EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

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rayc
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EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by rayc » Thu Jul 06, 2017 2:20 am

It's my 60th birthday soon and Kim said her sister and mum asked what I'd like as a gift. I thought about it for a few days and was going to get something small & simple when Kim came back from her mum's via the supermarket and dropped a "carton" of cigarettes on the bench as she unpacked. A carton of 8 packs of cigarettes, (use to be 10), comes in at around AUS$220 and she goes through a pack a day more or less so I decided to be a selfish bugger and said I wanted a Mel9. I found one in the US at AUS$299 delivered and showed her. Kim said it'd be a three way buy/gift from her, sister & mother. No worries from me on that aspect. t was ordered on June 27th and due AFTER July 11th but arrived today.
Out of the box it's with a US power supply but I have an adapter so I set it up for a quick demo run and it's REALLY cool but quite sensitive to signal variation. It tracks very well though it doesn't do much good beyond the 22nd fret on most and 16th on a couple of presets.
It has an affected out and a dry out so that the signals can be sent to separate amps as well as those having independent levels.
There's an attack knob to determine whether the signal swells up or starts straight away and a sustain one for the obvious extension after the signal in stops.
The machine will play a sustained note from the guitar almost forever without the sustain knob twirled - it reads the signal quite well as it dies.
So far so good. that can be an issue with a string that rings on after you've changed chords.
I don't know if it's any good for D.I. recording and a quick internet search didn't get any relevant results.
I'll let you know how it fares D.I. and provide samples when I've had a bit more of a fiddle.
mel9.jpg
Here's a completed track with Mel9 choirs & flute. The organ is from BIAB - not MIDI though.
It's called Sandpaper Castles 1811 & is by Pygmy Beat Extended Featuring Miriam Stavert on vocals & melody, Gerry Steele on guitar solo + vocal treatment and me on the other bits.
spcastlesMell061117.mp3
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Last edited by rayc on Fri Nov 10, 2017 3:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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rayc
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Re: EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by rayc » Thu Jul 06, 2017 3:46 am

Here's a demo - remembering that I've had the thing for an hour or so, am a lousy player and didn't change settings between voices.
I went through most of the voices but left out, for now, clarinet, sax and brass.
I used the vocal track from my last uploaded song for context and just ran through the voices. On some I used a chord in the chorus but mostly I just played a single note or power chord.
There's some oscillation on the flute that is on the real Mellotron.
This isn't synth with pad that replicate the exact instrument but rather they replicate - rather well I think, the taped recordings used on a 'tron.
I know, even from my brief play, that playing chords more like a piano would get more of the classic 'Tron tone but that will take time & effort for me.
I didn't do any fast runs to test tracking either.
The Attack setting was positioned for some swell so things may seem a little late in spots - I also forgot to set the interface for latency free tracking.
here ya go...
https://www.dropbox.com/s/eaugm2xzh8nkk ... B.mp3?dl=0
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rayc

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JD01
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Re: EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by JD01 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 5:39 am

That sounds great, Ray... so you just plug your guitar into it and suddenly you sound like all these other things?

I had no idea what these clips were gonna sound like before I listened to them - I have almost no use for one of these... but I still want one now.

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rayc
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Re: EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by rayc » Thu Jul 06, 2017 6:08 am

JDO1,
Yep, plug in and those sounds come out - nothing of the tone & timbre of the guitar in them at all. That's why they've put the parallel output into the thing - live you could play lovely or gnarly guitar by running the clean out into an amp or FX etc and have the strings playing with, behind, over it. It is the latest after the B9 (Hammond) and the Key9(keyboard/synth) and seems to have learnt some lessons from them. Lt Bob did a demo of the B9 on HR that sounded wonderful.
I don't have a lot of use for it but instead of cutting and pasting Mellotron tape files into stuff as I've done for years I'll plug in. It probably would've been cheaper to buy a synth workstation and good string samples etc BUT I've ham fisted at keyboard playing AND I grew up listening to Mellotron on prog and pop so love it.
Last edited by rayc on Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:18 am, edited 1 time in total.
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JD01
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Re: EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by JD01 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:00 am

That's great! You'll be getting on of them Line6 Variax MIDI guitars next.

