Vintage Mellotron: Exploring Logic Pro X’s forgotten gem

Today we are exploring Apple’s Vintage Mellotron sampler instrument from Logic Pro X. With so many brilliant third-party instruments and sound libraries out there, it can be easy to forget about Logic’s built-in gear. The retro-inspired Mellotron virtual sampler instrument is one of the most interesting libraries of sounds to get overlooked by some Logic Pro X users, and it comes completely free with the purchase of Apple’s professional DAW suite.

While staples like the EXS24 and relative newcomer Alchemy are hard to pass up — whether it be because you have 10+ years of custom instruments on tap or the shear horsepower of the former Camel Audio hybrid synth — there are some lesser known and under-appreciated options that tend to go by the wayside for no good reason. A few years back Apple introduced its Mellotron as an EXS24 patch before promoting it to standalone virtual instrument status. The retro-inspired virtual sampler instrument is one of the most interesting libraries of sounds to get overlooked by some Logic Pro X users, and it comes completely free with the purchase of Apple’s professional DAW suite.

Inspiration comes in many forms. Sometimes just understanding what an instrument library is, how it was created or where its roots were planted can come into play. Whether it’s the rickety mechanicals lurking in the background of some mad inventor’s keyboard contraption or melted cassette flourishes, quirky sounds of sometimes inexplicable origin can project visuals in our minds and become formidable influences over our creations. And while seemingly nondescript and deceivingly basic in appearance, Apple’s Vintage Mellotron is one such instrument.

The OG Mellotron

Based on an electro-mechanical keyboard developed in the UK circa 1963, Vintage Mellotron is a lightweight and yet effective virtual instrument library that offers the retro vibes to LPX users for free. Within a few years the orignal was appearing on recordings like The Beatles hit “Strawberry Fields Forever” before losing the convenience battle to smaller, digital gear in the 80’s, and later making a resurgence in the virtual instrument space.