- A GForce Software and Streetly Electronics collaboration
- Tape banks from the original UK 'Tron masters
- Derived from original EMI tape-stock
- 24 carefully curated sounds for M-Tron Pro
- 35 notes per tape bank
- Exclusively available via download - 600MB
- 100s of patches, many from luminaries including Dean and Jarrod (I Monster) & Paul Godfrey (Morecheeba)
descriptions by Martin Smith, Streetly Electronics.
2 Tenor 2 Alto Sax - A thrusting sax ensemble with bags of character.
8 Choir - An absolute Mellotron® classic with four males and four females battling it out at IBC studios. Used extensively by Genesis, The Strawbs and many more.
Bassoon - Dark and brooding. Instant Shakespeare. Just add water.
Biro Choir - An unreleased choir intended for the Birotron which turned up in Les Bradley’s archive. Rescued from a less than perfect ¼” master, the haphazard nature of the recording gives this choir a perfection from all the imperfections.
Boys Choir - Another classic choir sound recorded simply with a handheld microphone back in 1970. It shouldn’t work BUT IT DOES. Used extensively by Noel Gallagher in recent times.
Cello - One of the saddest sounds in the Mellotronic canon. Cellist, Reg Kirby refused to detune his cello for the bottom 5 notes so a double bass was used giving a knee jerk change of timbre.
Dick Strings - Viola mixed with M300A violins in just the right proportions to give you this melancholic string section.
Electric Guitar - A miked and plucked electric guitar that has a mellow bottom end and a strident top. Recorded in 1962, it is nostalgia at its best.
Flute - Strawberry Fields Forever…..forever. There is nothing more to be said!
French Accordion - Originally recorded 33% sharp compared to all the other sounds, after careful retuning it now oozes Parisian pavements and Gitanes.
French Horn - One of the earliest Mellotron recordings from the original MKI master. Warm and atmospheric.
GC3 Brass - This is the sound of George Chisholm, a well known British comedy trombonist from the ‘60s overlaid three times to produce a phasey trombone ensemble. George also provided rhythm fills on Trombone and Sax for the MKII.
Glocks & Tubular Bells - A nice keyboard split of crystal clear Glockenspiel and clanging Tubular Bells, ideal for Penny Lane covers.
Gothic - Les Bradley once mixed together String Section, St. John John’s Church Organ and Eight Choir in a bizarre accident involving a mixing desk and absentmindedness. The result was this massive sound.
Halfspeed Brass - Mike Pinder of the Moodies would pitch down his MKII to give this effect. MKIIs are scarce so this sound was created as a homage to Mike for all to use.
M300A Violins - The sound of Barclay James Harvest and our much missed comrade, Woolly Wolstenholme. This is the sound of two violins playing in unison to haunting effect.
M400 Violins - A reworked version of the MKII violins, this was an attempt to soften the sound by use of eq. and recording off azimuth. It was used extensively being supplied with most M400s back in the day.
Mandolin - Another early recording that featured heavily on Days by the Kinks. Slightly lo-fi but none the worse for it!
Mk1 Marimba - A very dark recording; great for pads and instant atmosphere.
Mk1 Vibes - Another classic sound with just the right amount of vibrato for nice fat jazzy chords and a cool atmosphere.
Moog Brass - This is just one of many Moog sounds put out at a time when synth polyphony did not exist but a ‘tron was 35 note polyphonic! It completely threw Bob Moog when he first heard his fledgling instrument playing chords.
St John's Church Organ - The monstrous sound of a wonderful organ has been a favourite for many years.
String Section - A dark mix of cello, viola and MKII violins that became a prog. rock essential. Big and moody, Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra would never have sounded the same without it.
Tenor Sax - Either a Take Five or Take Cover moment! Breathy, jazzy and great for pads.
The Original Instrument
Made with the help of Streetly Electronic's John Bradley and Martin Smith, this film is a comprehensive and fascinating story of the trials and tribulations then ultimate resurrection of an iconic instrument which still grabs our sonic attention nearly 50 years after its birth.
There's enough info in this film to educate even a hardened Mellotron® enthusiast. So rather than repeat that here, we're going to focus on why we think hardware and software sits side-by-side. While the hardware versus software debate still rages, ad nauseam, the simple truth is that there's no definitive answer as to which is best. Just as there is good and bad hardware, there is good and bad software and the answer to this conundrum will depend on all manner of things including your personal perspective, available space, your technical savvy, your preferred working environment and of course your finances.
For example, do the majority of musicians really care to maintain a forty-plus year old instrument, sourcing rare parts when they wear out or break?
Well, we care because we feel honoured to be custodians of these old instruments and while many other software companies simply hire-in instruments to model, we consider this bad practice. In our opinion good practice is when you've lived with and loved the original instrument's character and foibles for a considerable time before beginning any emulative process. Because, then and only then, do you stand a chance of capturing some of the instrument's soul and character within the software alchemy.
It's a simple dogma but you'd be surprised at how many software companies ignore this in favour of marketing hyperbole. Indeed, when we explained our philosophy to the marketing director of one such company, he said "No one really cares" and strolled off to perpetrate more marketing myths.
But, we do care, and to us that love of an instrument is what matters when trying to transplant its character. You see, we can tell the difference between good or bad, lazy or indifferent, marketing bullshit versus a real love for the authentic, because we immerse ourselves in these instruments and have done for over 30 years.
So at this point you'll be surprised to hear us admit that we don't currently own a 'Tron ourselves.
We used to, but once an instrument starts to become a burden and the maintenance costs start to increase and problems mount, the sad fact is it's time to let it go to someone with deeper pockets. But not before we created the original M-Tron using a combination of sounds from our own M400, a beautifully restored MkII and another M400 from a band whose name can never be mentioned.
So just as finance played a part in our decision to sell, finance also plays a part in an argument as to whether hardware or software is better. If you want an M400 plus all the tapes we supplied with the M-Tron Pro, you'd be looking at £20,000 plus, as opposed to the M-Tron Pro's £140. That's one reason why we laughed when a certain French synthesist criticised the M-Tron in a UK Music magazine. He has an original instrument and can afford a small army of technicians to care for it if necessary. He also has very deep pockets with which to indulge his every fancy, whereas us mere mortals don't.
Since selling ours, and the subsequent introduction of the M-Tron, interest in the original instrument has grown and grown to the point where we've seen average M400s sell for up to £6,000. And while the thought remained that we'd like another past experience, and the fact that the M400 only has three immediately accessible sounds, had put us off.
However, everything changed with Streetly Electronics' decision to start manufacturing the beautiful M4000. No longer were any prospective 'Tron purchasers torn between £20,000 or £140, there was a new middle(ish) ground with none of the reliability issues that potentially loomed with any prospective purchase of a secondhand machine. Furthermore, it is British and it sounds SUPERB!
At over £5,000 the M4000 isn't exactly a casual purchase but it is one which any lover of the original will long to make. Why? Because its made by the same people who made the originals and it has the soul of both the MKII and M400 via 24 on-board sounds and a feel that's reminiscent of those days gone by. It plays beautifully and having examined it inside and out we can attest that it is an engineering marvel.
It's reliable, robust and uniquely, allows control over the tape-head azimuth. It even fits through a normal British doorway! The height is perfect and the immutable truth is that we want one.... badly... and from our perspective as software developers, we think there's no higher accolade we can bestow on those responsible at Streetly Electronics.