Absynth, Alchemy, Harmor, Iris: Complement each other or overlapping in function (and sound)?

VST, AU, AAX, etc. plug-in Virtual Instruments discussion
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Autobot
KVRian
990 posts since 27 Mar, 2013

Post Thu Nov 07, 2013 8:40 am

Hi folks,

I know that this (or similar) question got asked already but I need more in depht information / opinions. I've been using Absynth since v2 and it's some kind of Hatelove, however. I want to spend (again) some money for two new synthesizer and want to evaluate which one suits my needs and which one I should buy.

My main focus lies on drone sounds, ambient scapes and evolving textures.

One very important point for me is that I don't want to hassle with weak implementation for sample browsing like in Absynth so this is also an important point for me.

My current fav is Harmor because it have several synthesis forms and handy sampling handling (drag 'n' drop ). It outdo Iris beside the fact that Harmor has no multiple sample layers, or? Alchemy seems also very interesting because it has an other approach for the realisation of additive Synthesis and the morphing and modulation options.

I've always do me hard to make a decision. Have you more information to make a choice for me?

Thanks
I grew up on a junkyard, where I started to feed from hubcaps and bumpers

User avatar
foosnark
KVRAF
6030 posts since 9 Jan, 2003 from Saint Louis MO

Post Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:15 am

They're all very different IMHO.

You won't be disappointed with Alchemy -- it's more versatile than the rest of them, and I find it fairly straightforward to use.

BBFG#
KVRAF
6634 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Post Thu Nov 07, 2013 2:29 pm

Download the Alchemy Player, you can't save, but you can get a better feel for its sound at least.

(And it was enough for me to jump on the full version).
AAS;Camel Audio;Korg;Modartt;Native Instruments;Roland;Sonar;Steinberg;U-he;Yamaha

Davias
KVRian
763 posts since 3 Apr, 2013 from Belgium

Post Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:34 pm

Harmor has two layers AFAIK.

tooneba
KVRAF
1524 posts since 6 Nov, 2012

Post Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:10 pm

IIRC Alchemy's synthesys engine is old comparing to the other new ones(Iris, Harmor). It doesn't sound as good as the others for me. Alchemy's strength is its all-in-one modulation capability within itself.

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pdxindy
KVRAF
20906 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:54 pm

Autobot wrote:Hi folks,

I know that this (or similar) question got asked already but I need more in depht information / opinions. I've been using Absynth since v2 and it's some kind of Hatelove, however. I want to spend (again) some money for two new synthesizer and want to evaluate which one suits my needs and which one I should buy.

My main focus lies on drone sounds, ambient scapes and evolving textures.

Thanks
For drones and ambient scapes, my favorite is Zebra.

Since you are looking at purchasing 2 synths, I would suggest Zebra and Alchemy.

soniceldorado
KVRer
12 posts since 8 Nov, 2013

Post Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:14 am

I recently played with Alchemy Player and really dig it's interface and sounds.
I also own Omnisphere, but I'm very tempted to get Alchemy some day, also be cause you can load your own wave files for granular synthesis etc.
soniceldorado - composer // engineer // arranger

trueparadox
KVRist
246 posts since 10 Nov, 2006

Post Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:28 am

tooneba wrote:IIRC Alchemy's synthesys engine is old comparing to the other new ones(Iris, Harmor). It doesn't sound as good as the others for me. Alchemy's strength is its all-in-one modulation capability within itself.
I agree that the synthesis engine might be a bit dated... But the sampled sounds from the newer sound libraries are truly top notch! However, Camel Audio is working hard on Alchemy v2, which i'm sure will be spectacular. Can't wait! The resynthesis is something they have said has improved a lot. Alchemy is great anyway, though, because of its very flexible modulation and fantastic sounds. I agree with the previous post, download Alchemy player (it's free) and play around with it. It's truly an amazing freebie! If you're looking to buy Alchemy or soundbanks, 10% discount in my signature (shameless plug) :)

Harmor's resynthesis engine seems amazing, i almost picked it up because of that. Fairly impressed when i use the little brother Harmless, but i bought padshop pro instead, for its madness. Alchemy does resynthesize well, just not as good as Harmor (it seems, and people say). Last time i played with absynth was years ago, but it has progressed since then, and sounds great! However, it's not as flexible as Alch or Harmor (and tends to sound absynthy, at least that was my impression back then).

No experience with iris.

User avatar
4damind
KVRAF
5502 posts since 17 Aug, 2004 from Berlin, Germany

Post Fri Nov 08, 2013 4:24 am

I never bought Alchemy and cannot say some useful things about it compared to the others. But I remember that the VA engine was very powerful in combination with the sample manipulation stuff.

Harmor has this "Gol" signature sound, which is the same with Sytrus. It sounds more polished. It shares with Absynth only the idea of the envelopes. IMO the implementation is with Harmor better and smoother compared to Absynth.
Harmor has more this idea to have some stuff working as easy as possible like this "pluck" knob for easy creating of pluck-sounds. It's more a synth from musicians for musicians because some typical and often used stuff is so easy.
With Harmor I program all sounds by myself, for Absynth I use very often presets :D I think Absynth is for many not such a typical synth where you have fun with programming sounds because stuff is not so easy to understand.
Absynth is IMO a typical soundscapes/effects synth while Harmor is more a synth I use as a "typical" synth for leads, plucks, bass, pads.

