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Sampler/Sample Player Plugin by Surge Synth Team
No Longer Available

Shortcircuit has an average user rating of 4.50 from 6 reviews

Rate & Review Shortcircuit

User Reviews by KVR Members for Shortcircuit

Reviewed By keyman_sam [read all by] on January 5th, 2008
Version reviewed: 1.1.6 on Windows
groups-->multi. Thats it. There's a plethora of filters available, and the modulation matrix is a monster. Each sample gets 2 filters, 2 EGs, 3 step sequencers, 2 lag generators, and an envelope follower. The modulation matrix has 12 slots with a huge list of modulation source and destinations. Each sample also has a waveform view. Making multisamples out of samples is pretty darn easy - just drag and drop, and SC will take care of the rest. It'll scan the filenames for possible root key information, and if it finds it, it'll map them out (for ex : Piano C1, Piano G1, Piano Bb1 will get mapped automatically according to their root note). It has a beat slicer for drum loops. Oh wait - that's a whole different world.

SC has a wonderful slicer with automapping. As you slice a drum loop, it'll automatically map it out to keys, and you can select "splits->zones" to chop up your samples to various zones, mapped to the keys. You can create some REALLY lo-fi grunge beats with this sampler, using just the filters. You can also do glitch, DnB, Techno, and pretty much everything out there. It doesn't have Disk streaming, which makes sense perhaps because all those modulations require reading off from the RAM. You can even modulate the sample start and the loop length. In short, Shortcircuit is sooo deep, and yet soo simple to use, that a caveman can start making beats with this. Not to mention the variety of sample formats it loads such as SF2, rex, battery, akai S5000/6000, sfz and ofcourse wave and aiff.

Did I mention its free? Free or commercial, this is one of the best samplers out there and it begs to be tweaked. Two thumbs up for vemberaudio for making this excellent sampler and giving it away as a freebie.

Click here to read all 6 reviews

Comments & Discussion for Surge Synth Team Shortcircuit

Discussion: Active
capn slugo
capn slugo
17 July 2012 at 2:32am
Short-circuits 1.1.2 is simple, sounds awesome and is the only software sampler I want to use to replace my old hardware samplers. I use Kontakt 5 and battery for their libraries but I find them to a huge drag to setting up custom instruments. SC1 not only sounds better and everything is right where it should be. ..... until you want to change patches/kits/programs. I'm having difficulty getting any info on how to do it or whether it's even possible.

Is there a way to change patches/presets via program change in Shortcircuit ?


ANY info would be greatly appreciated.


6 November 2013 at 2:05pm

Is it a joke???

Just before the beginning of the specifications the text says "...phase-modulation (better known as FM)..."

Are you really serious!? Don't you know that there is absolutely not any relation between phase modulation (exactly the term is "phase distortion") and frequency modulation ???

Absolutely nothing to do between the techniques of phase modulation and frequency modulation!!.

With such a confusion I really doubt that you know exactly the synthesis techniques you employ in this VST apart the use of samples!!! It is probably a good (even excellent) sampler... but doing a so obvious confusion between phase modulation and frequency modulation is very, very, very strange for users who master one (or both) of these two techniques!!.

6 October 2014 at 6:12am

BlackWinny, with all due respect, you are the one who is confused. For sine wave carriers and modulators, PM and FM are essentially the same -- Yamaha used PM in the DX-7 but called it FM, for example. You can find many references on this subject. Here is one example:


"Phase distortion" is just Casio's marketing name for Phase Modulation BTW.

9 February 2014 at 2:18am

"It has a beat slicer for drum loop"

for pity's sake, can someone tell me where this 'slicing' function is??

i am about to give up on this entirely it's so frustrating...

help please?


9 February 2014 at 5:25pm

Set the button saying "forward" to sliced and add slices with Ctrl + Left Mouse.

