- In medieval times, alchemy was the science of combining elements in the attempt to make gold. So alchemy is quite a fitting name for this instrument because with the incredibly deep synthesis engines, filters, and modulation capabilities, you're able to approach sonic gold by combining up to four sound sources that are built on several possible types of synthesis: oscillation based additive synthesis, spectral granular, wave table, and sample based synthesis. On top of that, the modulation capabilities provide endless ways to create evocative movement and excitement to those sounds.
Finally, the performance section down here allows you to store and save snapshots of various states of the synth and then seamlessly move between those states. Now this is the Advanced tab, where we'll spend more time in the movies to come. In this movie, we'll explore the first page you see, the Browse tab. With such a range of sounds and synthesis options, it could take a lifetime for one person to create a usable library of sounds in Alchemy. Luckily, a deep library is provided here for you and it's nothing to take lightly.
Once you download all of the additional content for Alchemy, which you can do under Logic Pro X, Download Additional Content, and you check the Alchemy Sound Libraries box, you see I've already installed it, you get up to 3,109 presets, as you can see in the top right of the Alchemy Synth. But what's really cool is that these presets are already tagged with key words Categories, Subcategories, Genres, and Timbres as key words and you can search them through those key words to find what you're looking for.
In addition to Category, Subcategory, Genre, and Timbre, you can also tag different presets with things like Articulation, and even the Sound Designer who sound designed it. Right now the only one listed is Apple, but that just kind of indicates to me that in the future there might be more sound designers that are hired to create even more presets and those will show up in future Apple Logic Pro releases. So I'll take this back to Genre for now. And instead of going on and on about how awesome these presets are, I'll just go through some of the patches and let the synth speak for itself.
So under Category, for example, if I chose Soundscapes and then Subcategory Drone, and then Genre Ambient, and for Timbre, I'm going to go for Dark and then it filters those out all of the presets with those key words tagged. And I like this one called Cadence of Triton. Let me just choose that, it loads up the synth with that sound, and I'm going to play a chord on my keyboard and as I play it I'm going to go down here and move around some of the Performance aspects here, which is just basically, these are snapshots of different states of the synth.
But the cool thing is, as you'll see, as you can click and drag and move seamlessly between the different states, not just having to click on each one individually. So let me play this chord and we'll hear the preset and I'll move between the different states. (sinister music) So that's one of the presets under Soundscapes.
Let's explore one of the arpeggiated type of presets. So I'm going to go into Arpeggiated and I'm going to go to Classic, I'm going to choose the Genre of Pop, and I'm going to choose the Phat with a "Ph." And from here it filters them out and then I'm going to choose one called Sweeping Arp. And this is sort of a classic synth sound. Let's see what this sounds like. (upbeat music) So you can get some of those more classic, vintage, analog synth sounds with some nice arpeggiation and movement.
And let's look at one more, I'm going to go into the bass sounds because there's some awesome bass sounds here. And I'm going to choose Electric, Dubstep, and here I'm going to choose Nasty. And over here, there's one called Brawler that I particularly like, so I'm going to in here and I'll play a little simple bass line and we can here some of these different snashots and presets. (ominous music) There's the Nasty Wobble. And you can go down into a Warm Wobble.
(robotic music) I really like Huge, Filthy Bass, personally. (bass guitar music) Or someplace in between, perhaps. Now what's cool is as you work through these, you can rate sounds higher or lower with the handy star section you have here. Right now everything is set to three stars, so if I really like the Brawler preset, I could give it five stars. And then later on, I could find all my five stars and filter by rating.
Another thing you can do is create your own user tags. So here there's a spot for User Tags and if I wanted to create my user tags, maybe I want to put all my favorite basses, so I would go into User Tags and say New Tag. And here I'll enter the name for my new tag, so I'll just call this Scott's Basses, these are the basses I have gone through and loved and I'll click OK. So now this preset has been tagged with that user tag called Scott's Basses and let's say there's another one I like, maybe Chip Tune Lead, I like that one a lot.
