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We got to see the new Malletech Omega prototype at the Delaware Workshop, here's a video about the Omega...Ton Risco, Mike Pope, Joe Locke & Liegh Stevens discuss the Omega and the new pickup system


vibraman Sun, 08/25/2013 - 13:12

i don´t know this instrument but always makes me think if i see videos like that is:
was the old instrument the poeple used on recordings we love so much crap?

it´always sounds like that to me.

gary burton said on this site he uses his own bars since many years. he recorded over decades with his old bars and 2 neumann u87.

if you are a good player you can beat out the sh** of every instrument and you will sound like yourself. so the statement in the video that pro players sound equal on other instruments and became their own sound when the played the malletech vibes sounds like pure unserious commercial to me sorry. i bet this instrument will sound great but the way endorsments are i don´t like. the new stuff is always the best they ever played...boring.

mabye it´s more that the players get tired of the sound of their instruments over many years and are surprised by just a differnt sound they like. it´s the same with ride cymbals by me after 4-5 years i´m bored by the sound of every ride cymbal and i need something new and i think the new one sounds so much better after another time i put out the old cymbal and think wow this sounds great...i would love to do that with vibes too but i can´t afford that :(


Babu Sun, 08/25/2013 - 14:51

In reply to by vibraman

I'm with you Tarik, new is not always better.
Same things happen with sound system. When a new model of, say, a microphone appears, suddendly nobody can work anymore with the older (just one day or one week old...) one.
And yes musicians have their own sound regardless of the instrument they're actually playing. I have numerous personnal experiences about that.
See the violin players, since they got a good one they stick to it till the end of their career.
Better to have new good musical ideas than new instrument.
And the ideal vibe has already been discussed numerous times here...

rbvibe Sun, 08/25/2013 - 18:17

In reply to by Babu

Yes I agree. The Omega looks like a cool instrument, but I prefer the sound of the older instruments. The frames are certainly getting more durable and adjustable. I just think the older bars have a warmer sound. Most of the old Deagans Ive played are great. I have an M55 from 1970 and I really like the way it sounds. Theres probably a reason Burton keeps using those bars.

Marie-Noëlle Tue, 08/27/2013 - 17:02

My 2 cents: I'm sure this team worked very very hard and surely made some interesting improvements in the instrument, its expressivity, and its crucial accessory as pick up system.

From the first seconds I just felt sorry for the choice of the recording place: this room gives so much feed back and highs that the discussion was hard for me to follow without effort till the end. I think it's too bad for a promoting discussion with 4 people and on subject as sensitive as music and sound quality... (just saying)

Now looking forward to hearing some real and clean recording with the new baby! :o)

ps: btw, these two videos are much clearer to me to understand what has been done (part 2 & 3 of a clinic):

paul jefferies Mon, 10/14/2013 - 07:33

As an instrument maker, I look at all these new instruments and see such amazing progress. A whole list of solutions to problems experienced by players, and new gizmo's to broaden the expressiveness of the instrument.

It is all just marketing. The "reasons" given by manufacturers to justify their solutions are very subjective - sometimes I agree, most of the time I don't. It is not black and white. For instance the reasons why there are damping problems on vibes, could indeed be a bent damper bar, but it might just as well be worn out felt, incorrect assembly, twisted frame... the list goes on.

Furthermore, the engineering solutions that are introduced are often over complicated, with badly made components incorrectly assembled. Simplicity wins for me every time.

Bottom line - how about making an instrument for players that sounds amazing, works perfectly out of the box, and doesn't break with the slightest knock?

tonymiceli Tue, 10/15/2013 - 00:03

In reply to by paul jefferies

the omega is a great instrument. it was made listening to professional vibe players. several of us as a matter of fact. and none of us (me, joe locke and christos) would endorse it until it was ready. and we think it's ready. it sounds great, packs up easy and the engineering seems to work out of the box.

the omega is a great instrument. it sounds great, works out of the box and doesn't break with the slightest knock.

i am very very proud to endorse this instrument.

Ben Thomas Tue, 10/15/2013 - 23:54

In reply to by tonymiceli

Hey Tony,
I've read through your posts and checked out the Malletech videos with Joe, Leigh, etc.
It sounds great, but I probably have the same questions as a lot of folks:
1) When will it be available?
2) When will the pick-up system get released?
3) What sort of prices are we talking about?

(I looked through a bunch of posts on Vibesworkshop and Malletech, but couldn't find any info. Sorry if these questions have been answered elsewhere.)

Thanks for spreading the word about this. It looks exciting!

