My Homemade MELLOTRON!

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djsoulmachine
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My Homemade MELLOTRON!

Post by djsoulmachine »

Hi!
I’m building myself a digital Mellotron M400 with some cool added features!

- MIDI connection
- Up to 20 sound banks
- Half Speed Mode (used on the Streetly Electronics M4000)
- Split Mode to play with 2 separate banks like the Mellotron MkII
- A LCD screen, because hey, it’s 2016! ^^
- Rack rails in the woodcase to use it as a master keyboard

I still need to finish the woodcase, but since it’s going to take me forever to do it well, I thought it was a good time to share some pics and a quick demo!

Enjoy!

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[video][/video]
Music & DIY : http://www.djsoulmachine.com

Mono : Yamaha CS15 - Moog Slim Phatty - Moog Minitaur - Behringer Model D - Arturia MicroBrute

Poly : Oberheim Matrix 1000 - Roland MKS50

Other : Hammond XM2 - Yamaha Motif Rack
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HipDestroyer
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Post by HipDestroyer »

Wow, really cool!
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PHOBoSapiens
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Post by PHOBoSapiens »

looks (and sounds) great so far :hyper:
are you actually going to use tapes or is it a modernized digital version with samples ?
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hermbot
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Post by hermbot »

Looks great! Can I ask where you sourced the keys/ keybed?
Ramases
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Post by Ramases »

That's excellent work!
It will look great when the case is done.
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djsoulmachine
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Post by djsoulmachine »

Thank you so much guys!
PHOBoSapiens wrote:looks (and sounds) great so far :hyper:
are you actually going to use tapes or is it a modernized digital version with samples ?
Digital samples fed into analog filter and amplification. :tu:
I think that rebuilding the original tapes system from scratch is too much pain for only one man
hermbot wrote: Can I ask you where you sourced the keys/ keybed?
The keys are from an Axiom 49 :sb:
Music & DIY : http://www.djsoulmachine.com

Mono : Yamaha CS15 - Moog Slim Phatty - Moog Minitaur - Behringer Model D - Arturia MicroBrute

Poly : Oberheim Matrix 1000 - Roland MKS50

Other : Hammond XM2 - Yamaha Motif Rack
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fuzzbass
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Post by fuzzbass »

Where do the tapes go?
Wired for weird
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Redstar
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Post by Redstar »

Nice build. DIY is the way electronic music started long may it continue
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ersatzplanet
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Post by ersatzplanet »

I recognize the WaveTrigger PCB in that mix. Perfect PCB for that job.
-James

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djsoulmachine
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Post by djsoulmachine »

fuzzbass wrote:Where do the tapes go?
Nowhere, like I said it's sample based. All the tapes are stored in a micro SD.
ersatzplanet wrote:I recognize the WaveTrigger PCB in that mix. Perfect PCB for that job.
Yes it is! A wonderful little gem with countless possibilities when coupled with an arduino!
Music & DIY : http://www.djsoulmachine.com

Mono : Yamaha CS15 - Moog Slim Phatty - Moog Minitaur - Behringer Model D - Arturia MicroBrute

Poly : Oberheim Matrix 1000 - Roland MKS50

Other : Hammond XM2 - Yamaha Motif Rack
JohnLRice

Post by JohnLRice »

Nice job! :tu:
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ersatzplanet
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Post by ersatzplanet »

djsoulmachine wrote:
ersatzplanet wrote:I recognize the WaveTrigger PCB in that mix. Perfect PCB for that job.
Yes it is! A wonderful little gem with countless possibilities when coupled with an arduino!
You should check out the new version he is making (Based on a new generation ARM Cortex m7):

http://robertsonics.com/tsunami/

Specifications

Supports up to 4096 uncompressed 16-bit, 44.1kHz stereo WAV files – CD quality
Polyphonic – Play and mix 18** stereo tracks independently and simultaneously
8 audio output channels, arranged as 4 stereo outputs. Route any track to any output
Stereo outputs provide independent real-time playback rate control and MIDI Pitch Bend
Seamless looping over arbitrary track length
Trigger-to-sound delay: 8 msecs typ, 12 msecs max**
Pause and resume individual or groups of tracks
Multiple random trigger ranges
16 trigger inputs are individually selectable for contact closure or 3.3Vcontrol
Trigger inputs can be individually inverted (active low or high)
Trigger inputs can be individually set to be edge, latched or level sensitive
Output volumes adjustable from +10dB to -70dB
Firmware track fades (attacks & decays)
A dedicated “Play” status digital output pin
Extensive serial control. Pin compatible with SparkFun FTDI Basic 3.3V
MIDI Velocity-sensitive triggering of up to 4096 tracks, adjustable attack and release times

