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Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal

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The polyphonic MEL9 uses the same extraordinary technology as the B9, C9 and KEY9 to transform your axe and resurrect the sound of vintage tape-based...Click To Read More About This Product

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OVERVIEW

Capture the sounds of the legendary Mellotron® for guitar, bass or keys.

The polyphonic MEL9 uses the same extraordinary technology as the B9, C9 and KEY9 to transform your axe and resurrect the sound of vintage tape-based keyboards. It pays homage to nine of the coolest Mellotron® sounds: Orchestra, Cello, Strings, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Brass, Low Choir and High Choir. It works on guitar without modifications, special pickups or MIDI implementation and tracks bends, slides, even whammy dive bombs!
You can also put it to work with your bass down to the open A string as well as keyboards. The MEL9 includes independent Effect and Dry volume controls so you can create the perfect mix at the Effects output with a Dry Output jack to output your input signal at unity gain. The Attack control sets the volume swell speed. As it’s turned clockwise the notes fade in more gradually, while the Sustain control adjusts the release time after a sound is stopped. As it’s turned clockwise, the fade out time increase

FEATURES
  • Features 9 Mellotron® sounds: Orchestra, Cello, Strings, Flute, Clarinet, Saxophone, Brass, Low Choir and High Choir
  • Works with guitar, bass (down to open A string) and keyboard
  • Tracks bends, slides, even whammy dive bombs
  • Independent Effect and Dry volume controls
  • Dry Output jack outputs your input signal at unity gain
  • Attack control sets the volume swell speed
  • Sustain control adjusts the release time after a sound is stopped
  • Dimensions: 4.0 (w) x 4.75 (l) x 2.25 (h) in.

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Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
Electro-HarmonixMEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal
 
4.2

(based on 36 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (20)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (9)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (3)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (3)

81%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Good selection of effects (15)
  • Compact (13)
  • Responsive (13)
  • Excellent sound quality (12)
  • Versatile (10)

Cons

  • Poor sound quality (3)

Best Uses

  • Performances (15)
  • Home studio (11)
  • Amateur recording (8)
  • Outdoor events / games (6)
  • Professional recording (6)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (4)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Experienced (13), Professional musician (8)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Effects Pedal

This pedal is a weird animal and you have to adapt your playing to the pedal.

First off, don't expect to play fast and complicated with it; it has tracking Read complete review

This pedal is a weird animal and you have to adapt your playing to the pedal.

First off, don't expect to play fast and complicated with it; it has tracking
limitations like any other Guitar Synthesizer. However, consider an actual
Mellotron - you couldn't play fast intricate parts on a Mellotron either, just
because of the action and tape-to-head mechanism.

Play with this pedal as you would expect to play an actual Mellotron.

Also, you may have learned songs a certain way but when you use this pedal
certain fingerings produce a better experience, so, you won't be playing parts
the way you may be used to if you were just using a straight guitar.

I used to play Court Of The Crimson King using a root D chord, then, using my
middle finger to play the C bass note while relying on open strings to produce
my harmonies. That application didn't fair well with the Mel9.

Even full bar chords on the E and A strings don't always work well with certain applications. I find that simple triads, typically on the D, G and B strings produce a more convincing and well-controlled sound. Try to stay away from chord structures that mix open and fretted tones.

Also, be careful to make your chord changes clean and discrete. If you move your
hand down from something like the 9th fret to the 5th fret you get a sliding effect,
similar to using the Pitch Wheel on an actual Mellotron.

Although that is a nice feature, it will go against you if that is not what you were
intending to do.

You have to fool around with the pedal and re-invent ways to play familiar passages
in order to achieve a good balanced sound.

Also, if you want to toggle between straight guitar and Mel9 make sure to only use
the Effect Output. The Dry Output will always give you your untreated guitar tone,
independent of the knobs that blend the Dry and Effect outputs.

