Camel Audio has recently released Alchemy Player, a virtual instrument for playing and tweaking ready-to-play sounds from Camel Audio’s soundbank collection. Alchemy Player features the same advanced sample manipulation engine as its bigger brother, but you only get access to a limited amount of parameters for modifying sounds.
Since every Alchemy soundbank now comes with a copy of Alchemy Player you don’t actually need the full product anymore to enjoy these sounds.
I had a go with Cinematic, one of Camel Audio’s latest Alchemy soundbanks.
Cinematic will provide loads of inspiration for film, TV and ambient composers. With dramatic soundscapes, mysterious textures and evocative atmospheres, it covers a lot of emotional ground, with moods ranging from gentle and thoughtful, romantic and moving, through upbeat all the way to bleak and disturbing.
Ideal for many genres such as action and adventure, suspense, sci-fi and horror, and packed with slowly evolving details and innovative instrumental layers, Cinematic also includes over 100 MB of new samples ranging from a collection of thunderous hits and stabs to tinkling chimes, suspense-filled drones, bowed horror ambiences, treated guitar washes, and a selection of analogue and digital synths and keyboard sounds.
The Cinematic soundbank includes 150 presets, with 8 variations each for a total of 1,200 sounds that can be dialed in from the remix pad. Here’s the breakdown in types of sound: 53 soundscapes, 27 pads, 19 sound effects, 13 loops, 11 vocals, 5 arps, 5 mallets, 4 basses, 4 strings, 4 synths, 3 organs, 2 keys.
The sounds were programmed by a host of sound designers: Martin Walker, Artvera, Luftrum, Denis Goekdag, Junkie XL, Christian Kjeldsen, Niklas Silen, Cyforce, Ugo, Antonio Blanca, and Himalaya.
The Alchemy Player itself has a straightforward interface with a preset browser section and a bunch of performance controls.
For manipulation of the sounds every preset has specific parameters linked to the performance controls. The full Alchemy sound engine is available in the player version but you will only be able to manipulate those parameters that the sound designer chose for each particular preset.
Note: You can actually turn the player into a time-limited full version of Alchemy (3 week demo) but let me warn you that this is a cunning plan devised to get you addicted to Alchemy. There is a considerable chance you’ll end up wanting to upgrade… yes, it’s that great!
Not all of the programmed sound variations sound terribly different from one another but you certainly get a lot more than the 150 initial sounds, and you can morph the remix pad variations and use the performance knobs to create new variations of your own.
You can listen to a few preset by preset demonstrations below. The remix pad is used to morph between variations.
So what do I think?
Format: Alchemy soundbank, includes Alchemy Player (VST/AU)
Price: $59 USD/£39 GBP/49 EUR
I found Cinematic to be a well balanced collection of sounds with plenty of variation within the various categories. The overall quality of presets is outstanding; I especially enjoyed the soundscapes section.
Each of the sound designers brings his/her own personal flavor yet the whole thing still feels like a pretty coherent set of sounds. Highlights for me are Luftrum’s stunning pads and pretty much everything by Martin Walker, who consistently delivers amazing, highly cinematic sounds.
Much like Native Instruments with its Kore and Kore Player platform, Camel Audio is now offering its soundbanks to a new audience with Alchemy Player. For those who are looking to just get some great sounds without investing in an expensive and possibly superfluous instrument, this player format is perfect.
Still, I would recommend activating the 3 week Alchemy demo just to experience the full potential of this fantastic instrument.