At the top and in the centre is the title bar, which is a single field displaying the current preset name and category, or ‘default’ if no preset is loaded.
Click the title bar to display a list of presets available to load, based on the current Preset Browser settings. By default, all presets are available to load. To quickly load a preset use the forward and back arrows adjacent to the Preset field to scroll through all available presets. The category of the selected preset will be displayed to the left of the preset name when a preset is loaded. The order of the list is determined by settings in the Preset Browser.
Beneath the preset field is a large numerical display that shows the current value of the active or selected control, calibrated in appropriate units (e.g. ’50%’, ’5 semis’, ’2859 Hz’, and so on). Alchemy also uses this display for occasional messages (e.g. to confirm that a Save command was executed successfully) and to display the sound-designers name when a preset is first loaded.
Browse, Simple and Advanced buttons
When the Browse button is active the Preset Browser view is displayed. The Simple button displays a compact interface suitable for performing with Alchemy, consisting of the just Title Bar and the Performance section. When the Advanced button is active, a larger interface is displayed in which all sections of Alchemy are accessible; Advanced mode is best suited to sound design or detailed tweaking of existing presets. (See the Overview section for a quick tour of the entire interface.)
The FILE button opens a pop-up menu containing several commands useful for preset management:
Load – opens a dialogue box where you can select a preset file (*.acp), a Cameleon preset (*.c5i), an SFZ file (*.sfz) or sample file (*.wav, *.aif) to load.
Save Consolidated – saves a copy of the active preset along with copies of any audio files it depends on, except for Alchemy Factory samples as these files are common to all Alchemy users.
Save CamelSounds – saves the current preset and all audio files as a zip file suitable for transferring to Alchemy Mobile or to install on another computer using the Alchemy Soundbank Installer app.
Clear – Initialises Alchemy, giving you a basic starting point for creating your own presets. (The initialised preset is a basic sawtooth wave.)
The SAVE button saves your changes to the currently active preset. If the preset belongs in the Factory bank the Save As dialogue box will be displayed so that you do not accidentally overwrite the preset.
The SAVEAS button opens a dialogue box where you can choose a file name (*.acp) and a location to save the currently active preset. When a new preset is saved it will be automatically added to the preset browser with the appropriate category, some attributes that are automatically determined and your sound designer name.
Notes about samples and preset data
- Audio samples will be referenced from the original folder unless Save Consolidated is used.
- Save Consolidated and Save CamelSounds are useful when sharing presets with other Alchemy users.
- Additive and/or spectral data will be stored as separate files (*.aaz).
- The first part of the .aaz filename is the same as the name of the saved preset, which ensures that the preset and the associated additive/spectral data appear side-by-side in an alphabetical directory.
- We recommend that you avoid renaming .aaz files in Finder/Explorer. Alchemy may fail to locate and load these files unless their original names are preserved.
- While renaming a whole preset in Finder/Explorer is less risky, this may lead to duplication of .aaz files to reflect the new name.
- In general, it’s best to rename presets by using Alchemy’s SAVEAS function. Once a preset is successfully saved under its new name, you can safely discard the old preset (*.acp) file.
Change Default GUI Mode – choose between Browser, Simple and Advanced modes as the default display when Alchemy is opened.
Skin – select the default skin to use for new instances of Alchemy. Changing the skin will prompt to close and reopen the GUI for changes to take effect. The setting is saved in the configuration file.
About – display version number and licensing information.
Check for Update – check with the Camel Audio webserver to find out if you have the latest version of Alchemy installed.
Download Free Sounds – visit the Alchemy User Library on the Camel Audio website to download sounds created by other users.
Watch Tutorial Videos – visit the tutorials section of the Camel Audio website to view video tutorials illustrating how to use Alchemy.
Read the Wiki Manual – view the most up-to-date version of this manual online. The Alchemy interface also integrates with the online manual by right-clicking a control and selecting ‘Help’.
Support Forum – visit the Camel Audio support forum on KVR Audio.
