small portable sampler for mellotron-sounds?

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small portable sampler for mellotron-sounds?

Postby Lars » Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:31 am

My E-mu E-synth sampler (rack-version) collapsed after too many rough flights. So i thought i'd buy a new sampler, and hopefully you have some suggestions. I'm really not into modern samplers and digital synths, so i have no idea what's out there.

I will only be needing this for live-gigs, and only as a substitute for a mellotron m400. I need something reliable (not a laptop in other words), small and light, which is easy to switch fast between different sounds, with enough "seconds" to sample my own mellotron (at least 3 sounds - and that's 34 keys, 8 seconds per key), and of course with a possibility to connect to a midi-keyboard.

The problem with the E-mu, was the weight and size (specially on flights as i always had to pay overweight) - and i didn't really need all the features it had. I won't be needing any filters or effects, as i'm running it into a space echo and amp - just like i do with the real mellotron.

Any suggestion is appreciated.
Thanks in advance!
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Re: small portable sampler for mellotron-sounds?

Postby meatballfulton » Mon Nov 12, 2012 12:47 pm

Roland SP404 or 404sx
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Re: small portable sampler for mellotron-sounds?

Postby madtheory » Mon Nov 12, 2012 3:56 pm

meatballfulton wrote:Roland SP404 or 404sx

No good, not enough multisamples.

How about a memotron rack:
http://www.manikin-electronic.com/en/pr ... _rack.html
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Re: small portable sampler for mellotron-sounds?

Postby _seph » Mon Nov 12, 2012 4:07 pm

meatballfulton wrote:Roland SP404 or 404sx

well, that was nearly the worst possible suggestion...

if you would like a comparable spec'ed rack mount sampler, there really hasn't been anything introduced since the time when your E-Synth was new. For something a bit smaller than E-mu's E4 series, you could give their ESI a go although it is a lesser sampler but it will work for your specific needs. There is also Yamaha's A series which are very capable and a bit slimmer. Likewise you could choose from the standard Akai models. That said, I don't really see any of these options as being any better than what you've had, especially considering that E-mu's E4 series are the finest samplers ever made.

for something a bit different you might look into Roland's VP-9000. It has limited polyphony, but could work well for you and they can be found for a steal. Presently it is the only hardware sampler that I can justify keeping around. Here's the SOS review- http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/jun00/a ... vp9000.htm

the only modern sampler that might meet your needs is Korg's MicroSampler. Neat little thing that can run on batteries. Where it not for the power and convenience of the laptop, I would have bought one the day they hit the shelves. Might as well include a link to that- http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/dec09/a ... ampler.htm

a longshot but one more consideration would be Ensoniq's ASR-X Pro. It is a full featured proper sampler even though it has the look of a "groovebox" phrase sampler. I had one years ago and they're a breeze to work with, sound great and the tabletop form can have its benefits. and so on- http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/dec98/a ... rx.794.htm
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Re: small portable sampler for mellotron-sounds?

Postby Hugo76 » Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:59 pm

What about the Akai MPC 1000 or the smaller 500? Do these units feature multi sampling?
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Re: small portable sampler for mellotron-sounds?

Postby _seph » Mon Nov 12, 2012 8:42 pm

Hugo76 wrote:What about the Akai MPC 1000 or the smaller 500? Do these units feature multi sampling?

no..in this case it is about as useful as recommending the purchase of a tape recorder. like the SP-404, those are simple phrase samplers that are really only useful for the triggering/ playback of single hits (i.e. drums) or loops not for playing polyphonic pitched instruments such as the Mellotron.
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Re: small portable sampler for mellotron-sounds?

Postby cornutt » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:36 pm

To be honest with you, at this point your best bit is probably a laptop. You can load it up with G-Force's M-tron which will have a ton of Mellotron Mk II, M300, and M400 samples plus some other stuff like Optigans and Chamberlins. And then you can also load with a low-cost basic sampling package to sample your own Mellotron.

