We have covered Camel Audio Alchemy and its sound libraries a few times in the past (see pt.1 and pt.2 ). This time we are focusing on Iceland, Water and Dream Voices. Each library features 150 presets (and 1200 variations), and if you haven’t got the full version of Alchemy, each sound-pack comes with the Alchemy Player, included for free.
If you are familiar with Alchemy’s libraries, you’ll know that when trying a new one you’re in for a treat – and these three products are no exception. As usual, while they all share a great attention to details and a certain ‘soundscape attitude’, each of them boasts its own personality.
Among the ones I’ve tested this time, Iceland was probably my favorite. Created by Biomechanoid and Deru, it offers 550MB of exclusive sample content recorded around Iceland, including streams, glaciers, caves and an Icelandic girls’ choir. As often happens with Alchemy’s libraries, synths, soundscapes and pads are the main content. The demo provided on Camel Audio’s product page is quite extensive and can give you an idea of the quality and variety of the presets. What I’ve really appreciated is the organic quality of the sound-design and at the same time the fact that they seem to be working well in a mix, unlike what often happens with very rich-sounding sound libraries. There’s definitely a certain ‘nordic vibe’ in these sounds, and thanks to the 8 remix pads possibilities are, as usual with Camel Audio libraries, almost endless. Browsing Iceland presets, it’s easy to go from very beautifully soothing sounds to spooky ones and everything in between.
It’s not just about soundscapes though. Simpler sounds like percussions, bass and keys are included as well, making Iceland a complete library. Definitely recommended, and not just for sound-design purposes.
Dream Voices is probably the most creative product of this trio. Featuring nearly 1.3GB of vocal samples, it shows off the individual character and style of four solo female vocalists (Anna-Lynne Williams, Anneke Kampman, Chantal Acda and Elly May Irving). The samples have been carefully treated by a large group of sound designers (biomechanoid, Martin Walker, Nick Moritz, Ian Boddy, Patchen, Simon Stockhausen, Ole Jeppesen, Andre Ettema, Christian Kjeldsen, Corin Neff, Tasmodia, Himalaya), and while in general I tend to lean towards libraries created by a smaller number of sound designers, Dream Voices is definitely a well focused and solid product.
Needless to say, the human voice is the queen of the show here, but in many cases that’s just a starting point for the creativity of the designers; expect granular-spectral treatments brought to the extreme, making the original samples often completely unrecognisable.
I’ll be honest with you, I’m a sucker for female voices, choirs and such things. If you’re like me (and/or you’re into heavily processed samples), Dream Voices is definitely a worthwhile addition to your Alchemy library.
Water is – not surprisingly – a water-themed library that collects the work of sound designers like Nick Moritz, biomechanoid, patchen preston, Ian Boddy, Chris Sciurba, Himalaya, Martin Walker, bManic, Luftrum, Corin Neff, Bryan Lee and Ole Jeppesen. Approx. 500 Mb of samples, for a wide range of presets that (like in Iceland) cover mostly soundscapes, pads, fx and synths, but offer also percussive elements, bass and harps (including also a Waterphone clone). A pristine recording and a truly creative manipulation of the samples makes this library a must for those musicians and sound-designers looking for a water-inspired sound experience (and not willing to risk their precious microphones under or near the water!).
Personally, (and this is a very subjective thing) while I appreciate the quality behind Water, I find it slightly less appealing than the other two libraries mentioned above. It could be due to the fact that one of my first keyboards was a Korg M1, and after awhile I couldn’t stand that first preset anymore (Universe, with its water-like tail, remember?), who knows?
Again, listen to the demos or check out the helpful YouTube video. I’m sure you’ll be able to tell if this library is your cup of tea or not.
Last but not least, if you have an iPad and you are still wondering (like I was) what the best controller for Alchemy is, I would recommend getting the free Alchemy app and buying the Pro Upgrade ($ 14.99/€13.99). While the free app is a little gem of its own, the Pro Upgrade enables some must-have features like (among many) the possibility to download a mobile version of any desktop Sound Libraries you own for free, and most importantly, allows your iPad to become a remote, wireless controller for the desktop version of Alchemy (be it the plug-in or the Alchemy Player), with all the advantages of having a touch screen to control those remix pads and other parameters. Absolutely recommended!
Another wunder-trio from Camel Audio, for those looking to expand Alchemy’s palette. Couple them with the iPad app for a more dynamic performance, and you’re in sound-design heaven!
$ 59/€49/£39 each
- Creative and varied, perfect to spice up your sound-design options
- Almost endless possibilities, thanks to the sound controls
LOVE IT OR HATE IT
- Oh well, you may get lost in sound