EHX MEL9 - Mellotron pedal

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MrDys
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EHX MEL9 - Mellotron pedal

Post by MrDys » Mon Mar 14, 2016 11:09 am

Yeah. Want.

[video][/video]
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Post by noisejockey » Mon Mar 14, 2016 1:37 pm

Hehehe, boy does that look fun. I suppose it's not super surprising based on their past organ pedals, but super quirky. Very tempting.

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Post by moogboy » Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:09 pm

God I am so happy about this pedal. When I last looked seriously into buying a Mellotron (about 5 years ago, at least) I thought it was insane that we've modeled every version of Fuzz Face and Big Muff and Tone Bender known to man, with every possible control added or removed, and yet not a single person has sat down and said "what is the mathematical function that makes a tape of a flute note sound like God in a Mellotron"? Fast forward to being in engineering school and discovering that, yes, indeed, there is a mathematical function that does exactly that, and here we are with this super rad pedal. I cannot wait to get my hands on one.

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Post by Slabwax » Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:20 pm

I kind of want this. It might scratch a couple of itches for me. I would have liked to hear it with some sort of keyboard.
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Post by Slabwax » Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:22 pm

I kind of want this. It might scratch a couple of itches for me.
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Post by GovernorSilver » Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:30 pm

Too bad there's no expression pedal input - but that's not a dealbreaker for me.

Really impressed with the demo. One of the few pedals you can plug a guitar into and you really can't tell it's a heavily processed guitar.

The ex-Eventide engineers now working for EHX strike again!
Last edited by GovernorSilver on Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by krv » Mon Mar 14, 2016 3:34 pm

want it for my theremin, this one+ talk box :nana: :banana:

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Post by chamomileshark » Mon Mar 14, 2016 5:47 pm

it does sound pretty amazing.

how does it work?
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Post by moogboy » Mon Mar 14, 2016 6:26 pm

chamomileshark wrote:it does sound pretty amazing.

how does it work?
I can't speak for EHX, but my guess is it's some variation of a Fast Fourier Transform. From a mathematical standpoint, there's a series of formulas (or really just one big, ugly formula) that describe the relationship between the input signal and the output signal. What they're doing with the entire 9 series is taking an input signal (they make a lot of interesting assumptions about what the input signal looks like, but that's beside the point of this post) and applying an extreme degree of filtering/waveshaping/signal processing (defined by that formula) to that input signal, generating an output signal that we hear as a variation on a Mellotron/organ/rhodes/whatever.

All of this is an extension of the technology present in the HOG/POG line. One of the interesting features on the HOG is the Spectral Gate, which as I understand it tried to isolate the fundamental harmonic of whatever note(s) were present on the input to improve the "tracking" of the various shifts. One of the ways they could be doing this is applying the Spectral Gate technology to anything/everything coming in and then performing various distortions/waveshaping/filtering/EQ'ing operations on that signal. A Mellotron flute, for example, has a consistent, well defined transient portion of every note-it is effectively the same whether you are playing the lowest G or the highest C, so you can get by with applying one transient to everything that comes in on the input. After that initial transient attack (which has, historically, been the big sticking point with respect to tracking live instruments and doing pitch to synth conversion), the pedal can apply the real time processing necessary to turn a boring electric guitar sound into a goofy clarinet (as shown in the Mel9 demo video). As far as the formant filtering they do to get the various choir sounds, there's the Talking Machine from EHX's past, which was an envelope formant filter that they could have either modeled in software or taken the code from (if it's digital) and put into a new box.

TL;DR-basically I think EHX is using fancy technology to mask the part of the note that doesn't need to be "tracked" (it isn't tracking, but yeah) and then instead of "tracking" a note they're applying a ton of filtering so as to turn the guitar sound into as close to a sine wave as possible, then processing the shit out of that until it sounds like whatever instrument they're looking to emulate.

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Post by sduck » Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:51 pm

I don't know about that - although they say it's not sampling in the video, the fundamental way the mellotron works is sampling, and the sounds are very close to the mellotron originals. I suspect there's actually some kind of sample triggering going on, but they've put disclaimers in to fend off lawyers - hence no actual mention of the mellotron name.

I think I'm going to have to grab one of these, before said lawyers make them go away.
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Post by burnn_out! » Mon Mar 14, 2016 8:06 pm

FML I need this in my life like right meow
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Post by GovernorSilver » Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:02 pm

The ex-Eventide engineers that EHX hired are the cream of the crop. People have been trying for years to reproduce the HOG effect (the first EHX pedal by those engineers) with software modulars and whatnot. Nobody's come close.

Bill Ruppert - the guy who did that video demo - knows the people at EHX and what they can do. If he says they didn't sampling, they didn't use sampling. He has no reason to lie - the pedal is going to sell itself, regardless.

Those ex-Eventide engineers just that damn good.

I'm confident EHX will eventually release a HOG3 that will incorporate all the tech advances that have appeared in MEL9, KEYS9, and C9, with expression pedal control and more control over the envelope and LFO(s). From doing the HOG and POG series, they gained the expertise to create the B9, which led to the C9, and subsequent pedals.

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Post by chamomileshark » Tue Mar 15, 2016 3:59 am

thanks for the replies. Actually mellotron is mentioned in the text I saw with the acknowledgement of reserved rights.

