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WIGGLING 'LITE' IN GUEST MODE

Mellotron options
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear Goto page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5  Next [all]
Author Mellotron options
seamonkeyman
I've been looking at the Mellotron 4000D for years, well more drooling. I've come close to pulling the trigger. But I've never played one...

What attracts me to it is the look of the keybed, as well as the quality of the sounds. But then I have a moment of clarity and think 'it's just a rompler'. And then back comes the gear lust...and I think that the interface on the 4000D may be the deciding factor (and of course open up some amazing new rich vein of creativity....)

I have the G-Force M-Tron pro, at the moment, but for some reason I can't shake the desire for the 4000D. I read that the keyboard has some responsiveness to depth pressure?

So, as my Mellotron lust comes back again, here are my options, I think. Any thoughts/experience?

1) Just buy a Mellotron 4000D - and the pretty expensive sample cards
2) Buy a Manikin? I don't really know much about these, just preferred the look of the craftsmanship on the 4000D
3) a Nord Stage 2? It looks like they can load/have access to a Mellotron sample library. They don't look too shabby for other purposes too.
4) Maybe mad idea, but if I had a Roli and the G-Force M-Tron pro, would than somehow give me more expressiveness in the M-Tron pro? Or does the software need some kind of special compatibility?

If anyone else has any other ideas please shout, I've lost count of how many times I've had the 4000D in various on line baskets and chickened out at the check out.

Cheers!

S.
thispoison
I can only speak as an owner of the M4000D
and the Nord, which still leaves me open to to the wrath of the owners of "real" mellotrons and sample libraries (who share a disregard of the M4000D).

Love the M4000D as a physical instrument, someone will sell it on after I die.

I'd go for that, but forget the cards. Greedy greedy greedy. Forget the cards!
trickness
I got an M4000D from Big City Music last year, loved it at first - a joy to play, sounded incredible. But it failed a couple of weeks after I got it, and it took a couple of months of back and forth with Markus to try to fix it. Ultimately, I had to disassemble the unit, send the boards to Sweden (to his credit, Markus paid for the shipping), it was diagnosed with a manufacturing defect, it was returned to me still not functioning correctly. I was offered a replacement unit from BCM which I declined as I didn't feel confident owning a unit that took two months to get back and still didn't work right after suppposedly being completely tested. BCM tested the unit and confirmed it did not work correctly BUT still hit me with a restocking fee. Total suck job.

Your mileage may vary of course. I'd love to own one if there was reliable customer support. I had very bad luck and I'm not saying my experience was typical, but: just hope if you buy one that it never fails on you.

Also sonically it did have very clean tone and was a bit lacking in the various pitch and frequency response quirks of a real Mello. The Streetly guys rag on the M4000D because it's too pristine which perhaps is a fair criticism - the tones are "master quality". But I did love the way it sounded anyway and the keybed was just delicious.
thispoison
Bummer,

Real pity it developed issues.

I worked in Sweden at the point it was released, but found the pricing ludicrous and eventually got one for a lot (lot) less from session music in Germany.

Keybed is a joy, it's an instrument for sure.
JohnLRice
I went back and forth for MANY years and finally pulled the trigger on the M4000D Rack version last November. If I had the money and room I would of gone for the full sized keyboard version.

I really love it, even though yeah, it is just a specialized sample playback unit. (I REALLY wish I could setup my own sound cards but, oh well! meh )

When deciding, pretty much all the online demos of the Memotron sounded a bit thin and harsh to me and the M4000D sounded "right" to me so that had me leaning to the M4000D plus they interface is much better looking and easier to use on the M4000D. The Memotron's loading method has been great improved in recent years but after playing one on and off at NAMM I still think the M4000D is MUCH easier to use. I thought the Memotron sounded great in person though and the build quality seemed very nice!

There is a new version of the M4000D coming out at some point, not sure when but a prototype was shown at NAMM and price is supposed to be somewhere between $800 and $1000. Final Feature set isn't set in stone yet but it's tiny, only 2 octave keyboard. The M4000D micro:


Regarding the sound quality of the M4000D: I really like the "clean" default sound but I think a lot of people don't realize that there are 4 global "Character" settings to choose from.
M400n - (default) a M400 Mellotron with new tapes.
M400e - a M400 Mellotron with worn tapes.
M1 - Chamberlin with common M1 preamp sound.
MkII - MKII Mellotron with its speaker characteristics.

