Love Serato, Hate iTunes? Meet Alchimie Zinc

Review Summary:

It's simple, quick and effective. It does what it sets out to do, and is a great improvement on command-line predecessors. Overall, I still think the best way to organise your music in Serato is using iTunes (Serato reads iTunes playlists and smart playlists, so you just play from those within the program).

Alchimie Zinc
  • Alchimie Zinc
  • Rating: 4
  • From: Alchimie
  • Price: $29.99
  • Reviewed by:
  • On September 24, 2012
  • Last modified:August 18, 2014
Alchimie Zinc review

File management is never going to be exciting, but if you use a Serato DJ program but hate iTunes, Alchimie Zinc could save you a lot of time.

Review: Alchimie Zinc

If you use Serato ITCH, Serato Scratch Live, or Serato DJ Intro, but you don't use iTunes to organise your music, Alchimie Zinc For Serato program could save you a lot of time when you're organising your music. It solves a basic issue whereby Serato doesn't recognise your hard drive's folder structure. This means you have to set up all your crates and sub-crates again from within Serato to reflect how you keep your music on your hard drive. You also have to put any new tunes in two places every time you add to, rearrange or delete from your collection.

Setting up and using Alchimie Zinc

It's for PC and Mac, and after installation you're shown a simple, clean graphical user interface. For anyone who's tried out one of the two previous programs that could do something similar to this before (Scratch Tools, and ITCH Sync), this will come as a welcome relief, I'm sure. Here's how it works. You have a file system on your computer or external hard drive, right? Maybe you keep a pop music folder, a club tunes folder divided into months and years, a hip hop folder divided into sub-genres, a new and untested folder? Point is you have a preferred way of organising your tunes.

In Alchimie Zinc, you simply do two things. First, you point the program at the root folder (ie "My Music", or "My DJ Music", or whatever folder contains all of the above). Next, you point it at your Serato music folder (_Serato_) within your Serato folder on your computer. Your root folder can be on an external drive, it doesn't matter. That's it - all set up.

Click the sync button, and after a few seconds or minutes (depending on the size of your collection), the program tells you it's completed the sync. Now, open Serato ITCH, Serato Scratch Live, or Serato DJ Intro, and an exact duplicate of all of your crates and subcrates is right there waiting for you.

Alchimie Zinc

You can choose whether you want to back up your existing crates, and also whether to override them before syncing.

There are various options here. You can tell the program to delete previous crates (though this also deletes the "added" date, which some people like to sort by, so be careful). You can opt to take a backup of your Serato library first. There are a couple of other things, but what I've just outlined is basically it. As well as Serato sync, there are other features too. You can sync your songs and crates to a USB stick, for instance, which will be instantly picked up by a copy of Serato running on another machine. This means there is no need to take your PC with you for a jam at a friend's house.

You can add more than one root. So for instance, if you have a completely separate folder for wedding DJ music from your club stuff, it'll play nicely with that. And my personal favourite, you can select the columns and column order you'd like across multiple folders and they'll be reflected faithfully when you open Serato up. That means no more dragging "BPM", "genre" and "key" as the first three columns (it's how I like to roll) on multiple crates whenever you set them up.

Finally, it's possible to print lists of your tunes from right there within the Alchimie Zinc interface. And for those of you who like to categorise and prepare your tunes in dark rooms, there are a number of skins available to suit your mood and ambience.

Conclusion

It's simple, quick and effective. It does what it sets out to do, and is a great improvement on command-line predecessors.

The disadvantages of this program are really the disadvantages of organising your music in actual folders. You can't easily have a tune in more than one place without physically copying it. You can't use smart crates (although there's nothing stopping you setting those up within Serato as well, except with DJ Intro, which doesn't support them). And it's not possible to tag tunes in the same way you can in iTunes (albeit via a workaround).

Overall, I still think the best way to organise your music in Serato is using iTunes (Serato reads iTunes playlists and smart playlists, so you just play from those within the program). One distinct disadvantage of iTunes, though, is that it still doesn't recognise the "key" column, at least at the time of writing, and that's not a problem with Alchimie Zinc.

Nonetheless, combine iTunes with Serato's Smart Crates and some clever tagging using the Grouping column for instance, and you can work out a pretty powerful dynamic crates system that doesn't need a lot of manual updating. However, if you hate iTunes and prefer to organise your tunes the old fashioned way in Finder / Explorer folders (and I know many people do), Alchimie Zinc is pretty much an essential purchase. It'll save you time and keep you better organised. You can grab a limited trial version too to see if it's for you.