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Re: EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by Greg_L » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:38 am

Damn Ray, that thing sounds cool. I've always liked demos of those EH "9" pedals. Cost vs use keeps me away though.
Rebel Yell

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rayc
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Re: EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by rayc » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:56 am

Greg_L wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:38 am
Damn Ray, that thing sounds cool. I've always liked demos of those EH "9" pedals. Cost vs use keeps me away though.
I agree. Fortunately I have used Mellotron a few times previously and can nor do so a little easier.
I'll actually do a decent demo tomorrow now I have a few ideas about playing to the pedal as well as the tweaks needed.
It makes a good birthday pressie.
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ido1957
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Re: EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by ido1957 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:05 am

Holy Macaroni!! That's a guitar??? That beats the heck out of the old guitar synths that Roland sold years back.
I'm impressed - hmmm I have my 60th coming up in December and that might just be the ticket :)
People want something for nothing, they want it right now. Either they can't tell quality or don't care but feel it is important that everyone agrees with them.

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JD01
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Re: EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by JD01 » Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:23 am

Hang on, Ray, does your mrs smoke a carton of fags every week? isn't that like over a 100 a week? She must sound like Madge Bishop!

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Lt. Bob
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Re: EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by Lt. Bob » Thu Jul 06, 2017 1:49 pm

Awesome!

I really like my B9 Organ Machine and really want one of the Key 9's to get some piano voices.

I have found the tracking picky about input signals as you say. One thing that helps is running a comp in front of it so you can get the signal exactly where it likes it and the comp keeps it there.

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rayc
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Re: EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by rayc » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:38 pm

Gerry,
Yeah. It's pretty cheap on the American Continent US$221.
JDO1,
She's smoking more at the moment as she's under heavy stress at present , (providing palliative care for her mum - Kim hasn't been home all week - she's at her mum's place), and is a nic addict obviously.
Lt. Bob,
I'd read about the comp in front. Now you've confirmed it so I'll do it. It's pretty good gear.
Cheers
rayc

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Tadpui
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Re: EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by Tadpui » Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:54 pm

Oh man, I would've sold you my Mel9 for a good price. Of course shipping and duty/import tax might have negated any deal I could've swung.

I've had mine for a while now and I just don't get along with it very well. My playing style apparently doesn't translate very well to the detector circuit or something. And it has a metallic reverb to all of the presets that kinda bugs me.

I'll give your tones a listen a little later when I'm in front of my good speakers. You may inspire me to give mine another try, especially now that I'm recording direct thru the Torpedo...maybe I just didn't like the Mel9 at 140 decibels in my old studio ;)

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Re: EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by Armistice » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:40 pm

Greg_L wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:38 am
Damn Ray, that thing sounds cool. I've always liked demos of those EH "9" pedals. Cost vs use keeps me away though.
Yep - I've wanted one of these for ages, but I'd hardly ever use it and I can use VST mellotrons if I need one. But jeez they sound cool. Good score ray.

$220 for a carton of cigarettes? Jesus wept...
:facepalm2: :nyuk: :guru:

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Re: EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by Armistice » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:41 pm

JD01 wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 10:23 am
Hang on, Ray, does your mrs smoke a carton of fags every week? isn't that like over a 100 a week? She must sound like Madge Bishop!
I suspect a carton is probably 240, over here...
:facepalm2: :nyuk: :guru:

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Re: EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by Armistice » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:42 pm

Tadpui wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:54 pm
Oh man, I would've sold you my Mel9 for a good price. Of course shipping and duty/import tax might have negated any deal I could've swung.

I've had mine for a while now and I just don't get along with it very well. My playing style apparently doesn't translate very well to the detector circuit or something. And it has a metallic reverb to all of the presets that kinda bugs me.

