Author Topic: Passport Alchemy 3.0 (1996 article)  (Read 6125 times)


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Passport Alchemy 3.0 (1996 article)
« on: December 14, 2014, 01:21:27 PM »

Alchemy sample-editing software for the Macintosh has been around for some years now, but after disappearing briefly (as if to gauge its popularity) it's had a facelift and staged a comeback. At least part of the reason for this new lease of life is Digidesign's decision to remove sampler support from its Sound Designer II software. Sound Designer II started out as a sample editor, and allowed you to transfer audio to and from a range of popular samplers, but has now been optimised for editing complete audio recordings rather than short audio samples. This has opened up a niche for Alchemy 3.0, which has been upgraded to support the most popular samplers currently available. I'll run through the new features first, before recapping on the basic package, and offering a few tips and hints on how to get the best from it.


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Re: Passport Alchemy 3.0 (1996 article)
« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2015, 09:01:44 AM »
can someone correct me if im wrong..but..
is it true. noone has a copy of this?
oh wait.. here it is on the garden

this is supposed to be of particular interest to scsi sampler owners


Existing Alchemy users will be pleased to hear about the many useful new features: the Soundfile Info dialogue has been expanded to include a pop-up menu which lets you access all open files, a new Graphical Key remapping function, and loop start/stop information. The Graphic Keymapping provides a quick and easy way to assign pitch ranges to samples using the mouse, while the Loop Information allows you to numerically adjust loop start and end points, or turn loops on or off.

The Process menu also has some additions. For instance, the Pitchshift Dialogue now shows frequency in Hertz and cents, to allow finer adjustments than previously, and the Resample dialogue now features an option to set sample rate conversion based on the period of the sample (ie. how often the waveform repeats itself). If you click the button labelled 'Sample Period', the sample rate is recalculated to an integer multiple of the sample period, which makes looping much easier. Once you've set your loops, you can change the sample rate to suit the particular sampler you are working with -- and that includes any changes you've made.

Talking of looping, Alchemy 3.0 now lets you adjust loop points in the waveform window using the left/right arrow keys on your Macintosh keyboard. Using the modifier keys (Command, Shift and Option) you can edit either the left or right loop points, or move both loop points together. These great features allow you to loop your samples much more quickly, accurately and efficiently before transferring them to your favourite sampler, with the benefit of seeing much more on your Macintosh screen than in any sampler currently available -- including the Roland models, which let you attach a video screen for editing.

Several new commands appear in the Edit menu for selecting harmonics in the Harmonic Spectrum window (the window which appears when you analyse a soundfile). Using these commands, you can select particular harmonic ranges of a sample to cut or shift up or down -- and you can achieve some very useful effects using these features. So, for instance, to create short echo effects, you can select every fourth harmonic and cut these, then select every third harmonic and replace these with the previously-cut fourth harmonics. This will shift portions of the harmonic spectrum down by an increasing factor, and the shift in the higher frequencies will result in that portion of the sound content playing back more slowly -- resulting in the simulated echo effect. Another helpful command is 'Select Less Than', which can be used for selecting all the lower-amplitude harmonics and then clearing them. This will sometimes clean up a sample, resulting in greater clarity.
« Last Edit: April 16, 2015, 11:20:34 AM by chrisNova777 »


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Re: Passport Alchemy 3.0 (1996 article)
« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2015, 10:14:49 AM »
sampler devices mentioned in the manual re: midi/scsi section

ensoniq eps (1988) (over scsi supports sync mode)
e-mu emax (1986)
akai s900 (1988)
e-mu sp1200 (1987)
ensoniq mirage (1984)
cazio fz-1 (1987)
roland s-550 (1986/87)
roland s-50 (1987)
sequential prophet 2000/2002 (1985)
yamaha TX16W (1988)
Oberheim DPX-1 (1987)
E-mu EIII (1987) (over scsi supports sync mode)

about sync mode:
when running these samplers with alchemy over scsi, a special sync mode menu item appears.
in sync mode when you execute an alchemy editing or processing command, the affected part of the sound will automatically be transfered to the hardware sampler without having to execute a send command

more devices supported according to website:
Supported Samplers in Alchemy

The supported samplers that have been tested with Alchemy are:

