UJAM have multiple versions in their well celebrated Virtual Drummer series, the latest is VD – PHAT. PHAT is a collection of funky drums triggered and controlled by a user friendly interface. Despite being very well received, Virtual Drummer is still a new project for UJAM in their mission to expand their product range with top quality plugins that make life easier for the user.
For a chance to win a full copy of Virtual Drummer – PHAT just check out our @wantaband social media accounts and repost/like any of our “UJAM PHAT” posts. Winner announced next Friday 20th April.
No matter how many different styles, rhythms a plugin can offer it really doesn’t matter unless the sound quality is there. When I first loaded up PHAT that’s exactly what I wanted to check. After testing a few patterns it was clear the sounds/kits have been very well recorded and played by very good drummers.
UJAM say “PHAT’s drum kits were recorded with great attention to detail and love for the genre’s specialities. We recorded real drummers’ performances on a delicate selection of sought-after instruments, selected fitting recording rooms with prime acoustical space, and employed only the finest microphones, outboard gear and mixing equipment.”
I don’t know the exact process or gear UJAM used in recording but to be honest it doesn’t matter, you can hear the quality. Whatever way they recorded it worked a treat.
Everything PHAT does can be controlled by a user friendly interface. This is definitely one of our biggest issues with some developers, they make incredible plugins incredibly awkward to use. However, with PHAT I’m glad to say UJAM have let the sound do the talking. The interface is very minimal and clean, PHAT can do a lot but it’s laid out in a way that doesn’t require 50 different menus. This is something that UJAM are very focused on, the user experience and not just the end result. PHAT certainly delivers when it comes to keeping things simple for the user so they can focus on creating.
It displays a keyboard split left and right which relate to your one shot drums and your patterns/sequences. The keys are marked clearly to let you know what each does and it doesn’t take long to start combining patterns and fills etc. Everything else is found underneath the keyboards, kit selection, character, effects, mixer etc. PHAT is very nice to use straight from the go. Swing and half speed or double speed options are also available.
PHAT has a few features to make your beat sound more authentic. Feel – to sit back on the beat or push the rhythm. Humanize – to loosen or tighten the playing getting you a step closer to the amazing drummers used in recorded these sounds.
When you use Virtual Drummer in your project it will auto sync to whatever tempo you have set, some plugins get these small features wrong and it becomes very tedious.
It’s all in the kit
As mentioned, PHAT uses sounds that have been very well recorded and what you get is 5 different drum kits. You have dry, fresh, deep, hip and fat.
Each kit offers a different tone/feel and makes finding the right one for your track easier. Having 5 kits is just the start of customising your sound, PHAT also has 45 presets and 30 styles. You can mix and match these in any way you like to create a new rhythm with suitable fills, verses, chorus’ etc. To add to that you get a choice of 6 characteristics for your sound – Close, broad, bright, punch, rattle and pump. Adding these characteristics give you different colour to your tone and you can adjust the amount added with the dial. In the end you get a vast number of variations that means you are unlikely to run out of options.
Here’s our overview look at PHAT in use
The virtual Drummer range is a sign of big things to come from UJAM. They are making a statement about where they think they belong in a competitive industry and they have got off to a flying start & then some. PHAT is aimed at users creating funky, soulful music and it really does offer a wide variety of sounds & rhythms.
This is one of those reviews where we actually don’t have a lot to say. We can’t tell you about every single individual preset because that would take forever. But, the main reason we don’t have a lot to say is because PHAT sets out to do two things – provide realistic funky beats and make them easy for the user to work with. I think UJAM can be extremely proud of their efforts here because they have nailed it on both counts!
Check out PHAT and the rest of the Virtual drummer series at Plugin Boutique
Price: £67.91 / $96.66