Cameleon5000 is a synth with Huge abilities but this means, you have to use several of its special functions, and this could be a little complicated. Additive synthesis is hard to program and this is why Cam5000 has a special GUI (I really like this animal drawing on it) with pages named A / B / C / D / MOD / MORPH / EASY , which helps users with its simplicity - to perform those "out of this world" sounds that sells this synth worldwide. Its structure is simple, stands on four legs, and these are the 4 voice programs, and they can contain "multisamples" - so each voice program can contain 8 voice programs inside itself. CAMELEON is not a sampler and is behaving a much more special way - it can import wav files, analyze it and build the voice program from the properties and spectrum of that imported sample. Several Times I tried to import all kind of samples, but the result was far from what I wanted. Then I read the manual about the importing rules you have to follow, and it started to work. For immediate result, you have to import 'one-shot' sounds without any effect. However, trying other sounds can lead to surprising results (try to import pure singing or voice sounds!) Apart from these, cam5000 can import standard bmp-files too, and this is another pioneer sound design tool. At this part, you have to follow some image editing rule, the well written manual covers these too. I used the synth in hosts like Acid and Fruityloops and in the free tracker - Jeskola Buzz and I don't remember a single crash, this is a stable plugin. Presets are good, but there are several similar factory pres. so I gave the rating only 9. Some presets are really gorgeous, but you can program sounds that are better and dozens of user presets can be found on the net. In my opinion cam5000 is for those musicians, who are to design their own sounds, and not afraid of a little programming to achieve great and unique output (in this view, it's a bit absynth-like). If you're tired of trying to produce some new, just push random and you will get a new bass / lead or just that sound, in which category you are. With its morph square and morph timeline it does a trick you can find in WNA Zerovector(that has a morph triangle ..) and there are further morph settings in cam5000 - morphing through only the harmonics part / or the noise part / or morph all sound parameters - you decide. More Pros: several Morph settings, randomizing, sophisticated settings handling (almost every module have their own preset so you can save voice programs, harmonic or noise parts, full instrument settings, morph settings, formant filter settings - yes, it has one!) Last but not least, some words about the price: It has a fair price for a great synth with so many features, I gave VFM only 8 because comparing it to other nice-sounding products which are cheaper, Anyway, just nowadays, Camel Audio made a massive discount, so don't let it expire if you planned to get a strong additive synth. Customer support are quite good, the website has a well designed members area.
This is a very deep and capable synthesizer. i had to stop auditioning the presets because there are just too many of them! Cameleon is a synth to spend hours with whether auditioning presets or building sounds of your own. If you want to create unnatural sounds, it's very easy to do so. The presets include some very good emulations of natural sounds, but the real power here is in making evolving pads and atmospheric textures.
If i had to complain, it would be that the UI is flakey (buttons behave un-traditional or sometimes refuse to acknowledge clicks if you move around too fast, virtual keyboard sticks notes, and screen redraw is temperamental; annoying sometimes but still totally workable). Biggest problem is the standalone version; crash prone (apparently using some VST player wrapper and therein lies the problem - so says the crash report). So stick with a VST host (this is why i am voting high on the stability portion in the ratings list).
My only complaints about the presets: there are too many of the same kinds of sounds (come on, we can press Randomize buttons ourselves to seek variations on the same sound", there is a great lack of dynamic variation and too many presets lack many standard controller setups (like sustain pedal and aftertouch). You can change that and save the updated presets if you care to.
Overal, so far my playing experience (while in a VST Host) has been fun and i hope to learn more about additive synthesis by reading the manual and expirimenting. My experience with additive synthesis so far has been Cameleon, Cube (just ordered Cube 2) and the Roland MT-32 ("Linear Arithmatic Synthesis, which is a shadow of the D50 it is based on and barely comparable to the likes of Cube and Cameleon). The MT-32 is impossible to program; the one guy who has managed to make neat sounds out of it wont explain his techniques though he offers a modified SoundDiver mod, which i can't get to work. Soon i hope to play with the D50 (via V-Synth XT), which was the original LA Synth. Do i have too many of the same things here? No. Each one has its own personality, methodology and character. i am begining to get an idea of what additive synthesis is capable of and Cameleon is, so far, a very interesting education on the process. While i prefer "clean and technologically advanced rack-like" UIs for VSTs, Cameleon's is stylish and well laid out if a bit bumpy ;-)
Wishes? i really would like to see some more dynamics and better setups for controllers in the presets, but again, this is a sound designer's tool. Not a rompler. If you want as many tools as possible to make your own sounds, this fits nicely into the tool kit. Worth the cost? i don't know. i've been spending wildly lately (partially to get 100% legit on all the tools i use (100% there, now, yay!).
