Alchemy is one of my “go to” instruments. I use it for everything: pop/rock (the bulk of it), film scoring, electronic... everything. In fact I *only* use Alchemy and FM8, with a little bit of Reaktor to fill in the cracks, for "synth" sources.
I started with the demo and fell in love with its sound character. Alchemy's additive engine is great, and in combination with the spectral engine, makes the re-synthesis phenomenal, but there are a few things that need to be capitalized on to take it to a really usable level. I have a Kawai K5000S, which is what attracted me to Alchemy in the first place. Two things the K5k have, and which Alchemy could really use, are: (1) velocity-switching per source--there was a "hard" and "soft" spectrum per additive source with selectable velocity switching curves. That's really useful for creating very expressive keys. (2) The K5k also shipped with Emagic's SoundDiver, which had a really useful GUI for getting into the additive engine. Each spectrum had 4 associated boxes representing the partial level's ADSR envelope. You could easily see and edit what each partial's time evolution was in relation to all partials' evolution at a single glance. Granted the ADSR GUI described wouldn't exactly work in Alchemy because you can have a user defined number of envelope break points, but this is the *kind* of visualization tool that might be helpful in getting the most out of the additive engine. There are also some very interesting handling tools in NI’s new Razor ensemble for Reaktor. A new visualization/interface paradigm is really needed to take these engines to the next level. That being said, Alchemy is still very fun to use in its current incarnation, even if the editor is kind of clunky.
Other than the additive/spectral engines, I’ve been quite surprised by the other sound generating capacities of Alchemy. I absolutely love the VA engine! While the GUI took some getting used to compared to other VA’, the sound is fantastic, and there are some really neat modulation possibilities that are unavailable on other synths—try using the “VA/additive” mode and stack multiple saw waves in the additive editor, with different phases/detuning, then manipulate the symmetry using any number of unique performance-based modulation sources. Very interesting… As a matter of fact I only use Alchemy and Reaktor for VA duties now. Alchemy is a joy to program in VA mode, once you understand the GUI.
Another surprise is the sampler/granular mode. Granular is very powerful, useful, and innovative. A breeze to use. However, sampler mode (and by association granular) disappoints me somewhat. Alchemy is marketed as "the ultimate sample manipulation tool." Part of manipulation is playing the right sample under pre-defined conditions. To this end, it would be extremely helpful if Alchemy included an audio editing tool as well. Also, a graphical sample mapper, even a simple 2D sample map (velocity and key range) is good enough for me just to make it easy to load up your own sample map. I want a graphic representation of the zone, not a difficult to use drop down list. Then I'd have no reason to use anything else! Perhaps my disappointment with sampler/granular engine has more to do with the sample sets that I’ve used in Alchemy. I’d like to see higher quality detailed sample libraries as mangle-fodder. Things like round robin, extreme velocity layers, multisampling, and even keyswitching/scripting would put this over the top for me [edit: I suppoze the sfz format supports much of this, but I don't see a lot of evidence of its use in the Alchemy preset libraries I have]. To show this capability, Alchemy needs more bread and butter presets. I have GPO (which I like a lot), but have been eyeing the ProjectSAM stuff. I'd love to have something along those lines for Alchemy. If Alchemy was truly the "ultimate sample manipulation synthesizer," I might also be able to pare down my straight sample libraries with their multitude of third-party sample players. For me, if Alchemy just had a basic sample editor and decent mapping GUI, it would also become my *sampler* of choice. How hard is it to make a "Kontakt killer?"
The manual is useful and the growing selection of video tutorials (free! Hear that Cakewalk?) are excellent and have helped me grow in the right places! Customer support is some of the best in the business. I love the Camel Audio team—they have always been prompt, polite, and helpful with respect to my questions and requests. You can’t go wrong with Alchemy!
If you're looking for a vsti that can make the sounds that are there in your imagination,look no further,you've just found it.
The possibilities appear to be endless.I've not had it long so i've barely scratched the surface.It's going to take me sometime to get to grips with,but I know it's going to be worth it.
The interface has a nice logical layout that is easy to follow inspite of the complex sounds that Alchemy is capable of.
The default factory skin is nice.But personally I prefer the alternative Nightshade skin.
Wow!!! just going through the supplied presets offers a jaw dropping array of epic pads,bass,leads you name it.Being able to import samples and SFZ and resynthesize them offers the chance to create some really unique sounds.
