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Surge

 My KVR
Synth (Hybrid) Plugin by Surge Synth Team
Surge Classic Skin
Surge Dark Skin Surge Royal Skin
Favorite Free Virtual Instrument - Best Audio and MIDI Software - KVR Audio Readers' Choice Awards 2020
Surge by Surge Synth Team is a Virtual Instrument Audio Plugin for macOS, Windows and Linux. It functions as an Audio Units Plugin and a VST 3 Plugin.
Product
Version
1.8.1
Product
Version
1.8.1
Product
Version
1.8.1
Instrument
Formats
Copy Protection
None
Open Source
GPL 3
My KVR - Groups, Versions, & More
291 KVR members have added Surge to 30 My KVR groups 385 times.
Not In Your MY KVR Groups
(or group limitation prevents versioning)
+25 in private groups

KVR Rank

Overall: 15   12   15   4

30-Day: 14; 7-Day: 10; Yesterday: 8

General:

  • 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 layered or split patches.
  • Category-based patch browser.
  • MPE support.

Oscillators:

  • 3 oscillators per scene.
  • 7 versatile oscillator algorithms: Classic, Wavetable, Window, Sine, FM2, FM3, S&H Noise, and audio input.
  • Classic oscillator is a morphable pulse/saw/dual saw oscillator with a sub-oscillator and hard sync.
  • FM2 and FM3 oscillators consist of a carrier and 2 or 3 modulators and various options.
  • Most algorithms (except FM2, FM3 and Audio input) offer up to 16-voice unison at the oscillator level.
  • Oscillator FM and ring modulation between oscillators 1-3 and 2-3.
  • Most oscillator algorithms (except FM2, FM3 and Sine) are strictly band-limited, yet still cover the entire audible spectrum, delivering a clear punchy yet clean sound.
  • Noise generator with variable spectrum.

Filter Block:

  • Two filter units in 8 different configurations.
  • Feedback loop available in 7 of those configurations.
  • Available filter algorithms: A large number of filter algorithms, including digital filters, effects, a collection of modeled classic filters, and more.
  • Filters can self-oscillate (with excitation) and respond amazingly fast to cutoff frequency changes.
  • Waveshaper (5 shapes).

Modulation:

  • 12 LFO units available, 6 are per voice and 6 are global for the whole scene.
  • DAHDSR envelope generators on every LFO.
  • 7 deformable LFO waveforms + step sequencer.
  • Voice LFOs allow envelope retriggering when used as step sequencer.
  • Fast and flexible modulation routing. Almost every continuous parameter can be modulated.

Effects:

  • 8 effect units arranged as 2 inserts per scene, 2 sends and 2 master effects.
  • 14 effect algorithms: EQ, Distortion, Conditioner (EQ, stereo image control and limiter), Frequency Shifter, Rotary Speaker, Ring Modulator, Vocoder, Chorus, Phaser, Flanger, Delay, Reverb 1, Reverb 2, and an integration of a collection of Airwindows FX.

Latest User Reviews

Average user rating of 4.61 from 18 reviews

Reviewed By JStolarski
January 29, 2021

Has lots of adjustments. I have no process, except random tweaking of knobs till I find a strange sound. Haven't done any music in 4 years. Mix pc died, so I'm on a free version of Waveform 11, and putting a few plugins in it. Not disappointed in the Synth. I'm a fiddler and tweaker. It's what makes it fun. You can check my Soundcloud, gonna put some unmixed stuff on there. I like making spacy experimental stuff that makes your head feel weird.

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Reviewed By alienimplant
January 28, 2021

This should have a 5-star rating, hands down. It is ridiculously powerful, with an intuitive and efficient interface. People I've told about this synth, who actually use it, love it... as do I.

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Reviewed By Nero Tranz
August 17, 2020

Well done, I pulled back my words, this update its fantastic!!!, had a lot of new features especially the MSEG and various type of filter, this synth is an absolute monster!.

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Reviewed By Jean-Loup J
January 20, 2020

Fantastique synthé, qui permet des sons d'une variété incroyable.

Mon meilleur instrument, sans aucun doute .

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Reviewed By Kwurqx
May 15, 2019

At this point in time Surge is (by far) the most versatile free polyphonic synthesizer:

  • many versatile oscillator options, including suboscillator, wavetables (with import), shaping, horizontal + vertical skewing, saturation, selfsync, unison with spread and FM).
  • mixer with Gain (over)drive before the filter section (and AM).
  • noise generator with a dedicated own HP/LP filter slider for noise "colour".
  • great (dual) filters of different types, slopes and characteristics (features a separate global HP filter too).
  • several Wave Shaper functions.
  • various audiopath routings (with feedback).
  • several MONO modes (with or without legato and/or amp/filter envelope retrigger).
  • 3 operator/oscillator FM matrix (and 2 or 3 operator in the FM2/3 oscillators).
  • almost any continuous parameter can be modulated (including oscillator shapes).
  • great and versatile modulation sources (that can modulate each other too).
  • ADSR envelopes with different curves (and more complex DAHDSR envelopes in the multiple (G)LFO sections).
  • even has audio input.
  • various FX in chains.
  • Win, Mac, Linux, 32/64-bit.

Not much you can really not achieve with Surge. Sure, specialists will be better at their speciality. But versatility is Surge's strongpoint.

Hopefully it will live long and prosper in the hands of the open source community.

https://surge-synthesizer.github.io/

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Comments & Discussion for Surge Synth Team Surge

Discussion
Discussion: Active
biomekk
biomekk
27 January 2012 at 9:23am

Had this one for a while now and it definitely fills the part of being the "odd VST amongst your normal ones".