I sort of got how it was possible to transform the sound of a guitar into an organ because I always thought an organ was probably an easy sound to transform to and it's fairly generic, but these sounds are very specific so that's really impressive

fascinating stuff.
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Post by GovernorSilver » Tue Mar 15, 2016 6:53 am

Here's a video Bill Ruppert did for EHX several years ago, on how to fake Mellotron sounds with other EHX pedals. Both sounds featured in the video use the POG2.

[video][/video]

The POG2 of course incorporated the tech that was first pioneered in the HOG and POG pedals - multiple pitch shifters operating simultaneously. The HOG had level sliders for each pitch shifter (5th, octave, octave + 5th, etc.), as well as sliders for envelope and filter. With the multi-pitch-shifting, they got an organ-like sound. Seems like they refined this in making the B9 and C9 organ sounds.

Looks like EHX has wisely continued to combine their technical expertise with Bill's creativity to create new pedals based on the earlier building blocks.

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Post by MrDys » Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:51 am

GovernorSilver wrote:From doing the HOG and POG series, they gained the expertise to create the B9, which led to the C9, and subsequent pedals.
Don't forget about the Ravish Sitar, which predates the B9 by a couple of years.
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Post by Tronman » Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:34 am

If a guitar can somehow be plugged into an iPad, the M3000 app will give a more authentic Tron sound, since the app uses samples of a modified M400. The iPad + M3000 app is what King Crimson uses live.
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Post by Tronman » Tue Mar 15, 2016 8:38 am

sduck wrote:I don't know about that - although they say it's not sampling in the video, the fundamental way the mellotron works is sampling, and the sounds are very close to the mellotron originals. I suspect there's actually some kind of sample triggering going on, but they've put disclaimers in to fend off lawyers - hence no actual mention of the mellotron name.

I think I'm going to have to grab one of these, before said lawyers make them go away.
The term "mellotron" with a small "m" is a generic term for any tape replay keyboard, including the Chamberlin and the Birotron (see the Oxford English Dictionary as an example). As long as there's no capital "M", there's no trademark infringement.
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Post by GovernorSilver » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:12 am

MrDys wrote:
GovernorSilver wrote:From doing the HOG and POG series, they gained the expertise to create the B9, which led to the C9, and subsequent pedals.
Don't forget about the Ravish Sitar, which predates the B9 by a couple of years.
I see your Ravish Sitar and raise you the Freeze and Superego pedals.

It won't be long before it'll be impossible to name - from the top of one's head - each and every single pedal that had something to do with ex-Eventide engineers and Bill Ruppert.

Unless one is Bill Ruppert.
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Post by GovernorSilver » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:43 am

I'm actually more inspired to pull out my HOG pedal and start working with it again. It doesn't quite get those Mellotron sounds, but I'm not concerned with 100% authenticity - I suspect most people interested in the MEL9 aren't either.

I like being able to control not just the envelope but also the filter settings, and the expression pedal input.

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Post by sduck » Tue Mar 15, 2016 9:54 am

GovernorSilver wrote: Bill Ruppert - the guy who did that video demo - knows the people at EHX and what they can do. If he says they didn't sampling, they didn't use sampling. He has no reason to lie - the pedal is going to sell itself, regardless.

Those ex-Eventide engineers just that damn good.
I relistened to the video with headphones, and I do believe you're right - it definitely doesn't sound like samples, it's much more organic and responsive to string touch than that would be. Makes me want it even more!
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Post by JohnLRice » Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:16 am

Looks to be great fun and should be useful for processing synths! :nana:

How come it looks to be named Mel9 (Mel Nine) but it sounds like he keeps pronouncing it like "Mel Mine" in the video? :hmm:

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Post by Zube » Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:51 am

Woah, this sounds pretty good... It doesn't sound like the usual samples and that's interesting. I'd love to hear it on keys though.

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Post by Blue Meanie » Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:19 pm

GovernorSilver wrote: The ex-Eventide engineers now working for EHX strike again!
There is an ex-Eventide engineer working for EHX, but he didn't have any involvement with the development of the 9 series pedals. I’m sure he would be happy to know you thought of him.

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Post by GovernorSilver » Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:59 pm

Blue Meanie wrote:
GovernorSilver wrote: The ex-Eventide engineers now working for EHX strike again!
There is an ex-Eventide engineer working for EHX, but he didn't have any involvement with the development of the 9 series pedals. I’m sure he would be happy to know you thought of him.
Not really me - it's Bill Ruppert that's been thinking of him. I thought Bill mentioned more than one but I could be wrong.

On other forums, others have been comparing the MEL9 to the Roland SY-300, which is a bit off because the latter costs more than twice as much and has a different feature set and sound engine. Anyway, in listening to SY-300 demos on Youtube, it didn't take long to notice why the MEL9 is attracting so much interest where the SY-300 appears to have bombed (discounting the 2:1 price difference):

- Bill demos stuff better than most other guitarists (chops and music selection alike)
- Stock sounds in the MEL9, while not allowing anywhere near as much tweaking, just nail that "it" factor that connects with more people emotionally/nostalgically. The SY-300 sounds seem to be more geared to people who like the Access Virus, Nord Lead, Roland JP-8000, etc. trancey kind of sounds - nothing wrong with them but it's a more limited audience.

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Post by Blue Meanie » Tue Mar 15, 2016 7:27 pm

No worries, the ex-Eventide engineer wanted me to set things straight that's all. Yeah, Bill is badass. The Mel 9 is the best so far, and yes an expression in would be nice. :cookiemonster:
Last edited by Blue Meanie on Wed Mar 16, 2016 6:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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