Camel Audio Alchemy is 50% off until December 31st. This means you get this amazing instrument for 124 USD / 99 EUR / 89 GBP. Camel Audio also has some bundles on sale. More info here on their web site.
My love affair with Alchemy continues. I spent a lot of time digging deep into granular synthesis with it this summer in preparation for my Electro-Music 2012 Festival talk in a New York a few weeks back. The deeper I go the more I like it and the more it gets used in my work and performances.
When I got back from EM, I loaded up the 1.5 beta and now I'm happy to report that Camel Audio has officially released this update which they’ve been working on for quite some time. I’ll offer some notes on what’s new then include Camel Audio’s official video and press release at the end of the post.
First off, Alchemy is $50 off till Oct. 15th making it $199. If you’ve been waiting for a price drop now is your chance to get a great deal. FYI I don’t benefit financially if you buy copy of Alchemy, I’m just a big fan.
New Preset Browser
As you can see from the screen shot above, there is a brand new preset browser that not only helps you find and discover sounds for your projects, but also allows you to create user tags and post comments and notes on patches for future reference. Simply hit the “Edit” button to open a window that lets you change and set attributes, add user tags, and comments.
Polyphonic Pitch Bend FTW
Probably the coolest new integration feature with mobile app is the computer version of Alchemy now responds to polyphonic pitchbend!!! It’s fantastic.
We're proud to announce Alchemy v1.5, a major update to our popular sample manipulation synthesizer. Alchemy v1.5 is designed to keep inspiration flowing with a fully-featured preset browser, over 1000* presets, faster loading times, improved remote control from the Alchemy iOS app, and many more enhancements. To celebrate the release, we're offering 20% off Alchemy till 15th October and even better value bundles.
Powerful New Browser
The new browser is probably the most fully-featured sound browser available anywhere, allowing users to find all their slow attack strings, glitchy dubstep basses, tempo-synched warm pads, or whatever they need in a matter of seconds. Over 4,000 previously-released Camel Audio presets have been carefully tagged by category, subcategory, genre, sound library, sound designer, articulation, and timbre. Finding favourites is a breeze — simply rate presets with a single click and then sort by rating. Users can add tags to make it easy to call up presets associated with a particular project or live set, and can also add comments to presets with playing tips or other notes. Track down the perfect sound in a host of different ways with this powerful browser.
Dedicated iOS Remote
Alchemy v1.5 with the latest update to Alchemy on iOS offers even smoother and more expressive remote control. Change preset, move the remix pad, and access performance controls — all without leaving the comfort of your controller keyboard. Previously the domain of multi-thousand dollar devices, polyphonic pitch bend is new to this update, and offers an amazingly expressive way of playing instruments — especially when combined with polyphonic aftertouch. Also users can now save desktop presets and all referenced WAVs in a single .CamelSounds file, making it easier to move sounds to the mobile version, or another PC.
Bigger and Better Bundles and 20% Off Alchemy
Alchemy Complete comprises Alchemy with all 24 sound libraries installed, including the newly-released Shlomo Beatbox. It now features over 14GB of samples and 4,000-plus presets, including 32,000 hand-crafted variations, all fully tagged for the new browser. Whether writing soundtracks, electronica, or dance music, users now have all the sounds they need at their fingertips for a newly-reduced price of $785.00 USD/€649.00 EURO/£529.00 GBP — a 50% saving on buying the products separately. The Alchemy Atmospheric and Electronic bundles have also been generously increased in size, each now offering 1,900 presets and over 6GB of samples for $399.00/€329.00/£269.00.
Alchemy itself is now bundled with 1,000 presets including a free sound library of choice, totalling a massive 5GB of exclusive samples. The v1.5 update is free to all existing users. New users can purchase Alchemy at 20% off till 15th October - just $199.00/€159.00/£143.00.
*Alchemy comes with 1,000 presets inclusive of 'Taste of Camel' and buyers choice of Sound Library.
