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GForce The Streetly Tapes Vol. 1 Expansion for M-Tron Pro

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$61.99
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Quick Overview

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Key Features

A GForce Software and Streetly Electronics collaboration
Tape banks from the original UK 'Tron masters
Derived from original EMI tape-stock
24 carefully curated sounds for M-Tron Pro
35 notes per tape bank
100s of patches, many from luminaries including Dean and Jarrod (I Monster) & Paul Godfrey (Morecheeba)

 

Library

Descriptions by Martin Smith, Streetly Electronics.

2 Tenor 2 Alto Sax
 - A thrusting sax ensemble with bags of character.

8 Choir
 An absolute Mellotron® classic with four males and four females battling it out at IBC studios. Used extensively by Genesis, The Strawbs and many more.

Bassoon
 - Dark and brooding. Instant Shakespeare. Just add water.

Biro Choir 
 - An unreleased choir intended for the Birotron which turned up in Les Bradley’s archive. Rescued from a less than perfect ¼” master, the haphazard nature of the recording gives this choir a perfection from all the imperfections. 

Boys Choir 
Another classic choir sound recorded simply with a handheld microphone back in 1970. It shouldn’t work BUT IT DOES. Used extensively by Noel Gallagher in recent times.

Cello 
One of the saddest sounds in the Mellotronic canon. Cellist, Reg Kirby refused to detune his cello for the bottom 5 notes so a double bass was used giving a knee jerk change of timbre.

Dick Strings
 - Viola mixed with M300A violins in just the right proportions to give you this melancholic string section.

Electric Guitar
 - A miked and plucked electric guitar that has a mellow bottom end and a strident top. Recorded in 1962, it is nostalgia at its best.

Flute
 - Strawberry Fields Forever…..forever. There is nothing more to be said!

French Accordion
 - Originally recorded 33% sharp compared to all the other sounds, after careful retuning it now oozes Parisian pavements and Gitanes.

French Horn
 - One of the earliest Mellotron recordings from the original MKI master. Warm and atmospheric.

GC3 Brass
 - This is the sound of George Chisholm, a well known British comedy trombonist from the ‘60s overlaid three times to produce a phasey trombone ensemble. George also provided rhythm fills on Trombone and Sax for the MKII.

Glocks & Tubular Bells
 - A nice keyboard split of crystal clear Glockenspiel and clanging Tubular Bells, ideal for Penny Lane covers.

Gothic 
Les Bradley once mixed together String Section, St. John’s Church Organ and Eight Choir in a bizarre accident involving a mixing desk and absentmindedness. The result was this massive sound.

Halfspeed Brass 
- Mike Pinder of the Moodies would pitch down his MKII to give this effect. MKIIs are scarce so this sound was created as a homage to Mike for all to use.

M300A Violins
 - The sound of Barclay James Harvest and our much missed comrade, Woolly Wolstenholme. This is the sound of two violins playing in unison to haunting effect. 

M400 Violins
 - A reworked version of the MKII violins, this was an attempt to soften the sound by use of eq. and recording off azimuth. It was used extensively being supplied with most M400s back in the day.

Mandolin
 - Another early recording that featured heavily on Days by the Kinks. Slightly lo-fi but none the worse for it!

Mk1 Marimba
 - A very dark recording; great for pads and instant atmosphere.

Mk1 Vibes
 - Another classic sound with just the right amount of vibrato for nice fat jazzy chords and a cool atmosphere.

Moog Brass
 - This is just one of many Moog sounds put out at a time when synth polyphony did not exist but a ‘tron was 35 note polyphonic! It completely threw Bob Moog when he first heard his fledgling instrument playing chords.

St John's Church Organ 
The monstrous sound of a wonderful organ has been a favourite for many years.

String Section
 - A dark mix of cello, viola and MKII violins that became a prog. rock essential. Big and moody, Tangerine Dream’s Phaedra would never have sounded the same without it.

Tenor Sax
 - Either a Take Five or Take Cover moment! Breathy, jazzy and great for pads.

 

It sounds like a tongue-twister but there's no doubt that in the right hands, magical musical instruments can create magical musical moments. For example, back in the late 60s when Paul McCartney detuned those Mellotron® MKII Flute tapes for the opening of Strawberry Fields Forever, magic was created and has resonated ever since.

However, it's rare to find this kind of magic emanating from an instrument without it even being played. But in the case of The Streetly Tapes - Vol 1 Expansion Pack for M-Tron Pro we knew that we had a magical combination immediately after a discussion took place between ourselves and Streetly Electronics, the original UK 'Tron manufacturers, which focused around them providing their original tapes for use in the M-Tron Pro.

To say we were excited was an understatement and we listened intently as Streetly's John Bradley and Martin Smith listed their requirements for such a thing to happen.