I like most of the tones; the only two settings that I am not too crazy about are the Brass and Sax settings.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

Disappointed switch set to ON

Let's make this easy...either the unit was broken or it's unusable. Regardless of what setting I used, the low strings were OK but G-B-E all sounded the same...just a high...Read complete review

Let's make this easy...either the unit was broken or it's unusable. Regardless of what setting I used, the low strings were OK but G-B-E all sounded the same...just a high pitched whine. And your tone is out the window. Everything sounds thin and flat. I bought it hoping to replicate the "choir" sound from my Yamaha digital piano and it wasn't close. You might be able to use this for home recording but the fact that the unit doesn't sound good and the inability to save your settings makes it a no go for live performance.

Reviewed by 36 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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(9 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

 
4.0

Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Effects Pedal

By Crimson Kid

from Philadelphia, PA

See all my reviews

Verified Buyer

Pros

  • Brings the sound of the Mellotron to your guitar
  • Nice blending / attack features
  • Very convincing Mellotron modeling

Cons

  • Must change sound settings manually
  • Some getting used to
  • Some tracking difficulty

Best Uses

  • Recording and Live playing
  • When you need a Mellotron but don't have one.

Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

This pedal is a weird animal and you have to adapt your playing to the pedal.

First off, don't expect to play fast and complicated with it; it has tracking
limitations like any other Guitar Synthesizer. However, consider an actual
Mellotron - you couldn't play fast intricate parts on a Mellotron either, just
because of the action and tape-to-head mechanism.

Play with this pedal as you would expect to play an actual Mellotron.

Also, you may have learned songs a certain way but when you use this pedal
certain fingerings produce a better experience, so, you won't be playing parts
the way you may be used to if you were just using a straight guitar.

I used to play Court Of The Crimson King using a root D chord, then, using my
middle finger to play the C bass note while relying on open strings to produce
my harmonies. That application didn't fair well with the Mel9.

Even full bar chords on the E and A strings don't always work well with certain applications. I find that simple triads, typically on the D, G and B strings produce a more convincing and well-controlled sound. Try to stay away from chord structures that mix open and fretted tones.

Also, be careful to make your chord changes clean and discrete. If you move your
hand down from something like the 9th fret to the 5th fret you get a sliding effect,
similar to using the Pitch Wheel on an actual Mellotron.

Although that is a nice feature, it will go against you if that is not what you were
intending to do.

You have to fool around with the pedal and re-invent ways to play familiar passages
in order to achieve a good balanced sound.

Also, if you want to toggle between straight guitar and Mel9 make sure to only use
the Effect Output. The Dry Output will always give you your untreated guitar tone,
independent of the knobs that blend the Dry and Effect outputs.

I like most of the tones; the only two settings that I am not too crazy about are the Brass and Sax settings.

  • Was this a gift?:
  • No

(8 of 9 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

Superb!

Pros

  • Sounds like the real deal

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Gigging
    • Practice

    Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

    I've always loved this sound, from the Beatles to The Moody Blues to King Crimson to early Genesis. This offers a faithful reproduction of the Mellotron's sounds at a fraction of the cost, and it works with electric guitar, mandolin, acoustic guitar, bouzouki, and much more. Single notes or chords. One needs to be mindful of the setting and the registers these were intended to be used at, for example if one sets the unit to cello and then attempts to play something high on the B and E strings, it will put a sound out but it won't sound (as much) like cello as it would playing on the lower strings, but that can offer some new and unexpected surprises. The orchestra and choir settings offer a lot of possibilities when used with an acoustic instrument with the 'dry' turned up to about three quarters and the wet dialed down to a third or less. I suspect I will be using this a lot going forward

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    (3 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

     
    3.0

    I would not buy this unit again.

    By Delvis

    from undisclosed

    See all my reviews

    Verified Buyer

    Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

    I bought this for recording and it does have latency issues. On some chords it lags milliseconds. The stomp switch is hard to press and depress.
    For the price I expected a superior performing product.

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Guitar Mellotron Madness!

    By Lee

    from Cordova, TN

    About Me Professional Musician

    See all my reviews

    Ask me a question

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Compact Design
    • Excellent Sound Quality
    • Good Selection Of Effects
    • Responsive
    • Superior weirdness!

