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Surge XT has an average user rating of 4.75 from 28 reviews

Rate & Review Surge XT

User Reviews by KVR Members for Surge XT

Surge XT

Reviewed By digitalboytn [all]
December 9th, 2023
Version reviewed: 1.3 on Windows

Surge XT is a really versatile synth that covers a lot of sonic territory....

It's a solid workhorse and it's getting better with every revision....

A great deal of gratitude and appreciation is owed to the team behind this synth....

Thanks guys....

This one's a 5 Star winner.

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Surge XT

Reviewed By phil299 [all]
January 26th, 2023
Version reviewed: 3.7.2 on Windows

Clearly one of the best free VST synths along with "Vital", loads of usable presets both installed and from the community.

Personally I think sound is up there with top level paid vsts.

I think the GUI could be better and it is possible to crash it in sound design but do not let that put you off this is a must have vst.

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Surge XT

Reviewed By huggorm [all]
September 7th, 2022
Version reviewed: 1.9 on Windows

For those of us not skilled in synthesizing, Surge has a lot of presets both installed by the installer and downloadable from communities. From there you can modify and customize sounds, even make your own with some practise. You'll have a hard time to find any better free synthesizer.

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Surge XT

Reviewed By loungedumore [all]
July 11th, 2022
Version reviewed: 1.01 on Mac

VA, Wavetables, FM based synth with multiple options of each type.

Massive amount of easy to use modulation .

Mutable Instruments Plaits & Clouds, OB-Xd filters, Oden II filters, Air Windows fx all built in.

It's one of the best, most flexible synths period ...that also happens to be free and open source.

Just surface scratches really stop reading this review and go Download it.

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Surge XT

Reviewed By kgarboski [all]
April 29th, 2022
Version reviewed: 1.0.1 on Mac

Amazing synth that is absolutely jam packed with features, including lots of stuff that is "under the hood". Many oscillator options and many great sounding filters with various sub-modes, tons of modulation options, wave-shaping, tons of FX; just had everything you really need.

It'll do EDM supersaws, vintage, dubstep growl, wavetable, fm, string, ambient/textural stuff, experimental and complex stuff. Really versatile and functional, well thought-out, and complex.

A huge thing is that is sounds excellent and has many features to affect the tone like oscillator pitch/drift variation, wave-shaping, oscillator brightness, random modulation (which can affect pitches, envelopes, etc), and insert/send FX to really give it a rich character and allowing to you make it sound "warmer" and more vintage, based on how far you want to go and the limits of your own abilities.

Comes with a lot of good presets, but this thing truly shines when you dig deep and learn it inside and out. It's easy to write off because of it's non-flashy but practical interface, by it's native presets, or by the fact that it's free; but it is really really amazing. The user manual is a must read to really get into the deeper aspects as there are features that aren't quite obvious right out of the gate.

I have personally narrowed down my digital synth library down to Surge XT and logic pro native plugins, to fit my personal goal of minimalism and creative limitation; focusing on full mastery of what is available rather than grasping for new plugins all the time. I could tell you that I really don't miss or care about using the other synth plugins anymore and have gotten rid of that "Gear Acquisition Syndrome" mindset, and that this synth serves as both my standard bread-and-butter synth and in situations where more complex modulation is required.

A+++++++ would buy if it costed anything

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Surge XT

Reviewed By Triplefox [all]
April 25th, 2022
Version reviewed: 1.0.1 on Linux

Ever since going open-source, Surge has been quietly accumulating more and more features. With the Surge XT release, it's blossomed into a real "Swiss Army Synth", covering nearly every category. OK, it doesn't have multisampled instruments - but it does, in fact, have a fair few samples buried in its numerous oscillators, which now include the content of the well-regarded Eurorack macro-oscillator "Plaits". Besides oscillators, more filters and effects are also present, giving it a huge timbral range. The architecture lets you layer, ring-mod and FM, waveshape, filter, and feedback, and modulation capability is effectively infinite because it now lets you execute Lua code as a modulator, on top of many standard LFO and envelope options. If you can't make the synth sound you want with this, you probably just don't know what you need to tweak to get there. (Hint: most synths get their distinctive character from oscillator EQ.).

While at a glance, the big panel it opens up with is intimidating, it's not deeply nested and presents just about everything in a few pages. It is intuitive enough to program if you've been working with synths for a while and grasp working with a modulation matrix, and in many cases it has a "more than one way to do it" quality that makes it simple for bread-and-butter sounds but also possible to switch your approach to something deeper. For example, you can start using FM by using the 2op and 3op oscillators which do FM synthesis directly; or you can use multiple oscillators and the FM signal path to create more complex uses of FM, incorporating other oscillator types. You can start with a simple waveform and add post-filter waveshaping to give it complexity; or you can switch to using wavetable synthesis. And so on.

All that and it's now free and open-source, no strings attached. So even if you don't have a need for a sound design tool, the presets available for it are plentiful.

