MATRIXSYNTH: 1967 Vintage London MELLOTRON Programme Effects Generator From the BBC

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

1967 Vintage London MELLOTRON Programme Effects Generator From the BBC


via this auction
[You might recognize this one from this previous post]
"This is a very unusual branch of the Mellotron Chamberlin tape-replay family; the PEG - short for Programme Effects Generator, designed for the BBC in London. Circa 1967, the Streetly Company - makers of Mellotrons since 1964 - decided to use their expertise in sampling/playback technology to create this - an easy way to record/load/play sound effects libraries. Only a few were made (this one is serial number 47) although I have never seen or heard of another existing still. Supposedly, these were used for most shows for a few years in the late 1960s, as they could easily load/record and then playback any number of custom sounds without having to spool reel tapes as before. Dr. Who? The Archers? Yes, unlike normal Mellotrons, this unit does record anything you input.

The unit is currently crated for shipping. It runs on 220V 60Hz, so may need a step-up power transformer for North America. I have tried it and some functions work with lights, tape loading, motor action, etc, but have no audio output. It will certainly need work from a skilled technician. On the good side, it had HUNDREDS of pages of documentation- beside the full owner's manual, there is a rather extensive tech book with well over a hundred pages of circuitry, systems explanation, schematics, parts listings - this was common in the days of independent studios, who had to repair their own gear on-site.

The unit comes with a few dozen tape modules - these are Mellotronics' custom catridges that load into the unit; when loaded, the machine pulls and spools the tape around the playback system (an internal tape machine). They play as a one-shot, or can be auto-faded as they play.

The PEG comes with a spare 5th channel (4 are included in the 4-channel chassis) that I will ship separately, as well as a heavy unit that can be used to create varispeed (there is no multipin cable to connect this, but it will run at standard speed)..."

via @dyLABs



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