If you can’t afford to purchase the real thing, GMedia’s M-Tron is a decent, easy to use substitute for a Mellotron. There are quite a few sample sets and VSTi’s on the market now, but M-Tron is probably the most user friendly; whether used as a VSTi or as a standalone.
I’ve owned the M-Tron since it first came out and have purchased the additional tape sets as they became available. Now all are available in one package for less than the price I paid for just the VSTi.
GUI: The interface nicely mimics an M400 Mellotron. There are volume, tone and pitch knobs. The selector switch, instead of selecting one of three available sounds from a tape frame, opens a list of all available sounds. Unlike a real M400, you cannot mix adjacent tracks. The only thing I think is useless is the envelope option, which doesn’t exist on a real Tron. Maybe Gmedia included it to overcome the bad starts on several of the samples.
Sound: Judging from the size of the sample sets, I would guess that the sample rate is 44.1k at 16 bits. For 35 fully sampled notes (6 to 8 seconds each), this should come to about 20 megabytes, which the M-Tron sample sets seem to be. There are more than 100 sounds, but several are redundant and vary in quality. For example, there are several versions of the infamous MkII 3 Violins of varying sound quality. There are also some sound effect sets from an SFX tape set, and rhythms and fills from a MkII tape set. In addition to the Mellotron samples, there are some decent Chamberlin samples and some really cheezy Birotron samples (although this may be due to the fact that the Birotron was a bad concept in the first place). Still, the M-Tron has the greatest variety of sounds of any other sample set on the market.
Features: Basically, the feature set is the same as a real M400; sparse, but complete in and of itself.
Docs: The M-Tron is so simple that the documentation is more than adequate. If you can’t figure out how to use it without any documentation whatsoever, a 2 inch thick manual isn’t going to do you any good.
Presets: Lots of them; more sounds than the infamous MkI and MkII.
Support: The one or two times I wrote to GMedia, I got no response, so I’d say, not very good.
VFM: It’s a bargain compared to the other sample sets on the market.
Stability: Very stable.
Besides the M-Tron, I also own the Pinder sample set which is more expensive and sparser in sound variety (but of higher sound quality for the most part), the CrimeSounds sample set (good sound quality and downloadable from the MI7 website as individual notes or sets) and samples of my own Trons (superior in sound quality to the above sample sets, but not a lot of variety). All in all, the M-Tron will give you the most bang for your buck (or euro or ruble or renminbi, or whatever you use).
Developer GForce features a pretty essential range of products, but this was the first I simply had to buy. The supply chain to the US has been a bit iffy in recent months, but new distributor M-Audio now has it out with retailers.
It's the kind of VST you either love or hate: it does just what it's supposed to do, which is sound like the classic Mellotron, the sound of the Sixties and early 70s. [Yes, I know people used 'Trons long after, but their heyday was earlier].
The latest release is the real deal, containing ALL of the available sounds previously sold as add-on banks, and some that were never commercial in the first place (custom jobs for Yes, Tangerine Dream and Frank Zappa). This adds up to 2GB-plus, and explains why it's no longer a download...
Authenticity being the name of the game, some of the sounds are a bit creaky and wobbly, which adds to the charm. GForce has also added a few 'new' sounds in the same mood (mostly choral).
And for those who say 'What the hell in a chamberlin?' the answer is revealed in the manual, wherein you discover it was a 'Tron predecessor. Its sounds are included, along with some from the defunct Megatron.
The VST behaves very nicely. The GUI is a kind of send-up of studio hardware, complete with cigarette burns and coffee cup rings. It's pretty simple to use. I read the manual AFTER I'd been through pretty much every function 'live.'
If you're an old geezer like me, who remembers when these devices were brand new, and only owned by the nouveau riche and rock elitists, you'll agree that $99 -- what it cost me -- is a fantastic deal.
It knocks the socks off all other 'Tron wannabes I've auditioned. Now all I've gotta do is stop myself from overusing it!