This is a BIG synth. The evolvong textures which this synth is known for have to be some of the most beautiful sounds you will ever get out of your computer. You can tell that a lot of thought and energy as well as a lot of love for the generation of music has driven the design and execution of this software, I have found that some of the ideas and concepts I have wanted to have in my music is very attainable with the Cameleon5000. The ability to create new presets is a given with any good synth. The abiltiy to create new soundworlds with a softsynth is under the sole ownership of the Cameleon5K. You DO have to read the manual. Again you DO have to read the manual. If you wnat to get a good handle on the intricacies of this product. It isn't difficult but the nuances you will need to create your sound are covered there. Excellent product, excellent output. Not much else to say. It's that good. The documentation is well put together. But I do think it could be expanded on somewhat. A little more explanation of the use of images in Cameleon as well as the creation of evolution pathing would not be amiss here. It is understandable to those who have mucked about in this area previously but for the newcomer may leave them with some questions. Is it worth the money? YES it is. Go for it you will not be disappointed.
With all the additives out now it's a little easier to evaluate C5000 than it was when it was one of the only additive synths available. I must admit I'm not a big fan of additives in general. I find their sound a little plastic and hollow and samey. Most of them need a lot of effect processing to have much presence.
C5000 is especially guilty of this. A quick spin through the preset banks reveals quite a few very nice airy soundscape pads and lots of very unconvincing and thin leads & basses. It's a bit of a one-trick pony, but it does perform its one trick quite well. If you're looking for a pad machine with a very digital and synthetic sound that allows for some fairly complex evolving sounds then this might just fit the bill. C5000's resynthesis functions are pretty poor compared to things like Vertigo, Doppelmangler, and Cube2, so don't expect to use it to construct believable hybrids of real acoustic or electric instruments.
The interface is nicely laid out and fairly intuitive. CPU usage is modest, especially considering all the effects that are enabled on most patches. The onboard effects are good enough that you'd probably just leave them on instead of replacing them with better, dedicated alternatives most of the time. Overall though, I think this has been outclassed by some of the other additives. If you really want to explore these kinds of sounds I'd suggest you first look into Cube2, Vertigo, Doppelmangler, White Noise's Additive, or even ConcreteFX's Adder. I can't imagine why this is currently the top-rated synth here at KVR.
User Interface Really well laid out - very instinctive to use and everything seems to be where you would expect it. A top notch GUI both in terms of looks and in layout / design.
Sound The variety of sound is incredible. A scan through the excellent presets reveals that this synth can do just about anything, from bleeps and blarps to long lush moving pads. Don't expect it to out-phat a VA - that's not the intention of this one - but do expect the sounds to amaze and inspire. Think complex, realistic, unusual.....
Features Analysis of your own samples is a breeze and the editor allows you to set individual partial levels at each step of the multi-stage envelopes. There is a complete suite of good quality effects (filter/distortion/delay/reverb etc) , there's a fully adjustable formant filter, and an "easy" page where you can make quick, simple adjustments (same idea as the one in FM7). Many users complain about being up until 4 in the morning just tweaking and playing. It gets you like that :-)
Documentation A well written, tutorial style manual is included which steps you through the basic operations and then goes into more detail on specifics later. An index would have helped. One point dropped.
Presets The 1.3 version comes with a raft of great presets. Bonus points for the presets being organised by category (basees/pads/etc) which makes finding a useable sound quick and easy. There are also some preset banks available on the camel audio website from other users (including Tim Conrardy) which are also super. Expect to see a ton of user banks for this synth - resynthesising your own samples is addictive and they can be distributed as tiny files.
Customer Support Can't be beat. Ben, Jim and co are helpful and a regular presence in the forums.
