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Product Alchemy
Developer Camel Audio
Price (MSRP) $249 / €199 / £179
Type / Tags
Plug-in, App & Soundware Format(s)
Instrument(s)   
Operating System Availability
Operating
System
Latest
Version
Download Released
 1.55  Downloads Released
 1.55  Downloads Released
Supported Sample Formats (loads or saves) include
AIFF, sfz, WAV
Miscellaneous Information
Copy ProtectionKey File
Alchemy

Alchemy is described by Camel Audio as "the ultimate sample manipulation synthesizer". It's a synth powerhouse and yet is very easy to use thanks to its performance controls and remix pads. Just tweak the library of included presets from many of the world's top sound designers or dive in and analyze your own samples - it's up to you.

Alchemy features additive, spectral and granular synthesis and resynthesis, sampling, and a very capable virtual analog engine with unison and PWM. You can morph or crossfade between sources. You can import your own samples from SFZ, WAV or AIFF files. A wide range of analog modeled filters are included, in addition to a flexible rack of effects which includes all those from CamelPhat and CamelSpace as well as many new effects such as a high quality reverb. The innovative modulation system is extremely flexible, yet easy to use. Alchemy also features a powerful arpeggiator with the ability to import the groove from any MIDI file for immediate synchronization to a beat.

Alchemy ships with over 2GB of samples and analysed content from in-house designers Tim Conrardy and Biomechanoid, as well as designers such as Ian Boddy, Robert Rich, Scott Solida and Nucleus SoundLab. A library of 300 presets from many of the world's top sound designers is included, arranged into categories for rapid access to the sound you require. A variety of expansion sound banks are in development.

Feature Highlights

Sounds:

  • 500 presets covering everything from pads and soundscapes to keys, basses and leads designed by many of the worlds top sound designers including Junkie XL, John Lehmkuhl, Ian Boddy, Richard Devine, Big Tone, Arksun, Beej, Summa, Xenox, Tasmodia, Paul Nauert, Christian Kjeldsen, Rory Dow, Artvera, Pendle, Dangerous Bear, Biomechanoid and Tim Conrardy.
  • Over 2GB of samples and analysed content from in-house designers Tim Conrardy and Biomechanoid, as well as designers such as Ian Boddy, Robert Rich, Scott Solida and Nucleus SoundLab.
  • Many years of dedicated sampling sessions of both unusual creative material such as the sound of chewing polystyrene to more conventional sampling of numerous acoustic instruments and voices, including a chamber choir.
  • Advanced resynthesis engines help keep the library small, reducing the need for a huge disk-straining sample library.
  • Samples are provided in open industry standard formats as SFZ and WAV files.
  • Intelligent random preset generation.
  • Add-on preset banks in development.

Performance Controls:

  • 16 controls per preset carefully assigned by the preset designer, for instant access to each presets most tweakable parameters.
  • 8 remix pad variations per preset - click and drag to morph between variations.
  • Two XY squares.
  • Unique 'auto assign' feature to assign a full set of performance controls with two clicks.

Morphable Sources:

  • 4 stereo sources each of which has additive, VA, spectral, granular and sampler engines.
  • Morph between sources using advanced harmonic blending and precise time alignment.
  • Crossfade between sounds with vector mixing.
  • Modulatable stretch and position knobs for anything from tempo synced loops to wave-sequencing.
  • Up to 100 zones per source using any synthesis method.
  • Easy to use file import browser with sample preview.
  • Micro tuning support with comprehensive categorized library of scales.
  • Highly optimized code including SSE and Altivec optimizations.

Analog Filters:

  • Up to 15 simultaneous filters.
  • 31 different filter types including 18 analog modelled filters, 2 comb filters, 3 CamelPhat distortion algorithms and polyphonic ring modulation.
  • Each source can be mixed between 2 parallel main filters each of which has an effects mix control.
  • 3 filters per source configurable between serial and parallel modes; applications include formant filtering with free control over the frequency and bandwidth of each formant.

16 Effects:

  • Camel reverb, acoustic reverb, 2 delays, 2 mod fx (each capable of flanger and chorus effects), 2 distortions (each has bit crusher, tube, mech and xcita effects), bass enhancer, compressor, multi mode filter, 2 bandpass filters and band reject mixers, 2 three band EQs, panner and amplifier.
  • All of the CamelSpace and CamelPhat effects included.
  • Virtually all effects parameters are modulatable.
  • Acoustic reverb with detailed control of time, damping and room design.
  • Up to five effects blocks can be applied in any order.
  • Flexible delay featuring two filter slots, crossover, offset and initial delay controls.
  • Band pass filters and associated band reject mixers allow you to apply effects to specific frequency ranges for effects such as multiband distortion.