John Keene Wed, 10/16/2013 - 06:18

In reply to by Ben Thomas

I'd like to throw some ideas out for consideration. I would imagine that anyone interested in the Omega Vibe would be interested in two things - one is the actual tone of the bars (a reason Deagan owners tend to prefer that sound over Musser and vice versa). The other would be the unique design of the damper bar and tremolo control. Other than that, I couldn't really see why anyone would want to trade up.

To that extent, using pickups would essentially negate the unique motor effect, so if the bars don't offer the player a unique sound I can't really see the advantage of upgrading. I don't question the improved sturdiness, but some of those problems are fixable on other instruments.

I'm really interested in the instrument, but I don't currently own anything similar since I sold my Provibe five years ago. If I still owned my Provibe, I don't think I could financially justify trading up and especially if I were using pickups or not a motor user. Having said that, I think it offers a lot to a strict acoustic player who likes the tremolo effect, and that would be someone like me at this point in my life.

tmackay Fri, 10/18/2013 - 00:18

In reply to by Ben Thomas

Ben .. i spoke to Joe locke Via email, inquiring on the pickup system .. he mentioned that the price is comprable to the K N K system possibly a bit more and will be available in Janruary. i spoke to STeve weiss music a month ago and they fellow said that the price is less then the m 55... email me at .. ill be heading to pasic in november to check out the omega .. im seriously considering the purchase of both the instrument and the pickup system ..

IndianaGlen Wed, 10/16/2013 - 15:49

In reply to by paul jefferies

I am not beholdin' to Malletech and hopefully I'll be able the check out the Omega first hand. The videos are very encouraging. The pro vibe community's holy grail is something that sounds great, is light, solid, easy to set up, and priced reasonably. With more modern materials and better engineering, we can get closer to that holy grail. With the exception of Nico's vibes, most of the major brands are based on designs and engineering that is well over 40 years old.

One of the issues may be that the large vibe/mallet manufactures perceived market for a pro, holy grail vibe is limited since the majority of sales go to marching band programs (where being light and easy to set up are not as big of a deal). In my opinion, the Omega is showing that someone wants to actually pay for R&D and LISTEN to guys like Tony and Joe and do something about it and move beyond the hype as Paul implies) There is a market that is beyond marching programs.

There's a lot on paper to get excited about. The belt driven damper makes a ton of sense quiet and efficient, very elegant design idea. The frame looks solid, and the 'harp' is light. Being able to adjust the depths on the resonators without pounding on a aluminum plug, that's great! I don't know if I'd do it on a gig, however, in my studio, would be really cool. I also don't know about the tremolo, I'll have to check that out.

On the 'sound' front. When the frame is more solid, the vibe sounds better too. Not only is it more quiet, but the bars ring longer and there's a more consistent sound.

I am looking forward to hearing it. I may even take my favorite set of Musser bars and give it a whirl with some different mallets if they are kind enough to let me do that.

What I want is a vibe that I can bring to an open Mic (or a gig) and get set up in the same amount of time a sax player can, and still get an honest vibe sound and feel. That's a while off, but the work on the Omega vibe in my opinion gets all of us closer to that day. OK I also need to become a better vibe player, so I better go practice.

pax Wed, 10/23/2013 - 15:46

Here's four frames, one has a center bar (cover) for lack of the proper term. What are the names of the parts of a vibraphone? You can see the vibrato actuators, the itty bitty gold things.

Steve Shapiro Thu, 10/24/2013 - 11:46

I still would like to see how this whole instrument comes apart, and how bulky/heavy each section is, esp. the keybed...

rfrench5 Thu, 10/23/2014 - 10:12

Well, I have seen the updated vids of the Omega engineering on the Mallettech website, with Joe, and Leigh.

Overall I have to say, I WANT ONE!!

I think the engineering is well explained, logical, and "musical" in focus, meaning everything about the instrument adds to the benefit of the performer getting the best quality of sound out of a vibraphone. Did I mention I love how quickly and easily it appears to set it up, and to adjust the dampening bars, the wings, the pedal, and the resonators? Oh, and the -two- springs on the dampening bar!

For me, it's my next major purchase, which I can use for traveling gigs. But I will mention that the last thing which is making me question it, and it may seem shallow or non-consequential, but the bars are all black. All of them. Black.

The bars looks great. But psychologically, the performer as well as the audience is used to seeing a vibe with silver or gold bars (maybe blue or red too from the Vanderplas vibes), as well as the resonators. The Omega is all black. Speaking for myself, it may take a period of adjustment to get my mind adjusted to the visual color-of-the-bars aspect of this wonderful instrument. It reminds me so much of a Musser Kelon xylophone!