Apple's professional music-creation app Logic Pro X has just received a big upgrade, and with it is one of the most ambitious software instruments the company has ever released. The highlight feature of Logic 10.2 is Alchemy, a software synthesizer originally developed by Camel Audio before Apple snapped the developer up earlier this year. Alchemy can do a little bit of everything: it can create sounds using samples or multiple types of synthesis, including virtual versions of old-school analog synths. A plethora of filters and modulation options come as part of the package as well, offering a lot of potential sounds but also creating an array of combinations that could be next to impenetrable for many users. However, Alchemy also comes with a clever way of moving between different sounds that can make performing with the instrument as intuitive as swiping your finger across the screen of a tablet.
Different sounds or parameters can be placed across the eight different segments of what Apple is calling the "transform pad." It's a simple grid, but as the user drags their cursor across the segments, the sound mixes and morphs fluidly, leading to what should be a much more playable, experimental experience than just fiddling with a bunch of virtual knobs (though users can dive down into that level of granularity as well). Right out of the box, Logic Pro users will have a lot of terrain to explore: Alchemy comes preloaded with over 3,000 presets.
GarageBand users got a sneak peek earlier this year
The original versions of Alchemy ceased to be available for purchase when Camel Audio closed its doors this past January, but a simpler, streamlined version did made an appearance earlier this year in a recent GarageBand update. While not going under the name Alchemy, the update included the same segmented transform pad, highlighting the give-and-take Apple has been maintaining between the two products. Earlier this year GarageBand also gained the ability to share songs directly with Apple Music Connect, another feature that's coming to Logic today. Taken with the matching update to MainStage, which lets users play Logic's software instruments in a real-time, performance-oriented setting, Logic could now arguably be seen as an all-in-one creation studio, stretching across writing, recording, performing, and distributing music. Apple Music and Connect will need to become a bit more robust to truly earn that moniker, but if you want to check out Alchemy, Logic Pro X 10.2 is available now as a free update for Logic Pro X owners. You might want to make sure you have plenty of disk space available before updating, however: Alchemy comes with a healthy 14GB of additional samples.Verge Video: The art and tech of becoming a DJ