Popular in tropical house, deep house, trap and more, playing sampled vocal stabs is hot right now. In this quick tutorial, I’ll show you how to sample your voice, or use any recorded vocal as a playable Alchemy instrument. Don’t worry if you can’t sing, I’ll show you how to use Logic’s built-in Pitch Corrector to fix your notes before sending them into Alchemy. We’ll first record a quick vocal riff/melody, cut it up, then import the samples without ever having to worry about what MIDI key(s) each of the slices should be mapped to.
Step 1: Sing a Simple Vocal Riff
So start by recording yourself singing a basic vocal melody or riff. Not too long, just a few notes. You can also edit an existing vocal if that’s easier. If you recorded with cycle enabled as I did, you can use quick-swipe comping to find a cool part. Once you have a simple vocal melody edited/recorded flatten it so it’s a single audio region (without takes).
Step 2: Cut Individual Notes
Next, cut up each single note/word you sung or edited. Use the scissor tool for this. Click hold with the scissor tool and cut at each single note or word in the recording. When cutting, cut slightly into the start of each note, or even pretty far into it. This will give the Alchemy instrument a “chopped” feel that hits percussively and sounds cool.
Step 3: Trim and Fade the Ends
Now either adjust the ends so that only that one note plays and there's no silence. Once all regions are adjusted, put a fade at the end of each region. You can do this easily from the Region Parameters window at the top of the Inspector. Select all the regions, then click the More menu and put a small value in the “Fade Out” parameter (see image below).
Step 4: Add Pitch Correction (If Necessary)
If you’re not exactly an accomplished singer you might want to add pitch correction at this point. Even if you are, this adds a cool sort of robotic sound over the separated notes. From the Pitch category of Audio FX choose Pitch Corrector. Determine the key/scale if you don’t already know it, and choose the scale from the Scale menu, and the key from the Root menu. In my example song, I’m in the key of D minor, so I first choose “Natural Minor” as the scale, then D from the Root menu.
Step 5: Save Regions as Audio Files
First, make sure that all the regions (chopped individual notes) are selected, then from Logic’s File menu, on to Export, then choose the Regions as Audio Files option. It will have a number in the beginning telling how many regions you’re about to save. Choose a location to save the files. If you normally save your logic projects as “folder” instead of “project” the default location these regions will end up is in the project’s bounce folder. Remember where you put them, in the next step you’ll be dragging them into Alchemy.
Step 6: Create the Alchemy Instrument
Add a new software instrument and open Alchemy. From Alchemy’s file menu, choose “Clear.” Click onto the Advanced tab and then onto the “A” oscillator source (left top). Where it currently says “saw”, click and choose “Import Audio”. Along the bottom choose “Additive” from the Analysis Mode area. Try out the various ones later, but these are the synthesis methods used to replicate the samples. The far right option will act as a basic sampler does, but the other options re-build the sample into a synthesized version of the original. From the Mapping (also at the bottom) make sure that “Pitch” is selected. Now navigate within Alchemy to the location of the files, and drag them directly to the “Dropzone” area on the right side. Once they show up, choose “Import” from the bottom right corner. If Alchemy detects duplicate notes in the samples you drag in, it will play them at different velocities on the same note! If they’re all different notes, then each one will be placed onto the correct key automatically. However, all of this can be adjusted in the Alchemy’s Source Edit page.
Step 7: Source Edit Tips
If you click the Edit button you’ll be in the Source Editor window that will allow you to adjust the sample start and end, transpose, mapping and more of the individual samples. Each of the rectangles in the Keymap Editor window represent a single sample you dragged in. You can click each one and adjust the notes they play across and what velocity they’re triggered at too. If a sample’s pitch needs to be adjusted, you can do this at the bottom left with the Tune knob.
Here’s a sample of an instrument I made using my own (pitch corrected lol) voice: