[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”300″ identifier=”B01D3MCYTQ” locale=”US” src=”https://www.jtpedals.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/41lPLcg34EL.jpg” tag=”jtspedals-20″ width=”500″]After sampling a dozen or so different effects pedal, loopers, and tuners, I decided I wanted to improve my guitar-playing skills and develop the dynamic aspects of my performances by trying a pedals that emulate other instruments. I decided to go with a keyboard emulator but having no idea whatsoever, I turned to friends who had tried harmonics before me. Without batting an eyelash, two of my friends immediately suggested that I get the Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine.
It took me two weeks to find a unit as my usual suppliers were out of stock. Once I did have a go on it, though, I instantly felt like I did not have to try another harmonics pedal again.
The Electro-Harmonix emulates nine Mellotron sounds namely: high choir, low choir, brass, saxophone, clarinet, flute, strings, cello and orchestra. The Electro-Harmonix works with guitar without any modifications, which means there is no need for a pick up, MIDI, track bends slides or whammy bomb dives to function. It can also be used with a bass guitar down to the open A string or electronic keyboard within the limits of its polyphony of five notes with range A1 to 5 as well. It has separate dry and effect outputs which allow for dual-amp setups. In fact, I know a couple of friends who bought another unit so they can use two at the same time. It has controls for Attack and Sustain – the Attack sets the volume swell speed while the Sustain adjusts the release time after a sound is stopped. It has an Effect and Dry volume control to help you create the perfect mix. It and comes with a nine-volt battery like most pieces.
Specifications and Features
It has a Mellotron pedal type with an input measuring 1 x .25 in. It has an output of 2 x .25 in. – one for dry and one for effect – which is standard and has a dimension of 2.25 in. x 4 in. x 4.5 in. These features seem pretty standard at first glance but it is really when you start playing with the Electro-Harmonix that you understand why players around the world rave about the product.
I watched demo videos to get accustomed with the product and see how others are using it. Although I originally planned on just trying out one or two of the Mellotrons, I was blown away by how good the others sounded, especially the flute and the choirs! I ended up experimenting with all the different modes. Of all, only the brass requires a little bit of getting used to. Otherwise, the tones match perfectly well and it is quite easy to look for the perfect tone to play with.
It feels very comfortable and and sounds its best when I tried to experiment with the dry signals because the tones are more accentuated and the overall sound is improved.
The presets are actually very good although my personal favorite is that of the orchestra. For beginners and first time users, using the presets is recommended just so you can sample the right volume to match your guitar playing. After a while, you can use the knobs and controls which enable you to create your own feel on the harmonics quickly. There may be instances when the sound seems a little bit wonky but more practice and manipulation of the controls will eventually remove that shortcoming.
The best part about the Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine is that it gives you the opportunity to try different musical textures. Especially now that the genres are more diverse, with synth pop becoming somewhat more acceptable as a form of music performance, knowing what your instrument sounds like in a different harmonic altogether is great. The Electro-Harmonics is a good investment for people who just want to try it out without committing too much: it is well within budget and performs well enough for you to decide if traditional guitar sound is enough for you.