformation is STILL out there regarding what Mellotrons were, what they are now, and what makes them tick [or not tick].

Many people think of them as cranky unreliable noisy unstable warbly pain-in-the-arse monsters.

They don't HAVE to be that way.
That's like calling all Les Pauls overly-heavy out-of-tune noisy and buzzy guitars because you have picked one up that has 30 year old strings on it that has not been tuned for 25 or had the intonation done for 20. Is that fair?

It's just not a reasonable way to look at them.

If you pick one up at a yard sale for $500 and t ake it home and it's out of tune and half the notes don't play, it just silly to say that's the way they are and are supposed to be.

There is a motor control card that was of bad design that's still in many of them.
This makes it so more than one note being played bogs down the motor and drops the pitch. This can be cured with a new motor control card that sells for a couple hundred bucks and can be installed in a couple hours by anyone that can read some basic instructions. And expecting tapes that have been sitting idle for 25 years to sound like something other than tapes that have been sitting for 25 years is also not a realistic endeavor.

The bad reputation that the Mellotron has is not ENTIRELY the fault of the instrument. They can be wonderfully reliable, pitch-stable, and a sheer joy to play. But they must be maintained. There is now a HUGE library of sounds available, many are newly recorded and quite clean, but you can also get a rack full of the classic sounds [MKII Strings, 8Voice Choir, Flute, Brass, etc etc] and play your favourite classic Mellotron tracks with a BIG smile on your face.

As far as the "touch sensitive feature" of the original, it's really a very subtle thing more like 'aftertouch' and is not even something you will notice if it's part of a big mix. You can adjust the keyboard action to make it more reproducible, but again, it's something that you alone will probably notice - not something the audience will likely even hear - it seems to be from extra pressure on the heads creating a bit of distortion [but this will wear your tapes out faster also].

These days you have many options:
You can pick a fully restored M400 or Novatron for about $4000-$5000 that will allow you to experience the real thing the way it should be experienced.

You can buy a NEW Mellotron from Marcus at mellotron.com that is an incremental improvement over the original.

You can buy a NEW M4000 from Streetly Electronics for about $7000-$8000 that is a huge advance on the original's capabilities.

You can buy a Memotron which is really a sample playback device vs a tape playback device.

You can buy a new Digital Mellotron which is a sample playback device.
[making it 24 bit seems rather odd as the original analogue tapes had nothing like the kind of dynamic range that would benefit from that many bits, but hey, 24 is more than 16]

You can but one of the many sample libraries out there for your hard/soft sampler and use the sounds you want when you want to use them. As far as which one to get, I don''t think ANY of them are as good as the Pinder CDROM available from mellotron.com - it's the best BY FAR.

Myself? I have 2 M400s and the Pinder CDROM. I have 4 tape racks with a variety of sounds to choose from. At home I use the real thing - when I play live I use the Pinder CDROM in my EMU ESI4000 and it sounds great.

I have restored about a half-dozen M400s [including my own] and I maintain a couple more for people. I learned to service them from John BRadley and Martin Smith at Streetly - they came here to the states a few years ago and ran a wonderful clinic for 3 days on proper care and adjustment.

There is no reason to WANT a Mellotron to sound bad - it's likely just what you are used to hearing, but that does not make it 'correct' or acceptable. Please don't assume that they are all unreliable blah blah blah... They are NOT.

If any of you know Radio Massacre International, both Duncan and Steve have played both one of my M400s [I loan them out when they come to play here in Philly, and they are coming again in April] and a couple other locally-owned machines and they have NO complaints whatsoever.

If you seriously want to immerse yourself in Mellotron lore, join the Yahoo Group: newmellotrongroup
It's full of expertise and opinion. Mostly the latter. A very 'lively' discussion of the Digital Mellotron has ensued... I warned you...

I'll try and keep an eye on this discussion in the coming days.
I'll try and keep my own personal opinions in check, but I'll be happy to field any questions public or private.
[and I'll be happy to restore you cranky old Mellotron for ya too!]

Whew... sorry to prattle on, but I hate to see these machines disparaged unreasonably.

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dronescape
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 30, 2010 1:35 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Having used both Edgar Froese´s original Mark 5 Novatron (#127A) and Klaus Schulze´s Mellotron Mark 5 (#122A), Peter Baumann´s original M400 with many of the original tapeframes originally owned by either Tangerine Dream or Klaus Schulze, plus having laid my hands upon most of the machines that went through Klaus Hoffmann-Hoock´s hands, and being name-checked by Ken Leonard in Frank Samagaio´s Mellotron book, I´m far from being negative. Check my album "Traces of the Past Redux" to get an impression what I´m talking about. I´m just being realistic.

Honestly... I wouldn´t want to drive a 1956 Volkswagen Beetle with 6V electricity on board, and no decent heating either. Yes, it´s definitely cool to own such an artefact -- you could have people marvel at it at a classic car saloon --but to take you back and forth to work you´d be driving something else.

