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 Surge by Vember Audio is a Virtual Instrument Audio Plugin. It functions as a VST Plugin, an Audio Units Plugin and a VST 3 Plugin.
Surge
Product Surge
Developer Vember Audio
Price (MSRP)
Free
Type / Tags Synth (Hybrid)MPEMPE Synth
Plug-in, App & Soundware Format(s)
Instrument(s)   
Operating System Availability
Operating
System
Latest
Version
Download Released
 
1.6.1.1
 
Downloads Released
 
1.6.1.1
 
Downloads Released
 
1.6.1.1
 
Downloads Released
Miscellaneous Information
Copy ProtectionNone
GPL 3

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

Oscillators:

  • 3 oscillators/voice.
  • 7 versatile oscillator algorithms: Classic, Sinus, Wavetable, S/H Noise, Audio-input and FM2/3.
  • 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.

Filter block:

  • 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).

Modulation:

  • 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.

Effects:

  • 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.
Latest User Reviews Average user rating of 4.50 from 14 reviews

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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Reviewed By Rumdrum
May 7, 2019

Just thought I should give the reviews found on this forum a little balance as many give this synth 5 stars.

To me a 3 star is a very good synth, so Surge is very good, period. However, for better synths that cost zero I think I rather choose Synth1 and then perhaps some of the synths that comes in a stripped/limited version with Computer Music, the mag, like Dune CM. Not exactly free then, but at least close.

Compared to things like Diva, Omnisphere and Serum, Surge does not have a chance when it comes to ocilator sound and programability.

Somewhere in between, pricewise, there is Fathom. To me the "best synth" ever, all things considered. It is not that sophisticated as the three mentioned and it stills struggles a little with CPU load (version 2.3) but at that price!!.

Surge will never be my main synth, but it has a quality that makes me not to delete it from my plugg list. Some of the factory presets are quite good, and there is a bunch of good presets to be downloaded from KVR. Programming on your own is quite easy and the manual is fairly good. However you need good eyes or fresh spectacles as the interrface is tiny and for some people it can be cumbersome.

One of the best things with Surge is that it is open source so a load of peple can contribute to future development. Open source and a lot of people can however also be a challenge as there might be different opinions on directions for development. Those who lives will see.

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Reviewed By SoundPorn
May 6, 2019

One of the best software synths available free or paid period. Wasn't even going to find out how powerful it was because of the confusing GUI until I read the manual and realized that it's despite actual graphics used for it, the GUI is actually flawlessly laid out for fast and easy use. This synth has been a revelation in helping me cope with G.A.S. as well. And sonically in a mix, it's indistinguishable from any of the bigger named synths yet maintains a kinda of sharp character about it all the same.

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Reviewed By mclstr
May 5, 2019

Surge is a very powerful synth that can do amazing stuff. It also is very processor efficient.

It provides multiple methods of synthesis with lots modulators and routing options.

You can do some real sounding acoustic instruments as well as electronic sounds that are hard to create with other synths.

I tend to use it more than any other synth anymore.

You do want to read the manual to understand how powerful it is.

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Reviewed By Tj Shredder
April 22, 2019

The best MPE compatible synth around. Since it was open sourced the development is faster than most commercial synths. In that regard its also the project with the highest potential for the future...

The number of good presets inherited from its commercial times is tremendous. I wish all developers who, for whatever reason, stop themself developement would open source their babies...

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Discussion

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 :).

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Surge

Average user rating of 4.50 from 14 reviews

Vember Audio
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