User avatar
foosnark
KVRAF
6030 posts since 9 Jan, 2003 from Saint Louis MO

Post Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:27 am

tooneba wrote:IIRC Alchemy's synthesys engine is old comparing to the other new ones(Iris, Harmor). It doesn't sound as good as the others for me. Alchemy's strength is its all-in-one modulation capability within itself.
The resynthesis is kind of off, but there is a lot more to Alchemy than resynthesis. If you removed everything but "VA" mode from its oscillators it'd still be worth its price IMHO.

yessongs
KVRian
971 posts since 9 Feb, 2013 from dallas tx

Post Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:32 am

If I want to play an atmospheric sound that will be done with a synth designed for such sound. Leads and keys are another critter entirely. I would layer multiple synths and multiple instances to get new sounds if I were you. I never liked the lead sounds in absynth. I have yet to demo harmour but I will thanks to this thread.

I have the AAS modeling collection #1 on my list. that package of synths makes sense to me listen to the demos of VS1. Tassman also has some great demos. Then again ultra analog is part of that deal and so is Strum both acoustic and electric versions, Lounge lizard and chromaphone are the icing on the cake. Listen to the physical modeling possible in tassman. To me that and VS1 are top notch and granular is something you can add with FX more so than synthesis.

Also Diversion fx CM is fun to use on even free synths and it will make them sound like a commercial synth. It came with the first vault issue so if you don't already have that issue you need to get it via Zinnio. I was using this with PG8X last night and layering it with other synths and that atmosphere layered with some lead sounds was totally awesome. Synthmaster, rapture and Z3ta are my current favorite lead synths.

For pads I have way more than that: I use Dim pro, VI One, Proteus VX, cakewalks SI Strings, Dune BE, Alchemy CM, Synth 1, Oatmeal, Firebird, Cycle (demo), Sonata, Sonigen Modular, AAS swatches, String Theory, Uhe freebies, Autogun, Tal synths, synthscience: prodigious, poly 2106, Voyager, Charlatan, IK sample tank freebies, NI freebies, UVI freebie, Sforzando, HG Fortune, antopya etc...

Harmour is something I need to demo and if it deserves a spot in my arsenal I will add it to my list but so far I am happy with what I use. I need to hear what your liking about it so post a demo of what you like and let us hear what you can do with it.

User avatar
Autobot
KVRian

Topic Starter

990 posts since 27 Mar, 2013

Post Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:01 am

tooneba wrote:Alchemy's strength is its all-in-one modulation capability within itself.
That's why Alchemy is so interesting for me. Hard to despise Alchemy but I suppose that I would not use the additive / spectral / sampling engine a lot.
pdxindy wrote: For drones and ambient scapes, my favorite is Zebra. Since you are looking at purchasing 2 synths, I would suggest Zebra and Alchemy.
I wanted to buy Zebra several times but never decided to do so maybe now it's my turn to ride the Zebra have to think
trueparadox wrote: ... I agree that the synthesis engine might be a bit dated... But the sampled sounds from the newer sound libraries are truly top notch!...
Sorry, I dont care about sample packs.
4damind wrote: [...] Harmor has this "Gol" signature sound, which is the same with Sytrus. It sounds more polished. It shares with Absynth only the idea of the envelopes. IMO the implementation is with Harmor better and smoother compared to Absynth.
That's right, Absynth Envelopes are sometimes very tedious to Programm ... The "Gol" signature sound is what I also like about Harmor (formerly long time FL Studio user here).
4damind wrote: [...] Harmor has more this idea to have some stuff working as easy as possible like this "pluck" knob for easy creating of pluck-sounds. It's more a synth from musicians for musicians because some typical and often used stuff is so easy.
With Harmor I program all sounds by myself, for Absynth I use very often presets :D I think Absynth is for many not such a typical synth where you have fun with programming sounds because stuff is not so easy to understand. Absynth is IMO a typical soundscapes/effects synth while Harmor is more a synth I use as a "typical" synth for leads, plucks, bass, pads.
Nice information. Thanks.

I will get Harmor. Know I have to decide between Iris and Alchemy.
I grew up on a junkyard, where I started to feed from hubcaps and bumpers

UncleAge
KVRAF
1687 posts since 11 Jun, 2005 from Phoenix, Arizona

Post Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:41 am

Have you looked at Granite? May be a good fit with Zebra. You will have to play with both to see what I mean.

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Autobot
KVRian

Topic Starter

990 posts since 27 Mar, 2013

Post Fri Nov 08, 2013 8:48 am

UncleAge wrote:Have you looked at Granite? May be a good fit with Zebra. You will have to play with both to see what I mean.
I've tested Granite and do not like it. For Granular synthesis I use Ableton (Max4Live), Audio Mulch, Hourglas (great tool) and Absynth. And Madrona Labs Kaivo will follow as soon as it is released.

To make things clear I should mention which synth / tools I have so ...

Absynth
FM8
Xils-3 Le (I-Lok shame)
Ogun
Aalto
VAZ Modular
TAL Bassline
TAL U-No

and some freeware stuff

DAW / Host

Ableton Live 9
Audio Mulch
FL Studio (but don't use it anymore)
Hourglass
I grew up on a junkyard, where I started to feed from hubcaps and bumpers

BBFG#
KVRAF
6634 posts since 28 Apr, 2013

Post Sat Nov 09, 2013 9:02 am

Well, even though I have no real need for it, I'm downloading the Iris demo today thanks to this thread. It does look interesting to me.
I've thought about it before when I'm at the Patchpool site. Time to really check it out and see if GAS takes over. :hihi:
AAS;Camel Audio;Korg;Modartt;Native Instruments;Roland;Sonar;Steinberg;U-he;Yamaha

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