10 February 2014 at 9:28pm

ok, that's a great help. however i am now stuck on how to assign the slices into zones?

at the moment, even though the slices are mapped to a key each, i cannot seem to select a single slice to edit. all i have is the whole loop, i cannot isolate each individual slice... if i COULD i think i would be a very happy shopper indeed : /.

( here is a screengrab of what i have at the moment: https://www.dropbox.com/s/m04v5u98ktoftks/shortcircuit_grab.jpg)


2 October 2020 at 6:27am

It's easy, each slice is a zone but all shar the same settings the base sampler has.

Anyway, you can use the "convert slices to zones command" available in the right click context menu (or someway similar).

19 August 2014 at 6:29pm

If you look here:

http://forum.vemberaudio.se/index.php/topic, 1238.0.html.

You will find a downloadable Shortcircuit knowledge base ;-) Many answers to yet unasked questions :)

4 December 2018 at 7:40am

Dear Developer, please put out a x64 Version of it, so is for EVERYONE ACCESSABLE.

It's time.

Thank you for understanding.

24 January 2019 at 12:34pm

Very cool software! I would like to know how can I make slices on ShortCircuit2. On ShortCircuit1, all I had to do was Ctrl+Left click, which would then create a new slice, or Right click and then select one of the option for slicing, like in this image :


But on ShortCircuit2, I can't do neither of those things, I can only move an "H" cursor.



4 February 2019 at 11:22pm

Dear Vember Audio, please consider also open sourcing Short Circuit so that it can be updated! Thanks.

5 February 2019 at 3:57am

Yes please. Would be great.

8 July 2019 at 9:34pm

I did email Claes about this (he of bitwig) to ask if he'd consider making it open source, but I'm sure he's too busy to do anything about it, alas. I'd think there's probably either code in shortcircuit that he doesn't want people to see or use.

It's a pity as shortcircuit is the only sampler I use, and the only VST that I use via jBridge, which - while it works - isn't ideal for a number of reasons. I'd love to get just an x64 version, and one with a scalable UI would be perfect.


18 February 2019 at 4:51pm

It seems that the developer's website is offline... for those looking for the plugin download, you can get it at vstplanet.com or search it in the internet archive.


2 October 2020 at 5:09pm


Getting Started with Shortcircuit,
a Freeware Software-Sampler (Windows VSTi)

There's strictly no warranty for the correctness of this text.
You use any of the information provided here at your own risk
Shortcircuit was created as a reaction against the ongoing trend where software samplers are being designed with the primary intent of library playback.
It is intended for people who, like us, consider a sampler to be a musical instrument in its own right, and not just a way to emulate other instruments. It has been a very high priority to make sure that adding and editing individual samples is as fast and logical as possible.
The sample hierarchy in shortcircuit allow you to place samples directly at the highest level of the multi, without having to deal with instrument hierarchies and patches. Want to add a sample to your song? Just drag & drop the sample into shortcircuit and you're ready to go. Samples can be put in groups for multi-sampling and kit-building, but the complexity is only there when you need it
Sound quality is of highest concern, and shortcircuit uses very high-quality interpolation to ensure that your samples sound as good as the source material, regardless of the pitch you play them at. All filters & effects are calculated at the precision required for them to sound the way intended and oversampling are used when required to prevent aliasing.
Shortcircuit was designed to sound great, all other concerns have been secondary. But don't take our word for it, download 'shortcircuit free' and find out for yourself.
Each voice in shortcircuit features two filter-slots, and the selection isn't limited to the traditional pick. In addition to the regular lowpass/highpass/bandpass/notch & peak-filters and variations thereof there is an array of filter algorithms (not strictly filters in the traditional sense, but called so because of their location in the audio path) including distortion, parametric/graphic/morphing equalizers, bit-reduction/decimation, gating, limiting, slew-rate distortion, ring-modulation, frequency shifting and phase-modulation (better known as FM). The selection even includes analog-style oscillators that you can mix with the sample.
Original text copied from:

About Shortcircuit
Loading a Sample
Setting the Zone Range. Defining Keyboard-Splits
Setting Values in the Entry-Fields
Setting the Pitch of a Sample with the Entry-Field "root key"
Setting the Volume of a Sample in the "output"-section
Panning the Samples
Soloing a Sample
Looping a Sample
Saving the Sampler's Data. File-Format: XML.

