Three of my favourite words.
So when these words can be used together, this makes me happy!
A couple of weeks ago, UVI, sample library creators extraordinaire, announced the release of Mello, a compact library based on the legendary Mellotron and designed for use with either their free UVI Workstation or the more fully featured MachFive 3 sampler from MOTU. Set to retail for $99/€99, UVI declared that they would give it away for free, simply by signing up via Twitter or Facebook. Naturally a few loons expressed their distaste at having to hand over information they’ve already freely handed over to their social media overlords in exchange for a musical instrument, but UVI were swift to respond, reassuring them that no spam or misuse of their data would occur. I can personally vouch for this. So rest easy 😉
Anyway, what do we have in this immensely affordable bundle? Well, as per usual, there is the (I’m running out of superlatives) delightful user interface. Rendered to reflect the instrument upon which it is based, yet adding many useful features, this particular UI has moving tape frames and a spinning flywheel! It’s just so…. NICE! When you launch the instrument, one of the first thing you notice is the original key range of 36 notes, but this can be extended across the entire keyboard range at the flick of a switch. Another authentic recreation is the note length, and Mello delivers the full 8 seconds before the tape runs out and spools back up. Similarly, the 3 position voice change switch is recreated, along with volume, tone and pitch rotaries. Added to this are reverb and delay controls (the delay is a modelled tape delay, no less), EQ and a really nice touch is the inclusion of controls that allow you to blend in the noise of the mechanics itself. Two rotaries allow you to blend in key noise and tape mechanics for that truly authentic Mellotron experience. Pressing the little red button on the panel flips it over to give you amplitude and filter envelopes and settings as well as giving you control of those settings via keyboard velocity. Finally, a small break out box top right contains the switch to extend the keyboard range as well as stereo controls that give you positioning, width and detune functions.
Voice wise, the full complement of standard ‘Tron sounds are here…
There are twelve programs that the user can load, and then within each of these there are 3 voices to choose from.
So, how does it sound? Well, it’s unmistakably Tron-like! The sampling is of the usual ultra high UVI standards and every voice has its unique and warbling grittiness. Just adding a soupçon of reverb and/or delay takes these rudimentary sounds and turns them into something atmospheric and spine-tingling. The added features that don’t normally exist on a Tron give you a bit more to play with and really make these sounds your own.
There’s not a lot else to say, so here’s my video review…
Mello is currently, as of the date of this post, free to all. Visit uvi.net and grab it now! You will need an iLok key to register and authorise it, but UVI are also giving these away free too. Well, I say ‘free’, that is, if you buy an iLok, UVI will give you a voucher for the value of the iLok to use against anyone of their products, so yeah, it’s free 😉
In conclusion, this is not a patch on GForce’s M-Tron Pro or Re-Tron Rack Extension, which are, in my humble opinion, the definitive Mellotron recreations, with all their sonic controls and vast libraries. M-Tron Pro is also not much more in cost when compared to Mello at full price. But right now, Mello is free, so therefore is definitely worthy of consideration, especially if Tron sounds may not be something you use extensively. If the UVI/MachFive3 environment is where you spend a lot of time, this HAS to be an option.
Oh, and it’s FREE!! 😉
Mello is out now!