Amazing homemade Mellotron with Sony Walkmans

Thanks to Tara Busch we get a view on this amazing homemade Mellotron by Mike Walters. He created this fantastic machine with fourteen Sony Walkmans he bought on eBay.

Mike Walters calls it his Melloman:
“This is my interpretation of the Mellotron, a classic instrument invented in the 1960s. It was one of the first sample players, and was used by The Beatles, and countless psychedelic and prog bands. The Mellotron played strips of tape to emulate flutes, strings, choirs, orchestras, etc. The flutes at the beginning of Strawberry Fields are a good example of the Mellotron.

My version, The Melloman, uses Walkmans and cassette tapes to play original Mellotron samples, or whatever cassette tapes you want to put in. Inside the box, there are 14 continuously running Walkmans mounted side by side. The first Walkman is designated for drums, and the next 13 provide sampled loops for 25 notes.

The operation is pretty simple. Each cassette tape contains 2 octaves of each note hard-panned left and right, on a continuous loop. There is one Walkman for each note, supplying two octaves. For example, Walkman #4 plays a cassette designated for D. The left channel track has the lower octave D constantly playing, and the right channel has the higher octave D. This allows 13 Walkmans to produce 25 notes (the last Walkman for C4 uses only one track). Walkman #1, the drum player, plays a constant loop of Jett Rink’s drummer Tony Stiglitz on the left track, and doing fills synched and looped on the right track. A momentary switch (the big red arcade button on the front) causes the drum fill in perfect time with the main rhythm. There is also a potentiometer wired parallel to that Walkman’s motor speed trim pot. This allows for tempo control, albeit crude (but that makes it cooler).”

More information on the Melloman at the Mystery Circuits website.





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