I'll give your tones a listen a little later when I'm in front of my good speakers. You may inspire me to give mine another try, especially now that I'm recording direct thru the Torpedo...maybe I just didn't like the Mel9 at 140 decibels in my old studio ;)
Let me know if you still want to get rid of it, after you have another go... I have Mel9 envy now... :lollers:
:facepalm2: :nyuk: :guru:

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rayc
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Demo #2 EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by rayc » Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:46 pm

In case I didn't mention it the recording was D.I. through my Scarlett.
Here's an update based on the things I learnt from yesterday's play around.
It's only 1 run through per voice and the arrangement is on the fly, as if it wasn't obvious, but that's ok, things are stacked in some parts and not in others. I included a couple of acoustic guitars so that the voices had to be able to cut through a denser mix.
I've discovered that the flute & cello are quite close tonally so ought not be together often (I discovered that too late so they are together a fair bit in this).
I used my new Squire Mustang plus a compressor between it & Mel9.
LOTS of errors but it's a demo after all.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/s5o0ykk0k8yp2 ... 3.mp3?dl=0
Last edited by rayc on Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
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EH Mel9 Two Days In

Post by rayc » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:22 am

I've owned it for two days and played with it for a couple of hours.
I'm certain anyone who doesn't know & like the Mellotron wouldn't be over the moon with this pedal as the voices aren't perfect replications of other instruments. For me the slightly grainy tape tone, late oscillations and voice selections are things I have been looking for.
It really is plug'n'play. The addition of a compressor in front of the Mel9 makes the good tracking even better.
I'll still be fiddling around for a bit to perfect the King Crimson Mellotron sound and The Moody Blues one as well but that's just me.
Out of the box, (since I purchased from the US, with a step down transformer added - local purchases have local 220-240 input transformers)), it work really well and records well too.
The pedal is built from a really sturdy metal box, the knobs and switch are well located and easy to see/read. The total weight & size of the pedal, (sans power transformer), is 320g and 9.5 x 11.5 x 3.5cm.
Value for money? At AUS$299 delivered form the US as opposed to AUS$400 or more locally it's a bargain. At six sevenths the price of my newest guitar it's not cheap at all. At not a lot more than a carton of cigarettes it's good value, a bargain and good fun too.
Last edited by rayc on Fri Jul 07, 2017 4:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by rayc » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:26 am

Tadpui wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 7:54 pm
Oh man, I would've sold you my Mel9 for a good price. Of course shipping and duty/import tax might have negated any deal I could've swung.
Tad,
I didn't cop any incoming tax.
You'd be able to sell & label it as 2nd hand which should knock any possible tax pretty hard. I do know that our Fed Govt. is intending to tax (GST) all online purchases this new financial year BUT the 2nd hand price should again make a difference. Postage? I assume it wasn't too much or they'd have charged it.
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Tadpui
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Re: EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by Tadpui » Fri Jul 07, 2017 3:34 am

rayc wrote:
Thu Jul 06, 2017 8:46 pm
In case I didn't mention it the recording was D.I. through my Scarlett.
Here's an update based on the things I learnt from yesterday's play around.
It's only 1 fly through per voice and the arrangement is on the fly, as if it wasn't obvious, but that's ok, things are stacked in some parts and not in others. I included a couple of acoustic guitars so that the voices had to be able to cut through a denser mix.
I've discovered that the flute & cello are quite close tonally so ought not be together often (I discovered that too late so they are together a fair bit in this).
I used my new Squire Mustang plus a compressor between it & Mel9.
LOTS of errors but it's a demo after all.
https://www.dropbox.com/s/s5o0ykk0k8yp2 ... 3.mp3?dl=0
Nice mix, ray. I like the vocals on that one. I haven't tried using mine in a mix yet, but once the Mel9 is part of the instrumentation and not the focal instrument, it really does lend some nice support. I think that adding the acoustic guitars was a good choice. And the compressor before the Mel9...now I'm gonna have to try it :)

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rayc
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Re: EH Mel9 Tape Replay Machine

Post by rayc » Wed Aug 09, 2017 9:54 pm

I'm a rudimentary guitar player and haven't delved into the subtleties of the pedal yet. there are ways of striking chords, pulling chords etc that'll get better/different results but I took the last version and gave it a little tweaking in the box - reverb, EQ and some volume envelopes - to this end:
MEL9 ITB Tweaking
HSB acoustic + 090817.mp3
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