Groove Arpeggiator:

  • Separate control of the velocity, pitch and pan of each note.
  • MIDI file import for drum patterns and melodies.
  • 'Groove import' to synchronize to a particular drum pattern.
  • Wide variety of modes including up, down, up/down, down/up, as played, random and chord.
  • Many parameters including multiple latch modes, key splits, played key velocity control, octave and source controllable from the modulation system.
  • Ability to control one source or all four.
  • Up to 128 steps.

Additive Synthesizer:

  • Very high quality analysis and resynthesis - import vocal phrases, drum loops,...
  • Up to 600 stereo oscillators.
  • Realtime modulation of amplitude, pitch and pan spectrums by any modulator - for example, control the odd/even harmonic balance, pan partials using LFOs, stretch or contract the harmonic spectrum and lots more.
  • Individual amplitude, pitch and pan envelopes for each partial.
  • Easy to use additive editor with unique detail knob to simplify sounds for editing.

Virtual Analog Synthesizer:

  • PWM and symmetry control.
  • Initial phase control.
  • Up to 600 oscillator unison with pitch, amp and pan control of unison oscillators.
  • Large library of single cycle waveforms from classic synths to new designs by Galbanum.

Spectral Synthesizer:

  • Phase vocoder analysis for high quality pitch and time stretching.
  • Noise resynthesis mode using 256 band noise shaping.
  • Advanced graphical sonogram editing - choose from a range of brushes and select the colour and opacity.
  • Graphical spectral cut, copy and paste - cut or copy and paste specific frequency and time regions.

Granular Synthesizer:

  • Sampler or granular playback modes.
  • Freely modulatable parameters including grain size, density (up to 10 simultaneous grains), random grain time and random pan.
  • Selectable and customizable granular window shapes.

Flexible Modulation:

  • Up to 16 LFOs, 16 AHDSRs, 16 MSEGs, 16 step sequencers - only those you use are displayed.
  • Virtually every knob is modulatable by up to five different modulators (including modulation-depth knobs, modulator parameters,...).
  • Advanced mod-map feature for anything from drawing custom velocity curves to creating algorithmic random note in a scale effects.
  • XY-mseg shows you a vector style view of two parameters such as morph X and Y position, with ability to import XY timelines.
  • Per destination 'smooth' control.
  • Modulation arcs intuitively show the range of modulation.
  • Modulation details of selected knob automatically displayed.
  • Right click on knob and select 'add modulation' to rapidly add and assign modulators.
  • Playing speed modulation source allows variable response to fast and slow playing; for example to crossfade between staccato and legato samples.
  • Unique flip-flop modulation source for customizable round robin effects.

Other:

  • Personalized keyfile for hassle free copy protection.
  • Available as a download or on DVD.
  • Tutorial videos.
  • Graphic interface by BitPlant.
Discussion: Active

Discussion

26 October 2013 at 8:56amariston

@rosko: Why do I get the feeling that you didn't spend a lot of time with Alchemy (or Absynth)? Almost everything you wrote is dead wrong. "The additive features" only seem good for "crunching up the sound"? That is wrong on so many levels I wouldn't even know where to begin to explain exactly how wrong it is. And as for being geared towards huge soundscapes and not good for leads and basses... again, doh.

There's a saying that a review tells more about the critic than it does about the object being reviewed. This review tells me that you have no idea what you're talking about.

26 October 2013 at 8:57pmCubehog

Rosko12, please be more patient and try to understand what these synths are. Both offer so much more than the regular subtractive synths. Thus they are complex environments. You discourage people to try these synths.

From a music listener's view I'd like to hear more creative sounds. These two synths can surely deliver and in the right hands they can be used for very organized sound design.

Zebra can also be reviewed. If I take it with humor than this can turn out to be quite funny.

Good luck.

29 October 2013 at 2:43amplenz

This is the same "quality" of "review" as he did for Absynth.

29 October 2013 at 11:58amUser3333

Guys leaving aside the merit of the review how good is Alchemy against other VST synths over $200. Is it more similar to Absynth or Razor (or not)? If you had low latency with a MIDI controller keyboard would it compare well to the latest hardware synthesisers?

29 October 2013 at 12:20pmT-CM11

Why don't you try the demo? Isn't there enough written here & elsewhere about it?

Which latest hardware synthesisers? The MS20 Mini? Korg Volca? Pulse2?

4 November 2013 at 2:34pmUser3333

T-CM I was comparing Alchemy with the recent Access Virus and Nord Lead 4.

4 November 2013 at 2:55pmT-CM11

The Virus TI2 is not that recent anymore ;-)

Personally, I wouldn't get Alchemy based on it's VA sound. I would prefer the NL4 for that (not that I can afford one). But it can do so much more that the NL4 can't. I'd compare it more with a Roland V-Synth...

29 October 2013 at 4:03pmsnigelx

@User3333 Watch these nice videos and make an informed buying decision (bonus, if you skim over them manual while demoing the synth). I do not think you will be the least disappointed.

