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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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Personalized keyfile for hassle free copy protection.
- Available as a download or on DVD.
- Tutorial videos.
- Graphic interface by BitPlant.
Reviewed By XFX
November 4, 2014
Alchemy is one of the better soft synths out there, Working with waveforms, SFZ, samples. I've got mostly good things to say about this tool.
What I would like to see is some sort of visual on what's happening with the wave form or maybe signal flow, routing pop up screen, that I can call up at a mouse click. For most of the time, it's like visualizing everything in my mind and but the GUI looks rather static. Hey, not complaining but it always good to look forward to something, else it's like working with analogue hardware where the box always looks the same, maybe for a few LEDs blinking. Most common confusion would be the FX/mix knobs found here and there, and how running more that one filter will leave you a little confused at times unless you start switching off a filter or OSC sources.
The thing is that Alchemy is much more than an virtual analogue emulation, there's where all the goodies come flying out of the Alchemy tool box.
Sound is clear, if you have good samples. Whether you need to fatten things up later there's always the FX section with the Phat button and variations of distortions like Mech and Tube. An FX section with reverb, delay, and phase, chorus, flange type of modulation. EQ is useful for reducing honky, boxy, excessive hissing. Compressor runs auto with 2 knobs for light duties, a wise thing at this stage.
Alchemy is able create different types of sounds for the many genres. Going through the audio demos on Camelaudio's website would give an idea of the possibilities of your design efforts.
I mostly use Alchemy to load up my old samples from recordings, SFZ and bring them to life again with new effects and sample manipulation. The ability to load designed waveforms has been useful in changing the behaviour of LFOs and stacking new sounds with interesting harmonic content.
Friends playing synth keys never seem to understand why or what I'm doing with Alchemy and I admit sometimes I don't either, maybe a simpler synth would be suitable for most.
If I just wanted a Rompler or a VA synth, I would have had difficulty upgrading from the Alchemy Player to the full version. After spending quite a bit of time checking out the tutorials and listening to the 3rd party demos from around the internet. I'd just had to get it.
Notice how I didn't want to say anything about the types of synthesis available for use. It's just too much to describe, but I'm glad they're there to provide me with a bigger palette.
Reviewed By SarahBellum
October 31, 2013
I tried out the demo's of Absynth, Omnisphere, and Alchemy - I bought Alchemy because I felt 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)Read more
Reviewed By rosko12
October 25, 2013
Alchemy strikes me as a somewhat better version of Absynth. They're both geared towards huge performable soundcapes. Unlike Abysnth you can load in big wave files (ie field recordings). You can then modulate and morph it all together with a bunch of analog sounds and a heap of effects. It would be really great for "ambient noise" artists. You could play a whole set on pretty much one instance of Alchemy.
As far a synthesizing sounds though this is far from the best on the market. The additive, granular and spectral features all feel a little bit like decoration. They only seem good for crunching up the sound and making it more atonal and ambient. I'd probably look elsewhere for leads and basses etc.
I don't really like the grey old GUI that much but I've definitely seen worse out there.
I think Alchemy does something that no other synth does and that's a good thing.
Reviewed By biomekk
August 26, 2013
I've had Alchemy for about half a year now. I must say, I really got my money's worth.
I found it very stable and reasonably CPU friendly. Often my tracks contains 4-5 instances of Alchemy. It covers almost every sound I need. Especially nowadays when I'm into more "hard to describe" organic sounds. If I'd be looking for the typical "massive unison sawtooth chord stabbing sounds" that are heard on the radio today I'd probably choose a different plugin. But of course It can do that to If needed.
The enormous possibilities and the GUI to handle all this is actually very good. Here the Youtube tutorials helped me a lot. The librarian and the way the patches can be organized is fully adequate. (Spend those extra seconds to name and tag your favorites and you will be rewarded ;).
I won't go through all the possibilities, cause there's so much and nothing is missing. A few highlights though:
You can save the" building blocks" of a sound for later use in other sounds. Oscillator settings. LFO's, envelopes, effects can be saved into their own little libraries. Such a simple thing as copy all settings from one oscillator to another is very useful. With this in mind - a majority of the presets, both the built in and the one you can purchase, are often very complex. There's a lot going on when you press a key. Impressive? Yes. But sometimes i'ts just to much according to my taste. With the ability to save certain parts of a sound It's easy to build your own version.
The "Remix sound" feature - control a bunch of parameters in one go.
It sounds great...and bad in a good way when needed. For example the resynthesis methods can sound almost natural but also like vintage digital gear. (PPG, Emulator etc). Perhaps the VA synthesis lacks some of the really low end but that's not really a problem since it does everything else so well.
The free Alchemy player gives me the possibility to duplicate everything on a laptop used for live use. (without having to force the bands keyboard player to buy the full version).
The support is good. Emails are replied and the product is updated now and then. Wich gives you as a customer a positive impression of the company.Read more
Reviewed By Unfocused
June 10, 2011
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!Read more