I really like the M400n setting as it is clean, rich and full, M400e just sounds like a muddier/less bright version of the M400n setting, M1 seems very bright and thin on it's own but may work well within a mix and the MkII is my favorite I think since it sounds sort of like the M400n setting with some extra magic mojo! love
Cat-A-Tonic
Waldorf's new forthcoming box sounds like it's aiming at being a mellotronesque version of the Streichfett.
sduck
When I played with the Moody Blues a few years ago they had the mellotron sample disk loaded into several Kurzweil K2000s's (or some other Kurzweil - I couldn't really see exactly what kind). Sounded great! If the disk can still be had, it's probably a much cheaper alternative.
JohnLRice
sduck wrote:
When I played with the Moody Blues a few years ago they had the mellotron sample disk loaded into several Kurzweil K2000s's (or some other Kurzweil - I couldn't really see exactly what kind). Sounded great! If the disk can still be had, it's probably a much cheaper alternative.
Probably the Pinder CD? It may not be available any more?
http://www.mellotron.com/cdlist.htm

Alternatively our own Wiggler Tronman made his own sample set you can get for free: thumbs up
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=25823
moogboy
Very happy Memotron owner here! I got it in a trade from another Wiggler and it's totally changed my musical direction. I agree that it's very heavy on character, and there's some quirky stuff going on with certain tape sets being louder than others, but it's all part of the charm for me. As a Tangerine Dream dork I love that I've got access to all of their tape frames.

A good friend of mine has an M4000D (I booked him on a show so we could have both major new Mellotrons on a bill) and it may just be him and his usage but I find it lacking. It ends up sounding like an okay sample most of the time, not necessarily a Mellotron. I haven't gotten to play it myself though so I don't want to finalize my judgement on it yet.
spacenoodle
Cat-A-Tonic wrote:
Waldorf's new forthcoming box sounds like it's aiming at being a mellotronesque version of the Streichfett.


And here is the putative Kassettenspieler:
doombient.music
The M4000D is quite useful and, in some respects, superior to the Manikin Memotron. Many of the sounds of the Memotron were several generations removed from the master tapes since original Mellotrons had been used when creating the soundsets, hence the quality of the sounds is not always as perfect as you would love them to be. In fact, I find the entire string sets of the Memotron way too shrill and treble-heavy.

OTOH, the Memotron excels at flute and choir sounds which fall a bit short on the Resch M4000D. The 8 Choir of the Resch sounds, well... not quite like an 8 Choir that you would expect to hear when playing your rendition of "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight". Same thing goes for the flutes. The Mk. 2 flute of the Resch is quite useful but it's just not *that* classic flute sound of the M-400, let alone the classic TD Flute.

The Memotron is fairly well-built although I am not overly fond of its white lacquer finish which is prone to be chipped or scratched, or both. I don't like using CDRs for loading sounds either -- in fact, loading times are even longer than those on my old Prophet 2000 (and boy, those were really long loading times). Better off using a CFC loaded with sounds (and this still takes ages...). The new table-top version of the Memotron comes with a few hundred sounds readily available, that is more handy to have.

As for the Resch Extension Card, I only have the one that came out a year or two after the launch of the M4000D. Most of the sounds are unusable -- what would you want to use the Mk. 2 rhythm tracks and accompaniment for? Okay, the GC 3 Brass is very useful but that's about it. Would I want to use Wilco's oddball instruments committed to Mellotron tape? Most probably not. Unless they ask me to join, that is.

The magic of the Mellotron comes not only from the sounds but also from what you run them through.

Stephen
IR
watch at 1:41


from 0:33


(unfortunately though, I checked the manual and it's only those two sounds...)
chamomileshark
for some reason I thought someone was still producing tape based mellotrons. Did that happen and then stop?

ok, just checked - at least one outfit are doing them - and the originals to boot

http://www.mellotronics.com/new%20instruments.htm

wonder how much they are. And the shipping.

ok, checked that too. £5k in 2007.

