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The world's gone digital mellotron crazy!

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Re: The world's gone digital mellotron crazy!

Postby Michael Dow » Thu Jan 07, 2010 7:21 pm

Oh come on it's horrible!

BAr the prety lights, its just a box!
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Re: The world's gone digital mellotron crazy!

Postby The Elf » Thu Jan 07, 2010 8:49 pm

...but a box you can stand another keyboard atop. How many synths can you say that of in the last 10 years?! Somewhere to put my MiniMoog! :D
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Re: The world's gone digital mellotron crazy!

Postby hollowsun » Thu Jan 07, 2010 10:43 pm

tomafd wrote:Yup, though not me, in this case. (Hence all the noise on that other thread about the Hammond Novachord (or something) from 1939 - yep, it's interesting(ish) and makes a nice enough noise (tho a little work with any bunch of sawtooth waveforms and some detuning/reverbs would get you pretty close) but there are folk who are quite happy spending years with a soldering iron to restore them, and end up sounding like a flash/weird version of a Solina strings.... but in a nice, big, polished wooden case with big black switches on it. Which weighs a ton or so. I have enormous respect for the restorers, but it's not something I'd ever want to do ...)
As the person sampling the aforesaid Novachord, I can tell you that just detuning a few sawtooths and slamming them through a reverb won't get you close. Well ... it will ... ish - sort of - but the Novachord has such character and personality that is subtly different for every note (due to intolerances of the 160 valves and thousands of capacitors, etc ... and the age) combined with a variety of other imperfections that it can't easily be emulated ... or rather you can maybe get a digital facsimile of it but it won't 'breathe' like a real Novachord ... in much the same way as a modern digital synth won't shift air quite like a MiniMoog or a cheap Strat copy through a tranny amp won't cut it like a proper Strat cranked through a creamy valve amp.

Nostalgia isn't the exclusive province of Mellotronauts - people pay staggering amounts of money for a violin that is of a certain vintage. Stupidly, people waste serious money on a fiddle just because it is of a certain age or provenance even though a modern Chinese, affordable repro can do the same (or better) job ... but when you get a chance to play a (genuine) Vuillaume (as my daughter did once), it's more than just dewy eyed nostalgia.

FWIW, I have been approached by an eminent composer about the Novachord samples. He has all sorts of sophisticated paraphernalia with which to emulate those sounds but he cannot capture the 'essence' of the original and wants the samples with some haste for a soundtrack he is creating.

And BTW, the Novachord weighs a quarter of a ton... but to see it in the flesh with all that polished grain and bakelite knobs ...

Novachord in action
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Re: The world's gone digital mellotron crazy!

Postby Martin Walker » Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:19 am

I seem to have stirred things up a bit with my earlier comments :beamup:

I understand all the answers, and given that I used to have a modest six-keyboard setup back in the 70's I know exactly how it feels to have that hardware in front of you - one keyboard for each sound so you can jump between them like Rick Wakeman and Tony Banks.

However, I think that Steve (hollowsun) comes closest to my own view. By all means fall in love with a living, breathing entity of a original hardware keyboard design with lots of character and quirks, and do all you can to recapture its essence digitally if possible in a sample library.

But paying lots of money for something that is in fact a sample playback unit but 'looks' like an old design still seems mad to me :D


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Re: The world's gone digital mellotron crazy!

Postby hollowsun » Fri Jan 08, 2010 5:06 am

Martin Walker wrote:But paying lots of money for something that is in fact a sample playback unit but 'looks' like an old design still seems mad to me
I don't disagree but if it floats some peoples' boats (and I am sure it will in - albeit - a small market), what's the harm? Each to their own and all that!

But there IS something to be said for having a keyboard rig where there is a bunch of instruments where each one performs a specific task that you can just reach out and play - far more preferable to buggering about with setting up keysplits, etc., from a single master keyboard addressing a (potentially unreliable) lappie.

I am seriously considering withdrawing my Tron samples as a mark of respect and deference to this new digital Mellotron!
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Re: The world's gone digital mellotron crazy!

Postby The Elf » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:47 am

Martin Walker wrote:But paying lots of money for something that is in fact a sample playback unit but 'looks' like an old design still seems mad to me :D
Of course it's mad! We're British, dammit! :D
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Re: The world's gone digital mellotron crazy!

Postby ramthelinefeed » Fri Jan 08, 2010 11:49 am

hollowsun wrote:
Martin Walker wrote:But paying lots of money for something that is in fact a sample playback unit but 'looks' like an old design still seems mad to me

But there IS something to be said for having a keyboard rig where there is a bunch of instruments where each one performs a specific task that you can just reach out and play - far more preferable to buggering about with setting up keysplits, etc., from a single master keyboard addressing a (potentially unreliable) lappie.


Yes, and this could easily be settled by having a synth wizard dual, live on stage, to see who can play better :):headbang:
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Re: The world's gone digital mellotron crazy!

Postby Zukan » Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:00 pm

I am with Martin on this, and this coming from a die hard hardware dude.

There are some items that simply cannot be emulated and will and do have their own sounds, be it circuitry, vales, op-amps and a ton of other factors like warming oscs and filters etc. BUT, a sample playback unit that has no discernable signal path, that can be emulated extremely well for a fraction of the price of the 9 ton remake is a little more practical.

HOWEVER, we must always take into account the 'moist factor' (to be known from now on as MF, and the Melllie had buckets of it.

If I had the kind of money that the Elf has I would buy one, even if I never used it.

