Modern Mellotron Keyboards In Depth

This video, via In The Mix, features a discussion by Markus Resch on modern Mellotron keyboards.

Resch – who heads the modern incarnation of Mellotron – starts the presentation with Mellotron history and then moves on to Mellotron’s latest products.

For a sonic walkthrough the history of Mellotron, see our interview with Resch, embedded below:

19 thoughts on “Modern Mellotron Keyboards In Depth

  1. That top video is almost an hour long and features 25 secs of playing, and most of that is a vintage unit, not the new ones.

    1. If Uli did it, it would have to be tape loops and not this new digital thing. And I think it would be prohibitively costly vs. the actual amount of people that would buy this thing. But it would be super cool.

  2. M-Tron Pro has a major base library, with expansions available. The sounds are extremely accurate, even down to the flaws of certain classics. It includes a bank of pro contributor sounds that make it bloom in unusual ways. Markus is the go-to source otherwise. Its depends on how much ‘tron you need and for what purpose(s). I’d go for the add-on card, because that makes it about as full as most players will ever need it to be. If you’re thinking more weirdly, M-Tron Pro’s extended library and dual envelopes are the broader option.

    1. I have M-Tron pro and love it, was just curious if the mini d offered anything above and beyond it. If I understand you correctly it sounds like it does not.

  3. Right know, in the hardware corner, the Electro Harmonix Mel 9 pedal provides most value to money for me. These ‘new’ and yet another keyboard re-issues of the original mellotron are rediculously expensive.

  4. If you already own a Nord Wave, Electro or Stage, you can download fully-licensed Mellotron sounds from the Nord Music website – strikes me as a good alternative.

  5. I haven’t watched the video, but when I consider what the original Mellotron was/did, there are some unique qualities that inform a path forward.

    Since most samplers & ROMplers now do “neutral” sustains with loops, what gave the Mellotrons and similar instruments most of their character was both the style of recording, the style of playing, and the non-looped nature.

    A move forward could maintain that unique, stylized, and decidedly non-neutral style of playing, but add: a few velocity layers, new instruments, some articulations, etc. And perhaps take things like tape hiss, wow/flutter, etc. and make them adjustable (as DSP). It would also be interesting to see them capture the fun rhythmic things that appeared in other tape based systems.

    1. Just that mellotrons originally played their length of tape and then were done with it. But as I mentioned, I didn’t watch the vid, so if modern mellotrons are now looping, then my comment makes no sense.

      I’m more thinking of how a mellotron is really a sample player, and essentially, a digital sampler can be backward compatible with the “style” of the mellotron. Notes with played vibrato, one sample per key, a bit of “character” left in.

  6. I used to have an M400 back in the 80’s. It had the bread and butter sounds, choir, string and the Strawberry fields flute. I tried the M-tron, and I have some stuff for my Reason sampler. Then I found some free stuff online – and they seem to do the trick for me. The old M400 was cool on stage though.

  7. I’m one of those lucky few who has laid hands to a real Mellotron and you could not pay me enough to own & maintain one, period! What a churning, grinding nightmare of a design. Tony Banks said Genesis tours always involved daily tweaking (and surely cursing) of the ‘tron. Its like pulling out a sackbut or Eigenharp and surprising the hell out of listeners who don’t know what the heck that THING is. I love having M-Tron, but I’m glad to see Markus make such a superior hardware compromise available.

  8. Thank goodness Markus Resch ended up being the custodian of all things Mellotron. He is a real craftsman and a mensch, and his instruments are painstaking recreations of the original instrument – not just the sound, but in the case of the 4000D, the playing experience

  9. For those interested, the original Mellotron is not dead and is still being made to order in England from all the original machines that made them in the 60s.

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