So if you are thinking of $8-$10k for a memotron you might consider a genuine mellotron?
Tronman
doombient.music wrote:
The M4000D is quite useful and, in some respects, superior to the Manikin Memotron. Many of the sounds of the Memotron were several generations removed from the master tapes since original Mellotrons had been used when creating the soundsets, hence the quality of the sounds is not always as perfect as you would love them to be. In fact, I find the entire string sets of the Memotron way too shrill and treble-heavy.

OTOH, the Memotron excels at flute and choir sounds which fall a bit short on the Resch M4000D. The 8 Choir of the Resch sounds, well... not quite like an 8 Choir that you would expect to hear when playing your rendition of "Dancing with the Moonlit Knight". Same thing goes for the flutes. The Mk. 2 flute of the Resch is quite useful but it's just not *that* classic flute sound of the M-400, let alone the classic TD Flute.

The Memotron is fairly well-built although I am not overly fond of its white lacquer finish which is prone to be chipped or scratched, or both. I don't like using CDRs for loading sounds either -- in fact, loading times are even longer than those on my old Prophet 2000 (and boy, those were really long loading times). Better off using a CFC loaded with sounds (and this still takes ages...). The new table-top version of the Memotron comes with a few hundred sounds readily available, that is more handy to have.

As for the Resch Extension Card, I only have the one that came out a year or two after the launch of the M4000D. Most of the sounds are unusable -- what would you want to use the Mk. 2 rhythm tracks and accompaniment for? Okay, the GC 3 Brass is very useful but that's about it. Would I want to use Wilco's oddball instruments committed to Mellotron tape? Most probably not. Unless they ask me to join, that is.

The magic of the Mellotron comes not only from the sounds but also from what you run them through.

Stephen


The sound of the Memotron can be improved upon with the Streetly 50th Anniversary Collection. The samples are from new tapes played through a pristine M400-like Tron. There's a world of difference in sound quality between them and the stock Memotron sounds, which came from old, beat up machines with worn tapes.

By the way, there is now a 3rd Streetly pack for M-Tron Pro that just came out a few days ago. There are some really nice new-old sounds like Layered Choir, Soft String Section, Fairlight Swannee, Sad Strings, Pump Organ and a newly discovered Les Bradley Orchestra mix. I'm guessing that they will eventually be available for the Memotron.
Tronman
chamomileshark wrote:
for some reason I thought someone was still producing tape based mellotrons. Did that happen and then stop?

ok, just checked - at least one outfit are doing them - and the originals to boot

http://www.mellotronics.com/new%20instruments.htm

wonder how much they are. And the shipping.

ok, checked that too. £5k in 2007.

So if you are thinking of $8-$10k for a memotron you might consider a genuine mellotron?


I have one of those, but mine is black. If you want one, expect to be on the wait list for a couple of years. I've been waiting for my 2nd one for 2 years now. But it's a fantastic machine that's far better than the old MkII machines. And if you want to pay a little extra, you can get custom tapes in 8 stations for 24 sounds (equal to 8 tape frames), reverse keys and a nice wood cabinet like the one below.

Oh yeah, this is how a Streetly M4000 sounds in context: http://www.leisureland.us/audio/TimLearyLives.mp3

[/img]
chamomileshark
Tronman wrote:


I have one of those, but mine is black. If you want one, expect to be on the wait list for a couple of years. I've been waiting for my 2nd one for 2 years now. But it's a fantastic machine that's far better than the old MkII machines. And if you want to pay a little extra, you can get custom tapes in 8 stations for 24 sounds (equal to 8 tape frames), reverse keys and a nice wood cabinet like this one:

[/img]


that's lovely. I waited nearly 10 years for my VCS3 so for me that would be like instant delivery.

But I don't have the space and my wife would kill me.

But if I had the space and we had plenty of money I'd go for a new original over the digital, second hand or software in a heartbeat.

I think a tron, the VCS3 and the Wiard would see out the rest of my days.

In the meantime I bought the Streetley tapes vol 3 for the Mtron Pro over the weekend. Is it me or is there something odd about the Lady Choir? A shrill note there? The Mtron was one of my first bits of software over a decade ago. Still one of my most used.
doombient.music
Tronman wrote:
[...] the stock Memotron sounds, which came from old, beat up machines with worn tapes. [...]