Unique to Tsunami

18** voice (or more) polyphony
Dynamic routing to 4 stereo outputs
Independent real-time volume and playback rate control per output
Seamless looping over arbitrary track length
Dedicated MIDI I/O
Line-level stereo audio input
Reset button allows changing SD cards without power-cycle
Firmware updates from microSD card. No additional hardware required

(** Final specs to be determined)

Still preliminary bur is the same form factor as the WaveTrigger and MUCH more powerful.
-James

James Husted - Synthwerks, LLC - www.synthwerks.com - info@synthwerks.com - james@synthwerks.com
Synthwerks is a proud member of the Mostly Modular Trade Association (http://www.mostlymodular.com).
Always looking to trade for Doepfer P6 cases
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Dimitree
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Post by Dimitree »

does that mean that now it can transpose your samples based on the note you play, like an EMU for example?
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ersatzplanet
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Post by ersatzplanet »

Dimitree wrote:does that mean that now it can transpose your samples based on the note you play, like an EMU for example?
Still is a file per note I believe. Each MIDI note number is assigned a track to play on the microSD card. Pitch bend and such can be done via MIDI pitch pend controls but it is not stretching the same sample around to play the different notes. Very much like the original Mellotron, you have a sound file for every key. With there being a ton of Mellotron samples out there, of each and every note separate, and the nature of the Mellotron not looping its tapes, the WaveTrigger and the Tsunami are perfect for that job.

They are also perfect for "Ableton in a module" use, which is what I use both my modules for. Since it reads off the card there is no file length problems. I use the whole rig to make great complex background textures, burn it to the card, and then modify them with a smaller part of the same rig. You can also record sequences and drum loops and play against them. Since the WaveTrigger is stereo, I sometimes record a click track on one channel and the loop on the other and use the click track to drive envelope detectors and derive clocks from them. The Tsunami adds one major feature for my use, multiple channel outputs. Instead of four WaveTriggers, I can use one Tsunami.
-James

James Husted - Synthwerks, LLC - www.synthwerks.com - info@synthwerks.com - james@synthwerks.com
Synthwerks is a proud member of the Mostly Modular Trade Association (http://www.mostlymodular.com).
Always looking to trade for Doepfer P6 cases
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djsoulmachine
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Post by djsoulmachine »

ersatzplanet wrote:You should check out the new version he is making (Based on a new generation ARM Cortex m7):

http://robertsonics.com/tsunami/

Still preliminary bur is the same form factor as the WaveTrigger and MUCH more powerful.
Yeah I saw it! It would actually be a bit too powerful for my need but I'm definitely looking forward to it for my upcoming projects!!

Dimitree wrote:does that mean that now it can transpose your samples based on the note you play, like an EMU for example?
No you need at least one sample per note, just like the original Mellotron
Music & DIY : http://www.djsoulmachine.com

Mono : Yamaha CS15 - Moog Slim Phatty - Moog Minitaur - Behringer Model D - Arturia MicroBrute

Poly : Oberheim Matrix 1000 - Roland MKS50

Other : Hammond XM2 - Yamaha Motif Rack
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Post by wsy »

IIRC, the original Mellotron had three tracks on each tape - and because the read head was physically moved to switch
tracks, you could "blend" multiple tape samples by manipulating the knob in real time, keeping it from dropping into
the detent.

Might be fun to have on a joystick.... :-)

- Bill
"Life is short. But we can always buy longer patch cords" - Savage
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djsoulmachine
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Post by djsoulmachine »

wsy wrote:IIRC, the original Mellotron had three tracks on each tape - and because the read head was physically moved to switch
tracks, you could "blend" multiple tape samples by manipulating the knob in real time, keeping it from dropping into
the detent.

Might be fun to have on a joystick.... :-)

- Bill
There was 3 tracks (A-B-C) available for each note but you could only blend two at a time (A-B) or (B-C). I did emulate this on my 'tron, if you watch the video you'll see me turning the knob to blend the choirs with the strings.