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A sensible government, grit, environmental avis and so on....
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Re: The world's gone digital mellotron crazy!

Postby The Elf » Fri Jan 08, 2010 12:38 pm

Zukan wrote: There are some items that simply cannot be emulated and will and do have their own sounds, be it circuitry, vales, op-amps and a ton of other factors like warming oscs and filters etc. BUT, a sample playback unit that has no discernable signal path, that can be emulated extremely well for a fraction of the price of the 9 ton remake is a little more practical.

I’m more intent on the *feel* of the instrument, rather than the quality of the playback. MTron plays ‘tron samples perfectly, but it’s exactly the same sound each time you press a note. Play a real ‘tron and you’ll get a different sound (tone, pitch and envelope) on every key press depending on velocity and pressure. I’m hoping (perhaps forlornly) that Mellotron would understand and be able to model that behaviour.

I’ve done it myself in Kontakt, but I can never get it to speak in the same way.

MTron also still lacks a few samples I’d like to get my hands on, such as the (Mk2/M300?) Hammond sample (intro to ‘Seven Stones’). And I still can’t seem to get *the* Genesis choir; none of the library sounds seem to be quite right - maybe that’s just me. :crazy:

Zukan wrote: If I had the kind of money that the Elf has I would buy one, even if I never used it.

Quite. My word, it’s cold in the castle today, Zuke. Throw another peasant on the fire! 8-)
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Re: The world's gone digital mellotron crazy!

Postby tomafd » Fri Jan 08, 2010 2:05 pm

hollowsun wrote:
But there IS something to be said for having a keyboard rig where there is a bunch of instruments where each one performs a specific task that you can just reach out and play - far more preferable to buggering about with setting up keysplits, etc., from a single master keyboard addressing a (potentially unreliable) lappie.

There is... as long as you have roadies. I hauled a rig like that around, gigging most weeks, (with no roadies) from about 1979 - 1990, and I'm not doing it again !
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Re: The world's gone digital mellotron crazy!

Postby Richard Graham » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:06 pm

hollowsun wrote:
tomafd wrote:Yup, though not me, in this case. (Hence all the noise on that other thread about the Hammond Novachord (or something) from 1939 - yep, it's interesting(ish) and makes a nice enough noise (tho a little work with any bunch of sawtooth waveforms and some detuning/reverbs would get you pretty close) but there are folk who are quite happy spending years with a soldering iron to restore them, and end up sounding like a flash/weird version of a Solina strings.... but in a nice, big, polished wooden case with big black switches on it. Which weighs a ton or so. I have enormous respect for the restorers, but it's not something I'd ever want to do ...)
As the person sampling the aforesaid Novachord, I can tell you that just detuning a few sawtooths and slamming them through a reverb won't get you close. Well ... it will ... ish - sort of - but the Novachord has such character and personality that is subtly different for every note (due to intolerances of the 160 valves and thousands of capacitors, etc ... and the age) combined with a variety of other imperfections that it can't easily be emulated ... or rather you can maybe get a digital facsimile of it but it won't 'breathe' like a real Novachord ... in much the same way as a modern digital synth won't shift air quite like a MiniMoog or a cheap Strat copy through a tranny amp won't cut it like a proper Strat cranked through a creamy valve amp.

Nostalgia isn't the exclusive province of Mellotronauts - people pay staggering amounts of money for a violin that is of a certain vintage. Stupidly, people waste serious money on a fiddle just because it is of a certain age or provenance even though a modern Chinese, affordable repro can do the same (or better) job ... but when you get a chance to play a (genuine) Vuillaume (as my daughter did once), it's more than just dewy eyed nostalgia.

FWIW, I have been approached by an eminent composer about the Novachord samples. He has all sorts of sophisticated paraphernalia with which to emulate those sounds but he cannot capture the 'essence' of the original and wants the samples with some haste for a soundtrack he is creating.

And BTW, the Novachord weighs a quarter of a ton... but to see it in the flesh with all that polished grain and bakelite knobs ...

Novachord in action

Thanks Steve... I am gobsmacked. I think the the Novachord is the best sounding string/pad synth I've ever heard... the sounds are way ahead of their time (1939?)... if they'd have come from Absynth 5 I wouldn't have been suprised.

Why have I never heard of this beauty before? And why does everyone care so much about Mellotrons when this thing exists?

Fianlly, could you make a Kontakt version? I don't have room in my house for one of these... Please!!!
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Re: The world's gone digital mellotron crazy!

Postby Zukan » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:28 pm

The Elf wrote:
Quite. My word, it’s cold in the castle today, Zuke. Throw another peasant on the fire! 8-)

Freezing here in Wycombe.

Torched a few neighbours earlier today but they don't cinder well. Oh well, back to gas then.
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Re: The world's gone digital mellotron crazy!

Postby hollowsun » Fri Jan 08, 2010 4:43 pm

Richard Graham wrote:Fianlly, could you make a Kontakt version?

I am doing a Kontakt version.
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Re: The world's gone digital mellotron crazy!

Postby ramthelinefeed » Fri Jan 08, 2010 9:20 pm

Richard Graham wrote:And why does everyone care so much about Mellotrons when this thing exists?

Don't be silly. They make completely different types of sounds.
I want them both :)
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Re: The world's gone digital mellotron crazy!

Postby Kwaidan » Thu Jan 14, 2010 5:15 pm

I know that Manikin is working on a rack version of the Memotron with a lower price than their keyboard version.

That digital mellotron will set you back some serious $$$$
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