My first review. The real killer app of this product is the detail of the copying of original Mellotron sounds. If you liked the mellotron sounds on Radiohead, early Tangerine Dream, King Crimson, or Genesis, reat assured, you will get exactly that. If you think "that's close but not exactly the meelotron on xyz's ablum" then get the tape banks for all the variations including a number of customised tapes for the likes of Yes and Tangerine Dream. With no distracting effects you can add your own (filter and reverb and hey presto you have Phaedra) which I usually prefer. Negative points? The choice of some of the sounds is a bit eccentric, fun, but not maybe not that usable (though you have plenty of very usable flute, strings, brass/woodwind and choir sounds). Also I find the selector bar (which allows you to either change the sound or the attack/release etc) a bit fiddly and I have no idea why. Overall a must have though if you love the mellotron sound. The additional tape banks also make fascinating reading with the details of where the sounds came from. User interface - lose one point for the fiddly selector bar, apart from that it's simple and looks ok. Sound - Spot on. Features - while it is faithful copy of the mellotron down to the tape wear and 8 second "sample" it adds attack/release which others have commented the hardware version didn't have and I find really useful. Documentation - really not much to it, just select and play! Prests - have to give it a 10 even with the "wacky presets" because the core sounds (for me) are so usable. Customer support - I had a couple of minor probs. I got a reply within 24hrs and the problem was seen through to a happy conclusion very professionally. Value for money - I've put this at 9, the M-tron itself, additional banks are at a reasonable cost, but it still adds up for 100 or so sounds. Stability - I've put this at 9, I do find sometimes that I have ended up with different sounds being called up when I run a track within my host (Cubase SX2), others have mentioned the same. It's a minor irritation, you just get the right preset back and resave the project.
To re-iterate, if you like meelotrons, get this without hesitation!
I bought the M-Tron when it first came out. I was impressed with the demo's I'd heard on the GMedia website & it came across as sounding genuinely unique. For the price I just had to have it.
Installation was well handled by a menu system that aloud you to choose which patches you wanted to install. A complete install was around 500MB but I decided it best to hear everything on offer. All the patches had a definite vintage quality about them & they were brimming over with warmth & character the likes of which I'd never heard from a soft synth previously. One of the first patches I tried was the flute sound that, on the original mellotron, provided the intro to the Beatles classic Strawberry fields. Sound wise it was spot on but I noticed a problem with my M-tron at this point which was that some of the notes appeared to be missing! I e-mailed the Gmedia tech support who very quickly replied & directed me to an update patch which solved the problem (So, Hats of to GMedia for customer support which was excellent).
The controls on the M-Tron are very simple but allow you enough control over the sound to make things interesting but without loosing the character of each sound. The M-Tron also adds Attack & Release time which apparently the original Mellotron never had. This allows you further control over the characteristics of each sound & is especially useful on the more string like patches in order to make them softer.
The documentation is simple but it gives you a brief history of the Mellotron & explains that it wasn't really a synth at all but in a way the worlds first sampler.
The M-Tron really is a classic Soft synth with a warm sound that's full of character & is unique amongst soft synths. The extra volumes of 'Tape banks' that have been released add even more wonderful sounds to an already excellent collection (Just make sure you have plenty of hard disk space!). Some might argue that the M-Tron is nothing more than a collection of samples from an old synth but what you actually have here are a collection unique (And very rare) sounds from an equally unique instrument. Of course, It's not going to be for everyone but one listen to the demo MP3's on the GMedia website will convince you of it's worth one way or the other. In my opinion for £45 you can't go far wrong.
if you like the mellotron sound--that is if you liked the eighties--this is a great purchase. Years of 'mellozone' and 'tapestrings' rompler presets have never even roughly approxiamated the beauty of these patches.
Although there are a fair number of patches in the presets and 'refill', you'll only end up revisiting 5-10: but they are awesome.
Like ppg wave, m-tron is 1 part synth, 1 part time machine.
No real tech problems; I subtracted a point for the coffee stain. enjoy.
I own the M-Tron now for a year and also all banks, but haven´t made a review yet, that´s nonexcusable.
I always loved the sounds (mainly the strings and violins) of that instrument since the late 60s, which was the first sampler ever built. And the M-Tron reproduces these sounds perfectly with a great veriety of sounds.
When I had questions, they quickly answered and helped me.
Compared to the prices of original Mellotrons, the VFM is very good.
I'm on a Mac OS9 and when I first purchased it I had v2.05 which ran perfectly, installed without hassle or any security nonsense. Then I downloaded the v3.0 and it crashed when you played the top note. I emailed GMedia and a day and a half later they sent me an email with a fixed version which has worked perfectly. How's that for customer support. Now on 4.6 - the most stable version yet.
As I am a CreamWare SCOPE user most of my synth duties are handled by that card. This is one of only three VSTi I have felt the need to buy so far (the others being Oddity and impOSCar) as it covers a sound spectrum that I could only replicate in SCOPE with lots of multisamples from commercial sample CDs. And I mean multisamples as every note is a unique sample of each key of a Mellotron, giving rise to fantastic inconsistencies you don't get on S+S versions which spread a sample or two across several keys (and you don't get the famous/infamous eight second duration).