1. About Shortcircuit
Shortcircuit is a software sampler, a VSTi for Windows 32, by the Swedish company Vember Audio. As it has has been discontinued, it can now be downloaded for free. The version to use is Shortcircuit, version 1.1.2.
There has also been a version 2.x, but it hasn't been fully developed, so it shouldn't be used.
Usually, you run VST-instruments (such as Shortcircuit) from inside a DAW ("Digital Audio Workstation"), a music-application such as Cubase, Ableton or Reaper.
Here's a screenshot of the VST. In the following, I'll often refer to it from now on:

The screenshot makes Shortciruit look rather uninviting. But remember: When you first saw an Emulator II, the word "beautiful" probably wasn't the first thing that came to your mind. Maybe samplers just look kind of prosaic at first glance. Maybe that's normal. Maybe that's a good sign.

2. Loading a Sample
The first step to use Shortcircuit is loading a sample. In the upper left part of the user interface (see screenshot above) is a small button "load". When it is clicked, the open-file-dialog opens, where you can select a sample.

Shortcircuit can handle wav-files of different formats. Not just "44.1 kHz 16-bit mono", but also formats like "48 kHz, 32-bit float, stereo" for example.
You can use the key 'a' to listen to the loaded sample.

3. Setting the Zone Range. Defining Keyboard-Splits
In Shortcircuit, a sample is contained in a "zone" (all the samples loaded at the moment are called a "multi"). The term "zone" refers to the zone of the sample on a music-keyboard. Think about splits of your music-keyboard:
In the "zone range"-section of the user interface (in the upper part, more on the leftern side; see screenshot), the zones of the samples on the music-keyboard are defined.
On the leftern side, you see the entry-fields "low key", "root key" and "high key" there:

With "low key", you set, where the keyboard-zone of a sample starts. And with "high key" where it ends.
1.- Single ZONE: Play a single sound across the whole range of the keyboard, a piano-sample from C0 to C7 for example. Then there aren't any splits of the keyboard.
Load the piano sample, and then set
low key: C0
high key: C7
And you're done: You can play the piano-sample all across the keyboard. Because the zone of sample on the keyboard is then defined from C0 to C7, which should be the whole range of the keyboard.
2.- Split Zone: Play a bass-sound in the lower region of the keyboard, let's say from C0 to B1, and a piano-sound in the upper region, from C2 to C7. That means, there would be one split of the keybard.
In this case, you would set
Bass sample
low key: C0
high key: B1
Piano sample
low key: C2
high key: C7
3.- Multi Zone/Drumkit. Play a sample just on one key, a bassdrum on C1 and multiple other sounds on other keys, like a snaredrum-sample on D1, a closed hi-hat on F#1 and so on. Then there would be multiple splits of the keyboard.
For the drumkit, you would set
Bass Drum sample
low key: C1
high key: C1
Snare Drum sample
low key: D1
high key: D1
Clap Sample
low key: D#1
(Generalmidi spec distributes drumkit sounds using a fixed scheme)
It's not that complicated, really. And it's extremely flexible. Do you remember, how cool it was, that you could realize just one keyboard-split on the Roland Jupiter 8? Or how Alan Wilder (of Depeche Mode) had several sample-zones on his E-Mu Emax in the movie "101"? Well, Shortcircuit gives you just that. In two tiny entry fields.