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Home Studio
      • Performances

      Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

      I play a weekly acoustic/eclectic gig at a restaurant where few patrons actually care about what I am playing, as long as it's not too loud. I bring different acoustic/electric guitars every once in a while just to keep it interesting - for me, mainly. After some positive notice after I brought my Godin via Roland GR-20 guitar synth, I wanted to replicate some of the "pleasing orchestral sounds" using an acoustic, non-hex-equipped guitar. After some research, voila! The EH Mel9. I'm still playing around with the sounds, but after the first gig with it, I believe I found what I was looking for. Strange, unearthly orchestral voicings quite similar to the wobbly tape loop sounds emanating via the original Mellotron of the late-'60s are definitely possible... now, to master "In the Court of the Crimson King"...!

      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

       
      5.0

      the Mel-9 has added a new shade of color to my ballads.

      By French

      from perham mn

      About Me Professional Musician

      See all my reviews

      Verified Buyer

      Pros

      • Excellent Sound Quality
      • Responsive
      • Versatile

      Cons

        Best Uses

        • Events
        • Performances

        Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

        I play a 5 string fretless bass and the Mel-9 has added a new color to my ballads. I was impressed that I could even get the low A on my E string. The STRINGS setting is a favorite. I would recommend the Mel-9 to a fellow player.

        (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Great product

        By Woody

        from Left Coast Oregon

        About Me Experienced

        See all my reviews

        Ask me a question

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Compact Design
        • Excellent Sound Quality
        • Good Selection Of Effects
        • Responsive

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Performances

          Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

          I'm using the mel9 with my bass guitar to add chordal backing during guitar solos. It works really well with the upper strings of my 8-string bass for chords,runs,etc. Sounds fabulous to replicate the keyboard parts of "Kashmir" with a 3-piece band!
          I love the orchestra,string quartet,and choral settings right off the bat. The flute,and other woodwind settings don't seem as good,but i may just need more time to figure how best to utilize those sounds. I would probably have preferred more choral settings,(female voices,as the mel9's are definitely male-or is that just because i'm using a bass guitar to trigger it?) It tracks well,and seems to do ok even in registers lower than the Low A. I am going to try running my keyboard,and a guitar through it at some point,but overall i think it is a terrific pedal.

          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Versatile but not perfect

          By Greg

          from Humble, TX

          About Me Experienced

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Good Selection Of Effects
          • Responsive
          • Versatile

          Cons

          • Some Effects Better Than Others

          Best Uses

          • Amateur Recording
          • Events
          • Performances

          Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

          This is a very versatile and cool pedal. I play electric guitar in a small praise band at our church. We have a piano, bass, acoustic guitar and drums. It often falls to me to fill in some other the other sounds that may be indicated. This pedal, along with the EH C9 Organ Machine gives me quite a varies palette from which to paint the music. The Orchestra setting fills out large passages very well, similar to a synth pad but with a brighter sound. The Cello setting is excellent on the low strings. It is very convincing. The Strings setting does a good impression of a string pad with chords; single string notes in the right range approximates a violin. The Flute setting is okay and gives you a unique sound but doesn't quite capture the flute sound. I was not impressed by the Clarinet and Saxophone settings, again something different but not a very good approximation of the actual instruments. The Brass is a little better and does sound "brassy" with the right settings but won't take the place of an actual horn. The two Choir settings do pretty decent with 2 and 3 note chords utilized like a synth pad.
          The response and tracking is quick. It's so quick that you have to really watch the extra movements on the strings lest you change the pitch inadvertently. Even taking your fretting fingers off the string will result in a pitch change unless you mute the strings simultaneously. It takes some finesse to get the sounds clean but the learning curve is pretty mild.
          Overall an amazing pedal that I would recommend when a lot of different instrument sounds are needed in a limited personnel setting.

          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Buy this if you like classic sounds.

          Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

          Really good tracking. Very versatile setting options. Inspirational pedal, got lots of great ideas already. Affordable and high quality.

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Wonderful, and a lot cheaper then getting a Mellotron!