Within two weeks I was smitten with the sound and decided to fork out for the Tape Banks Vol. 1&2, which are absolutely fab and groovy and an essential purchase, still VFM even though it does hike up the overall price. i have also now bought Vol.3 - if you can still get the M-Tron Collection then this is the best way to get the whole package. Each 'tape bank' volume has about 26 or so tape reels - much more than you'd ever get for a real Mellotron. The are some M400 tapes taken from the direct out, and also MII taken from a mic'ed amp like some of the earlier bands used to (had to in fact). There are even some Birotron, Chamberlin and Roland VP-330 banks, with the eight second Mellotron rule still in place!
If you play this and think "This sounds great but it doesn't quite sound like In The Court Of The Crimson King" then just chuck it through a Leslie simulator and hey presto, that classic sound.
If you grew up on Yes, Genesis, King Crimson, The Beatles then buy this. If you didn't then buy all their records and then buy this (you'll want THAT sound for sure).
I wish reviewers would update their reviews, problems mentioned were fixed...
If you like the Mellotron M-Tron is THE VSTi to get.
Installation is simple, you even have choices whether not to install various tape libraries. Install all of them if you decide to buy M-Tron as they are all good. I got the two additional libraries with M-Tron. They too are worth the cost. In particular Volume 2 has a bunch of custom sets and Chamberlin samples as well.
I've read of problems with M-Tron and I do have an intermitant one, on D4/Eb4 the same note plays on two different patches. This is a bummer but the vast majority of patches do not exibit this behavior. Most of the performance news is good. On a Celeron 600 playing 5 notes I couldn't get CPU useage past 5 - 9% in Orion Pro and Cubase VST 5.1. The quality of sounds varies greatly, sometimes within the same set of samples.
This however is accurate as volume, tone and noise issues plagued Mellotrons and other tape based keyboards. The samples for M-Tron have been cleaned up while leaving the essential Mellotron sound intact.
Choirs, violins, piano! and a host of other 'tron samples are dead ringers for the original Mellotron.
Another restriction which is accurate to the Mellotron design is the sample length of 8 or less seconds. This is a good thing as it becomes too easy with traditional looped samples to play the Mellotron like any other traditional synth. The thing is the Mellotron was it's own unique instrument with it's own unique playing style. Patches range from 23 - 36 notes. These seeming restrictions are exactly how the real instrument was played. It is the details that make M-Tron so appealing.
There aren't many controls, attack and release faders, volume, general tone and pitch knobs and a multi purpose 3 way switch for different operation modes. It's a simple yet beautiful system and the closest one will come to a real Mellotron in mint condition.
A must buy for any fan of the Mellotron.
I've had this plug since ever since Version 1.0, but have only been able to get it to work properly after the 3.0 update. And WOW, it sure blew me away!
CPU-usage is minimal (around 10% on my Mac G3/450) and the hanging note problem has been eradicated.
Never having used a real Mellotron, I can't say I know for sure it is an authentic replication. However, the sounds included in the basic package have a nice vintage sound to them. With some extra phasing/chorus fx, you can make some mighty fine vintage-inflected music.
The two extra tape banks are well worth looking into as well.
I have to deduct one point for the interface, since the keys only animate when clicking on them with your mouse, but not when receiving MIDI.
This is a nice recreation of a classic instrument. There's not much to say about the sound, aside from it really does sound like a mellotron. If you're familiar with the sound of one you will not be dissappointed. Most of the stability issues have been cleared up in the most recent releases, and the customer support has greatly improved in the last few months as well. I've been in contact with G-Media a few times as of late and they've always been quick to reply, and get on top of bugs. Also it took me a few tries to get it to install in Win XP, the install would hang during the conversion process but there is a converter on the g-media site which will fix that problem, it just makes no mention of this being a workaround for an XP install. If you like Mellotrons than this plug-in is probably the one for you. Another nice thing about this plug is that if the original disc doesn't have enough tron sounds for you more Tape Banks are available.
New version of M-tron is out, so I'm editing this review..
First things first, is this VSTi buggy? NOT ANYMORE!
It is stable and the CPU usage is way down! The VST Keyboard is now fully functional and it is much easier to get to your sounds...
This thing sounds amazing! It is completely different from any other VSTi. I have the extra tape banks that are really a necessity. It is a very organic sounding beast. Most VSTi’s have been designed to be clean and perfect sounding, which has its place. M-tron goes for a sound all its own, well its actually a Mellotron, but in the computer world it stands out.
The GUI is simple and to the point. Basically, you load a tape bank (sample) and set the attack and release. The samples are from actually Mellotron tapes and other instruments. They vary a LOT from key to key as well as over an 8 second duration (no loops!) This is what makes it sound so unique!
If you’re looking to give your music a new (or old) flavor go and get it!