What I like about it the most is the attack and the digital kind of grittiness.

And as said before the GUi is actually very user friendly. For example, the way you drag and drop assign things in the modulation matrix by "drag and drop" is something I really miss on more expensive plugins. Vember has really ignored fancy looks (yeah it's ugly ) and instead focused on making a practical tool.

liquidsound
liquidsound
7 April 2012 at 7:56pm

It just seat in every mix. It's truly a powerhouse and a learning tool for modulation and the effects routing is genius.

Architeuthis
Architeuthis
2 July 2012 at 9:16pm

I would like to say that Surge is the only synth I've used that I've been able to make crazy-scary renditions of acoustic sounds from woodwind to brass to dog vocal tracts. Surge is definitely one of the only synths on the market that allows you to explore these things because of its combination of featureset and tweakability. To tap into this, just enable the feedback routing, add feedback, add resonance in the filters, enable keytracking of filter, etc.

I will, however, agree that it does not sound sweet like modern synths. But what modern synths lacks, Surge definitely has. Its tweakability invites insanity.

dave40
dave40
3 August 2012 at 9:36pm

Hello everyone, just wanted to say I purchased Surge in Feb 2012 and haven't looked back yet.

Though it may not be the most technically advanced soft-synth out there it definitely has a certain something about it. I keep finding myself creating really exciting and attention-grabbing sounds whenever I just sit down and start experimenting with it. This is something I have not really found with the two other synths I have taken the time to learn in depth - Albino and Zebra.

Those 'in the know' say it is best to just pick one machine and learn to program it really well, as opposed to purchasing all the vsti's out there. So, following on from that I have made Surge my number one sound-software, along with Reaper and Halion 3. Surge seems to do a really good job of most of the basic sounds like bass, drums, keys and fx.

I think what makes it for me is it's fundamentally rock 'n' roll sound quality, everything sounds so fat and juicy with a great attitude - it seems incapable of making bland sounds. Claes, the developer, really has done a great job on this synth - it looks like he really knows about programming nice sounding oscillator and filter algorithms.

That's all for now, I've just got to go and program a totally overdriven, pulse-width-modulated, digitally aliased, resonant-comb-filtered, waveshaped, step-sequenced and delay-drenched monstrosity! Dave.

PUSHA
PUSHA
13 May 2013 at 12:36pm

This Synth is an absolute BEAST!!!!! How this doesn't get more attention or credit is beyond me. I cant wait to see what Vember puts out next cause I'm a huge fan of theirs. Anybody who hasnt tried this synth out needs to ASAP!!! Amazing work to those involved in the development of this great machine. Please tell me you guys are working on VST's to release soon or in the near future.

inkwarp
inkwarp
30 November 2014 at 12:13am

+10 from me. probably used this longer than most other synth plugs but i still find things it can do. once you know your way around it can pretty much fill any sound needs. a brilliant bit of kit :)

medicor
medicor
30 November 2014 at 10:11am

+1.

I agree, for me too, this is the synth that i have been using for the longest time. It has a unique sound and a great user interface, and even if it can't really compete with modern synths like Spire and SynthMaster, when it comes to modern edm sounds, it still has "it" and is great fun to play around with. To bad Claes/Vember Audio doesn't develop it anymore. I guess that Bitwig took all of his time.

Mattvk
Mattvk
18 August 2016 at 4:17pm

+1.

An evergreen in Software Synthesis with his a own digital character. Intresting how many still using these synth.

Good work.

torridgristle
torridgristle
28 September 2018 at 12:33am

Surge is now free and open source, the price and links should be updated.

Purple Six Recordz
Purple Six Recordz
22 October 2018 at 12:46pm

This VST is a keeper. So many sound presets and options for free VST is amazing. Love that there are a lot of sounds with dark, creepy vibe to them. :).

I also made a demo video for the VST for people to check out before downloading.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uetcIvY0fbg

Ivannn
Ivannn
16 May 2019 at 6:14am

Thank you for synth and for opensource.

How about a portable version of one?

It'd be really great.

Big up.

Oberlai
Oberlai
18 June 2019 at 7:04am

Just wanted to say I've created a FB group:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/surgesynth/.

A few people from the project have already joined -- hopefully the group will help the synth grow. I'm a big fan of the synth myself, I think the modulation system is absolutely brilliant, combining LFO and envelopes that way. I'll be spending a lot of time with this synth :).

OllyAudio
OllyAudio
22 September 2019 at 12:19pm

I am impressed with this synthesizer. Its wide possibilities impress me. This is one of the best synthesizers to date. Although free.

StarfighterF104G
StarfighterF104G
24 September 2019 at 7:57am

Oh wow, have just discovered Surge - as others have noted, it's a bit odd, but once you start playing around with it, the capability really shines. Early days for me yet, but just mucking about with the A/B dual and split scenes takes me back to the good old days of hard synths where it was a norm (at least on all the machines I've used). Add to that the arsenal of patches already available, quality of sound and and parameter controls it's awesome - and goddam it, this baby is free!!!! Despite only a couple of hours in, the control layout, which initially threw me off, is actually very intelligently designed - the patch management is very clear and functional (love being able to add a comment and add my own category), the FX management looks very comprehensive, love the routing / filter configuration approach) and the wavetable capability looks very comprehensive, very quick to create an interesting sound.

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