Alchemy Tutorial Videos by Dan Worrall: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DodjQ9UUOmA&list=PL3C6594A994B13A64

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29 October 2013 at 12:52pmSarahBellum

I tried out the demo's of Absynth, Omnisphere, and Alchemy - I bought Alchemy because it has the most scope and was also the best value for money. (Razor isn't in the same league as these three giants).

As a Rompler there are hundreds of presets to tweak, and cheap Soundbanks packs specific to particular genre's. It's a powerful 4-part multi-synth in it's own right with multiple Filters, LFO's, EG's, and Seq's etc so (if you know how to program) making your own sounds from scratch is a dream (a lot easier than Absynth). It's Virtual Analogue engine is brilliant for making classic authentic vintage sounds, and it has a great effects section.

But the winning features for me were being able to morph in real-time between 8 sub-presets with an X-Y pad (I use a nanopad 2), and being able to load Wavs and SFZ's and then resynthesise them (you can't do that in Omnisphere) - i use Chicken System Translator to convert SF2's, Kontakt banks and Sampletank banks to SFZ's, drop them in Alchemy and then take them to weird and wonderful places :)

Alchemy has replaced almost all of my other synths - try the demo for yourself and get the free Alchemy player (it also loads Wavs and SFZ's)

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31 October 2013 at 6:52pmslowdazzzle

Where to begin ? :).....I tested Alchemy Demo, which I loved and have been using just the player with Camel Sound Libraries for now and plan to upgrade soon. I can make almost any sound, style, effect with just the player and it's various ways to morph the sound, better than a lot of synths I own. The full synth is a universe of possibilities no other synth can offer. I might add that Alchemy also includes CamelP.hat and CamelSpace..!! Right now Groove3 training tutorials site is offering one on Alchemy by Lawrence Holcomb for $30, ( recently on sale for $10 ) which is fantastic as are all their tutorials. Camel Audio has superb customer service, often directly from the sound designers themselves, within a day or less. I recommend highly Alchemy and Camel Audio to anyone interested in creating fine synhesized sounds.

4 November 2013 at 2:31pmUser3333

Hello I love the look and sound of Alchemy and originally I had it as my first VST synth to purchase and I would build others around it to complement. But the acquisition of Komplete 9 Standard and with Razor I would probably be looking at getting Alchemy later. Razor also has a vocoder which many of the leaders in Ominsphere, Sylenth, nor Synthmaster don't have I'm guessing apart from resynthesis. My lineup is all the ones in Komplete 9 standard, Padshop Pro, Retrologue, and others in Cubase and Sonar LE which is more than enough to keep me going for years without needing to look elsewhere you would reckon? Sarah why did you buy Razor when you have Alchemy?

23 December 2013 at 9:36amSvarg

Hello,.

I'm new to Alchemy, using the demo right now but plan to get the full version.

I was wondering, there are third party presets and samples out there (online) to use in Alchemy and they work fine, but is there a way to incorporate them into the rest of my presets so they will show up in the browser with the others?

Thanks.

23 December 2013 at 10:16amSarahBellum

there are some available in the downloads section of the registered users area on Camels site.

the are some cheap soundbanks out there, eg - http://www.yuroun-sounddesign.com/products/soundbanks/ - click on Alchemy

Alchemy can load any SFZ banks

:)

23 December 2013 at 5:02pmSvarg

Yes, I know. I have that very one as well as some others. My question is, can they be incorporated into the preset DB so that they show in the browser?

I will try to chase down where the "stock" presets reside. Maybe if I move the new ones to there. . .

Thanks for your reply.

23 December 2013 at 5:09pmZenPunkHippy

Presets installed to the proper location will show up in the preset browser after scanning for new presets (on the Alchemy File menu). If you need info about where presets are found, the best thing to do is contact support [at] camelaudio [dot] com with some details about which OS + host you are using.

23 December 2013 at 5:45pmGuy Richardson

If you're on a Mac the path is MacintoshHD>Library>Application Support>Camel Audio>Alchemy - inside this folder is a number of files. Look for one called samples and another called presets. Inside both you will find folders named after various sound designers plus the factory set. Make a folder in each for your own stuff and save your samples and presets in the appropriate folders. Sorry I don't know the windows path but I imagine it's similar. Once done your presets will show up in the browser.

23 December 2013 at 5:56pmT-CM11

it's not similar at all! ;-) (I don't remember where the default was, I installed (or moved) the presets to my own location.)

23 December 2013 at 6:07pmZenPunkHippy

The default location on Windows is:

C:\ProgramData\Camel Audio\Alchemy

(you can access it from the Start Menu under "Camel Audio"

24 December 2013 at 5:11amSvarg

Thanks everyone. I'm running Windows 7 so it's probably where ZPH said. Maybe I'll see about moving them to my own location like T-CM11 but for now I'll be happy just being able to get them into the system.

Thanks again.

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Alchemy

Average user rating of 9.60 from 10 reviews

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