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Digital Subscriptions > MusicTech > Sep-16 > Movement sounds in Alchemy

Movement sounds in Alchemy

Alchemy’s flexible architecture and wealth of modulation options can create sounds with a surprising sense of movement. Mark Cousins gets animated…

Technique Movement sounds in Alchemy

Having a synthesiser as powerful and as flexible as Alchemy residing in Logic is a joy for any sound designer or musician working in the field of electronic music. From gritty analogue basses to shimmering digital pads, there are few sounds Alchemy can’t turn its hand to. One of Alchemy’s most interesting areas, though, is in the realm of ‘movement’ sounds – whether it’s a tempo-synced pulsating pad, or ‘one finger’-type patches that produce a complete musical hook from a single key. Although there’s plenty of preset fodder in this department, it’s well worth understanding the variety of techniques that can be used to add movement to your own sounds.

New movement

When it comes to adding ‘movement’ to an Alchemy patch, you have a variety of approaches that you can take, each offering different advantages and sonic possibilities. Put simply, movement is created using a variety of modulation sources – like an LFO, for example, or step sequencer – routed through to one or more destinations within the patch. In most cases, the primary destination is usually filter cutoff to produce an exciting timbral movement, although you might also want to use the amplifier and/or the pitch of the oscillators as two alternative choices.

The first choice for movement in a patch has to be a tempo-synced LFO, of which Alchemy can use multiple instances of in any single patch. Once you’ve assigned an LFO, there are a few parameters worth particular attention. Sync, of course, is the all-important means of locking the LFO’s movement to the tempo of your project, with rate then working in a variety of music divisions, like 1/8th or 1/16th. For the LFO’s shape parameter, you’ll want to pick one of the simple waveshapes like Ramp Down (which in this application sounds like a continuously re-triggered envelope generator), sine or square waveshapes.

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About MusicTech

The new issue of MusicTech is all about mastering your music, and mastering it for everywhere! These days you have to master for various outlets so your music needs to sound professional not just in the studio but online too. We have guides to the whole process, the whys, and hows. We also interview leading mastering engineers about the joys of vinyl mastering and other challenges modern mastering experts face. There's well over 1GB of free samples on the DVD plus 2 hours of tutorials and a bumper set of reviews and workshops too. Make music and master it now!