VA,additive,spectral,granular synthesis on offer.31 different filter types.
Camelphat distortion algorithms.16 effects including those from Camelphat and Camelspace.Amazing modulation possibilites.What more can you ask for.
There is a good manual which i'm using a lot at the moment as I get to grips with Alchemy.There are also some excellent video tutorials available on the Camel Audio website.
675 presets from some top sound designers.There are some superb sounds.If you don't want to roll your own then further sound libraries are also available for purchase.Just going through the presets can be inspiring.
Absolutely superb.Great support by email and also on the forum here on KVR.
I had a problem downloading and installing the presets and samples.The guys at Camel soon sorted it out for me.
Value for money:
Alchemy can acheive pretty much any sound you can imagine,so it's great value for money.
I've had no stability issues so far.Seems to be rock solid.
If you want to try it out download the demo or to get a taste of the sounds Alchemy player is free.Give it a try.You won't regret it.
As a long-time fan of Cameleon5000, I didn’t need much persuasion to buy Alchemy. So I’ve been an Alchemy user since day one, and I still haven’t heard every single remix variation...
For sound design, this is a monster synth with virtual analogue, sample-based (it’s also SFZ-compatible), additive, granular and spectral synthesis types available per Source. Up to four of these Sources using any of these synthesis types can be combined into a single preset. Then you can start morphing between the sources. Then you can start modulating just about everything else. The modulation possibilities are extensive to say the least, making this a very expressive instrument.
Speaking of performance, up to eight performance variations (subtle or not so subtle) of the preset can be associated with remix pads, and the sound can be morphed between remix variations.
FX: the delays, filters, distortion and compression use the famed CamelSpace and CamelPhat engines, plus modulation fx and there’s a very classy, natural-sounding Reverb.
The potential of this synth is, in the proper sense of the word, awesome. Indeed, it can lead to some ‘where-do-I-start’ head scratching when you start tweaking. But help is at hand in the form of a well-written, exhaustive manual. There’s also a growing library of tutorial videos, covering everything from the basics to deeper subjects like granular synthesis.
But you don’t have to be a programming genius to enjoy this synth – check out the sound library where all the hard work has been done for you by an excellent team of sound designers.
I've been using Alchemy since 2009. Yes, I was first attracted by the plethora of presets it offered: we are talking about more than 650 factory presets, which means about 8 times that number of different sounds, right out of the box, thanks to its famous 'remix pad' that morphs between the performance settings of each of these presets... and not counting the multiple intermediate sounds that can be frozen during morphing transitions. Yet there are so many add-on packs I haven't purchased, I'm not sure I'll ever grasp the potential variety of sounds it can yield solely from its presets... I mean, using the Alchemy player only!
Now for designing sounds you won't hear anywhere else, Alchemy has become my favorite workhorse — that was easy, since no other plug offers five synthesis engines at this level of sophistication...
Admittedly, for pure sound design work, there will always be dedicated synthesizers or samplers that each does a fraction of what Alchemy can do: but even if you definitely know which kind of synthesis method will produce the result you're after, there's always an opportunity to refine the sound with the subtle personality of each of Alchemy's 31 modeled filters; moreover the flexible modulation system is second to none!
Ah, but tell me: this is only synth programming, hence heavily depending on what's inside the synth... Well, you don't have to stop there: for actual sound design, Alchemy is excellent at re-synthesis and additive stuff...
Alright, U&I Software's Metasynth does similar sound processing, but since it's no plug-in, the sound texture proper cannot be manipulated while playing, as can be done with Alchemy; and together with real-time modulation capabilities, this remains one of the keys to musically expressive phrases: as demonstrated by those 'Alchemistry' tapes from Simon Stockhausen on his 'patchpool' web page.
Other products, like Image Line's Morphine, cannot pretend they're able to achieve the same goals, because the quality of additive synthesis depends on two factors: the partials (harmonic or inharmonic) on the one one hand, and the noise component on the other — Morphine, for instance, has predefined 'constant' noises that can be added to the body of partials, but these noises are only good for providing a typical attack to a blowed or bowed instrument sound... not for actually emulating complex spectral evolutions like what's occurring, for example, at the time a bell is hit!
