Mellotron has a long history of making keyboards and synthesizers that have stood the test of time and have been used by many famous artists, and Mellotron has devoted itself to sound design and engineering, which is why they still continue to be inspired by recordings from the ‘60s and ‘70s.
They have put all of their expertise into the Mellotron M4000D series, and today we will be reviewing the M4000D’s budget version, the M4000D Mini.
For those looking for a smaller, and lighter version of the original Mellotron M4000D, the Mellotron M4000D Mini is a perfect choice.
In fact, it was released by the company for this very purpose, meaning that it offers the same features, sound quality, and front panel control as the original.
One of the few, but key, differences between the two is the material used to make the device.
Instead of the original Mellotron’s wooden frame, the M4000D Mini uses a high-quality, semi-weighted Farar piano-style keyboard.
It also offers velocity sensitivity while not including aftertouch.
Mellotron M4000D Mini – What You Should Know?
Here are a few of Mellotron M4000D Mini’s features:
Visually speaking, the Mini is strikingly similar to its predecessor, the original M4000D, which is not a coincidence at all since this is supposed to be a more compact version of the classic keyboard.
The keyboard has a white metal case with a 37-note Fatar keyboard.
While the keys are touch-sensitive, the plastic keys do not allow for aftertouch.
Compare this with the original Mellotron M4000D which sported a wooden keyboard with wooden casing and polyphonic aftertouch.
The top of the keyboard is flat and wide enough to hold another, smaller keyboard if need be.
If you already own the original Mellotron M4000D, you can fit the Mini perfectly on top of it since that is what the designers intended.
The Mini weighs in at a mere 21 lbs, making it the lightest keyboard in the Mellotron family.
The control panel contains classic knobs, toggle switches, and backlit labeling, along with two color LCD screens.
Although it has a lot of the same features as its predecessor, the area where it slightly lacks is its connectivity.
The Mini doesn’t contain any XLR audio outputs, and neither does it contain any USB connectivity.
What it does have, is 5 pin in/out/thru ports.
The Mini comes loaded with 100 sample sounds, which are sourced from a wide variety of instrument models, most of them from the original Mellotron and Chamberlin instruments.
The keyboard is bi-timbral and comes with two sound slots, A and B, which are always active.
The Mix knob can be used to blend the sounds of slots A and B.
Presets on the Mini include strings, woodwind instruments, vibraphone, brass, mandolin, and other synths and percussion.
The keyboard also comes with an expansion card that allows up to 100 extra sounds which are available for $500.
This additional card contains classic sounds from the likes of Tangerine Dream, Black Sabbath, Genesis, Yes, etc.
There are also samples from certain songs and soundtracks, using which you can diversify your own soundscape.
Each sample has a duration of about 8 seconds without looping, and one sound is recorded and sampled under one key.
A toggle switch in the middle of the panel allows you to have control over the pitch of your sound and lets you go up and down octaves as per your liking.
You can also choose the EQ quality of your sound.
This can be done by choosing an output such as the Chamberlin M1, which produces a cleaner, clearer sound, or the Mellotron M400 output, which gives a slightly worn and muted quality to your sounds.
Another nifty feature is the categorization ability of the Memory Card which is rarely seen in such devices.
You can organize your sounds by name or by category, whichever suits you best.
Mellotron, as a company, has always devoted itself to sound development and to building a huge library of sounds.
This is the reason why they began preserving all of their master tapes, starting from 1990.
These tapes have now been converted to various formats and some of these sounds and samples are featured on the first expansion card.
Along with this, Mellotron has also commissioned artists to create custom sounds for them.
These artists include Rami Jaffee of the Foo Fighters, Patrick Sansone of Wilco, and Krist Novoselic of Nirvana fame.
The rear panel of the Mini has 3 ¼” line-level audio outputs, namely, A, B, and Master, the main mono output being Master, which lets you balance the tones of the other two audio outputs.
The keyboard also contains a stereo ¼” headphone jack, along with inputs for sustain and two expression pedals.
Mellotron M4000D Mini Specifications
Here are the main specs of the device that will help you make a more informed decision:
- The device contains 100 original Mellotron and Chamberlin sounds that have been captured from the original tapes, sourced at 24-bits, and uncompressed.
- It has an expansion slot for 100 additional sounds
- A and B sound banks simultaneously accessible, with mix control
- Controls for volume, tone, normal/half-speed play, and pitch adjustment
- A, B, and Master outputs available on unbalanced 1/4-in. line connectors
- 1/4-in. connectors for sustain, expression, and volume pedals, and for headphones
- MIDI in, out, and thru
- Dimensions: 32 in (W) x 13 in (D) x 3 in (H); weight: 21 pounds
Mellotron M4000D Manual & Troubleshooting
The Mini comes with a manual that is useful for more advanced programming.
In case of technical difficulties, you can go on Mellotron’s official website and use the Contact Us option to speak to a company executive about the problem you’re facing.
You can also get your keyboard looked at a music store that specializes in instrument repair.
Mellotron M4000D Mini Price
The Mellotron M4000D Mini is priced at around $2000 and can be found in various online stores along with brick and mortar instrument stores.