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Surge XT

Reviewed By Trader One [all]
November 23rd, 2021
Version reviewed: 1.9.0 on Windows

Very good synth, its similar to KV331 Synthmaster1 and its free. It means that there is a lot of patches available. Sound is very good - it has 2 layers. FM is bit limited but with envelope modulation you can still do interesting FM sounds.

Its must have synth.

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Surge XT

Reviewed By Q9000 [all]
May 15th, 2021
Version reviewed: 0.1.9 on Windows

* sounds good to great.

* offers a effect VST with lots of effects for sound design.

* free.

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Surge XT

Reviewed By xtreme sounds [all]
April 24th, 2021
Version reviewed: 1.9 on Windows

I just downloaded this after the 1.9 update. I have to say this thing is powerful. i have tried so many plugins free and paid for. This one should be near the top! I think what intimidates users is the complexity of the layout but once you understand it and why it has all those options you will love it.

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Surge XT

Reviewed By KalleConatus [all]
March 9th, 2021
Version reviewed: 1.8.1 on Windows

One of the best synths out there, extremely flexible and it sounds really good! Highly recommend it.

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Surge XT

Reviewed By JStolarski [all]
January 29th, 2021
Version reviewed: 1.8.1 on Windows

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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Surge XT

Reviewed By alienimplant [all]
January 28th, 2021
Version reviewed: 1 on Mac

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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Surge XT

Reviewed By Nero Tranz [all]
August 17th, 2020
Version reviewed: 1.8.0 on Windows

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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Surge XT

Reviewed By Jean-Loup J [all]
January 20th, 2020
Version reviewed: 1.6.3 on Windows

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

Mon meilleur instrument, sans aucun doute .

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Surge XT

Reviewed By Kwurqx [all]
May 15th, 2019
Version reviewed: 1.6.0b on Windows

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.


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Surge XT

Reviewed By Rumdrum [all]
May 7th, 2019
Version reviewed: Latest,a on Mac

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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Surge XT

Reviewed By SoundPorn [all]
May 6th, 2019
Version reviewed: 1.6 beta on Windows

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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Surge XT

Reviewed By mclstr [all]
May 5th, 2019
Version reviewed: 2019-04 on Linux

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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Surge XT

Reviewed By Tj Shredder [all]
April 22nd, 2019
Version reviewed: 1.6.0 on Mac

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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Surge XT

Reviewed By cyanit [all]
April 10th, 2019
Version reviewed: 1.6 beta on Windows

Really good synth, the open source status is awsome. I love seeing how this synth is getting new features, and really hope its community will grow.

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Surge XT

Reviewed By Uzone27 [all]
March 29th, 2019
Version reviewed: 64/1.6 B on Windows

Holy crap! This thing is sweet! The number of presets it comes with is amazing, and the sound quality is not what I expected from a free plug. I'm going to be spending a lot of time with this one.

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Surge XT

Reviewed By inkwarp [all]
April 21st, 2018
Version reviewed: 1.5.2 on Windows

just a 'bump' as this is a brilliant softsynth. i seem to be using it more than ever these days.

i have gotten more interesting sounds out of this than practically any other vsti i have used. I mean banks of all sorts. the modulation features are spot on.

the interface is a superb example of how to mix form and function.

if i was to restrict myself to just a few vsti, this would absolutely be on the list.

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Surge XT

Reviewed By mat42291 [all]
November 29th, 2014
Version reviewed: 1.5.3 on Windows

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.

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Surge XT

Reviewed By Introspective [all]
June 20th, 2012
Version reviewed: 1.5.3 on Mac

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.

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Surge XT

Reviewed By dasdeck [all]
June 28th, 2010
Version reviewed: 1.5.2 on Windows

User Interface
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!

Customer Support
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!
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Surge XT

Reviewed By megadeth [all]
November 5th, 2009
Version reviewed: 1.5.1 on Windows

I wanted to review this synth because it is not like any other

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 ;)
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Surge XT

Reviewed By kuniklo [all]
January 28th, 2006
Version reviewed: 1.02 on Windows

Simply put, Surge currently occupies the sweet spot between features, ease of use and programmability in the vst world. It presents extremely flexible oscillators and a variety of very good filters in the most intuitive and efficient UI of any softsynth on the market. It's not a character synth like impOSCar and falls clearly on the VA side of the timbral spectrum but it's capable of a huge range of sounds in that flavor and is a sound designer and tweaker's dream.

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.
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Surge XT

Reviewed By Motion [all]
November 15th, 2005
Version reviewed: 1.01 on Windows

Whilst SURGE is clearly a complex synthesiser,using it is almost contrary to that sophistication,this is no easy feat and a lot of careful thought has gone into the GUI,it's implementation,presentation and navigation.SURGE is effectively 2 scenes,A and B which you work between if you wish to have splits and layers.

