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RE: Closing the Loop: orchestral instruments>>mellotron>>orchestr al instruments SIMULATING mellotron

--- goddard.duncan@mtvne.com wrote:
> simulating mellotron, did you say? :-)

Sort of. Simulating the timbre of a
not-so-well-maintained mellotron would be more
accurate; I've grown rather fond of the quirks. But
since I'm not using a keyboard, I'm not playing it
like a keyboard. I think of it more as a cello (or
flute) which borrows from the vocabulary of a device
which was invented to copy it.

The only actual real live mellotron I've ever recorded
with was one of the two owned by Fort Apache in
Cambridge, MA. I'm not sure if they're 400s or Mk
VI's; they were purchased at auction when the Broadway
show Beatlemania folded. One doesn't work and supplies
parts for the other, or at least it did last time I
recorded there. The working one has (had?) the usual
things wrong with it: many of the tapes in the rack
had broken and were reattached so some of the notes
required 'paddling' waaaay before 8 seconds, and the
speed and pitch controls were sloppy-loose and had
sort of a hallucinatory yaw to them. A beautiful
thing. :)

But for what I've been doing, recording flutes and
cellos onto analog tape before introducing them to the
 other instruments in the software, the sound has
been, to my ear, smooth and pleasant, with a weirdness
that's just wrong in the right kind of way. It DOESN'T
have the fidelity that a full-range digital recording
of the same instruments would, but it's a sound I
like, mostly as a result of the imperfections of the

It's funny, right after I started this thread last
night, I recorded some cello parts digitally to
complete a tune I'd (mostly) recorded a few weeks ago,
skipping the eight track. On mixdown, I could really
hear the limitations/artifacts of the old, cheap
digital reverb I was using (three letter name, black
with disgusting pink and blue graphics) which is just
fine when used with analog, albeit noisy. It was like
the difference between the gauzy
vaseline-on-the-lens/soft lighting look of glamour
photography (where imperfections are softened) and
what the same actress would look like in sharp, macro,
show-every-pore focus and harsh fluorescent glare.

Maybe I'll try some filtering, or perhaps the
tape-echo models of the DL4 or EchoPro before the
signal hits the digital medium. The two step analog to
digital process isn't always the most convenient;
maybe I can get round it another way.


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