The E-Mu Vintage Keys module has some Mellotron samples, but of course it's playback only.
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Re: small portable sampler for mellotron-sounds?

Postby meatballfulton » Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:42 pm

You don't want to multisample a mellotron, just sample each key but don't loop it.

With the SP-404, each note is assigned to a different pad and the pads are mapped in a chromatic fashion over MIDI. Since the samples are streamed off an SD card, the fact that each sample is about 7 seconds in length is not a problem because it never goes into RAM.

I did that with a Zoom ST-224 some years ago, worked fine.
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Re: small portable sampler for mellotron-sounds?

Postby tallowwaters » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:22 am

Doesn't the Nord Wave get lots of kudos for its Mellotron abilities?
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Re: small portable sampler for mellotron-sounds?

Postby madtheory » Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:49 am

meatballfulton wrote:You don't want to multisample a mellotron, just sample each key but don't loop it.

But that IS multi sampling? The SP only holds 12 samples, that's not enough for each and every key.

And a VP 9000 can't multisample either.

M-Tron is good, but the sound quality is not as good as the Mike Pinder legendary Mellotron CD. I know for a fact that the M Tron flute, choir and strings tape was recorded on a Casio portable DAT. Yuck!

Once again: Memotron rack. Nord Wave is a good idea too. Is there a rack version?
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Re: small portable sampler for mellotron-sounds?

Postby _seph » Tue Nov 13, 2012 7:52 pm

I forgot about the Nord Wave although it is arguably less portable than a 3U rack and potentially overkill.. and yes, although the VP-9000 handles polyphony extremely well I suppose part of the charm of the Mellotron is that each key has its own tape.. and the VP can't handle that.

for portabilities sake, I still think that Korg's MicroSampler is possibly the best option. I have no hands on experience but it seems to meet all of the needs. It has the required amount of keys, it handles 36 samples per bank with a max sampling time of 160 seconds (@48kHz), 14 note polyphony with an onboard pattern sequencer and dead simple operation.

but were it me, I would just get a laptop as there is nothing more portable and there are so many superior options to hardware in this case.
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Re: small portable sampler for mellotron-sounds?

Postby cartesia » Thu Nov 15, 2012 4:30 am

madtheory wrote:
meatballfulton wrote:You don't want to multisample a mellotron, just sample each key but don't loop it.

But that IS multi sampling? The SP only holds 12 samples, that's not enough for each and every key.

And a VP 9000 can't multisample either.

M-Tron is good, but the sound quality is not as good as the Mike Pinder legendary Mellotron CD. I know for a fact that the M Tron flute, choir and strings tape was recorded on a Casio portable DAT. Yuck!

Once again: Memotron rack. Nord Wave is a good idea too. Is there a rack version?



The SP holds 12x10 samples, all accessible at once. It has 12 voice polyphony (12 mono or 6 stereo). The samples are arranged chromatically but dont think they start from C so you'd need to offset the set.

The only limit to the length of sample is space on the sd card, so you could have 1minute + on every pad if you liked.

It could do the job but its not ideal because you need to edit each sample separately, there are no envelopes, etc.


What about the korg microsampler? its limited in some ways but designed for playing samples across the keyboard.
Last edited by cartesia on Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: small portable sampler for mellotron-sounds?

Postby tallowwaters » Thu Nov 15, 2012 2:45 pm

cartesia wrote:

What about the korg microsampler? its limited in some ways but designed for playing samples across the keyboard.


Not really. It's extremely limited as a traditional chromatic keyboard sampler, and is probably the last thing I would suggest.
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Re: small portable sampler for mellotron-sounds?

Postby _seph » Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:11 pm

tallowwaters wrote:
cartesia wrote:What about the korg microsampler? its limited in some ways but designed for playing samples across the keyboard.

Not really. It's extremely limited as a traditional chromatic keyboard sampler, and is probably the last thing I would suggest.

It is limited, but seeing as the OP is only looking for something portable that will allow them to sample each key of their Mellotron, I don't see why it wouldn't be a near perfect solution (excluding any potential aversion to mini keys)
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