A couple of things:
One, the March issue of Computer Music Magazine is doing a huge Free VST/Sample focus, so you don’t need to speak Japanese to learn all about free VSTs. They’re doing a big tutorial on Synth1, too, which I think is worth reading if you’re interested in Synth1. It’s a pretty powerful free synth that has been around for a while.
Also, if you’re looking for the Alchemy player, CM’s crazy software bundle that comes out each month has the Alchemy Player in it. It’s not the same as the full version of Alchemy, which I love, but it’s better than nothing.
There’s a bunch of other free stuff they stick in there software-wise every month. Most of the “CM” versions are essentially demo versions of real products, with some of the juicier features removed, but you can use them all you want as they are. It’s a good way to demo products you may not even know you might need. (Or you may not need. You won’t know until you mess with them a bit.)
Two, I totally forgot that Alchemy will load SFZ format files. I just spent 20 minutes playing with the violins in SSO, creating a really neat pad in Alchemy with them. It’s dead simple to do, too, since Alchemy supports the format. Such a shame that they got bought out, and we’ll probably never see the new version of Alchemy. Good for them that they got the money, but bad for us, since Alchemy is a brilliant piece of software.
I’m kind of bummed that all of the Alchemy add-ons are unavailable now, but now I can go into my SFZ files and make my own. So it’s part loss, part win.