When narrowing down to this list, I worked to find a very complimentary set of instruments with great workflow. The instruments range in character from pure synthesis instruments (Zebra and Predator), to sample-based instruments (Sampler, Iris), to hybrids (Alchemy, ElextraX) to virtual drum machines (utonic). The instruments with green dots in front are ones I’ve been spending 100s of hours with working to create signature "patches” from scratch that I’ll use in future compositions, productions, and live performances. I should also note that I’m also using many of these synths as effects processors allowing me to capitalize on the investment I made learning the synth workflows (here is a post on this notion) .
For those not familiar with some of these synths checkout some audio samples from past sound design experiments. First is a clip with Alchemy (download MP3) where I use granular synthesis to repurpose the field recording of a fluorescent light bulb.
Here is another example where I use Alchemy (download mp3) to repurpose crowd noise from a CU bastkeball game, a morse code key, and add in something called factalized waveforms.
Next is a Zebrify patch where I slowly pitch up and then process this incoming signal of a Theremin with two comb filters with the pitch of filters being modualted by a step LFO (download mp3)?
Next Steps – Deeper with the Top 3
As I go into the fall I’m going to be spending a lot more time with Zebra and Alchemy. They are both extremely deep and very complimentary. They nicely cover the entire spectrum from pure synthesis to sample mangling. Absynth, which I bought in 2002, is the first virtual synth I ever owned so holds a special place in my rig. I’ll be doing some synth work with it as well but will focus heavily on using it as an effects processor.
Which Should You Pick?
If you have limited funds or time and just want to go deep with one synth, you can't go wrong if you pick one of the three mentioned in the previous paragraph. Again, Zebra is pure synthesis (no samples) and semi-modular. Alchemy is great at resynthesis and sample mangling so if you are into field recordings this is your best bet. Absynth is somewhere between the two and is a great pick if you want to work with extreme multi-segment envelopes and very interesting and unusually effects. I give them all 10/10 and the deeper you go, the more you’ll be rewarded.
If you are looking for a fantastic subtractive that can also be used as an effects processor Predator is fantastic choice. If you want a hybrid with subtractive workflow with visual feedbak, ElectraX is a good bet.
Controllerism with the Top 4
Now that I’ve further narrowed my list, I’m working on templates for various controllers to get even more expressive results with Zebra, Alchemy, Absynth and Predator. I’m using the Alchemy Mobile to control Alchemy on my computer, I’m working on a custom Lemur template for Zebra and Absynth. I’ll also be working on mappings for my Novation Remote SL and refining my AudioCube patches for these synths.
I’ll leave you with a video I did some time ago showing the use of one Percussa AudioCube face in sensor mode to play a note plus send MIDI CC info to control the XY of Alchemy.
I’ve been a fan of Camel Audio Alchemy for some time. If you are an Alchemy user and have an iPad or iPhpne/Touch I’m going to recommend you pick up Alchemy Mobile Pro. Note, you only have to buy the app and content once to use on both the iPad and iPhone.
Pro allows you so wirelessly integrate your iOS device into you computer workflow. In other words you gain a multi-touch controller for Alchemy full. The 1.27 update allows you to:
Alchemy Mobile v1.1.27 lets you move the remix pad using the new Tilt function to translate your physical hand movements into morphing sound changes, while Inertia lets these moves continue under their own steam while you carry on playing. Other new features include quantise to tighten up the timing of your recordings, as well as unlimited record, bounce and export times, further improvements to the keyboard and menu displays, more control over MIDI input and outputs, and iPad 3 retina display graphics.
The Pro Upgrade now lets you record remix pad movements to capture complex sound changes, bookmark your presets to make favourites easier to find, adds more complex quantise functions including triplets and a new 'Clear MIDI performance and loops' option. Upgrading to Pro is easy once you've installed the free version - just tap on the preset name in the upper left, switch to the Libraries page and select the Pro Upgrade to purchase for $14.99 / €11.99 / £10.49.