          By Penguinguitars

          from Jacksonville, FL

          About Me Professional Musician

          Pros

          • Compact Design
          • Excellent Sound Quality
          • Good Selection Of Effects
          • Responsive
          • Versatile

          Cons

          • a bit bright
          • No tone control
          • Too responsive to dynamics

          Best Uses

          • Amateur Recording
          • Events
          • Home Studio
          • Performances
          • Professional Recording

          Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

          If you are a fan of the early progressive period in music, you will LOVE this thing! All of the great sounds rolled into one simple box, that only your fingers are the limits.
          If you are a ham fisted, heavy fingered player who thinks playing "hard good, playing harder gooder" you will have issues.
          I am not going to talk about the joys of this pedal, everyone else has, and they are on the money, but let's talk about the flaws instead.

          First off, it tends to be bright. VERY bright. Tweak your amp, and you'll find the sweet spot, that may NOT be the sweet spot for your normal playing. The lack of some type of tone control is a real minus, something that EH needs to address in later versions. (And yes, you know they will be coming.) Reverb on your amp plays a part too. So experiment.

          It is INCREDIBLY sensitive to your dynamic playing. Sensitive to the point of annoying. You think you are playing with your "normal" playing style, then hit the note a little harder, and it gets loud VERY quickly. going from finger picking, to flat picking can be a dramatic increase in volume, and there's no way to adjust for it, other than getting a compression/limiter pedal in front of it. Might be a wise investment.

          Some people complain about the sounds.... I don't get that. it sounds JUST like the old Mellotron. All the little flaws of the original are there in the pedal. The slightly distorted orch, the hissy flute, the kinda useless cello, it's true to the original. Any other way, and people would be complaining it "doesn't sound like the original". Go figure.

          It is, what it is. Either adapt to it, or don't bother. It's worth the time learning.

          (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Keyboardist in need of a Mellotron? The Mel9 is it!

          By MCN

          from Fargo North Dakota

          About Me Experienced

          Pros

          • Compact Design
          • Excellent Sound Quality
          • Good Selection Of Effects
          • Responsive
          • Versatile

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Amateur Recording
            • Home Studio
            • Performances
            • Professional Recording

            Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

            I couldn't find any reviews regarding the use of a keyboard through the Mel9 save for one, so here's one more from a keyboardist's perspective. I have a Korg Minilogue that I use through the Mel9 and it sounds awesome! I prefer setting the Minilogue on the "Side Chain" so when you play a chord, your previous notes go down in volume, I find for my style that works great for a smooth sound when moving through chords but the "Poly" setting is great too. Then I turn the filter fully open and put it on a simple triangle wave. It can even pick up and track very well with the detuning and sounds killer if you have both Oscillators turned up. Anyway, so many possibilities, sounds awesome, this is a great option if you need a Mellotron. It's worth a try.

            (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

             
            1.0

            Disappointed switch set to ON

            By Raz

            from Richmond VA

            About Me Experienced

            Pros

            • Compact Design
            • Versatile

            Cons

            • Not Responsive
            • Poor Sound Quality

            Best Uses

              Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

              Let's make this easy...either the unit was broken or it's unusable. Regardless of what setting I used, the low strings were OK but G-B-E all sounded the same...just a high pitched whine. And your tone is out the window. Everything sounds thin and flat. I bought it hoping to replicate the "choir" sound from my Yamaha digital piano and it wasn't close. You might be able to use this for home recording but the fact that the unit doesn't sound good and the inability to save your settings makes it a no go for live performance.

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Cool Pedal

              By Stroker

              from Tx

              About Me Professional Musician

              See all my reviews

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Excellent Sound Quality

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Home Studio
                • Performances
                • Professional Recording

                Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

                Very inspiring pedal. Can get sounds like Zeppelin or the Beatles. Fun to play with and sounds great. I use two amps and sent the effect to one amp and the guitar to the other.

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Great pedal

                By johnny D

                from Massachusetts

                See all my reviews

                Ask me a question

                Verified Buyer

                Comments about MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

                Very cool pedal. Does what it says it does. It can't replace a keyboard player, but it's close.

                (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                4.0

                Great pedal that works great, for a reasonable price.

                By Saether

                from Kristiansund N, Norway

                About Me Professional Musician

                Verified Reviewer

                Pros

                • Compact Design
                • Good Selection Of Effects
                • Responsive
                • Versatile

                Cons

                • Lack of vibrato and tone control.