Newsletter – subscribe to the Camel Audio newsletter to receive update information and special offers.
Camel on Facebook – visit the Camel Audio Facebook page and Like us (because we rock!)
Buy More Sounds – visit the Camel Audio webshop to purchase new sounds for Alchemy.
Change Data Folder – set a new location for the Alchemy data folder on your hard disk.
Turn On iPad/iPhone Control – enable or disable remote control of Alchemy via Alchemy Mobile. The default setting is off.
Scan For New Presets – search the Alchemy data folder to update the preset browser. New sounds libraries and presets will be added to the results, presets that have been deleted will be removed.
MIDI Unlearn All – clears all MIDI Learn assignments and resets the Midimap.txt file.
Tip: Be sure to save the random preset or host project if you like the sound, because once the random button is pressed again you won’t get it back!
Creates a random preset. Random preset generation in Alchemy is based on a collection of preset templates, arranged in the standard categories seen in the left hand browser column (Arpeggiated, Bass, Brass, and so on). If the preset browser category is set to ‘None’ Alchemy will choose a template from a random category, otherwise a template from the current category will be used. Alchemy then creates ‘intelligent’ random values for the parameters that are active in the chosen template.
If you want more control over the process, you can add or substitute your own preset templates; the details of this process are described below.
Boosts or cuts the overall preset volume. This adjustment is made at the very end of the signal path, so it controls the effects as well as the dry portion of the signal, and it acts on all voices at once. (Therefore, it’s less common to modulate the Volume knob compared to the Amp knob on the Master page.)
You can tailor Alchemy’s random preset generation to your own needs by adding your own randomisation templates. Instructions for creating and using these files follow. Details in italics are optional; they represent the guidelines followed by the factory randomisation templates.
Start with an initialised preset (FILE > Clear).
Turn on as many Sources (A–D) as you want your new presets to use. Factory templates typically use all four.
In each source, turn on one or more Elements and choose an appropriate synthesis type; for instance, you might choose the Granular element and set it to SAMPLER mode. Factory templates use combinations of VA, GRANULAR, and SAMPLER synthesis types; they avoid Additive synthesis and Spectral synthesis (RESYNTH, NOISE-RESYNTH) because these types may cause randomisation to proceed too slowly. Factory templates favour GRANULAR mode for Loops, Sound Effects, Soundscapes, Synth Leads, Synth Pads, Vocals, and Drums, and SAMPLER mode for other categories.
Set an appropriate morph mode. Factory templates favour morph xy for Sound Effects and Soundscapes, and xfade xy for other categories.
Turn on one or both of the Main Filters if you wish to use them; and turn on any Source Filters that you wish to use.
Choose a suitable trigger Mode (Always, Retrigger, Legato) and number of Voices for the category.
Set parameters in AHDSR 1 to appropriate values for the category (e.g. a slow attack for pads).
Add up to five effects appropriate for the category and in an appropriate order. Alchemy turns these on/off at random, ensuring that at least one effect is on, when it generates new presets.
Make any additional modulation assignments that seem appropriate for the category. Factory templates often assign LFO 1 to Master Fine Tune. For the Loops category, factory templates modulate the Position of each Source with a tempo synced Ramp Up LFO set to 8 beats. For the Organs and Vocals categories, factory templates modulate Master Amp with an LFO.
Adjust other knob settings to values that seem typical for the category. Alchemy generates new presets by varying these settings around the values you supply.
Ensure that no audio files (WAV, AIFF, SFZ, AAZ) are loaded, and that no performance controls are assigned (FILE > Clear in the PERFORM section, if necessary). The arpeggiator should be off unless you are creating an Arpeggiated template.
Save the file in Alchemy/Libraries/PresetTemplates/category where category is an exact match to the name of an existing preset category (Arpeggiated, Bass, Brass, and so on). As long as your template is stored in the right location, you can name it anything you want. Factory templates use generic names such as ‘Default.acp’ for the most basic template and ‘Sample.acp’ for a template based on the Sampler synthesis type.