Vintage Alto Metallophone

Vintage Alto Metallophone


Hello again, it has been a while!

This time I’ve got a vintage old alto metallophone — alto glockenspiel?
The etymology I think is a little vague, its not quite the same range as an Orff alto metallophone (which are generally a little bit lower) but the timbre is a little bit different from what I would normally associate with a glockenspiel (this a little bit more like tiny vibes, much more body).

The metal chassis says both “Xylophone” and “Marimba” on it – neither of which it is.

I like “Alto Metallophone”. Sounds cool.

Anyway, I picked this up at a Goodwill just before quarantine and sampled it shortly after (sadly just before I ended up upgrading my interface / pres). I thought it was very charming and fun sounding and therefore severely procrastinated in finishing the construction of the sampler instrument. I really dunno why I’m just now finishing it, but here it is and I have done it!

It’s sampled diatonically (every note that was available) at a variable number of velocities (averaging 16ish) and three round robins. I also recorded some release samples for it (like muting) and some resonatey sounds that the cabinet makes whilst agitated.

This one should have lots of charm I think, during the sample session I tried to make my room as reflective and resonant and responsive to each strike as I could, having put all kinds of guitars and cymbals and strings and pans nearby to make a little extra mojo. The original thing is also a little bit detuned (not sure by age or qc) so I’ve added a knob to adjust the tuning a bit.

I’ve also added a bit of (at least for me) quality of life effects that can always be turned off in the settings, but I felt that some dynamics control, a little eq, and imaging really helped this go from pokey little hits to a nicer smooth patch to play, especially in the advent of basically no tuning of the velocity layers beyond the original gain staging. The imaging maybe felt the most make or break accessibility wise so I made that a little bit easier to tweak on the main panel.

One last thing, there’s a magic knob. I’ll let you try to figure out exactly what it does but the general run down is that it adds a little bit of body and swirl back into the the patch the make it a little more compatible in different contexts and fun sounding in general to my own ears.

I hope you enjoy! Cheers


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A vintage old alto metallophone, or alto glockenspiel if you prefer!

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