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Caramel app review – A new distortion effect from Holderness Media

I recently wrote an article about five of my favorite iOS music app developers. Christoper Rice (Holderness Media) was an easy choice for that list, based on his excellent resume of effects apps (Echo Pad, Swoopster, Stereo Designer, and Crystalline).

Never one to rest apparently, he has released another fantastic new effects app called Caramel - Crunch & Crusher Effects Processor (which I'll be referring to as Caramel from here on out). Caramel is a stereo distortion, crusher and tone coloring effect, which is geared towards electronic production, but can be great for any instrument you might want to push through it.

As with all of his latest apps, the interface of Caramel is simple and effective. If you've used Crystalline or Swoopster, you'll be right at home with the four X/Y pads that dominate the main screen. The top two pads control the Crunch and Sizzle, while on the lower pads you can adjust the Bite and Crush parameters. These are separated for both the left and right channel, and can be controlled individually, or can be linked to adjust together.

Running vertically down the center of the main interface page are the presets. Caramel ships with 16 presets, which in typical Holderness fashion range from subtle to full-on. I really liked the "BASSGRIT1" and "HARDHITTER" presets, as these added some thickness to a sequenced bassline that I was running, without overpowering the sound.

photo 1

 The "Perform" screen in Caramel (where's the blue?)

In that same column will be the option for the "Tweak" page, which is the second of two screen available in Caramel. Here you will find the option to adjust the parameters using horizontal sliders, with numeric values for specific adjustments. One parameter available here that is not available on the "Perform" page is the "Girth" parameter, which adds some thickness (obviously) to the sound. This really helped fatten up some basslines, as well as enhancing my kick drum in a sample loop I was playing with.

Along the top of the screen in the "Tweak" page are some very important options. You can adjust the input source here (stereo/mono), and also the output. Adjusting the output to "Wide Stereo" here really creates a big sound, and I really recommend checking out this option when playing around here.

Another fantastic feature of Caramel is the MIDI learn capabilities. In the "Tweak" screen, turning on the "Learn" toggle will allow you to control any of the twelve parameters (Crunch, Crush, Girth, Sizzle, Bite, and Output for both left and right channels) from an external MIDI controller, as well as the Link, Bypass, and Mute toggles. Christopher has also mentioned that MIDI learn is coming soon for Crystalline, Swoopster, and Stereo Designer as well. This is a great feature, and one that I think all effects apps should have.

photo 2

 The "Tweak" screen in Caramel

As with all of the other Holderness apps, Caramel supports Audiobus 2 and its state-saving feature, and is also IAA-compatible.

For the sound demo below, I ran a simple pattern in DM1 through all of the Caramel preset. I used the "TR-606" kit in DM1, which can be heard clean in the first part. I then manually switched through each preset, to give you a better listen to the presets. No tweaking was done here, just the presets as they come. For the final pass, I switched on the "Wide Stereo" option, which sounds great with headphones.

As mentioned in the beginning of this post, I'm a huge fan of all of the Holderness Media apps. These apps are all small in size, but huge on value. With the exception of the multi-faceted Echo Pad, the most recent apps have all specifically targeted a certain sound or effect (i.e. flanger, shimmer). With this latest app, you'll get some fantastic crusher distortion sounds. Caramel is more geared towards electronic production, rather than classic guitar distortion. Caramel is meant to be played with drums or bass, and this it does very well.

Buying an app from Holderness Media is liking wagering on Manny Pacquiao in his prime - easy money. Highly recommend.

If you're thinking about buying Caramel, please consider clicking through our App Store link below. Thanks!

[app 883581594]

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