Value for Money Considering the huge capabilities of this synth - there is real value for money here.
Stability Rock solid. Never fazes the host. Never glitches or barfs.
I am super-impressed with this synth. The possibilities are endless and the amount of control you can excercise is astounding - combined with an intuitive GUI this makes for a synth that you could tweak for hours. If you're not a tweaker, then the fine library of sounds shipped, the user banks and the sample import facility should keep you happy too.
Top Notch. First Class. Highly Recommended.
MORPHING SOUND SUBSTANCES WITH FULL CONTROL The resynthesis function is capable to capture, and very well, the substance of a sound and then you have at your disposition up to four sources of all those “sound substances” to morph for your pleasure. And it really works in a very musical way But that morph is not a conventional one. It make the sensation that the imported sounds become a liquid, being then possible to transform them in a natural, gradual and highly dynamic way in another different and unique sound. The morphing can be manipulated independently at the 3 sound component levels (harmonic, inharmonic/noise and amplitude). And what its the best: it can be controlled in real time in many creative ways and you are able to create a totally dynamic and wonderful controllable morphing experience. What complete this equation is that ALL the parameters are assignable to many source possible of control. Even you can assign the same source to many parameters. With a very important detail: you can set the max and min amount of the destination parameter range that will be affected, allowing a very precise and controllable result. That permits to make a totally interactive sound that responds to the touch in infinite ways and then is when the sound becomes a wonderful musical experience.
THE GUI MAKE IT EASY: Not being a synthesis doctor (and not pretending it) I have found the GUI of Cameleon one of the best to make the difficult and easy thing. To create interesting and fresh sounds is like a children game. All that complex engine has been packed in an user interface which allows a deep manipulation of the sound in a very intuitive way. Although its possible to do very deep programing the additive page.
BUT NOTHING IS REALLY PERFECT The resynthesis algorithm (IMHO) is not totally perfect. It can be improved. I found that the sounds with a very much inharmonic and noise component are not very well captured. For example a very clean human voice was imported amazingly well. But another human voice with breath and blow content was captured worse. A shakukachi sound also was not good. The filter is good but while it can create great raw, acid and dirty sounds (which I also like), to me it tends to sound a bit harsh, mainly when the resonance parameter is used. Its hard to find a typical warm analog filter synth sound. An additional filter with a more conventional synth behavior will be a great addition.
TO END I am using C5K only 3 weeks but is has captured me and I have been immersed, like hypnotized, exploring and programming sounds with it. As a musician, the important aspect about music is the experience to play it and to feel it in real time (that magical thing that only the really good real instruments seem to provide), and thats what I want from a synth. And Cameleon is great in this area. In the end a very innovative synth that can produce very fresh and original sounds and provide a highly musical experience.
Cameleon 5000 is a very interesting synth - using additive synthesis, and able to import wave files and bitmaps for resynthesis, you can create sounds that would take hours (or be impossible) with other synths.
I compose and play mostly new-age, ambient (light AND dark heh heh), and soundscape. Cameleon excels at producing unusual and complex evolving textures, and after importing various waves from my Hollywood Edge CDs (sound effects, mostly) I'm amazed at Cameleons ability to turn things like metal hits and crowd noises into alien landscapes.
The interface is fairly simple, buttons for each of the four possible voices and various windows and panels that allow you to adjust how (and if) a morph is made between the various voices. Without touching the manual I was able to import waves, make and save voices, and create patches - which is excellent as I'm manual-phobic (lol).
Sound quality is good to excellent - I have no complaints here.
Cameleon comes with a pile of presets (I think 500, I'm still working my way through them all) and there are already user-created banks available if the factory-supplied ones don't float your boat. Most of the presets are musically useful, although depending on your genre (if you have one!) your mileage may vary. The true power of Cameleon is in importing waves and creating your own morphs, I can't go on enough about how much this is a "killer feature". I will note that many of the presets that sound a little thin solo sit extremely well in a mix.
CPU useage on my P4 2.53GHz system is modest on most patches, very acceptable for something of this power. It's rock-stable in my current host of choice (Orion Platinum) as well.
Support is excellent, Ben at Camel seems to live on the KVR-VST Camel Audio forum some days (lol).