4. Setting Values in the Entry-Fields
There are several ways to enter values into the entry fields (like the entry field "low key").
1.- You can double-click on the entry field. Then you can enter a value with the computer-keyboard, then in the form of a number.
2.- You can click on the entry field and at the same time move the mouse to the left or to the right. This decreases, respectively increases the values in the entry-field.
3.- On the right of the entry fields of the "zone range"-section, there are little boxes named "L". When you click on them, you can define these values by pressing the corresponding key on an attached midi-keyboard.
You can define all values at once by pressing the small button "Learn all" below the entry fields and then by pressing a key on the midi-keyboard.

5. Setting the Pitch of a Sample with the Entry-Field "root key"
The entry field "root key" in the "zone range"-section defines the pitch of the sample relatively to the music-keyboard.
If you have a bass drum with "low key: C1, high key: C1" for example, setting "root key" to C1 too means, that the sound at C1 is played at the normal pitch (that you would also hear, when you open the sample in a sound-editor like Audacity).
When you increase the value for "root key", the pitch of the sound at C1 becomes lower.
When you decrease the value for "root key", the pitch of the sound at C1 becomes higher.

6. Setting the Volume of a Sample in the "output"-section
In the "output"-section on the right side of the user interface (see screenshot), the volume of the selected sample is defined.

This is especially useful, when you create a drumkit. The volumes of the drum-sounds can be set individually here.

7. Panning the Samples
In the "output"-section, the samples can be panned individually in the stereo-spectrum.
For mono-samples, there's an entry field "pan" with a range from "-100%" (left) to "+100%" (right).
For stereo-samples, there's an entry field "balance" instead of "pan" (like on the screenshot).

8. Layers
What happens, if the zone-ranges of two samples overlap or if two samples have the same zone-range, like both "low key: C1, high key: C1" for example? Then both samples get played at once. So this way, layers can be created.

9. Soloing a Sample
When you have loaded a drum-kit for example, and Shortcircuit receives the midi-data of a whole drum-pattern (for the whole kit), you can't hear a single sample well, that you may want to change. So you need a way to make Shortcircuit just play a certain sample, although it receives MIDI for many other samples too. This is done by soloing the sample. Press the button "solo" in the upper bar, right of the "load"-button:

10. Looping a Sample
In the middle of the upper part of the user interface, there is a graphical representation of the sample. Just below of it, there is a small field showing the word "forward". If you click on it, several options for looping the sample are shown. If you select "loop forward" for example, you can then set loop-points inside the sample-window.
If the loop-points include the whole sample, the sample is played again and again, as long as you press a key on the midi-keyboard.
If you set the starting loop-point more further into the sample and then press a key on the midi-keyboard, the sample is played from the beginning to the loop's end-point, then returns to the loop's start point and is then played again and again between the two loop-points.
This is especially useful, if the sample is taken from an instrument, that is usually played in longer notes, like a string-sound for example. If the sample isn't that long, but you want to play longer notes with it, without looping, the sample would cut out too early. With looping, you can to some extent simulate, that the sample is longer than it really is. Of course the result sounds a bit artificial then, but sometimes that even has its own character.
Looping samples is a typical use of a sampler.

11. Saving the Sampler's Data. File-Format: XML
In Shortcircuit, saving data is quite straight-forward .
When you right-click on the left side of the user interface (in the area below the list of the samples), a menu of options for saving appears.
If you select "Save Multi", after choosing a file-name, a file with the suffix ".scm" is saved. It contains all the settings of the "multi", that is of all the samples, that are loaded into Shortcircuit at the moment.
It saves just the settings of Shortcircuit, not the samples (".wav"-files") themselves. There is an option for saving them too, but I found, it doesn't work very well. So I just use "Save Multi" to get the ".scm"-file, and manage the ".wav"-files separately (with an external file-manager).
A really nice feature of the ".scm"-file is, that it just contains XML-code. XML is a format to represent complex data in a text-file.
So, the ".scm"-file is just a plain text-file (containing XML-code). That means, if necessary, you can also edit it by hand (if you know what you are doing: In XML every single character has to be in place, otherwise the whole file will not work as a data-source). Or it can be edited from a script (written in a programming-language such as Perl or Python). If you know, how to program in such a programming-language, having access to the sampler-data by script is a really cool and powerful feature of Shortcircuit.
(Author: hlubenow2@gmx.net).

