How To Use The Sample Alchemy In Logic ProNov 29, 2023
With each new major update, Apple adds a bunch of new tools and features to Logic Pro for free. Originally released on the iPad version of Logic Pro, the Sample Alchemy virtual instrument has found its way to the Mac version with the 10.8 update.
One of Logic Pro’s most significant advantages compared to other popular digital audio workstations (DAWs) is its extensive library of high-quality stock plugins and software instruments. And now, with the newest addition to its arsenal, Logic Pro 10.8 is more powerful and versatile than ever.
The sample Alchemy is a powerful virtual synthesizer that allows you to use a single sample to create a unique playable instrument. The basic idea behind it is similar to the Quick Sampler software instrument in Logic but with a lot more tools, features, modulation effects, and synthesizer modes.
The interface for this software instrument has a lot to digest at first glance. But don’t worry; I’m here to break it down for you! So, with no further ado, let’s dive deep into the world of Sample Alchemy in Logic Pro.
Getting Started: Learn The Basics
First, let’s add a new MIDI software instrument track in Logic and boot up Sample Alchemy:
- Press “OPTION + COMMAND + N” to add a new track to your Logic session.
- Select “MIDI Software Instrument” and click “Create.”
- Press “I” on your keyboard to open the inspector menu.
- Click the instrument slot and select “Sample Alchemy.”
Make sure you have downloaded Logic’s sound library so that you can use presets inside Sample Alchemy. Here’s how you do it:
- From the top-left corner of your screen, click “Logic Pro.”
- Hover your pointer on “Sound Library” and click “Download All Available Sounds.”
Let’s open the Sample Alchemy and load up a preset. For this tutorial, I’ll load the “Angelic Guitar Pad.”
In the top-left corner of the interface, you have four source buttons (1) labeled as A, B, C, and D. These are sound-generating modules positioned on the waveform of your sample. You can add or remove them as you want. You can click the “Mixer” button to adjust volumes on these sources individually.
From the top center, you can choose different play modes (2). If you choose the Loop mode, you can only choose up to two sources on your sampled track. The scrub mode allows you to treat handles across the waveform to trigger it as if scrubbing through tape. The Arp mode lets you generate repeating patterns of notes that cycle through different sections of the sample.
The bottom section is divided into three menus. The first one on the left controls the playback speed, pan, and pitch of each individual sound source on the wave format. You can select each source (3) and change according to what sounds best.
Then, you have different options for how Sample Alchemy synthesizes the sound. You can choose between Granular, Additive, or Spectral.
Granular is that it breaks the sound into tiny pieces (grains), and all of them will play instead of just one. This creates a diffused sound effect as if more than one source is going on simultaneously for each snippet.
Additive creates additional sound wave oscillator tones that enrich the sample with additional harmonics.
Lastly, the Spectral allows you to create different harmonics and filtered noise signals to create a synthesis from your original sound.
You can choose a filter to EQ your sound in the bottom right. If you’re not familiar with EQ filters, click here to learn about how to EQ in Logic Pro.
More Advanced Tools And Features In Sample Alchemy
Once you’re more familiar with the basic structure of Sample Alchemy, you can go ahead and get into more details.
Similar to the Quick Sampler, you can drag and drop any sample you want into the Sample Alchemy’s interface. Another way you can use custom sounds is to drag and drop them into the Track Header area and choose Sample Alchemy as the new track.
Once you’ve uploaded your sample, you can select “Trim” from the top-left corner of the Sample Alchemy’s interface to adjust the length of your sample. Moreover, you can change the snap mode from “Auto” to “Off” to move start and stop points around freely. Choose “Transient” for snapping the handles to transients in your sample.
Lastly, I want to talk about the tools at the top-right corner of Sample Alchemy’s interface. If you’ve chosen the “Bow” mode, Increasing Attack and Release can help you create a sound similar to a synth pad. More Decay creates a more atmospheric sound, which is ideal for background synthesizers.
Final Thoughts On Using The Sample Alchemy In Logic Pro
Sample Alchemy opens many creative doors for producers to manipulate sounds in fun and innovative ways. There’s not a fixed approach to using it. Most of the tools available in this software instrument are things that you should just try them out and listen to get a feel of what they do. So, I recommend investing some time into learning how you can use Sample Alchemy within your workflow because the possibilities that come along with it are truly endless.
For more lessons on music production, mixing, mastering, and songwriting, check out my Free 6 Pillars To Learn Logic Pro Faster guidebook.