Bottom line: an excellent product at an extremely attractive price for all it can do - I purchased Cameleon over a fully-expanded JV1080 because Cameleon could do more!
Camel Audio went all out with Cameleon 5000 in creating their vision of additive synthesis. In this case additive should analyze one shot or multisampled instruments and be able to create an additive version of the sample. The good news is Cameleon 5000 succeeds in marrying analyzed sample data to morphing. In this case we aren't talking of morphing from one distinct sound to another, the morphing that takes place is calculated in the additive domain creating new instruments in the literal sense.
That might take a second to get your head around. What's the big deal? Here's the big deal. Rather than making the sum of two or more samples Cameleon 5000 is computing the structure of the waveforms as they change and creating a literal instrument from these calculations. There is a substantial library of sampled and analyzed samples including around 200 patches with sections available for making your own creations. The quality of the analysis is good though not perfect, nor is that the point to Cameleon 5000. You get impressions of "real" timbres combining and mutating. As a result it's easy to get a singing horn much like one would expect from a modeled synth.
You are able to use up to four instruments although it is often unnecessary to sample more than one. You also are able to program the Harmonics and Noise with the familiar bars used for representing frequency and multi point envelopes for time/pitch relational data. Also included is a flexible modulation matrix with values that can be edited in ranges helping to further refine your work. Two LFOs are included along with two morph envelopes that are multi point as well. By adding points a line can be changed, in the morph's case creating some drastic shifts to subtle crossover effects. In the morphing area is a morph square that enables you to arrange the complete patch in x/y coordinates or refine it further by using morph points for amplitude, harmonics and noise. More complexity but easily accomplished thanks to CA5000's highly functional interface.
Included is an easy mode for timbre, LFO, amplitude envelope and output. It should be mentioned that there is also a nicely functional randomizer on several pages including the Morph, Easy, and Effects pages, speaking of which you will find, distortion, multi- filter, chorus, stereo delay and reverb. The quality of the effects are excellent across the board, and of course, there is a multi-point formant filter to be found as well.
The Cameleon works well with pads, evolving soundscapes, swirling leads and deep basses. Use of your own samples is a pleasure. I tend to take short phrases or soundscapes (drum beats don't analyze well) and work on the subtle shades and overtones that make additive synthesis and Cameleon CA5000 so powerful. At times the sound is like recycled samples yet there is so much more that is available and in a friendly interface. Don't be fooled though, you will need to read the manual.
Your wait for something different is over. Finally a synth that gives you something different, and isn't brutal on your CPU has landed, and it's called the Cameleon 5000. Leads, pads, basses, it covers it all. If it doesn't have what you want, or you hate using presets, it doesn't matter. You can analyse any sound source you want, and import it into Cameleon for your methods of mayhem upon its poor little sound soul. The manual is probably one of the best in the biz, as it's written in a tutorial format, yet goes over every aspect of the synth in detail. The presets certainly aren't skimped up either, with over 500+ patches to choose from and growing. The developer is also active in integrating suggestions and listening for ideas for improvement, which to me, is worth its weight in gold. This is the synth to grow with, and I doubt you'll be disappointed in its sonic diversity. Go get the demo and try it out.
I can´t say that i´m an expert in using the ca5000, and using the presets its coming with didnt really get me.
** edit **
the presets coming with version 1,2 are WAY better .. so are very good! Therefor i edit this review
** edit end **
Then i created my first instrument on my own, containing 4 really warm and smooth samples. And wow! The ca5000´s analyze-system is superb! It kept the warmth of my sounds, and morphing between the ounds themselves works very fine.
Handling is easy, the manual is well written.
Ca5000 is an original instrument with a complex task, and it manages it. goodie!
Now i only wish that we could use loops as well. ;) putte
This is a real craft – time has been taken at every stage of the process to get it where it is now – and it really does show.
The design and layout of the user interface make it deceptively easy to use – I am not an expert in re-synthesis but I sure feel like one after getting a very good sounding patch in about a quarter of an hour later when first brining the instrument into a new project – its that easy. In fact it has an easy setting page for controlling some of the most important aspects of playability.
