Finally it’s here, the M4000D in its full glory! It is a 24-bit digital uncompressed audio playback unit with a total of 100 Chamberlin/Mellotron sounds. The machine is built by Markus Resch, who also build real Mellotrons since 1999 (Mark VI & VII). For more infos visit mellotron.com.
The M4000D has many options in how you want to play the sounds. For example you can play the sounds with a tape rewind simulation. When you play the same note in a short delay (you can set the exact rewind time in milliseconds), then the sound will continue playing from where you stopped it. The original Chamberlins & Mellotrons had to rewind each tape when pressed back to the start, because the duration of the tape was only around 8 seconds long.
You can also set the attack & release time in milliseconds and even where the tape should start playing.
Inside the M4000D
Sturdy wooden high-velocity keyboard
Instant tape banks in digital form
The panel display
Chamberlin – Music Master & M1 (early 50′s)
Flute, Bass Clarinet, Open Trumpet, 3 Violins, Alto Sax, Open Trombone, Piano, Vibraphone, Acoustic Guitar, Muted Trombone, 4 Saxes, Muted Trumpet, Mandolin, Marimba, 4 Brass, Accordion, Male Voice, Pizzicato Violins
Cello, Female Solo Voice, Accordion, Bassoon, Tenor Sax, Oboe, French Horn, Open Trumpet, Organ, Tibia Organ, Harpsichord Electric, Harpsichord Acoustic, Marimba, Vibraphone, Mandolin, Steel guitar, Harp Long Arpreggio
Mellotron – Mark I (1963)
Clarinet, Mandolin, French Horn, Acoustic Nylon Guitar, Organ, Marimba, Piano, Trombone, Tenor Sax, Trumpet, Hammond Organ, Harpsichord/Brass Split, Tibia Organ, Reverb Organ, Church Organ
Mellotron – Mark I (1964)
Flute, Rock Guitar, Organ 1, 3 Violins, Brass, Tenor Sax, Acoustic Steel Guitar, Piano, Vibraphone, Trombone, Muted Brass, Mandolin, Organ 2, Harpsichord, Tibia Organ, French Accordion, Accordion, Church Organ
Mellotron – M300 (1968)
Strings A High, Strings A Low, Strings B High, Strings B Low, Slow Vibraphone, Clarinet
Mellotron – M400 (1970)
3 Violins B, 16 Violins, Violin Solo, Viola, Cello, Cello B, 8 Voice Choir, 4 Voice Female Choir, 4 Voice Male Choir, Boys Choir, Mixed Custom Choir, Bass Flute, Oboe, English Horn, Bassoon, Alto Sax, 2 Saxes, 2 Brass, Hammond C3, Pipe Organ, Celeste 66, Celeste 74, Clavichord, Vibes with Vibrato, Vibes no Vibrato, Tubular Bells
IN, OUT, THRU
Special Format Expansion Card
There will be an Expansion Card with 200 additional Tape Banks
XLR Master, Direct A, Direct B
Jack Master, Direct A, Direct B, Phones (Stereo Output)
Sustain, Volume Pedal, Expression 1, Expression 2
My Serial Number
Mellotron power supply (12V)
Mellotron & minimoog – a happy couple!
Digital vs. tape-based Mellotron
The M4000D tunes so “real” compared to the tape-based Mellotron, that you forget that it’s actually a digital sampling unit. Of course you don’t get the noise of the tape bank mechanism or the slightly out-of-tune pitch timbre when playing several keys together.
The analogue Mellotrons are actually very sensitive and a careless handling of the machine could occur several mechanical problems. Smoke, temperature and humidity also play a huge factor.
The pro side of the M4000D is that you have 100 sounds already built-in. These instruments can be changed immediately by a simple knob-touch and the combination of two sounds (A & B) can be set and mixed individually. And they always tune fresh and unused!
With the M4000D you also can play the sounds in low pitch, which means an octave deeper. A sustain play option is planned in future etc…
The M4000D has a position sensitive keyboard, which means each key is in principle a volume control. This is to emulate the effect of the Mellotron and espesially the M-series Chamberlin where you could control the volume of the notes, depending on how hard you pressed the tape on the tape head.
The sounds which are built in this unit are sampled from the original Chamberlin/Mellotron tape libraries in uncompressed 24-bit resolution. Advanced technology has been used to emulate the sounds of the Chamberlin and Mellotron. This means that you can play Mellotron sounds in both Mellotron and Chamberlin style. The same applies of course to the Chamberlin sounds.
There’s an interesting Mellotron documentary called “Mellodrama”, which is available on DVD. Watch the trailer and get more infos here.