Camel Audio's Ben Gillett (left) with EM's Geary Yelton
Camel Audio Alchemy 1.09 (Mac/Win, $249)
There was a bumper crop of excellent soft synths this season, but Camel Audio Alchemy was the overwhelming favorite among our reviewers and editors. It draws on multiple synthesis techniques—additive, spectral modeling, granular and sample playback—to perform its alchemist's magic. Four sound sources and a robust modulation scheme, including multisegment envelopes, step sequencing and arpeggiation, allow for a broad range of timbres. A simplified Performance view makes Alchemy a pleasure to play, and if programming is not for you, you'll find more than 750 presets in the factory and add-on sound banks.