Some of the finest virtual reproductions of classic keyboards are in V-Collection 7, and right now it’s a steal.
From now until April 7, Arturia’s V-Collection is on sale for 50% off, or just $249 for 23 software instruments. That works out to less than $11 per instrument. Not only that, but if you already own a previous version, you can upgrade for as little as $99. Arturia calls it their Modern Producer Sounds sale. With discounts like these, there will never be a better time to get your hands on V-Collection 7.
Last August I reviewed this comprehensive collection of virtual keyboards in the very first issue of Synth and Software. To give you a taste, you can see what I said about Mellotron V below. If you want to know more, read my 3,227-word review of the entire software suite here.
The Mellotron is a notoriously finicky keyboard instrument made in the U.K. Its sound will be forever associated with The Beatles’ “Strawberry Fields Forever,” King Crimson’s “In the Court of the Crimson King,” the Rolling Stones’ “2000 Light Years from Home,” and just about anything the Moody Blues recorded in the 1970s. Its specialty is playing samples of orchestral instruments and choirs in a characteristically lo-fi manner that has a certain familiar charm. Unlike later samplers, though, there’s nothing digital about it.
The Mellotron’s design borrows heavily from the work of Harry Chamberlin, an American who invented analog sampling using lengths of recording tape more than 30 years before the first digital sampler. Many of his sampling techniques are still in use today.
Arturia’s take on the Mellotron gives you everything you’d want in a tape-based sampling keyboard. Like the original, Mellotron V has three main knobs for volume, tone, and pitch, and you can vary them during playback. A 3-position rotary dial switches between three tracks on a tape, with each track playing a different instrument, or you can play all three simultaneously. You can also mix two adjacent tracks by positioning the rotary dial between two settings.
Although Mellotron V closely resembles a slightly beat-up Mellotron M400 with the lid shut, opening the advanced panel reveals much greater versatility. An ADSR envelope shapes amplitude, and additional knobs control tape characteristics such as flutter, saturation, and mechanical noise. Easily import any linear WAV or AIFF file and apply those same parameters to make user samples sound as if they’re recorded on tape. If you’ve ever wanted to record an orchestra of kazoos and give it the Mellotron treatment, now you can.