|Price (MSRP)||€99 / $99|
|Type / Tags|
- Synthesis method: Subtractive hybrid.
- Each patch contain two 'scenes' which are separate instances of the entire synthesis engine (except effects) that can be used for layering or split patches.
- Category based patch-browser.
- 3 oscillators/voice.
- 5 versatile oscillator algorithms: Classic, Sinus, Wavetable, S/H Noise and Audio-input.
- The classic oscillator is a morphable pulse/saw/dual-saw oscillator with a sub-oscillator and self-sync.
- Most algorithms (all except sinus and audio-input) offer up to 16-voice unison at the oscillator level.
- Oscillator FM/ring modulation.
- All oscillator algorithms are band-limited yet they still cover the entire audible spectrum.
- Noise generator with variable spectrum.
- Two filter-units (7 different configurations).
- Feedback loop.
- Available filter-algorithms: LP12, LP24, LP24L (ladder filter with 1-4 poles), HP12, HP24, BP, Notch, Comb+, Comb-.
- Waveshaper (5 shapes).
- 12 LFO-units available to each voice (6 are running on each voice and 6 are shared for the scene).
- DAHDSR envelope generators on every LFO-unit.
- 7 deformable LFO-waveforms + 1 drawable/step-sequencer waveform.
- Fast and flexible modulation routing. Almost every continuous parameter can be modulated.
- 8 effect units arranged as 2 inserts/scene, 2 sends and 2 master effects.
- 9 algorithms: Delay, Reverb, Chorus, Phaser, EQ, Distortion, Conditioner (EQ, stereo-image control & limiter), Rotary speaker, Frequency shifter.
Reviewed By mat42291
November 29, 2014
I bought this synth in 2013. I love this synth. I've played around with a lot of other synths and I just always come back to surge. Why? I actually have fun programming sounds. I don't want to open up a synth and feel like making something is a chore. At the end of the day it doesn't matter how much power a synth has if I'm fighting with the interface. It seems like today people are so obsessed with the next big thing and power, that simplicity and ease of use is seriously overlooked.
Surge has it's own character. You either hate it or love it. I'll admit at first I was a little put off by its harsher sound, but with a little tweaking you can definitely get some warmth from it. I find it's incredibly flexible and a great all rounder synth.
The other thing that's great is Surge finds a balance between being too heavy in a mix and too thin. When I design sounds I want them to fit. When previewing a patch alone in surge it might not pop out at you, but 9/10 it'll fit in the mix with minimal tweaking. I'm not a fan of the presets that sound amazing on their own, but eat up the whole spectrum that happens a lot on other synths. With Surge it's like fitting pieces of a puzzle together and when the track comes together it's sonically beautiful.
This synth strikes the perfect balance between being complex enough to make some awesome sounds and being user friendly enough so you spend more time making music and less time fighting with the software.
If you're thinking about buying Surge, don't hesitate. This is a beautiful synth with so many possibilities and an interface that just makes sense.Read more
Reviewed By Introspective
June 20, 2012
I've owned Surge for quite a few years.
I bought Surge as a replacement for Z3ta+, which I found I was missing after switching to OS X. In particular, I missed the ability to modulate the wave-shape the way Zeta used to. Surge is not as flexible as Zeta in this regard, but it's nice to have some of those features back. I also liked the wavetable capabilities.
That said, I found that I really loved the straight saw sounds out of Surge: they are "crispy"... and while they have a slightly digital feel to them, I really like the tone. Dial up the "Happy" patch for an example. (And though Surge offers three variants of tone toward the top of the interface, I never truly found this tweak to make a big enough difference to be worth using.)
Surge is also adept at handling a myriad of other "digital" sounds... particularly FM. Though this won't replace FM8, it does have some great capabilities in this department, making it my second-favorite FM synth.
The presets are good... though they are not going to make you jump out of your seat, they cover a lot of territory, including basic sounds and really far-out stuff. Claes did a good job, here.