I can also designate that with the same user tag as I've done here and if I go up to the column here, I can filter by these user tags. So if we choose the user tag we just created, Scott's Basses, those two bass presets show up there. So you could do that for all your favorite basses and then you could do it later for all your favorite lead synths and so forth and you can have your own user tags associated and you can filter and find your sounds that way. Another thing you can do is add comments of your own to each preset and you might notice that some of the presets already even have comments.
Chip Tune Lead, has a comment that says, "Aftertouch, introduces a rhythm gated pattern." So if I hit a note and push down a little harder, the aftertouch introduces a rhythm, check it out. (bass music) That's just a normal note, I'll push down harder, (staccato music) and we get a rhythm pattern. I wouldn't have known that except I see that in the comments. So comments are good places to talk about what happens within each sound as you programmed it yourself, or this one was programmed and it provided a comment already for us, which is great.
Now, if you don't like this browser and this way of looking for sounds, there are a couple of other ways to find the sounds. One of them is just the Master List up at the top here. If I click in here, once I get out of this particular user tag, if I go back to All for everything, then I click up here and I have every sound available in Alchemy, all 3,109 presets in alphabetical order with numbers starting first. Now that's one way to do it. Another way is to click in the arrow here, you get these categorized by different styles, right? So Atmospheric, Cinematic, and you'll see this same menu mimcked up here in the just the sort of normal instrument preset menu that comes with any instrument in Logic.
I click in here, I have those same ways to get to those sounds, those presets through the traditional Logic Instrument browser. Now each preset, we looked at is already customized with a preset Performance section at the bottom of the plugin window. And these are preprogrammed snapshots and it's also the same section that stands alone when you click the Simple tab, it just basically filters everything out so you only see this Performance section.
And as you heard, I was moving around and altering the sounds with the Performance section. We'll get more into this in some movies to come. But what I also want to show you is that this Performance section shows up as Smart Controls like you would see any other Smart Controls inside your Logic main arrange window. So if I close the plugin here and I click on the track and I open up the Smart Tools for that track, you see the first part of the performance area and if I hide the inspector over here, I can open this up, it's actually making it smaller is the way you do this, you make it smaller, it actually widens it and you get to see the whole Performance section in your Smart Controls here just like you would in the synth.
So if I go back to the synth, you see it's basically the same controls as we saw down here. But as Smart Controls, once I have arranged my windows I can see it, you get those as your traditional Smart Controls right in your arrange window. So that's an introduction to Alchemy as well as some insight on how to browse through all the 3,000 plus presets. In the next movie, we'll explore the Performance section in detail.
Join Scott Hirsch as explores features from the most recent versions. He guides you through using the Touch Bar, Track Alternatives, selection-based processing, the Alchemy and Gobbler integration, flex pitching, and more. Learn how to work offline with the Share to GarageBand option. See how to use the Drum Machine Designer to apply new arrangement marker techniques. Discover how to back up and share your Logic projects with the outside world using the new integration with Gobbler and Apple Connect. Take a look at new overlapping recording modes for both cycle and non-cycle modes. Tour an improved Retro Synth and the brand-new Mellotron software instrument along with powerful MIDI editing and sequencer features in the revamped Piano Roll Editor. Preview the enhanced mixer which now comes with VCA faders and easy viewing of your Track Stack components. Many more enhancements are also explored as Scott covers the capabilities found in these upgrades.
Skill Level Intermediate
Q: This course was updated on 09/08/2015. What changed?
A: We added a brand new chapter called "What's New in 10.2?" that covers Alchemy and Gobbler integration, sharing on SoundCloud and Apple Connect, new drum loops and genres in Drum Designer, editing improvements, and the new arrangement markers in Logic Pro X 10.2.
Q: This course was updated on 03/01/2016. What changed?
A: We added six movies to cover the new features in Logic Pro X 10.2.1, including flex pitching and Drum Machine Designer enhancements. See Chapter 3 for the complete list.
This course was updated on 02/23/2017. What changed?
The features in 10.3 are now included as topics of this course.
Q: This course was updated on 03/23/2018. What changed?
A: New videos were added that cover what’s new in Logic Pro X 10.4.