Specifications (v1.1.1)
User interface
Streamlined user interface for fast editing at the sample-zone level.
Fast editing of multiple zones.
"In context"-sample preview.
Extensive drag & drop support (onto the keyrange-view or the list-view).
Sample/Instrument import
RIFF wave-files (.wav) (8/16/24/32-bit & 32-bit float, mono/stereo at any sample rate)
AKAI S5000/S6000/Z4/Z8 .akp banks (partial)
NI battery kits (partial)
Soundfont 2.00 (partial)
Propellerhead Recycle 1 & 2
Sampler engine
High-quality sinc interpolation
Oversampling used when needed to prevent aliasing
Double-precision float math (64-bit) used where it matters (IIR-filters).
Single-precision float math (32-bit) used elsewhere.
Supports any sample-rate.
Max polyphony per instance: 256 voices
Multiple outputs. (max 16 mono AND 8 stereo-pairs per instance)
Supported sample-playback modes:
playback modes:
forward loop
forward loop with crossfading
forward loop until release
forward loop bidirectional
forward shot
sliced (maps slices accross the keyboard)
on release
reverse shot.

2 filters / voice
Filter algorithms:
Lowpass 2-pole (2 types)
Lowpass 1/2/3/4-pole ladder-filter
Lowpass 1/2/3/4-pole ladder-filter with saturation
Highpass 2-pole
Dual bandpass
Dual peak
Comb filter
2-band parameric EQ (2 types)
graphic EQ
mörder OD (overdrive)
Microgate (does glitch/loop style effects when the gate is open)
Ring modulation
Phase modulation (equivalent to FM)
Frequency shifting
Pulse oscillator
Pulse oscillator (with sync)
Sawtooth oscillator (with 1-16 voices in unison)
Sinus oscillator.

3 stepLFOs / voice. Doubles as 32-step stepsequencer and wavetable LFO.
2 AHDSR envelopes / voice
Powerful modulation system with the ability to modulate itself.
Destinations include envelope-times, loop-points in addition to traditional destinations.
Group LFO
Group modulation routing.
Group effects. (2 effects / group)
Effect types:
digidelay (feedback, filtering & optional midi-sync)
freqshift delay
freqshift flange
stereo width
MS decoder
System requirements
Microsoft Windows 2000, XP or newer.
Processor with SSE-support (includes Intel Pentium 3 and newer, AMD Athlon XP and newer)
Software capable of hosting VST-instruments.




23 January 2021 at 2:59pm

Great to hear that fron Claes. It seem to be a very buggy source code, but it's a good start point.

I hope that Shortcircuit 1 functions to be kept working, as Shortcircuit 2 was more rompler like.

23 January 2021 at 3:43pm

I 've tried to contact anyone on SC3 Github site, I'vwe created an account, but I don't know how to communicate/contribute. I've used Shortcircuit for 15+years and i was on the beta testing team with Claes, is there any way to coop with the development sithout being a programmer? Who can I contact to?

24 January 2021 at 12:20pm

My thanks and appreciation to Claes Johanson!
Check This: https://github.com/surge-synthesizer/shortcircuit3.


2 June 2022 at 10:52am

Do people still use this sampler? I have this problem where I load a project in the DAW and shortcircuit loads, but it immediately posts a pop up complaining that it can't find a sample. I either have to navigate all the way to where the sample is so shortcircuit can find it or reload the whole preset again. Does anybody know anything about that?

2 June 2022 at 1:45pm

Yes, already using this piece of software.

You must set the folder where you store those samples for Shortcircuit to find them.

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