Synth-ify Your Life


2. Alchemy
Four possible sources and flexible modulation routing along with two master filters offer a wide variety of sounds. In this screen shot you can clearly see the available slopes for the ADHSR envelope.

Camel Audio — Alchemy

Is there anything that Alchemy can’t do? As you might have gathered in reading about Predator’s oscillators, the more variety and flexibility, the better. Here’s a short rundown of the basic building blocks of Alchemy’s sound – one of the most powerful on the market.

Each Alchemy patch can be created from up to four different “sources” (the term Alchemy uses to describe a sound’s building blocks). Each source can have up to four different elements – three that produce sound and one that acts as a filter. The audio elements offered are additive or virtual analog, spectral, and granular or sample. And, each of these different elements can be edited in a variety of ways that correspond to the type of synthesis employed. Like I said, there’s almost nothing it can’t do.

The filter element can be comprised of up to three different types of filters that can be arranged to affect the sound in series or in parallel. With 15 different filters to choose from, you should be able to find something that is going to fit your needs. In addition to the filters that are available for each of the four sources, there are two available master filters that affect the entire composite sound (with 50 different choices!).

Alchemy’s modulation matrix is nothing short of spectacular. Available modulation sources include LFOs, AHDSR envelopes, multiple-segment envelopes, and sequencers. There are also modulation maps that are used in a similar manner as a velocity curve in electronic drumming. In other words, you can place a modulation map on top of a modulator to further control how the modulator will interact with the patch. There is also an X/Y multi-segment envelope. Sheesh! Each of these modulators has a huge number of variables that can color the sound in a subtle or more aggressive manner. For example, the LFOs have dozens of different waveforms available along with delay, attach, phase, rate, and more.

There is an extensive performance section that contains eight different knob controllers that can be routed to any number of parameters. There are also two X/Y controllers for smoothly changing and blending between two parameters. Want more? There’s even a master ADSR envelope generator that can be controlled in real time. There are also eight “Remix Pads” that allow for smooth transitions between the knob controllers and the X/Y controllers, and you’ve got a nearly endless variety of real-time control.

The effects area of Alchemy serves up all the effects from the company’s CamelPhat and CamelSpace effect plug-ins. You can have up to five different effects loaded into the patch at one time. Each of the effects has a full set of controls that can be tweaked as needed. There are reverbs, delays, modulations effects, distortions, EQs, additional filters, a bass enhancer, and more.

Alchemy’s arpeggiator offers up a variety of mode styles, as well as amplitude, tuning, panning, duration, the addition of octaves, and more. Oh, did I mention that the arpeggiator inside Alchemy can have up to 128 different steps?

Alchemy ships with more than 5GB of samples and more than 1,000 presets. I’ve got to mention something about the manual that’s provided with Alchemy: It’s an online manual. While this might seem to be a drag at first, it’s filled with great images, and a number of outstanding tutorials. This makes the manual act more like an iBook rather than a static manual that might be offered as a pdf.

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