This is by far my favorite feature!! :nana:
Music & DIY : http://www.djsoulmachine.com

Mono : Yamaha CS15 - Moog Slim Phatty - Moog Minitaur - Behringer Model D - Arturia MicroBrute

Poly : Oberheim Matrix 1000 - Roland MKS50

Other : Hammond XM2 - Yamaha Motif Rack
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Post by batchas »

djsoulmachine wrote:I did emulate this on my 'tron, if you watch the video you'll see me turning the knob to blend the choirs with the strings.

This is by far my favorite feature!! :nana:
Yeah it's very cool :tu:

And the sound is great too.
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Post by fuzzbass »

djsoulmachine wrote:
fuzzbass wrote:Where do the tapes go?
Nowhere, like I said it's sample based. All the tapes are stored in a micro SD.
If you are looking for realism, you need to do something to make this much less reliable. Maybe pedal driven generator for power? :hihi:
Wired for weird
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djsoulmachine
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Post by djsoulmachine »

fuzzbass wrote: If you are looking for realism, you need to do something to make this much less reliable. Maybe pedal driven generator for power? :hihi:
Haha I don't want to go mad and burn it in my garden just like Rick Wakeman did with his two Mellotrons back in the seventies :deadbanana: :deadbanana:
Music & DIY : http://www.djsoulmachine.com

Mono : Yamaha CS15 - Moog Slim Phatty - Moog Minitaur - Behringer Model D - Arturia MicroBrute

Poly : Oberheim Matrix 1000 - Roland MKS50

Other : Hammond XM2 - Yamaha Motif Rack
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Post by ambrohski »

:woah: this looks and sounds great, really nice work by you!
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an other diy Mellotron

Post by schoenramer »

I had the same idea. Build a Mellotron based on the WavTrigger board. I had some old Lowrey-organ keyboards (low cost ebay auctions). Cleaning the keyboard, the contacts and build a XY-diode matrix. An Arduino MEGA, serial interface conected to the WavTrigger board from Robertson (download the serial Library), a LCD-Display and some switches and potis.

The Arduino sketch needs about one evening (and some bottles of bavarian beer). Its a prototype, but my band (www.necronomicon-1927.de) use this prototype now in the second year. Live: ( start at 3:00.

If anybody likes to build one, I will open the Arduino sketch (Github project).
Attachments
MelloOffen.jpg
MelloOffen.jpg (161.75 KiB) Viewed 1594 times
MelloMEGA.jpg
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MelloDisplay.jpg
MelloDisplay.jpg (81.82 KiB) Viewed 1599 times
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djsoulmachine
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Re: an other diy Mellotron

Post by djsoulmachine »

schoenramer wrote:I had the same idea. Build a Mellotron based on the WavTrigger board. I had some old Lowrey-organ keyboards (low cost ebay auctions). Cleaning the keyboard, the contacts and build a XY-diode matrix. An Arduino MEGA, serial interface conected to the WavTrigger board from Robertson (download the serial Library), a LCD-Display and some switches and potis.

The Arduino sketch needs about one evening (and some bottles of bavarian beer). Its a prototype, but my band (www.necronomicon-1927.de) use this prototype now in the second year. Live: ( start at 3:00.

If anybody likes to build one, I will open the Arduino sketch (Github project).
REALLY NICE!! Looks definitely more vintage than mine ^^
Where did you find the keyboard?
Music & DIY : http://www.djsoulmachine.com

Mono : Yamaha CS15 - Moog Slim Phatty - Moog Minitaur - Behringer Model D - Arturia MicroBrute

Poly : Oberheim Matrix 1000 - Roland MKS50

Other : Hammond XM2 - Yamaha Motif Rack
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djsoulmachine
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Post by djsoulmachine »

After totally failing at doing it myself properly, a nice carpenter cut these pieces for me... and for free!

Image
Music & DIY : http://www.djsoulmachine.com

Mono : Yamaha CS15 - Moog Slim Phatty - Moog Minitaur - Behringer Model D - Arturia MicroBrute

Poly : Oberheim Matrix 1000 - Roland MKS50

Other : Hammond XM2 - Yamaha Motif Rack
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okelk
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Post by okelk »

Definitely more high-end than my version..... :hihi:


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