I know.

I hauled around most of them.

I found the new sounds (like those mentioned above) fairly useless. Fairlight, Rhodes, Equinoxe strings... oh, come on. Why would I want to load these into a Memotron?

Stephen
Tronman
chamomileshark wrote:
that's lovely. I waited nearly 10 years for my VCS3 so for me that would be like instant delivery.

But I don't have the space and my wife would kill me.

But if I had the space and we had plenty of money I'd go for a new original over the digital, second hand or software in a heartbeat.

I think a tron, the VCS3 and the Wiard would see out the rest of my days.

In the meantime I bought the Streetley tapes vol 3 for the Mtron Pro over the weekend. Is it me or is there something odd about the Lady Choir? A shrill note there? The Mtron was one of my first bits of software over a decade ago. Still one of my most used.


The Layered Choir? I noticed that, too. I think it's because of the way the male, female and boys choirs are combined in an attempt to get a smooth transition up and down the keyboard.
Tronman
doombient.music wrote:
Tronman wrote:
[...] the stock Memotron sounds, which came from old, beat up machines with worn tapes. [...]


I know.

I hauled around most of them.

I found the new sounds (like those mentioned above) fairly useless. Fairlight, Rhodes, Equinoxe strings... oh, come on. Why would I want to load these into a Memotron?

Stephen


The Fairlight and Rhodes sound great. I don't know anything about the Equinoxe strings. The only drawback I can see with the Rhodes is, since Trons don't have velocity sensitivity, there's a lack of dynamics...every note is the same volume. But other than that, the Rhodes, at least the M-Tron Pro version, sounds better than any digital sample pack I've heard.
chamomileshark
sorry, I meant the "Female Choir" ..and I think that is then also part of the layered choir
Feinstrom
doombient.music wrote:
I found the new sounds (like those mentioned above) fairly useless. Fairlight, Rhodes, Equinoxe strings... oh, come on. Why would I want to load these into a Memotron?

I came home last week from a recording session with (among others) my newly-purchased Manikin Dektop Memotron.
And believe it or not, I found myself using the default setting (flute, strings, choir) the whole week, layering it with pad sounds from the Reface CS, drowning it in reverb, over-using the half-speed switch and lovin' every minute of it!

Cheers,
Bert
JohnLRice
chamomileshark wrote:
for some reason I thought someone was still producing tape based mellotrons. Did that happen and then stop?

ok, just checked - at least one outfit are doing them - and the originals to boot

http://www.mellotronics.com/new%20instruments.htm
The folks who obtained the commercial rights to the Mellotron name and make the M4000D digital players also make tape based Mellotrons too and sell replacement tapes/parts etc:
http://www.mellotron.com/prices.htm
doombient.music
chamomileshark wrote:
sorry, I meant the "Female Choir" ..and I think that is then also part of the layered choir


There seems to be a fault with the recording -- both the Memotron and the Resch Mellotron have a dreadfully out-of-tune section in the female half of the Split Choir, basically no discernible distinction between C, C#, and D, plus some nasty distortion. It is particularly evident with the Black Sabbath Choir.

One of the drawbacks of either machine (and the distorted male voices of the Memotron's Split Choir).

You might argue that the original machine wasn't perfect either.

Stephen
seamonkeyman
Can anyone who has a 4000D comment on the keybed? It looks amazing, with the wooden action, but does it actually 'do' anything, in terms of expressiveness? I have some space on my desk and I was thinking that the Mello/Memotron may be a good option as a small controller keyboard as well as sating my Mellotron lust? The 4000D looks like it means business in terms of the build.

Also, does anyone have a view on the Nord Stage 2 option? Is that worth consideration?

It's interesting to read the pro's and con's of the Memotron, in terms of tape degradation on the samples. I'd not thought of that before.

Thanks all for the comments
JohnLRice
seamonkeyman wrote:
Can anyone who has a 4000D comment on the keybed? It looks amazing, with the wooden action, but does it actually 'do' anything, in terms of expressiveness?
Yes, it has poly after touch! thumbs up Demoed briefly here at 2:20:
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