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Frustrated by the sonic limitations of the EXS24 sampler? You might well have already! Its strength is undoubtedly the speed at which you can map a variety of samples in seconds. When it comes to sound design, though, it starts to show its age. Something where the samples only formed the starting point of your creative process? Alchemy patches use a total of four Sources — A, B, C and D — that can be thought of as four oscillators.
As well as holding a sawtooth or square wave, Alchemy can import a series of mapped samples into a Source. The mapped samples could be a series of one-shot, velocity-switched drum samples, for example, or a collection of multi-sampled pad sounds spread across the full range of the keyboard.
As each Source has its own sample map, Alchemy instantly trumps the EXS24 in its ability to have four discrete layers in a single patch. One key concept to grasp as this point, though, is that the samples can be imported using a series of different modes — Additive, Spectral, Granular and Sampler.
Once the sample data has been loaded into a Source, we can start to get creative. The key signal-processing features to note are that the playback engine has two separate multi-mode filters as well as four independent effects busses A, B, C and D and a Main effects bus. The immediate creative task is to think about how each of your four Sources could use these features, maybe routing groups of Sources through different filters, for example, or using a different effects block for each Source.
The walkthrough illustrates some examples using drum samples, but there are any number of interesting options to explore outside of this, especially when you start to also add in the possibility of including modulators like LFOs and step sequencers to control these signal processors. One of my favourite creative applications of Alchemy is the Granular Engine, which is one of the alternative ways you can import and manipulate sample data.
Rather than simply playing back the sample data sequentially, the Granular mode sees the sample data as a series of sound grains, each lasting no more than a few samples. By repeating these grains, a sound can effectively become frozen in time, or you could slowly move through the grains to produce a wavetable-like sound. As the walkthrough illustrates, this can sound great on drums, particularly for glitch-like treatments in harder forms of electronic music.
While I would always favour the EXS24 for more complicated mapping tasks, Alchemy clearly comes out on top when it comes to sonic mangling. Click on the Saw label to open the drop-down Source menu, where you can select the Import Audio option. You should now be presented with a file browser. Drag the included samples over to the Dropzone and order them as you want them to be arranged on the keyboard, starting from C1.
Once this is sorted, press the Import button to have Alchemy map the samples. By default, Alchemy has a sluggish attack time 0. Reduce this to 0. You could also try creatively adjusting the envelope. Move out of the Global view to see the individual controls for the Source.
We need to change the Source from being Mono note the circle icon to the left of the Edit button to the interlinked Stereo option. Pressing the Edit button brings up the Sample Mapping screen for the Source. Note the series of Zones one for each drum sample positioned consecutively from C1 on the keyboard. Each Zone has its own set of associated parameters, including a Volume, Tune and Pan control.
Try panning the three toms across the soundstage, and experimenting with different tuning on the kick drum. Try some creative applications with layered Sources. From the Source menu, select Copy Source which will place all the samples with their mapping onto the clipboard. In Source B, select Paste Source.
Our aim here is to differentiate different samples between the two Sources. Pressing it will reverse the playback of all the samples in the Zone. Copy an existing Source, but then reverse the duplicate layer. Repeat the same process on Source B, but this time delete all the other Zones, leaving just the snare Zone on D1. Play back the included drum sequence and notice how the two Sources are triggered at different points.
Route the second filter to FX A using the drop-down Routing option. Open the Effects tab at the bottom of Alchemy. Because of the routing, these effects are solely applied to the snare.
The main effects are applied to the kit as a whole, including the processed snare. Use Import to load samples as before, although this time select Granular for the Analysis mode and Drum for the Mapping option. Either Solo Source C or deactivate the other Sources. Set Source C to Stereo mode and playback the sequence.
Try increasing RPan so that the grains are distributed across the soundstage, creating a granular shimmer. Reduce the sustain accordingly.
Return to the Global view and balance the effect. Behringer fulfils promise to donate 1, synths and headphones to underprivileged children. Hardware Instruments. Review: Line Audio CM4. Review: Eventide UltraTap. Experimenting with vocal plug-ins on non-vocal material. Apple Logic Pro. Steinberg Cubase. Ableton Live. Buyer’s Guides Essential Guides.
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Using Alchemy as a sampler in Logic Pro X. By Mark Cousins. Sample magic Alchemy patches use a total of four Sources — A, B, C and D — that can be thought of as four oscillators. The best plug-ins to buy in 14 best delay plug-ins Buyer’s Guides 5th July
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Alchemy provides extensive sample mapping, looping, and grouping facilities that make it easy to create instruments containing hundreds of samples and layers. Introduced in Logic Pro , Alchemy joins the upper echelon of sound design Read it now on the O’Reilly learning platform with a day free trial.
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Alchemy provides extensive sample mapping, looping, and grouping facilities that make it easy to create instruments containing hundreds of samples and layers. Kindle $ Read with Our Free App. Introduced in Logic Pro , Alchemy joins the upper echelon of sound design tools offered by Logic Pro. Apple Music support and more. Alchemy is also now available as part of the $30 MainStage live performance app. Here’s what’s new in Logic Pro X.