The 3 excellent sounding band limited oscillators each have 5 algorithms to choose from which are classic (pulse,saw/dual saw oscillators which are morphable with a sub oscillator and self sync),sinus,wavetable(about 150 included),SH noise or external audio input,you can also set them up to do FM and 3 carrier modulator configs are available,ring mod is also featured,depending what you select appropriate and extensive oscillator controls appear for the respective choice,I won't go into all the details but having the all important sub oscillator at 1 octave down is present for extra fat with syncable pulse width along with keytrigger/retrigger,the other 3 you see in the oscillator section are fixed x2 for ring mod and a seperate noise oscillator all with independant level control and a master gain stage on the output,there are also controls for oscillator drift to induce imperfections along with noise colour and a seperate high pass filter,you can route the oscillators individually to either or both filters,the wave shaper has 5 options and unlike many these sound very good indeed.

There are 10 filter types including a 1-4 pole selectable 24LP ladder that can go into self oscillation,these impressive sounding filters have 7 different configurations of various series and parallel routings including the waveshapers placement in the filter signal path with user controllable feedback.The 4 stage FEG and AEG are tempo syncable for the ADR portions.And while I'm on the subject of tempo sync portamento!is included.

The Lfos which are tempo syncable are extremely comprehensive with various modes such as freerun,retrigger,random and unipolar with 8 preset waveforms along with a drawable 16 step sequencer with a modifiable loop point and all
with,rate,phase/shuffle,magnitude and deform and finally 6 stage EGs with tempo syncable DAHDR portions.Be advised in advance regards self induced changes to your spatial awareness.You have been warned.

The FX are very flexible with 9 choices these cover various tempo syncable delays,phasers,frequency shifters but with vemberaudios quality algorithms and smoothness,you can bypass sends,scene fx or everything,the setups can also be globally saved with the patch.

The GUI of SURGE is beautifully designed and logically laid out that you always feel in control,this is a synth that works with you and for you,you never feel lost and everything feels so well tuned and honed that when you apply or change functions they precisely tally with your thinking and the sound goes exactly where you expect it to go,this is particularly noticeable when modifying the lfos because you can jointly see and hear what is happening as the graphic waveform changes providing accurate visual and auditory feedback that is very tight timing wise and in sync with the targeted parameters,there appears to be no perceptible lag or latency with whatever you are manipulating or ajusting,this I'm sure contributes substantially toward the instant feedback and responsive sonics that come about whilst working with SURGE and makes it such a joy to use.The precision of it all is fabulous.

A great strength is the rather unique mods,by pressing the middle mouse button after highlighting the respective mod source all the available destination controls become highlighted in blue which is just about everything for the hardwired ones and the 7cc's including fx controls,the 1st 6 "voice" lfos can't mod the fx but the 6 scene lfos can!!With a few flicks of the wrist just move whatever and the respective range is set,unclick job done.

Soundwise this is where SURGE really excels.Subjectively think ARP Odyssey,Oberheim Matrix Series,Oscar,PPG,Prophet VS,DX7,Alesis Ion and Clavia Nords come to mind.Yet despite this description SURGE still manages to sound it's own man,somehow tiptoeing in between the cracks and beyond.SURGE remains smooth and clean but not clinical due to the removal of interpolation artifacts and other aliasing nasties.

SURGE is an extremely versatile,creative and superb sounding synthesiser which is up there with the best.All this achieveable in a graceful and easy manner given the intuitiveness afforded by the great all round design.

If you don't think you need another synth then SURGE may just change your mind,if you don't own one and need one then SURGE deserves to be considered near the top of that short list.

Both stability and developer support are excellent and a good manual is available along with numerous presets.SURGE costs 180 Euros/Dollars and is excellent value given its comprehensiveness.A Mac port is also coming.

The above review is an edit.Please PM me for a copy of the original.
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Latest 28 reviews from a total of 28

Comments & Discussion for Surge Synth Team Surge XT

Discussion: Active
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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 :)

30 November 2014 at 10:11am


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.

18 August 2016 at 4:17pm


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

Good work.

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.


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.

18 June 2019 at 7:04am

Just wanted to say I've created a FB group:

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 :).

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.

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.


3 November 2021 at 2:44am

I've had Surge for some time and I started wondering if you could combine presets, say a sequence with a pad and its doable. Bring up a sequence preset, right click on A and copy it, then open up a pad preset and right click on B and paste. Click Dual for both A and B then presto you have two presets in one without reinventing the wheel. You can save it to your User folder with a new name and for added fun turn on more oscillators.


13 December 2021 at 7:08pm

Hello all.

I am using Surge via Blue Cat Audios Patchwork and for whatever reason, Surge now refuses to load presets. I am providing a link to the error message below:


The weird thing is, it was loading presets fine earlier, now it won't. I don't recall changing anything that would cause Surge to stop loading presets. Any advice?

2 February 2022 at 4:49am

Surge XT has a different VST id, host can't do it...

14 January 2022 at 9:29pm

Wants only to be installed on the C-drive. Like it's 1981. So, no install, no points.

2 February 2022 at 4:47am

You can set the path. Check it.

John CK
John CK
7 August 2022 at 12:43am

Incredible synth, just incredible.

Vampire TNA
Vampire TNA
8 March 2024 at 8:54pm

A collection of FREE organic/analog sounding presets, including a new skin for Surge XT + new SKIN: https://coroniumrecords.blogspot.com/2024/02/30-free-presets-for-surge-xt-synth.html

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