I've owned Alchemy since the day of it's release, and it's only now i've decided to review it here, mainly due to the fact that it has literally never ceased to amaze me in what it can do. During the early days when i'd fire it up and just try things, you could spend endless hours playing with what seems like unlimited synthesis options. Some people will get this purely for it's VA options, but it does so much more. What amazes me with Alchemy is that you can setup what you may think is a good sound, and then realise there are so many more ways to improve it, just by using some of Alchemy's many modulation options alone. Not to mention the filters, of which there are many. It's sample mangling power is unsurpassed in my honest opinion, it does everything you could throw at it in that area, and then some. The Spectral and additive sections are again very in depth and infinitely tweakable with Alchemy's vast array of modulation options and filters, effects, you name it.
It really is what it says on the tin, a true Hybrid, as it does handle samples, yet you can use it to create your own synth sounds from scratch, it's GUI is very well laid out and very easy to understand. The snapshop/morphing options are something you'll find very interesting, as that allows you to take various snapshots of sounds/synth setups, whatever, and literally morph between them, which can be unreal. Camel Audio have literally piled in everything into this plugin, there is nothing left out. The effects section alone is of an extremely high quality as you'd expect from the creators of Camelspace & Camelphat.
I cannot recommend this plugin enough to any producer/sound creator, or just someone who enjoys doing something different. Alchemy will not only deal with anything from a "Supersaw" to a spectral square.
Each and everytime I open Alchemy, not only is it a pleasure to work with, not only does it allow me to be that little bit different, it allows me to go deeper into synthesis than i've been before, as it really is that good.
Camel have set a new high in plugin quality with this animal, alchemy will be the front runner for plugins for many years to come, maybe by which time, Alchemy 2 will be ready.
Alchemy is one of the most powerful "hybrid" synths at the moment: It's a bit Absynth-like, but can load SFZ and has several synthesis methods and a very easy-to-use modulation system. All knowledge of Camel-Audio has been put into this software: It can do everything, that Cameleon5000 did (the previous flagship synth of Camel-Audio), and has much more : several effects from camelphat and camelspace plugins plus some new. However, currently it is not possible to load cameleon5000 presets into Alchemy, but it's on the wish-list, and this feature will be achieved in the future updates. Advertised as "the ultimate sample manipulation synthesizer" I think they made a little mistake: they don't highlight the importance of the different synthesis methods - Alchemy can perform very vell without samples...
The Graphical interface is clear and now exists in different colors (for me the original fits best). Alchemy has a detailed manual that even describes how to program things that worked in cameleon5000. The software comes with 2GB factory sound content - It is really cool that Camel-Audio did keep this "factory size" not too large, I think it's horrible, when you have to install a huge software from several dvds. There's no annoying protection or validation, installing is easy. One last word about the presets: each of them can contain 8 version thanx to the "remix pad". With this 1.10 version come several bonus presets - Camel-Audio listened to the voice of the users saying they need some other presets beyond the existing ones. The product support is professional, I mean C.A. does several things online and users can participate in the development of the software.
Alchemy really is a "synth powerhouse", very deep and you can achieve
for example huge complex pads and drones with ease.
Alchemy features additive, spectral, granular, resynthesis, analog modelling.... Actually I had to do some studying because I wasn't familiar with all of them before. That's also one good thing about Alchemy, you can learn and try many different styles of synthesis.
The interface: CamelAudio really has done great job designing an intuitive interface. Perform controls, X/Y Pads and 8 Morph Pads (like Kore) are just perfect for altering the sound and for live use as well. You can go to "SIMPLE" mode where only the Perform controls are visible.
It's easy to do modulation routings, just right click a knob and that's it.
The sound and features: What can I say, it sounds great. It's very interesting to import your own samples and just resynthesize the crap out of them. It can produce supersaw in a second if you like trance :D
I think Alchemy has everything I need. The sound is built from 1-4 "Sources" that can be an imported audio file or a basic waveform produced by Alchemys analog modelling engine. Alchemy comes with actually a quite good 2 gigabyte sample library that can be mangled in many different ways.
Presets: With the free bonus preset update I think presets are perfect now.
Actually I always try to build my sounds from scratch so they were always good to me.
Support and stability: The CamelAudio crew is almost always online and you can get help from their forum here on KVR or by email.
I've only had one problem and it was with the Alchemy installer. I'm from Finland and I am using Windows in Finnish language and the installer didn't understand that my license key file was in directory called "Työpöytä" and not Desktop :D But that was fixed easily. No crashes or anything.
Value for money: Alchemy really is one of a kind. There's nothing quite like it on the market so in my opinion it's worth the money.
Try the demo!
Latest 7 reviews from a total of 7