Upon hearing the capabilities of the new Electro-Harmonix Mel 9 Tape Replay Machine Mellotron simulator pedal, the thought that immediately came to mind was that guitar players might finally have a fair shot at landing some film, TV, and video game scoring work. Historically, MIDI has always given an unfair advantage to keyboard players because they can recreate orchestral and symphonic string passages with ease, while guitarists are more or less stuck with just their guitar sound.
With the Mel 9 Tape Replay machine, EHX has created a pedal that offers surprisingly realistic takes on nine different settings that span a variety of orchestral, woodwind, brass, string, and choral tones, so this opens up new possibilities for composing music with guitar. Imagine being able to add quality string sections, saxophone parts, and even a decent flute to your recording or live playing capabilities on the fly without monkeying with complicated MIDI interfaces, loops, or plug ins.
The technology is built similarly to the EHX B9 and C9 organ machines, but in my opinion this is a much more versatile pedal. The organ machines are certainly cool, but those sounds tend to be achievable from most high quality reverb pedals. The Mel 9 gives the guitar entirely new instruments and soundscapes to add to the arsenal. Best of all, the Mel 9 doesn’t break the bank, retailing at a reasonable $220. We don’t have word on a concrete release date yet, but EHX says it will be “coming soon”.