    AKAI -- S900, S950, S1000, S1100 ( MIDI & SCSI )

    CASIO -- FZ-1, FZ-10, FZ-20

    DIGIDESIGNS -- Sound Accelerator, AudioMedia, AudioMedia II

    E-MU SYSTEMS -- Emax, Emax II, (MIDI, RS-422) SP-1200, EIII

    ENSONIQ -- Mirage, EPS, ASR-10 (MIDI and SCSI)

    KORG -- T1, T2, T3 (SDS)

    KURZWEIL -- K2000 (SMDI)


    ROLAND -- S-50, S-330, S-550 (SDS)
« Last Edit: April 16, 2015, 11:21:11 AM by chrisNova777 »


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Re: Passport Alchemy 3.0 (1996 article)
« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2015, 10:56:32 AM »
it is a program from 1996.. when system 7 was still being used..
but would it work with mac os 8.6 + 9.2 ??
there may be a possibility it requires 7.x

7.5.3    January 1, 1996    Power Macintosh 5400
7.5.3 Revision 2    May 1, 1996    
7.5.3 Revision 2.1    August 7, 1996    Macintosh Performa 6400
7.5.3 Revision 2.2    August 7, 1996    Power Macintosh 9500/200, Performa 6360
7.5.5    September 27, 1996    Power Macintosh 5500

looks like os 7.5.x was current at the time of its release

i was able to find the following requirements info:

System Requirements and Recommendations:

Macintosh II or better with 8 meg of RAM or greater and System 7.0.1, 7.1, 7.5.1, & 7.5.2, 7.5 and 7.6 will work fine, hard disk, and optional interface. (We do not recommend System 7.5.3 or 7.5.3 rev 2, and any shared port Mac's, the powerbook 190 and the powerbook 5300 -- these models were not intended for midi use and require a lot of trouble-shooting).

anyone know the last macs to be able to boot system 7??
7.5 or 7.6 apparently works....
this can be my front end editor for sampling on my s950 sampler!
and it can transfer files over midi aswell (slow but works ok for drum sounds)
« Last Edit: April 16, 2015, 11:28:07 AM by chrisNova777 »


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Re: Passport Alchemy 3.0 (1996 article)
« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2015, 11:18:36 AM »
Alchemy - Macintosh
Alchemy was a sound and sample editing program for the Mac. Still heavily favored by enthusiasts of older sampler keyboards, it was a very good product for a very small number of users.

Alchemy was actually developed for Passport Designs by another company altogether. The support information that follows is provided with no guarantees. We cannot offer any additional support for Alchemy, so please do not contact us for further assistance. Alchemy used a copy protection scheme which included a key disk which was only good for a certain number of authorizations. Unfortunately, we have no remaining stock of Alchemy, and cannot offer replacement key disks. We also are unaware of any procedure for bypassing the copy protection. We are sorry for this inconvenience.

Alchemy Technical Support information

After installing Alchemy I can't get the program to open.

    Alchemy's installation process requires that you run the Passport Authorizer after the initial installation is complete. The installation guide provides detailed information on this process. Be sure that the copy of Alchemy you are trying to install is the copy on your hard drive, NOT the copy on the installation disk. Authorizing to the installer disk may result in the loss of your authorizations.

I have the latest version of the installer and I still can't get the Authorization to function properly.

    There have been a few cases where the new install has not fixed the problem with authorizing Alchemy. While we do not have a definite cause, we have seen some similarities in the cases where the people are still having problems.

    It seems that the biggest culprit here is extensions. We are not kidding when we say that extensions make a difference. Turn them all off by holding down the Shift key when restarting your Mac before you attempt to authorize. Failure to do so may result in loss of your authorization, freezing of your Mac, and other problems.