                Best Uses

                  Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

                  This is pedal has some great sounds, and very close to the real thing. The only thing I find missing is a vibrato and a tone control. The sound is a bit on the harsh side treble wise, so I have to use an analogue pedal with a tone control as a filter. That works great, though, and takes the sound closer to the warmth of a real Mellotron. I use the cello, orchestra and flute effects the most, but the other effects is very cool too. Some of the effects could make use of a vibrato control as the vibrato can be a little too present at times. I would say that this pedal works exellent on keyboards with great tracking and all, but not so much on guitar in my opinion. I guess one have to adjust the style of playing to emulate the instruments on each effect. When the pedal is in use on keyboards it is possible to play fast solos as well, but I felt the tracking was a little off with a guitar. Overall I think this is a great pedal with great value for the Money. This pedal has been long awaited.

                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  4.0

                  Great value for the money!

                  By FogertyPage

                  from Norway

                  About Me Professional Musician

                  Pros

                  • Compact Design
                  • Good Selection Of Effects
                  • Responsive
                  • Versatile

                  Cons

                  • Should have adjustable vibrato and tone knob.

                  Best Uses

                    Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

                    I use the pedal for Keyboards and it Works quite well. I run the effect through an analogue germanium transistor pedal, though to make the effect sound less hifi. The vibrato should be adjustable. Overall, the sounds are great, especially the orchestra and flutes.

                    (1 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    3.0

                    Single voice only

                    By Christa

                    from undisclosed

                    Verified Buyer

                    Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

                    I purchased the Mel9 as a birthday gift for my husband after he watched numerous YouTube demos of this pedal. What the demos don't show is that this pedal can't deal with multi-voice chords and some of the effects don't work in the higher registers. He still has had some fun playing around with the Mel9 but it won't be a pedal he frequently uses. It does do what it is shown to do in the YouTube demos, but don't assume it will do more than that or deal with multi-voice chords.

                    (1 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Waited 40 years for this!

                    By Vince

                    from undisclosed

                    Verified Buyer

                    Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

                    All I expected and I'm happy with this purchase!!!

                    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Just about all I was looking for!

                    By Vince Black

                    from Paradise...

                    Pros

                    • Been waiting forty years for a pedal like this!

                    Cons

                    • The horn sounds could use a bit of tweaking...

                    Best Uses

                      Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

                      Ever since Brian May did his studio wonders on the first three Queen albums, I have been waiting for a pedal that could this and more. I have played a Mellotron and this, for guitar, comes very close to it and the sounds that May produced. I'm very satisfied with my purchase! As one of the first to get this, my gigs will be more sparkling and very surprising to the people that I work with...

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No
                       
                      5.0

                      Great Reproduction of Mellotron Sounds

                      By Krinkle442

                      from Ohio

                      About Me Professional Musician

                      See all my reviews

                      Verified Buyer

                      Pros

                      • Compact Design
                      • Excellent Sound Quality
                      • Good Selection Of Effects
                      • Responsive
                      • Versatile

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Amateur Recording
                        • Events
                        • Home Studio
                        • Performances
                        • Professional Recording

                        Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

                        I was looking for something I could use live to try to get some keyboard sounds out of without having to use tracks. If you're looking for vintage Mellotron sounds, this pedal delivers in spades! It's really great. No, seriously... it's a nice piece of gear.

                         
                        5.0

                        More than I expected...

                        By Mike T

                        from Forsyth County, GA

                        About Me Experienced

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Compact Design
                        • Excellent Sound Quality
                        • Good Selection Of Effects
                        • Responsive
                        • Versatile

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Amateur Recording
                          • Events
                          • Home Studio
                          • Performances
                          • Professional Recording

                          Comments about Electro-Harmonix MEL9 Tape Replay Machine Guitar Effects Pedal:

                          Works better than I thought. Easily balance how much instrument vs effect. I play guitar with and Accordion player that use his Roland VR3. With his effects and my Mel 9, we really fill the gaps. It is so much fun to use and I really like the versatility it has that allows me to find just the right backdrop for the type of song I'm playing. Really sounds beautiful with slow songs/ballads. Inspiration to create and works fantastic with a loop pedal too! Super recommend!

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