Product Summary

Review Summary:

It's simple, quick and effective. It does what it sets out to do, and is a great improvement on command-line predecessors. Overall, I still think the best way to organise your music in Serato is using iTunes (Serato reads iTunes playlists and smart playlists, so you just play from those within the program).

Alchimie Zinc
  • Alchimie Zinc
  • Rating: 4
  • From: Alchimie
  • Price: $29.99
  • Reviewed by:
  • On September 24, 2012
  • Last modified:August 18, 2014

Video Review

Video courtesy of Scratch Live Tutor

Are you a Serato user who's been longing for an app like this? Or do you have your own way of organising your tunes in the program that means something like Alchimie is not necessary for you? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

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Comments

  1. They should open their market by doing this for every mains DJs software that use a database (Traktor, MixVibes).

  2. I’m interested in buying this, but I’m not sure if it’s worth switching from Winamp Pro to this. As far as I can tell, the main advantage of Alchimie Zinc is that you can easily sync your entire music collection to Serato Itch. Are there any other reasons why I should switch?

    • You got it.

    • I’m not sure how you are using WinAmp Pro for your management to Serato, but we have several ways we can assist you further.

      After Phil Morse’s excellent review, we can tell you about a few additional features that can assist the DJ with Serato products.

      1. You can use the “Import Database” feature to bring in any existing Serato Crate structure, add or remove what you want and then use the “Copy to device” feature to copy the complete database and all files in their correct folders to the selected location. This is a very easy way to clean up your existing Serato crate structure and make sure your HD matches exactly.

      2. Once you have your complete Serato Crate structure in Alchimie Zinc and you add new songs or media to ANY folder within the hundreds of folders on the hard drive, you don’t have to worry about your Serato crates not being updated. Alchimie Zinc remembers the last structure you had when you re-open. Simply click “Synchronize to crates” and Alchimie Zinc will “Update” ALL the crates to match the new music or media you downloaded or changed …no matter how many changes have been made.

      3. You can spot any song or directory that is missing within your Serato Structure since the last synch using the “Find Lost Files” feature. This will help you identify if you renamed a folder, moved a file, etc to prevent you from trying to play a song at a gig and finding it is missing.

      Alchimie CO

  3. Itch often hangs & sometimes even crashes with a large itunes library. It’s great that someone has taken the initiative to create an application like this. It’s very sad though, that we have to spend extra cash just for music management. Serato really need to get their act together.

  4. DJ TommyRock says:

    Is this program a way to avoid the broken link issue that iTunes has?

    • Not sure what you’re speaking of.

      • DJ TommyRock says:

        I’ve had some songs suddenly not play in iTunes and show “!” (file can’t be located). So I don’t feel like I can trust iTunes. I use Itch so I was thinking just avoid iTunes altogether and use this program, but don’t know if the same problem would arise within it.

        • It sounds like you’re not importing files into ITunes when you add them to it, so when you later move them, iTunes can no longer find them. It’s iTunes just informing you of this, not an issue with the program itself.

      • DJ TommyRock says:

        Thanks Phil!

  5. You can’t use smart crates in A Z, please explane more, main reason i was thinking of getting A Z was to have my smart crates synced!!

  6. Bryan Cronin says:

    Is this software compatible with Serato DJ?

  7. “You can’t easily have a tune in more than one place without physically copying it.”

    No kidding?

    Deal breaker. Total deal breaker. There is zero interestest for me in any tool that needs to have multiple copies of the same file to have this file referenced in different places. This is nuts, shows a lack of understanding od what a digital library is (i.e. a DATABASE, not a physical library!!) and renders the whole concept moot. As is, the Serato library is a far better tool.

    Also, the more folders and sub-folders you have on your hard disc for your audio files, the more stress it puts on the Serato library. It’s actually a good practise for DJing with Serato, to have the simplest possible directories structure for your audio files on your hard disc.

    So frankly IMO this tool has way more cons than pros.

  8. I give Alchimie a thumbs down, due to the support via email. Still waiting on a response and its been over 2 weeks. I downloaded the Alchimie Zinc on my MacBook and it did not work properly. I will say its not user friendly at all. I just switched from Traktor to Serato, and so far i am not happy. The only thing i can say is i like the DDJ-SX better than the S-4 but the software is not even close to the same. Traktor is so much more powerful.

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