Initially, we were told that we needed to forget the idea of Master Tapes being the holy grail because according to the original creators the sound of a Melly is the combination of several factors. 

Firstly, it's the EMI tape, which Streetly claim is the best tape formula in the world. Secondly, according to Martin, "The sound of a 'Tron is not the Master Tapes, it's the sound from the recordings in IBC studios edited to Production Masters, edited to Working Masters, edited to Protection Copies, edited to the the actual tapes on your instrument."

 

 

Finally, it's both of these things played across a properly aligned tapehead and recorded via an instrument's preamp.

And so with these ground rules in mind, under the skill and guidance of Streetly Electronics' Martin Smith and John Bradley, we are thrilled to see the release of The Streetly Tapes - Vol 1 Expansion Pack for M-Tron Pro, which celebrates the first time that these tapes have left the Mothertron and gives you what we believe will become the most revered and true set of 'Tron sounds ever released outside of a Streetly hardware 'Tron or an M4000.

All the sounds here were curated by Martin Smith from the Streetly archives and then recorded via the 'Skellotron', a bare bones M400 built to allow detailed adjustment of every component including the azimuth alignment of each tapehead. Once captured and cross referenced against an M4000 the sounds were sent to us at GForce for their conversion into the M-Tron Pro file format

This selection was taken back to Streetly Electronics where John Bradley conducted A/B tests against their magnificent M4000. Only when Martin and John were satisfied was the set of tapes sent to our Patch Designers.

 

 

During this entire process we became even more captivated by the British 'Tron story than ever before and after being immersed in the first-hand history storey imparted by both Martin and John, we asked if we could film them - firstly talking about why this collection is so special and then about the demise and rebirth of the British 'Tron. The result is a video that documents the birth, demise and subsequent resurrection of a truly remarkable company and which we think every 'Tron aficionado will enjoy

Each GForce product demands blood, sweat and tears but in this case, there were absolutely no tears. Instead, this was one product where every facet of the process and journey was fascinating from start to finish. From the initial dialogue with Martin and John to the subsequent conversations with Patch Designers, such as Tony Durkin and Dean and Jarrod from I Monster, all of whom are true 'Tron aficionados and who understood and shared our excitement at this magical collection.

The phrase 'labour of love' is somewhat overused with it comes to touting musical products but in this instance we think it's very evident in this first volume of The Streetly Master Tapes. Ignore at your peril.

 

 

Works With

 

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IMPORTANT!

M-Tron Pro Expansion Packs are only available to registered users of M-Tron Pro. Additionally, they are exclusively available as direct downloads at www.gforcesoftware.com/myinstruments

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The Original Instrument

While we love and admire the engineering of the original hardware machines, we also think hardware and good software should sit side-by-side. Because although the hardware versus software debate still rages, ad nauseam, the simple truth is that there's no definitive answer as to which is best. Just as there is good and bad hardware, there is good and bad software and the answer to this conundrum will depend on all manner of things including your personal perspective, available space, your technical savvy, your preferred working environment and of course your finances.

For example, do the majority of musicians looking for ‘that sound’ really care to maintain a forty-plus year old instrument, sourcing rare parts when they wear out or break?

Naturally we care, because we feel that we’re custodians of these instruments and while many other software companies simply hire-in instruments to record or model, we consider this bad practice. In our opinion good practice is when you've lived with and loved the original instrument's character and foibles for a considerable time before beginning any emulative process. Because, then and only then, do you stand a chance of capturing some of the instrument's soul and character within the software alchemy.

It's a simple dogma but you'd be surprised at how many software companies ignore this in favour of marketing hyperbole. Indeed, when we explained our philosophy to the marketing director of one such company, he said "No one really cares" and strolled off to no doubt perpetrate more marketing myths.

For us that fundamental understanding and love for an instrument is what really matters when trying to transplant its character. You see, we can tell the difference between good or bad, lazy or indifferent, marketing bullshit versus a real love for the authentic, because we’ve been immersed in these instruments for over 30 years. And in the case of Streetly, over 50 years!

But ponder this - while we’ve thrown countless bags of money at the purchasing and maintenance of all manner of tape replay instruments from Chamberlin’s to Mellotrons, we’re the exception. We’re committed (some would say ‘certifiable’) and we do it so that you don’t have to.

If you want an M400 plus all the tapes we supplied with the M-Tron Pro, you'd be looking at £20,000 plus, as opposed to the M-Tron Pro's £140. Likewise, if you wanted to buy the physical tape frames of a Streetly Tapes Volume for your original M400 you’d be looking at a price tag of at least £5,000, whereas at 1% of that each Streetly Tape Volume represent amazing value for money.

It’s something worth bearing in mind the next time that someone tells you that hardware is better than software. 

     

      

     

      

     

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