Stephen

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 8:58 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

« qwave » wrote:
I think we never heard a first or second generation tape on a Tron at all. So what is wrong with the Manikin samples of real used frames? This is how a real Mellotron sounds like.
The words "clean" and "noiseless" never matched to a real Mellotron.


Any Memotron-Owner will argue that way. I would do either.
But for me the new Mellotron is much more interesting than the Memotron (at the least the desgin)

Nobody has said, that the tapes were denoised.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 01, 2010 11:18 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Oh yes, the Memotron´s sounds have all been denoised and EQ´d, as far as I know. THere was also a bank of non-tweaked sounds in the pipeline but being no Memotron owner I don´t know what became of that.

Stephen

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2010 1:42 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

If that's true, it's very bad.
I've never heard any good denoising. It always ruins the music, more than any hiss.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 11, 2010 7:30 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

I just found out on the Mellotron website that there will be a Digital Mellotron Rack coming in September.

I own a Memotron with the complete up-to-date library and I am planning to buy the DMR and enjoy both Worlds of Tron.

This will truly be a MEGATRON with a huge library of sounds.

The problem is waiting for September to get here Sad

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 16, 2010 9:23 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

It is near the end of July and I was wondering if anyone here has their M4000D and what are their impressions?

I was close to buying one but the thought of long distance travel made me back down. If they were sold here in the US I would have been more likely to buy the keyboard than settle for the rack.

The price of the keyboard went up another $100USD and add that to the shipping and PayPal fee and the total came to $2460USD which is more than I paid for my Memotron in 2006.

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dronescape
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 12:30 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Has it actually materialized? I guess we´re talking about Markus Resch´s adaptation of the Memotron here, aren´t we? I heard rumours that there wer problems with manufacture and, ahem, the sounds which suddenly were available for free from some website...

I´m not sure because I have no further details but I wouldn´t be too surprised if it turned out to be vapourware.

Stephen

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 17, 2010 2:28 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Quote:
Has it actually materialized?

Does not look like,
Just demonstrates the pointlessness of comparing an established commercial product like the Memotron with "vapourair"
Charles knows the guy, maybe he can shed some light.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 9:31 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

When the likes of Clavia put substantial mellotron / chamberlin samples for free on their web site (albeit you need a Nord Wave or Electro3 to use them) it must take some of the market away for dedicated machines like this.

I bought a Nord Wave a while back and Clavia's free and substantial sample library was part of my thinking. They even added the full unlooped chamberlin/mellotron variants recently.

However, like many samplers the Nord transposes a single sample across the keyboard whereas I would presume the memotron and proposed digital mellotron would have samples per key?

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2010 12:39 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

The Memotron uses one unlooped sample per key. No data reduction used. And it is full polyphonic. And actually all three sounds you can load in at the same time ("frame") is played at the same time. You may use the selector knob to fade from one sound to another. With the sounds A & C at the endpoints of the knobs. And B at the center detent.
The Digital Mellotron od Markus Resch features the original keyboard action. And the loading in sounds is way faster then on the Memotron. But it is not full polyphonic. The kind of real Mellotrons aftertouch response is also included.
And I did not get a mail back from the german distributer EMC about the reservation for the first batch of units.
I was always very surprised about the price tag being so low. Alone the custom made keyboard action, the housing and the two color graphics LCD are not cheap.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 2:23 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Markus told me in a email last week that they had trouble acquiring a certain component and shipments were delayed. The first units should be on their way out to customers by this time.

As a Memotron owner I am more than happy with the sounds and features like storing "frames" and effects. I look forward to more sound sets in the near future. Manikin has been working hard these past few months on the Memotron Rack and now that it is finished they could release a new sound set by the end of Autumn.

Qrazy Synth Man

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 16, 2010 10:06 am    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

The Synth Man is right: It´s how I feel with my solution. All libaries are based on tapes or samples from these tapes. So all kinds of "Mellotrons" sounds like a Mellotron. When I´m puristic and need the haptic on stage, I need an original and only this. The discussion Memotron or other - also digital - devises (Sampler, M4000 or the "new" Mellotron) doesn´t pays.
It looks pretty nice on stage, shure: But it´s not my opion to transport many kilos only for one instrument. So my solution is the Memotron.

Manikin_Mario

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 07, 2010 6:58 pm    (No subject) Reply with quoteBack to top

Still curious whether or not this proposed new Digital Mellotron will come to light. The Mellotron website has nothing new to report except that now the rack version will become available in "The Winter" which could mean as late as March 19, 2011 or maybe never!

The Nord Wave sounds like a nice alternative but I had some issues with a Nord NL2 that I sold because a few of the small black buttons would stick in the down position causing some strange behavior.

My Memotron was the fourth one ever made and it still sounds great. My only wish would be a new sound set because lets face it ... everyone likes new sounds on an old keyboard.

Qrazy Synth Man

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