The team at 344 Audio are always on the prowl for new and exciting plug-ins. We especially love unique ones that help us do our jobs more effectively and efficiently. From many years of experience, we have developed a critical ear in assessing the quality and usefulness of a plug-in.
Today will be reviewing a plug-in by Accentize called: Chameleon Intelligent Reverb. It listens to a sound source and extracts its reverb. This reverb can then be placed onto another recording. As you can imagine, this is perfect for dialogue and ADR editing where recording has been performed in different spaces. Here's the description provided by the website:
'Chameleon is an intelligent audio plug-in that uses artificial neural networks to estimate and model the exact reverb content of any source recording. You can build a reverb profile in seconds and easily apply it to dry studio recordings.'
Price: €149 (≈ £125)
Our Rating: 4.5/5
Firstly, a comment on the website and branding. We were very impressed by the sleek and modern layout of the website. It is straightforward to navigate. There are some great audio examples of what the plug-in is capable of and some easy guides for operating the plug-in inside Pro Tools. The descriptions are easy to read, very handy and to the point. We loved the logo for the plug-in and the fact that you can try it for free before purchasing. We believe that the price of this product is more than fair. We don't think you'll find a plug-in of this quality for any lower prices.
Accentize's Modern Website.
Powerful machine learning technology
Upon installing and loading up the plug-in, we were surprised that there wasn't a 'learn' button. As indicated in their very useful tutorial video on their website, they have been asked before how to get Chameleon to listen and 'learn' the reverb on a given source, so it's not a completely straightforward plug-in. However, after watching the quick start guide, we easily worked out the rest of the plug-in's features. You can get Chameleon to listen to a source by clicking on the plus button to add a reverb profile. You then have to click the preview button in the bottom left to play the selected clip. It was a little annoying as we had to listen to the source a few times whilst Chameleon was analysing. If the source clip is quite short, you will have to listen to it repetitively until the plug-in has finished analysing it. The alternative is to click 'render' on the bottom right, which works much faster and with no sound. One would assume that letting Chameleon listen in real-time would provide a more accurate reverb profile, so both methods have pros and cons.
Once the plug-in has finished its analysis, it will automatically set the Dry/Wet mix for you and any other parameters. We found that the Dry/Wet mix was always between 2-5%, but you can easily edit these parameters after the initial analysis. If the name of the reverb profile is coloured in red, we believe it's because the source clip wasn't long enough, but Chameleon still produced an impressive profile! When using the plug-in in Audio Suite, you simply have to click on another clip and render the result. The results were subtle but brilliant! We were very impressed with the result.
It is important to remember that it's not always an instant fix though. Perhaps using some EQ in conjunction with the reverb may help too.
Accentize's Guide to Using Chameleon in Pro Tools
The sound of the reverb itself is quite basic; however, it was natural. We compared some of the generated reverbs to D-Verb to see the difference and found that D-Verb did sound more 'glammed up' but was not an accurate representation of the reverb we were trying to mimic. We really enjoyed the fact that you can save these profiles for future use too, but as they are very specific profiles, we probably wouldn't use them again. The plug-in also works as an insert which is great if you need to mimic the sound of a room for multiple clips.
As creative sound designers, we also tested this plug-in to see how it performed creatively and experimentally. We loved the reverse reverb feature in the plug-in. Achieving the same result in Pro Tools would take a few more steps, so this feature in Chameleon speeds up the process for us, a big plus. We imagined using this function for ghostly sound effects, for example. We also told Chameleon to analyse a dry source to see what it came up with. The reverb profile was quite metallic, which we really enjoyed. This would be a great example of when we would save the profile for future use. Although these creative techniques are not its intended purpose, we would love to see more manipulation capabilities in this plug-in.
The Bottom Line
Overall, we think this plug-in is a great testament to how the audio repair industry is moving forward. It's great to see smaller companies produce such fantastic machine learning plug-ins. Chameleon is very straightforward to use, with few settings, but we saw this as a positive as the machine learning technology was so good. It is a powerful plug-in at a very reasonable price.
For more on Chameleon and Accentize, as well as their website and purchase information, follow this link: https://www.accentize.com/chameleon/ We hope you enjoyed this review!
If you enjoyed this post please check out our ultimate guide to audio post-production: https://www.344audio.com/post/the-ultimate-guide-to-audio-post-production-sound-design
344 Audio is an Audio Post Production studio in Manchester.
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