Amalgame is a multi-effect plugin aimed to streamline the creation of complex signal processing chains.
It is available as VST and AU formats for Windows and OS X in 32/64 bit versions from Inear Display’s website typically priced at 59 Euros plus VAT. A demo version is also available.
It features a library of 23 effects from filters and delays to more esoteric and glitchy processors. You can select upto 6 effects which can be dropped onto an X Y pad where the X and Y parameters of each pad can be sequenced with independent rate and length for each sequence.
Starting the review with the conclusions, Amalgame is very easy to use, has a great sound and really encourages you to dive in and start experimenting. It can produce a massive range of sounds from reverbs and delays, harmonic type effects to glitchy metallic sounds, filter sweeps to distorted saturated sounds.
It works really well on a whole range of sounds – synths, drum loops, pads in fact pretty much any sound can be processed in interesting ways, for instance drum loops can have a subtle glitch, metallic or distorted effects to filter sweeps and more unusual effects.
I’ve created an album embedded above which was recorded in Sensomusic Usine Hollyhock III using a number of the in-built samplers – u-drone; grain sampler; x-fade looper along with Synthmaster 2.8, Noisetar and random triggered samples all processed with instances of Amalgame. The album was mastered in MuLab 7 using Overtone, Stage and Neutron.
As with other Inear Display plugins, the user interface is clearly laid out and easy to use and navigate.
The top section contains the preset controls – load, save, settings etc.
The section below is the effects library. These are sorted by coloured thematic groups and are simply dragged into a slot below. Each slot has 3 tabs. The PAD tab enables the XY view where moving the pad will alter the parameters of the current effect; X SEQ and Y SEQ tabs allow you to sequence XY pad movement. These tabs have a dot on the right hand side which toggles the sequence on and off. Sequence data can be edited by clicking and dragging over the steps. You can also adjust the rate and length of each sequence using the dedicated controls below.
The bottom section has very handy randomise controls as well as global controls for input / output and mix controls.
Amalgame comes with 34 presets which give a good idea of the sort of effects that can be produced although it really encourages you to jump in, start experimenting and see what sounds result.
It’s very easy to start using Amalgame, the effects are colour coded into categories of utility, filter, delay, modulation / timbre alteration, distortion and special processors (there’s also a THRU which acts like a bypass) which gives you some idea of the range and possibilities of Amalgame.
Once an effect is dragged into a slot, the little bar changes colour to that of the effect group and displays its name. Clicking on the title turns the effect on and off. Above the title bar are the three buttons to select the PAD, X SEQ or Y SEQ tabs with the PAD the default view.
The coloured circle represents the XY parameters which are automatable in your DAW or can be assigned to a MIDI controller. The XY parameters can also be controlled using a dedicated sequencer.
Sequences are inactive by default, you need to enable them by clicking on the dot on the right side of the tab. There are controls for rate which adjusts the duration of one step according to host tempo and length which sets the number of steps in a sequence from 2 to 16. There’s also a play mode button which has left to right, right to left and random settings. There’s also a RND button which sets all steps to random values.
Sequences offer many possibilities from simple automation, LFO type effects, arpeggiator effects to evolving sounds with sequences that play at different rates with different numbers of steps.
The randomiser is a very handy feature. There are 4 randomisation options – XY to randomise X and Y positions; FX to randomise effect types; SEQ to randomise sequence settings and steps; ALL to randomise all 3 of these.