When Camel Audio went out of business, a very unique plugin became unavailable. This plugin was CamelSpace. Since that day, because I never got to purchase it, I looked around for something similar. I found a few who came close, but they were still not quite what I were looking for. That was until I found this.
This was the first thing that caught my attention. Compared to Diversion, which didn't stand out with it looks, this one definetely does. Colorful labels, big and detailed knobs and intuitive modulators. This one has it all, and it makes using it joyful, not a chore.
Close to the top of the screen you find modulators. There are 8 of them, which you can scroll through and edit each as you wish. They function very much like graphical envelopes, and can be edited in a similar way. Clicking and dragging, it's that simple. Each one can be mapped to modulate a certain parameter through the mod matrix.
Tremolo: Close to the top you will find the tremolo effect. Not a ton of options, but it doesn't really need to have either. Works well.
Filter: 12 different filters are offered. The standard high-, low- and band-pass filters are offered, in addition to some special ones like the vowel filter. The cutoff, resonance, low-cut and high-cut and each be tweaked to taste with the excellent knobs.
Distortion: You can choose between overdrive and fuzz. Not the most detailed selection, but you can still get some sweet buzz out of it. The drive, fuzz, tone, mono and output can be modulated, in addition to the mix knob, which is found on all of the effects.
Delay: The speed of both the right and left channel can be controlled, in addition to the feedback and a nicely integrated LP and BP. You can choose between a normal delay and ping-pong. It can also be synced and linked. Nothing overly fancy here, but it does the trick.
Lo-Fi: This one emulates the classic bitcrushed effect, and it does it well. The parameters here are bit, rate, nose and tone, and tweaked to taste you can get that lo-fi sound your synth or drums may need.
Flanger: delay, feedback, width, depth, tone and speed found here. Can also be synced. Again, nothing fancy, but it delivers a good flanging effect.
Glitch: This is some sort of stutter effect, where scale and stretch can be controlled. You can also change the buffer size, and change the mode from run to freeze. Smoothness and reverse can also be activated. I recommend messing around with this one, some coolness to be found here.
EDIT: Also worth noting that there are two layers for all the effects, which can be controlled and modulated independently.
There is also an EQ and reverb at the end, to help shape the sound. The EQ is a three-band EQ with frequency crossover adjusting, similar to a lot of vintage EQs. The reverb can be tweaked with the size, decay, bass, treble and mix parameters. I wish there were a few more options here, like pre-delay, but it does have a very pleasing sound.
Performance: In the 1.00 version I got to try out, I sadly found this plugin CPU heavy. Opening up 64-bit Live 9 on my desktop with an haswell i7 processor, I get 0% use according to its internal CPU meter. When I open up Operator and start to play, this rises to 2-3% (preset: Celestial Pad). When I activate Tantra, however, this rises to 15% (with the preset Pad Whirl). Much more taxing than I would have thought, and I hope this gets optimized in future versions.
Conclusion: This multi-FX plugin has a great sound with lots of well-made effects and an intuitive GUI for a low price. I enjoy using this more than I ever enjoyed using CamelSpace, at the time when I had it, and this is more than worthy to fill the hole it left when Camel Audio went out of business. A few options could be added here and there, as well as lower CPU taxing, but a plugin this solid still deserves a solid 9/10.
This review does not mention the presets that come with Tantra.
There are 4 banks of factory presets, split into sections like pads, sequences, distortion, glitch and drums. The presets are an excellent showcase of what Tantra can do, but barely scratch the surface of its capabilities. Even the most boring synth pad can become a wild, bubbling rhythmic new sound that will inject fresh life into even the most cliched sound. I've had this plugin for a week and I can still spend hours simply listening to how the presets can create something new from old drum loops or my VST synths.
I agree on the CPU performance issue - you will need a very high-spec computer if you want to run more than 2 instances of this plugin. Dmitri said he would do something about the overly-large GUI, which will not fit onto most laptop screens, and many desktop monitors.
I agree with the 9/10 rating. If and when Dmitri Sches changes the GUI size and adds a randomizer, it will get 11/10 :-)
I agree with previous commenters that this is very powerful with a lot of potential, but the CPU hit is just too much for most machines, mine included (and it's an SSD, i5, only ~3 years old, so not top of the line, but hardly an infirm dinosaur). I can deal with a huge CPU hit for a good softsynth, especially on something like a pad or some chords or something where I don't plan to do any modulation, because I can just transform / render it. But with an effects plugin, a huge CPU hit is pretty much a deal breaker for me. Yes, if I felt really confident that I had the track / effect in a "done" state, I could also render it. But for whatever reason I rarely find that to be the case. I'm usually tweaking effects right up til final mixdown.
If Dmitry can get this thing to be less of a CPU drain, or if I upgrade my PC in a few years to something 5x more powerful, then I could see myself using this a lot more.