The mellotron is, in my opinion, a very underrated instrument. Because it has such a unique sound, it desired as a VST. Mellotron VST’s are great for modern production as well as for old school rock production. I think they’re nice for modern production just because they have a weird and unique sound.
The mellotron was created in 1963 and was used by countless famous bands after that. Some of the bands include: The Beach Boys, The Beatles, Genesis, Pink Floyd, ELO, and Orchestral Maneuvers In The Dark.
In my opinion, the mellotron VST is an underutilized instrument. I believe it has its place for many different genres and could be used more often if all producers knew about it. The best VST’s sound just like the real instruments from the 1960s and you can’t really tell the difference.
Personal Experience With Mellotron VST’s
In my bands second and third studio albums we started to incorporate these more and more. We did this because we really wanting to give our music an organic old school feel while at the same time trying to capture something new.
Because these VST’s aren’t used all over everything, we thought it would be a good idea and once we started to use them we started layering them throughout songs.
Enjoying this read? Check out some of my favorite electric piano VST’s here.
I personally love the sound of them and think that they bring something to the table that other plug-ins don’t.
Top Mellotron VST’s
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The UVI Mello plugin is a fantastic product. I have used this in many different songs because it is so versatile. There are a few things that I really like about it, but my favorite has to be the strings. They have this creepy realistic feel that the original mellotron did so well.
I recently did an article that talked about my favorite MIDI controllers. Check them out here.
- Awesome sample library
- Key noise and mechanical noise effects
- Stereo mode
- ADSR envelopes
- Analog modeled tape delay
- Switchable multi-mode filter
- Flute, choir, organ, strings, piano, and many more sounds
The sounds from the UVI Mello are top-notch. My favorite has to be the strings and choir since they sound so dark and ominous.
UVI Mello is a serious plugin that I highly recommend checking out. I think that it is a great option for producers of all levels as it is easy to use.
Wavesfactory is a company that was founded in 2010 in Mallorca. The Newmello II is a nice plugin that is very simple to use. It is modeled after the mellotron M400. It looks just like it when you load it up on your computer screen.
Something interesting about the original mellotron is that the sounds would only play for 8 seconds. With the Wavesfactory Newmello II you can go beyond that and loop them.
- Add up to 12 rack effects
- 25 patches
- Easy to use the navigation
- Noise and tape controls
I think the sounds are pretty good. Personally, I prefer the UVI sounds more, but this is definitely worth a look.
Newmello II is worth your time as it packs a nice punch. Check out this video below to hear it more in action.
The Artifake Labs Redtron is modeled after the mellotron M400 as well. Something that’s nice with this plugin is that it’s free. I included it on my list because I truly believe it’s better than a lot of plugins that cost money.
This is probably the most simple plugin to use once you have it installed. It’s very straight forward, but it sounds quite nice.
Note: You can’t use this with Mac’s yet and it also is 32 bit. This means 64 bit can’t run it without some sort of converter.
The Redtron has a flute sound that sounds identical to The Beatles song, “Strawberry Fields Forever.” I think it has some high-quality sounds that are definitely nice to have.
For a free product, this is a nice option to check out. The installing can be a little confusing, but once installed it’s easy to use.
What Makes A Good Mellotron VST?
This seems like a dumb question, but because it’s such a different instrument, there are some things to keep in mind that are out of the ordinary.
Note: If you like mellotrons, check out my post on the best organ VST’s.
The actual instrument generated its sound from audio tape. It has this classic almost lo-fi sound when you play it.
Fun fact, The Beach Boys used this in the mid 60’s in their hit “Good Vibrations.”
To me, what makes a good mellotron VST is dynamics and mechanics. Some of the plug-ins give you the option to incorporate things such as key noise.
The more you can bend the VST to sounding like the real thing, the better obviously. This is why I look for a plug-in that has tons of different features and controls inside of it.
You can find some keyboard workstations that emulate mellotrons with patches. Check out my favorites at the link above.
These are the main mellotrons VST’s that I like to use and have had the privilege to try out. There are some great options out there, you just have to give them a try and dive into them.
Do you have any experience when it comes to any of these? Let me know in the comment section below which ones you dig and which ones you didn’t like.