The UI is reasonable. Strange colors, a blocky, windows-like feel... but puts most of what you need in a very small space. I don't especially enjoy editing the FX, however (and by and large, I don't like the FX compared to other synths). Modulation routing is brilliant... one of my favorite synths for this kind of editing. Modulation in general is Surge's trump card: great possibilities with strong LFOs, good envelopes, a decent step-sequencer, and other tricks up its sleeve. The two synths that I find Surge most comfortably compares itself to (at least that I own) are Massive and Largo. ...another two wavetable synths. I own both, and I find myself reaching for them more often than Surge largely because of their UIs. Largo also sounds better, in general (better filers, particularly with drive), and is more flexible. Massive has a larger bass presence, but sounds much more digital than Surge. Massive's modulation routing is also one step up from Surge's, since you can see destinations immediately rather than having to click on each source. ...That said, Surge is capable of modifying the same destination with more modulators, if you need that sort of thing.
The sound of Surge is, overall, good. Not stellar, and it has a hard time competing with more modern synths. As a result, I've really stopped using Surge much. I still have a couple of weird sounds waiting to throw into a track here and there, and I certainly haven't uninstalled it, but I generally don't find Surge capable of keeping up with its competitors. I think it sounds about as good as Massive (though not for bass, where obviously Massive wins). Largo sounds better (again: it's the filters), but when you put Surge next to the most modern synths (Diva, ElectraX, Dune, Zebra, etc)... it's just not as "sweet".
That said, there are a few "weird" lead sounds that I really love in Surge and would be hard to reproduce in other synths ("Back to Tyrel", for example), and will probably make me keep it installed moving forward. ...I also just find Surge "fun". :) It's a synth with an attitude of its own, and I respect that.
Lastly, I'll say that of all the synths I own (about 20), Surge is in my top three for the number of patches I've written for it. It's a synth that invites editing.
I'm glad I own it. ...But I'm afraid I would steer people away from it, unless you're already well-stocked with the better modern synths. If you're looking for something quirky to add to an already-robust collection, then I heartily recommend it: Surge has a character and "spunk" that I'm sure you would enjoy.
FWIW, you can hear Surge presets being used in some of Infected Mushroom's more modern stuff, to give you an idea of how professional it can sound. ...if you like that kind of thing.
I should also mention that I've never had Surge freeze or crash on me, even though I've certainly put it through its paces.Read more
Reviewed By dasdeck
June 28, 2010
this is the part i like best about surge. the user interface is the best i've come across! its so fast to work with, yet i like its vibe.
The sound is high quality, thought i find it to tend to be a bit "hard" or "harsh" sounding. its very clean and precise, wich is good and bad. good if you like controll, bad if you like good sounding accidents.
I find the future set quite complete. it has multiple synthesizing methods, wavetable, VA and FM, internal fx and flexible routing and modualation abilitys.
never needed it as far as i remember. the userinterface's workflow worked quick with me. i'm very quick, when it comes to grasp ui concepts in general thought.
i did not like the presets at all to be honest. so i never use them. i find the style of them kind of sterile and computer game alike. there are 3rd party ones thought, plus you can get additional wavetables.
i may release some of my presets too!
mhh..i guess the company is not dead, but not that active either.
the last update was some time ago as far is i remember.
Value For Money
a solid product for a fair price.
i havily use this plugin almost dayly, so it should speak for itself that i can barely remember any issues i had with it. there where some thought. but non casual ones (aka. no crash, just little quirks). but i don't even remember what it was!
thats it for now!
if you want a nice, all over solid quality synth with a killer workflow, get surge!Read more
Reviewed By megadeth
November 5, 2009
The last review is old, so i wanted to say : it still alive ;)
I will not enter the technical domain, all is already written
This synth can do anything : bass, lead, arp, pad, FX ... and more :D
The versatility is very huge (i totaly dislike bass only synths or pads only)
It is sounding very huge and fat (that's the first thing you will feel)
But the modulations, arp, effects...can make it strange, mysterious, twisted...too
It is not the usual virtual analog with 70's feel, nor the cold digital modern sound, but all of them at the same time ;)
It is full of stock presets (1010 patches for now), so you will find anything from bread and butter sounds to experimental digital FX
Another important thing is inspiration : i found a lot of inspiring presets to start a song
Conclusion : this is a very good sounding synth, with a lot of routing and modulation possibilities, can do any kind of style or sounds...and the price is very nice too !!!