    If you have all the extensions off and you still do not have any luck, you should look at any modifications you have made to your Mac as possible culprits. While we have not tested with add-ons like accelerators, we have found that on more than one occasion, people with persistent authorization problems have been using an accelerator of some kind. While removing an accelerator is not something that should be done unless you know your Mac well, it would be good to do so (or have someone do it for you) to see if it helps.

When trying to run the Authorizer, the screen freezes up or I get a message that 'Authorization failed'.

    If you have a Power Mac or are running system 7.5.x on any Mac, you may need the updated installer. To check if you have the new installer or not, look at the Alchemy installer Icon (what you would double click on to instal the program). If it says 'installer V1.1' you have the latest version of the installer. If you have the earlier version, you will need to contact Passport's Technical Support staff. Before you do, however, please be sure that you have attempted the authorization with all extensions off.

The sampler I have is not on the list of Alchemy's supported samplers. Will it work?

    In most cases you will be able to transfer data successfully between your sampler and Alchemy whether it is listed or not. Any sampler that supports Sample dump Standard (SDS) should not have any problems sending and receiving data from Alchemy, and all samplers with SMDI capability should function without difficulty as long as they are set up properly. Please refer to the manual for set up guidelines.

The sampler I have is similar to one of the supported samplers, but it is not the exact model. If I choose the similar instrument in Alchemy will I have any problems?

    It is not recommended that you do this. When Alchemy was developed, Passport was in communication with the various manufacturers of the listed devices and designed the program to be able to communicate with the supported instruments specifically. As stated above, other devices will work, but you should not attempt to have Alchemy recognize them as one of the supported samplers. The reason behind this is simple. Although some other samplers may be similar to the ones listed, they will almost surely have some differences which would adversely affect the transfer of data.

I'm having problems trying to communicate via SCSI.

    SCSI communication is covered in the manual, but following is a brief overview of what you need to be aware of.

    Each SCSI device must have it's own SCSI ID. Refer to page 254 for the SCSI Device ID Information table for more information on specific ID's.

    You'll also want to make sure that the SCSI network is terminated correctly and the total length of the cables does not exceed 15 feet.

Offline MacTron

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Re: Passport Alchemy 3.0 (1996 article)
« Reply #5 on: April 16, 2015, 11:40:25 AM »
it is a program from 1996.. when system 7 was still being used..
but would it work with mac os 8.6 + 9.2 ??
there may be a possibility it requires 7.x

Yes it works up to 9.2.2 in a MDD if my memory serves ...
Please don't PM about things that are not private.


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Re: Passport Alchemy 3.0 (1996 article)
« Reply #6 on: April 16, 2015, 11:59:06 AM »
Yes it works up to 9.2.2 in a MDD if my memory serves ...

if its true, thank god
i have too many macs to go and buy a system 7 machine + i cant find any beige macs at all anyway.. anywhere near me.. they have all disssappeared.

i just hope to find a compatible scsi adapter ..
hopefully it can work with an adaptec AVA-2906 which is the card that i have

some notes from the adaptec site:
SCSI and Macintosh

Here are the basic rules of SCSI for Macintosh computers:

Any SCSI device hooked to any Macintosh computer must be powered on the entire time the computer is on. When you connect/disconnect devices you must first shutdown and power off all SCSI devices.

Every SCSI device must have a unique address (ID #) for each SCSI bus. Most Macintosh computers have one SCSI bus. ID numbers must be in the range 0 through 7 (the Macintosh is 7); internal hard drives are set at the factory to ID 0 and internal CD-ROM drives are set to ID 3. "Wide" SCSI cards can support SCSI IDs 0-15, but remember that the card itself needs a SCSI ID; the normal default ID for cards is 7. You can have the same ID on different SCSI buses (e.g. you can use ID 0 on a SCSI card even if the built-in SCSI bus also has a device at that ID).

Termination must be correctly set. The beginning and end of the SCSI chain must be terminated. Internal termination is usually set correctly at the factory and therefore you needn't worry about it when adding external devices. However, some computers have special termination requirements. Check the manual for your computer for any special instructions on termination and SCSI in general. If you add external devices, you simply need to terminate the device physically furthest along the chain from the computer. Active termination is required for Fast and Ultra SCSI, and desirable for regular SCSI as well.