How To Connect Alchemy Mobile Wirelessly
STEP 1: On Alchemy on you computer select “FILE” then “Turn On iPad/iPhone” Control”
STEP 2: On the iOS device click the Sound Library name. Scroll down to “Alchemy on..”. You’ll see you computer there. Click the item and now your synced.
At this point the iOS synth is disabled and the surface controls Alchemy full on you computer including patch browsing. Brilliant!
Not a “Shinny Object”
A lot of iOS music apps are like “shinny objects” to me. They are fun but don’t end up in my workflow. Alchemy mobile is exception to this. Nicely done Camel Audio!
April 29th saw a lot of news from synth maker’s Camel Audio. I actually waited to post on this because their server got pretty crushed with everyone trying to download all these goodies a few days back.
ALCHEMY 1.20 NOW AVAILABLE After two man years of work 1.20 is now available. Check out the gorgeous new “Nightshades” skin below (click on the image to see it full size). They also updated the default skin to improve readability.
Here is some of what’s new (link to full change log at bottom of post):
64-bit support for Mac and Windows - access unlimited memory
Native RTAS Support for Pro Tools on Mac and Windows
Improved SFZ support - high quality loading of 3rd party and converted SFZs
Key switching for fast access to articulations
Round robin for added realism
Unlimited zones for velocity, round robin, key switches...
Intelligent sample memory handling - half the sample memory required
Multiple audio file import when holding down 'Shift' with automatic mapping to keys
Easy SFZ loading via File -> Load
Last used folder remembered for File -> Load in each instance
I’ve installed it already and I’m happy to report that it’s backwards compatible and seems to work fine on all my sets.
PLAY UPDATED AND IS NOW FREE The Alchemy player was previously included when you bought a sound pack. Camel audio has made this player completely free. I highly recommend you grab this.
“We're really pleased to announce the release of Alchemy Player 1.20 which is now completely FREEfor everyone! This is a major update to Alchemy Player featuring SFZ loading, 64-bit and Pro Tools RTAS support plus lots more. It includes 1GB samples and 200 instrument sounds.”
STEAMWORX SOUND SET
Last but not least they have also announced a new sound set:
“Steamworxis a cinematic netherworld featuring keyboard instruments made from clocks, drum kits built with steam-powered machines, fog-shrouded soundscapes and gothic choirs. With intricate contraptions, grunge-laden grooves, multi-layered arpeggios and hand-crafted percussion that ooze character and round-robin realism, you will find moods suited to epic soundtrack, delicate ambient, sci-fi, industrial and the supernatural.
This library incorporates over 240MB of new sample content, with specially created instruments, extensive field recordings that add a rich patina of detail, 8-bit SID Chip exotica, plus samplings from an extensive collection of bells, chimes, and gongs...”
MUST HAVE I highly recommend Alchemy and consider a must have. It has it has a strong synth engine, great support for a huge variety of sounds, as well as the ability to incorporate your own audio as an oscillator source for re-synthesis, sampling, and granular synthesis. The 1.20 update just ups the ante even more. Just to illustrate the incredible sample manipulation power of Alchemy checkout this audio from “Emits a Photon”. It’s a free patch from Patchlabwhere I mangle the sound of a florescent light being switched on with granular synthesis?
I just got an email blast from Camel Audio with info on a new free sound set for one of my favorite instruments Alchemy.
“Alchemy Factory Presets & Samples Bonus 3 offers over a gigabyte of new samples as a free update for all registered users. Acoustic instruments are a major feature of this latest collection, including a grand piano, baroque lute, cimbalom, autoharp, and hammered dulcimer, plus delicate meditation bowls and crystal glasses. There are also loads of dramatic one-shot hits, sweeps, and crashes, war drums, tabla loops, and bowed cymbal effects. You can read more about this release on our news page.”
Just wanted to pass along a sound design resource - http://designingsound.org/. Below is a cool video tutorial post from this site featuring one of my favorite virtual instruments Camel Audio Alchemy. The video is also interesting to me because sound designer Jim Stout is running Alchemy via an Open Labs Neko and the video gives you a good sense of how this system works.