David Wright reviews CamelPhat3 multi effects processor.

CamelPhat3

CamelPhat3

I’ve had personal contact with Camel Audio through Tim Conrardy for a few years now. The products I’ve used, I like, and on a personal level, they’re certainly one of the more “approachable” soft synth manufacturers.

The first of the three Camel products that I use and will review, in no particular order, is the CamelPhat 3. As might be deduced from it name, the CamelPhat 3 is a colouring and enhancing tool – a “phattener”  and a very powerful multi effects processor at that. It has been specially designed to do the most amazing things to guitar, bass and drums by adding warmth, punch and presence wherever required. That said, I find it does the job on just about any sound you chose to use it on!  It includes four distortion modules; a flanger, Magic EQ, compressor, three filters, two LFOs, x/y pad and intelligent randomize, 128 categorized presets and hey, its even easy to use.

System requirements;

PC: Pentium III 1GHz, 128 MB RAM, Windows 98/ME/2000/XP, VST host.
Mac: G4 733 MHz, 128 MB RAM, Mac OS X, VST/Audio Units host.
(CamelPhat is one of many VST plugins adhering to the VST standard developed by Steinberg. The Audio Unit standard was developed by Apple.)
Installation is quick and easy.

CamelPhat3 is a multi-effect Processor, so think modular. The layout is simple and what you see is what you get. The front panel is divided into several sections each with a small blue “On” button in its upper corner. Just going through the presets is great fun and gives an immediate indication of what can be achieved. Simply switching different modules on and off shows what a wide variety of sounds can be obtained.

Experimenting with the big Randomize button instantly assigns a new value to every parameter thus making new and interesting things happen instantly. I should add that it’s intelligent randomize, so you don’t get insanely silly and useless settings. Randomized and newly created settings can easily be saved in standard .FXP and .FXB formats. These are the same regardless of platform and host application, and files saved in this way can easily be shared with other CamelPhat users.

There are 6 different effects modules. I’m not going to go into technical depth here – it’s all laid out in the manual.

First is a flexible “band Pass” filter with several parameters set by the low and high band sliders.
Second is Distortion and there are four different distortion types, Mech, Tube, Bit Crusher and Xcita.
Next is the MM filter, a powerful multi-mode filter capable of transforming the sound in various ways using Low-Pass, Band-Pass, High-Pass, Low-Pass Fat, Band-Pass Fat, High-Pass Fat, Peaking, Notch, Comb, and Ring Mod, Attack, Release, Envelope, Cut-Off, Resonance & Mix.
Fourth is a very easy to use Flanger.
Fifth is the Magic EQ, a specially designed equalizer.
And last the Compressor, which is deceptively simple with a responsive “soft-limiting” compressor algorithm.

There is also a Master module with On. Volume and Mix parameters and a LFO that provides two independent LFOs, allowing two different parameters to be modulated simultaneously.

Okay, so what’s it like to us? Well, this is one of those processors that is for musicians, not just engineers. It has an easy layout that makes everything instant and accessible, therefore it’s very intuitive and that makes it instantly creative. I used it on my 2008 AD Music  instrumental music CD release “Dreams and Distant Moonlight“, particularly on rhythms (snare and kick) and bass. On one instrumental music track in particular, “Heatwave in Blue” it was used extensively. The kick, snare, percussion and bass were all treated, coloured – I love what it did to the bottom end, not just the warmth but the overall feel. It also helped greatly in the high end frequency separation because there’s a lot of mid and top end effects flitting about on the track and before I used CamelPhat3 it all sounded a little harsh. Being able to easily select a particular frequency range and then treat and mix that selected frequency with the original sound totally transformed and enhanced its effect on the track.

For me, that’s what I like about the CamelPhat3, it’s ability to take any sound and either make it just sound “better” by adding warmth and punch, or, manipulating, transforming  and enhancing the selected frequencies. That’s the thing; it’s fun to use and even if you don’t fully understand why all of its functions do what they do, you’ll certainly have fun hearing the results.

In conclusion, this is a serious multi-processor, very user friendly and capable of amazing results of sound manipulation and is ideal for all music styles, not just electronic music. Clearly, its best application is for drums, guitar and bass but as I’ve already indicated, its applications are limited only by your imagination.

I should add that I use the CamelPhat3 in conjunction with CamelSpace, and I’ll be looking at that next. But if you decide to purchase CamelPhat3 before then, it’s well worth purchasing the bundle package direct from Camel Audio. The prices were around £45 each £80 for the both the last time I looked.

~ by admusic on December 30, 2008.

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