Morphing between instruments can be done on a matrix very simply or over a time line envelope not only that you can press a button to randomly alter the morphing setting for you to get quick and sometimes unexpected results – it’s another quick way to learn just how powerful this instrument is – an believe me when you see and hear the effects that you can get from morphing you will never want to go back to anything else.
The manual is very well laid out – worth a read, though you probably wont need it, the presets are about as good as you can get – excellent in fact and on top of that the inbuilt effects are very good too (particularly for bass as you would expect from Camel)
I think it can sound very warm – smooth even, every part of the sound can be altered – this is where things can get very interesting if you want it to – you have the capabilities with this synth to make something no one has had a chance to listen to ever = the most fascinating part of an additive synth.
TenCrazy have developed an application for creating voice files too, this is an exciting part that maybe one day built directly into Cameleon – but for now it is as a separate free application for converting 64x128 greyscale images into sound = very cool.
I will keep this review short – I just wanted to write quickly that this is one very special development that I think you should give it a try to see why. Hear it for yourself – play with the instrument and be as amazed as I.
Above all have fun,
A small update to this review here:
In the review section (copy and paste the link)
I can only reiterate what has already been stated by the previous reviewer. This is one powerful Synth but at the moment I don not think many people appreciate how good. It has easily got the best resynthesis I have heard from a synth so far - and this without making your 3.0ghz super computer keel over and die. In addition, it gives the user great flexibility when experimenting with the imported sound - it has true STRETCH capability.
It is also able to morph between four different sounds and gives you a number of option about how you achieve your morphing sound. In some areas it is quite similar to PLEX but it is a hell of a lot more powerful and a lot more flexible. You want to morph a trumpet into a screaming guitar - Cameleon can this in seconds.
I think praise should also be given for how Cameleon looks and its general layout. In a word, it looks stunning - possibly the nicest looking VSTi around, but more importantly it has been designed to be simple to use and great care has been taken to make it both intutive and practical.
In addition, that rarity for Soft Synth, it comes with a Manual that is both easy to understand and explains complex theories without bogging people down with the science. This has made using a synth like Cameleon all the more easier, as potentially difficult areas are adequatly covered in the manual.
Finally, a few people might think that Cameleon is a bit of a luxury synth - nice to have but not essential. This is definately the wrong way to look at it - it is more than capable of doing the bread and butter sounds from acoustic bass, fender guitar, B3 organs, 100s of pads and synth etc. However, as well as doing these sounds incredibly well it is capable of producing sounds that you just wouldn't be able to produce on any other synth.
With over 500 presets and many more on the way I would say that this is a synth that you cannot do without.
Also, I believe at the moment, Camel Audio are are offering a discount to KVR members.
nb. For those of you who do not like paying for the privelage of being a betatester - ie. buggy software - I have yet to find a fault in this software and it is solid as a rock.
When I first heard my Kawai K5000, I though WOW!, additive synthesis sounds nice : hard basses, piercing leads, evolving pads! Until I began to disect the patches : most of them used the build-in PCM samples :(
When the new batch of additive softsynths(CA5000, Cube, Vertigo) came out, I decided to test them and finaly went for CA5000 for these reasons :
- Good resynthesis : only 64 harmonic bands unlike Vertigo witch has 256 (but is unplayable like this because it takes too much cpu!). If you take care of your samples before you import (mono, 44KHz,..), the results can be very inspiring. Once the harmonics of the sample are imported, you can change the amplitude and pitch of each of the 64 bands to your liking : that's called additive synthesis). - Patch sharing with other users (My resynthesised instruments take 50 - 100 Kb, where they took 1,5 Mb with Vertigo, try sharing a soundbank like that!) - You can morph the sound between 4 sources and the transition sounds great (the morphs can be automated and synced to tempo). - Once you become familiar with the synth (and after reading the excelent manual a couple of times), it's very easy to navigate. There's even an 'EASY' page where you can set envelope attack, release offsets,etc without editing the more complex amplitude envelope. - The FX sound great (especialy the Chorus which is a must to warm up digital sounds) and there are many modulation routings, eg. the filter cutoff can be controlled by an envelope, lfo, keyboard position, just like on 'traditional' analog synths! - Good customer support!
So, now I have my hard basses, piercing leads and evolving pads, but without using PCM samples like the K5000!
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