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M3000 Ultimate Edition – Omenie brings the complete mellotron experience to iPad

Omenie has recently released upon the iOS music community the ultimate mellotron collection. Aptly named the M3000 Ultimate Edition, this version of the app collects all of the previous versions and in-app purchases into one complete app. And if you've got the storage space and the dinero, the M3000 Ultimate Edition may be the last mellotron app you'll ever need.

The M3000 50th Anniversary Edition has been available for some time, and was a nice standalone mellotron app. In April 2014, IAP's were made available to include the famous 'Streetly Tapes', as well as a Clare Lindley violin pack. Not longer after that came the wonderful 'Soprantron' IAP (and also available as a separate app), featuring the vocals of soprano Caitlin Downie.

For those of you unfamiliar with the mellotron as an instrument, it is mostly commonly associated with 1960's era rock and progressive rock music. A keyboard instrument that plays recorded tape loops instead of a hammer on a string, the mellotron has a unique and easily recognizable sound. If you've heard "The Court of the Crimson King" by King Crimson, or "Watcher of the Skies" by Genesis, you're hearing the mellotron in all its glory. These bands, along with Yes and the Moody Blues are often associated with these sounds.

 Mike Pinder of the Moody Blues explains the inner workings of the mellotron

So, what is included in the Ultimate Edition? How about 66 total voices? And keep in mind, these are the original Streetly tapes (with the exception of the Clare Lindsey and Caitlin Downie sounds, which were recently recorded). You won't find the original Streetly tapes anywhere else on iOS. If you're looking for authentic Mellotron sounds, you get them here.

If you've played any of the other Omenie apps (they also worked in conjunction with Jordan Rudess on his Jordantron app, recently reviewed here), you'll be familiar with the interface. Two rows of keys are available, or you can select the pad option to get the "D" pads, which is where you can store custom chords. With four available voices per voicebank, and up to 32 voicebanks available, you can create your own presets easily. This comes in handy, as one of my minor complaints about the interface is the "side-scrolling only" option to select specific voices. But, if you have certain sound combinations in mind, you can just save these in a soundbank for quick call-up.

Having all of these voices within one app allows for some great blended combinations. The A/B/C knob allows you to use a single voice, or blend voices between the A/B selections or the B/C selections. So, you can use one of the marvelous Chamberlain strings sounds combined with a Caitlin Downie vocal sound together, as an example. And adding a third sound on the "D" pad allows for some nice chord accompaniment underneath that. You can see the possibilities.

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As with all of the Omenie apps, the M3000 Ultimate Edition is Core MIDI enabled, which is great for extending past the virtual keyboard range. I also had no trouble getting it to respond to virtual MIDI input, which allows me to use sequencers (like midiSequencer) or controller apps (Chordion and SoundPrism Pro are good choices here).

When I fired up M3000 Ultimate Edition for the first time I played the intro to "Strawberry Fields Forever" using the MKII flute sound (*as required by Federal Law). C'mon, you know you're going to as well. Just like when you pick up a Gibson SG, you're going to play "Highway to Hell". Or when you pick up a flute, you're going to play the solo to "Aqualung" (What, just me?). But I digress. Of course, it sounded fantastic. There is that pure Mellotron sound, which has that authentic tape sound to fit perfectly in your tune. There are some great sounds in here. Surprisingly, one of my favorites was the Electric Guitar patch. Definitely had that 1960's spy movie tone. The mandolin sounded great, and of course the orchestral instruments and choirs are exactly what you'd expect to hear from a mellotron.

OK, so now to address the elephant in the room, the price. Yep, it's not cheap. And it's big, over 1.2gb big. But this is the whole kit and kaboodle. You get it all in one package. The price tag is almost exactly the same as if you purchased the regular M3000 app and all of the IAP's, so if you have already invested in one (or more) of those, there isn't a lot of incentive to jump in here. And the developer acknowledges that. The developer has stated that any future tapes that may be released would be a free upgrade in this version, but he cautions that there is a "99% chance" that there won't be any more.

Omenie has a few sound demos available for the M3000, which I've included below.

This is not the app for everyone. It's expensive, and it's a mellotron. I may be wrong, but I don't believe I've ever heard Slayer use a mellotron on a track, so you metalheads might look elsewhere. But if you are looking for authentic mellotron sounds, and you're looking for ALL of them, then the M3000 Ultimate Edition is the way to go. There is a free version of the M3000 available for you to check out, so I'd definitely suggest that. It's Audiobus compatible (as are all of the Omenie apps), and has a few of the voices to try out. You can get a feel for the sounds and the interface for free.

I can write all day about how I like this app. The sounds are authentic, and are exactly what you are looking for if you need classic mellotron sounds. But, I could have probably saved everyone the time in reading this whole article by simply leading with the following quote from Robert Fripp himself: "We no longer take mellotrons on the road. Instead we take this iPad app". Final word, Mr. Fripp.

If you're thinking about buying the M3000 Ultimate Edition, please consider clicking through our App Store link below. Thanks!

M3000 Ultimate Edition (AppStore Link) M3000 Ultimate Edition
Developer: Omenie Limited
Rated: 4+
Price: $104.99 Download

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