you don't need to trust me, you can download the demo and listen to demo samples ;)Read more
Reviewed By kuniklo
January 28, 2006
Surge owes most of that flexibility to its oscillators. Unlike most synths that require you to coordinate two or more oscillators and a handful of modulation routings to move beyond a vanilla saw or pulse waveform, each of Surge's oscillators can do as much as most synths' entire oscillator bank. Each osc can run in a standard VA-style mode or in wavetable mode. In VA mode each oscillator provides modulatable shape, width, sub-oscillator level and width, self sync and detunable unison. In wavetable mode each osc provides modulatable shape, skew, saturation and format controls. This flexibility makes it a snap to create new timbres with a minimum of work. Surge also provides inter-oscillator ring modulation and limited FM routing to allow an even wider range of sounds.
Surge provides two multimode filters with arbitrary oscillator routing, several feedback loop modes and a complete array of filter types, from basic lp/bp/hp filters to comb filters and an unusual sample and hold filter for glitchy digital sounds. Sonically the filters aren't quite in the class of the very best vsts like impOSCar or Minimonsta but they still sound great. A bank of different wave shapers provides many options for dirtying up the sound.
In addition, Surge comes with one of the most comprehensive arrays of effects available on any synth, including not only the usual delay/chorus/reverb but also very useful pitch shifter and distortion effects. These can be used as inserts or routable sends and sound very good for onboard effects. Surge provides a simple preset system for effects which makes it quick to get back a favorite setting. Unlike most onboard effects, most effect parameters are modulation targets themselves.
Instead of hardwired lfos and envelopes, each modulation source can operate as an lfo or an envelope or as a simple step sequencer. The standard lfo waveforms can be further shaped by per-lfo deformation and envelope controls, making it possible to create the kind of complex modulation shapes that require multiple mod matrix entries in more conventional designs.
The thing that really sets Surge apart from other synths in this class with similar feature lists is it's phenominal UI. All the available modulation sources are laid out as small buttons at the bottom of the interface. Setting up a modulation routing is as simple as clicking on one of these sources and then clicking and dragging on the target control to set the degree of modulation. Suble highlights on the controls and mod sources give a quick overview of existing modulation routings. It's hard to appreciate how much faster and easier than a typical mod matrix approach is until you've spent some time working with it. It makes the whole process so effortless that you're much more likely to experiment with different routings and to come up with new sounds. In combination with the extremely flexible and modulatable oscillators there simply is no better synth for quick, on-the-fly sound design and tweaking. If you like to build sounds from scratch in the middle of a tracking session or you tend to extensively tweak sounds as you work them into a track you'll find Surge to be your new secret weapon.
CPU usage is quite moderate. The included documentation is somewhat minimal but covers all the features well enough and is more detailed and polished than that of most small-developers. In many hours of use I've yet to encounter a single bug or crash using Surge, in any combination of features. Surge isn't tied down by any annoying and counter-productive copy protection.
I can really only make one complaint about Surge, and it's that the bundled preset library, while good, doesn't really show Surge at its absolute best. There's plenty of good bread & butter sounds and a nice assortment of more exotic patches too but compared to synths like Blue or z3ta, the lack of top-notch professional sound designers shows. Hopefully Claes will be able to commision some sound design from someone like BigTone in a subsequent version. If you prefer synths with a big library of ready-to-use professional sounds then Surge might not be for you but otherwise Surge is simply a big step ahead of all the competition. It's not inexpensive but compared to everything else in its price bracket Surge is worth every penny. More than anything else released in 2005 it shows that the real innovators in the vst world are still the small independent developers.Read more