by Marginal Ray; Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:29 am
Yesterday, I bought Himalaya: Vintage sound library. So a little review:
First, the most important: It sounds great, especially in a mix, like most of Alchemy sounds. There are synths with marvelous impressive sounds, when played solo. But in the mix, they can sound aggressive or on the contrary disappear. Alchemy is a great music instrument, not a sound demonstration tool.
To be perfectly honest, something disturbed me in Himalaya Vintage bank: It's described as "Authentic Classic Synths for Funk, Pop and Electronica", but most of the presets a hybrid (classic synth samples, sometimes resynthesized, mixed with VA), others are pure VA (pure Alchemy sounds with zero classic sample). The result is that except some particular presets, the sounds provided by this library are not so different that those you can find on many others (Big Tone, Junkie XL, etc…).
I expected something more typical, with a majority of presets based only on samples from classic synthesizers. The same kind of job that what has been done for voices with "dream voices" or guitars with "guitar mutations".
But I must admit that even the pure VA presets sounds very… vintage! Those who are skeptical about Alchemy's VA capabilities, those who proclaimed in a old thread titled "Alchemy vs the rest of the word" that Alchemy is so far from specialized synths like Diva, they should listen to Himalaya's vintage bank, move the XY pad to fade from pure classic sample to VA. Here, they can compare Alchemy's VA engine with THE REAL THING, real analogue samples, and not with a brilliant imitation of them. They would see (or listen) that Alchemy's VA engine, associated with the other capabilities of the synth, especially modulation, is a killer.
In Himalaya's vintage bank, you can often choose between sample and VA within the preset., Musically, opposing them doesn't make much sense. Because the VA engine is so good (quality of the oscillators and filters, diversity of the wave forms…), hybrid presets in this ibrary makes Alchemy sound like an improved classic synth with more tweak and design capabilities. Better than the MiniMoog : Camel Audio's MaxiMoog ! It's an exaggeration, of course, but it has something true.
100 % made in Alchemy
by ZenPunkHippy; Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:09 pm
by Marginal Ray; Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:22 am
ZenPunkHippy wrote:Thanks for posting your thoughts, Raymond. Himalaya is an amazing sound designer, it seems he can do no wrong with Alchemy (or any other synth) ... and it's brilliant to have high quality samples of vintage gear available.
After a few more hours of using this bank, I'm close to make it to my favourite for classic synth sounds. Regardless of the origin of the sounds (samples or VA engine), it sounds great, but in addition, the way Himalaya has programmed the "perform section" (corresponding to Alchemy Player) is outstanding.
An absolute must have.
by himalaya; Mon Feb 13, 2012 2:50 pm
Thank you for the review and compliments. I'm very happy that you have found this collection a great resource of usable sounds.
Marginal Ray wrote:hybrid presets in this ibrary makes Alchemy sound like an improved classic synth with more tweak and design capabilities. Better than the MiniMoog : Camel Audio's MaxiMoog ! It's an exaggeration, of course, but it has something true.
I'll go with a MaxiMoog!. Thank you.
An absolute must have.
You made my day! Thank you again.
Regarding the samples/VA content. This has been outlined on a previous occasion that the content is made up of samples, VA and hybrid sounds. Alchemy's VA is extremely capable and most VA sounds were created with the real hardware synths sitting next to me, so they hopefully have an authentic vibe, and it looks like you have found that to be true. However, the included samples, are 100% representative of the real deal. Personally, I'm thankful that the Solina has come out well, as it is not easy to get a divide-down synth sampled and playing properly in a sampler. But there it is. Now...getting the Mellotron M400 to play was another matter, but i won't go there, pure horror! (those pesky vintage instruments ). Thank the almighty oscillator that the Minimoog and others behaved so well.
There's a whole lot of other synths I haven't sampled, which were on the list, but you never know...
VSTi and hardware synth sound design
by Marginal Ray; Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:18 am
I thank you for these wonderful sounds. It's not just a collection of presets with variations. Your work on the perform section is very impressive. I move the mouse, turn the knobs, and it's sounds always great, very musical, very usable. May it be possible to create a complete song with a single preset! In this sound category (let's say analogue subtractive), I've never heard something really better. The samples selection, their integration in Alchemy, especially in hybrid presets, even the pure VA presets, everything is top.
100 % made in Alchemy
by iamyourfather; Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:58 am
This is not really a problem, I guess it would just be cool to have bread and butter sounds more restrained and usable out of the box while keeping the remix pad exhibitionism to the patches that need them like soundscapes and FX. This issues is not unique to this soundbank, they all seem to have this at least the ones I have.
That said, the soundbank is fantastic and I would buy it again in a heartbeat, a lot of work obviously went into this and it shows, Himalaya pads is most likely next on my list. Keep up the good work guys.
by himalaya; Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:52 pm
Thank you for your feedback. Much appreciated.
iamyourfather wrote:That said, the soundbank is fantastic and I would buy it again in a heartbeat, a lot of work obviously went into this and it shows,
Thank you. It was labour of love.
The use of pitch modulation with performance knobs.
The thing with these is, they require careful use. Pitch modulation (via LFOs) was often used in the 1970s and 80s music especially in the Electronic styles (think Tangerine dream ,JMJ, Kitaro etal). Here are a few practical examples of how this can be used:
In this pad the pitch is modulated (using Perform knob 2) by an LFO to create a 'spacey' effect very fitting in context of electronic music genres:
Pad - 'Density Sine' - pitch mod
By the way, the above preset is one of those 'hybrid' patches. It uses an edited Arp Solina, and three sine waves to create a poly synth pad.
Below is a more pop-oriented pad, as it is more bright, bell-like, 'happy' in sound, and still pitch modulation via LFO (Perform knob 2) can add interesting effects, not for everyday use, but it's there when needed:
Pad - 'Candy Pop - pitch mod
The sound below is meant as a full-on Synth Pop pluck/bass (depends how it's played). This preset has one perform knob assigned to the octave range. On first look it may seem silly, but in context of a music riff it allows to add more colour, since when one element within the sound is pitched up, the overall timbre changes:
Synth - Ensemble Power Pluck - octaves switch
Hope this helps to understand the Perfom section a little better, as I tried to design it as a simple analog synth interface, giving the basics a typical analog synth would give.
VSTi and hardware synth sound design
by breakmixer; Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:00 pm
I would love the tom drums featured on Man Parrish - Hip Hop Be Bop, he created them using a Prophet 5, I cannot get close enough with my hardware or software VA's to that sound - tried, I'm sure you could do it and include it on Vintage II...
Please do a sequel
Vintage is one of my fave soundsets ever...
by Resonator63; Tue Mar 06, 2012 10:15 am
Resonator63 wrote:This sound library is definitely on my to buy list
On my too buy list no longer.
Just bought the sound library and WOW!!!
Really pleased I finally got round to getting it.Sounds that i've been trying to get with my very limited sound design skills are there.
My favourite Alchemy sound library