Alchemy 1.5 and SHLOMO Beatbox review
There is a new preset browser
This is by far the biggest and best update to the Alchemy Synth. The original GUI has been left alone (If it ain't broke, etc..) but an additional window has been added that you can click to in a menu at the top of the window. It opens up a lovely browser that looks remarkably similar to another nameless synth manufacturer. It divides the presets of Alchemy into menus of descriptors - so if you want to find a slow attacking, warm, string drone for ambient electronica, created by a certain author, selecting those particular tags will give you the list of sounds that fit that description. Very useful for software synths that are typically bloated with presets (Alchemy has a potential 4000 presets available)
Perhaps the best element of this update is the patch loading speed. This was a bugbear of mine on the previous iteration of Alchemy. The sounds were fantastic, but highly-strung composer here would have a minor meltdown waiting for the patch to appear. Of course, it only took 10 seconds, but that was 9.7 seconds too long. Now that has been fixed, and by the time I've reached out for my fifth cup of coffee, the sound is loaded and waiting for me. Fantastic!
Dedicated iOS remote
The iOS remote has been updated and now provides even more expression control for your Alchemy synth, providing you fork out a little for the PRO version at $14.99. It even includes Polyphonic pitch bend y'all!
Bigger and better bundles
You get 1000 presets, or about 5GB of sound for free with Alchemy now, which is essentially a selection from all of their current libraries. But if that's not enough, you can now purchase the full quota of 24 sample library bundles. Everything that Camel Audio has cranked out, in one big download. More than 4000 presets, knocking your harddrive back 14GB, at a 50% price reduction on buying all the libraries separately. Good deal, as the libraries are all quality.
Best of all, the update is totally and completely FREE to current owners, which is Ace! Props to Camel Audio for not charging for this update, which is fairly significant, but will definitely warm customers to them, and encourage loyalty to the cause! Well done Camel Audio.
Here's the video on Alchemy's website that lays out all the new stuff that comes with 1.5:
Quick Review of the latest: Shlomo beatbox
Since winning the world beatbox championships a few years back, and currently on top of the world in the loopstation championships, Simon Shlomo Kahn has collaborated with world class artists such as Jarvis cocker, DJ Yoda, and Bjork. He has combined with engineers at Camel Audio to create a sample library based on his considerable vocal talents.
The recently released Shlomo Beatbox Sample library consists of 150 presets, weighing in at just under 700mb. Having encountered beatboxing samplepacks before, I approached this one a little warily, and was extremely and pleasantly surprised. With the amazing sound designers at Camel, they've turned what could have been a bit of a creative dead end into a really pleasing blend of patches that run the gamut from straight up beatboxing loops to massive kicks, snares, synths and basses, SFX, Pads, leads, and even one Organ and woodwind patch! Of course the engineers were helped by Shlomo's unbelievably flexible voice box: the tone and timbre of his sounds really is unparalleled. All of the sounds come with the 8 variations that you can Morph between using the control XY section of the Alchemy synth, player and iOS remote. I really liked that many of the sounds have a hint of the vocal, but stand as awesome instrumental sounds, and are not relegated to the kitsch bin. Excellent stuff. The loops are weighty, as are the bass sounds, and the pads and synths are really engineered nicely, with large frequency ranges and full and subtle use of the built in effects in alchemy.
Here's a vid showcasing some of the sounds.
This is definitely a look in for electronica fans - some really lovely organic sounding electro stuff in there. $59 download from the Camel Audio site.
By Andy Dollerson