It is important to use good quality cabling and not to exceed the limit of 6 meters (19.6 feet) for regular SCSI. For each cabinet you can estimate a foot of cabling to add to the actual cable length (more with multi-device cabinets). Also add a foot for the impedance change for each cabinet. Fast (and fast & wide) has a limit of 3 meters. Ultra SCSI (Fast-20) has a limit of 3.0 meters for 1 to 4 devices and 1.5 meters (yes, 4.9 feet) for 4-8 devices. We have found that it's best to stay closer to 1.5 than 3 meters.

Hard drives and similar storage devices have a "driver" which was installed when the drive was formatted. The driver is used by the Macintosh computer to access the device. Other storage devices such as CD-ROM drives will have an extension or control panel to act as the driver for that device. It is important that the driver be compatible with the computer and version of Mac OS you have. The company that distributes or publishes the software can provide compatibility information.


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Re: Passport Alchemy 3.0 (1996 article)
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2015, 11:54:19 AM »

english_mac discussed being a big fan of this software

ive just seen it load up 100% fine on mac os 9 ;) great news

transfer modes supported:
mirage midi
eps eps16 midi / scsi
emax midi / rs-422
emax II midi / rs 422
eIII  scsi
sp1200 midi
fz-1/10/20 midi
s900/950 midi
s1000 midi / scsi
s-50 midi
s330 midi
s-550 midi
SMDI scsi
DPM-SP scsi
k2000 scsi
t1/2/3 midi
ASR-10 midi / scsi
« Last Edit: April 17, 2015, 01:02:55 PM by chrisNova777 »

Offline English_Mac

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Re: Passport Alchemy 3.0 (1996 article)
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2015, 12:41:48 AM »
 -afro- dood stop fretting! I run it on 68k OS7 to PPC OS9, I work with it all the time on various 68k OS7 as I use it with 68k based scsi samplers. It suits especially the little classic Macs, it seems to have been designed with the small screens in mind.  :)
In the UK it cost 500 which at the time was a huge amount of money for software, I think the little Macs were just over 1000.

If ya run a vintage scsi sampler, this has got to be worth a look.The manual is superb also (mac'garden).


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Re: Passport Alchemy 3.0 (1996 article)
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2015, 11:29:38 AM »
as noted in my other thread
recycle cannot communicate with ensoniq samplers via scsi (only midi transfers)
i think alchemy can also do scsi to emax samplers which recycle doesnt do.. the oldest emu recycle works for is the esi-32 i think

sorry my mistake emax is rs-422 serial or midi only
« Last Edit: April 21, 2015, 04:24:50 PM by chrisNova777 »

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Re: Passport Alchemy 3.0 (1996 article)
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2016, 02:39:42 PM »
I don't see the Emu-Sp12 on the list. Can anyone confirm if it is compatible with alchemy 3?

Offline geforceg4

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Re: Passport Alchemy 3.0 (1996 article)
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2016, 05:38:52 PM »
I don't see the Emu-Sp12 on the list. Can anyone confirm if it is compatible with alchemy 3?

pretty sure the best app for sp12 is the "drum file" program also for mac

<a href="" target="_blank"></a>

but id say it works because this page says they used the sp12 with alchemy:
All sounds are sampled in 16 bit format by the Emulator III or Sound Tools, and digitally transferred to the SP1200 and SP12 drum machines via Alchemy and Drum File

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Re: Passport Alchemy 3.0 (1996 article)
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2016, 07:28:15 PM »
Thank you! I greatly appreciate the clarification.

Offline widdly

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Re: Passport Alchemy 3.0 (1996 article)
« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2018, 04:09:47 PM »
I got Alchemy running with my Kurzweil k2000.  I was surprised how tightly integrated the sampler support is.  In Alchemy I enter the sample number I want to load from the K2000.  That sample appears in the editor after a second or two.  Then I can edit the sample, set loop points etc.  and store it right back to the k2000.