A ‘60s forerunner to samplers, the original Mellotron M400 worked by playing back magnetic tape recordings of various orchestral instruments. It’s a process that brought with it some beautiful quirks and a distinctively unreal-yet-organic character.
All of the Mellotron’s original imperfections and performance nuances are recreated in Live through nine individual multi-sampled instruments. Brass, string, voice and wind instruments are included, plus three full ‘tape’ instruments that let you blend between instrument recordings in the same way as the M400 version. The result is a playable and extremely useable set of sounds that can often fit into your tracks better than realistic orchestral samples.
The instruments are presented in playable Macro-mapped Instrument Racks, and there are more than 150 MIDI clips with professionally performed phrases to get you started.
Here’s more on the individual instruments captured:
MK II Flute
Instantly conjuring Abbey Road 60s/ Strawberry Fields psychedelia, the flute is the most recognizable of Mellotron’s sounds. It’s also perhaps the eeriest and most mesmeric, thanks to its dubious pitching, quirky intonation and changing timbres.
A combination of violins, viola and cello – layer these multisampled strings together in chords or clusters for some outlandish string effects.
Layered trumpets, saxes and a trombone are combined into a seriously beefy sound – as used by King Crimson, Rick Wakeman, The Moody Blues and John Lennon.
Renowned for its melancholy timbre, the Cello has a unique character – described by some as “wheezing and groaning”. The Cello sound was originally recorded with a double bassist used for the lower registers.
Warm and woody in timbre, the Microtron clarinet patch is programmed an octave higher for harmonic layering with other Microtron sounds.
Inspired by the big-band swing sounds of Glenn Miller, these layered brass sounds come warped, flanged and mangled in the classic Mellotron tape style.
Composed of soprano, alto and tenor recorders, this instrument has a solid woody tone with breathy articulations. Playing fast staccato chords will result in a sounds reminiscent of a harmonium.
Big and bluesy-sounding, the French Horn gets its charm from a combination of brassy grit and the Mellotron's analog tape nuances.
8 Voice Choir
This recording of four females and four males was first used in the early ‘70s, then widely adopted by rock groups in the decades that followed.