|As soon as 1970, Harry Chamberlin gave up the concept of instruments with several sound banks, and created a new series of instruments (800 Riviera, M1, M2, M4), using 1/2" tapes with 8 tracks per tape, and a stereo playing system. This series was produced from 1970 to 1981.
The M1 had a 35 note keyboard. It was the most widespread and the most complete model. About 300 units were made.
The M2 (or M1D) had a right hand, 35 note keyboard, and a left hand, 25 note keyboard (5 units).
The M4 was basically two M2s in a single cabinet : thus, it had 4 keyboards. 4 units were produced.
The sounds of the Chamberlin (especially those of the M1, M2, M4 series) were more realistic and "truer" than those of the Mellotron. This was due to different preamps, and tape heads of better quality. However, the sound alterations caused by the Mellotron's low fidelity paradoxically gave it more charm, and were the source of typical and immediately recognizable sounds.
The recordings were produced and supervised by Lawrence Welk in Harry Chamberlin's house. The only sound that the Chamberlin and the Mellotron had in common was the famous "3 violins", that was created in 1952 for the Chamberlin, and that you could find in 1964's Mellotron Mark II.
The Chamberlin M1R, or M-1 Remote, is perhaps the rarest Chamberlin model with only six known to have ever been produced. Since then, several have been hacked, one was destroyed in a fire, and only 2 others are known to be in working functional condition, both of which are owned by the same collector. Of the six made, this is the only one with a matching original keyboard controller.
Original tape sounds include; Sound Effects: chains, animal noises, etc.), Female Voice, Mandolin/ Pizzicato Strings, Trumpet, Vibes, Tibia, Organ, Strings (violin), Trombone, Acoustic Guitar.