Vember Audio has announced that its Surge virtual hybrid synthesizer is now re-released as open-source software. It is currently available for download as a VST and VST3 plugin for 64-bit digital audio workstations on Windows.
Surge was released in 2006 and was priced at €99 back in the day. It was developed by Vember Audio, the company whose developer Claes later started the Bitwig project. Despite its old age, Surge is still a monster synthesizer in every respect. Obviously, the fact that it is now open-source means that you can download and use it completely free of charge. This also means that we will hopefully see some long-awaited updates such as a larger user interface and support for 64-bit workstations running on MacOS.
Let’s take a quick look at some of Surge’s most impressive features. It is a hybrid subtractive synthesizer boasting a dual synth engine, three oscillators per voice with eight oscillator algorithms (analog, FM, wavetable, audio input, and more), 183 wavetables, two filter units with eight filter types, twelve highly customizable LFO modules per voice, eight FX slots with ten FX types to choose from, and a modulation matrix. The instrument comes packed with 1,010 presets which are organized into categories for easy browsing. The presets are nothing short of astounding. I literally spent three hours playing around with Surge before writing this article, most of which consisted of me going through the available sounds and jamming out like crazy. I was also happy to notice that the CPU hit is surprisingly low for such a complex virtual instrument.
The biggest issue with the current version of Surge is the GUI size. It is incredibly small by today’s standards. The complexity of the user interface doesn’t help this issue, either. Here’s hoping that someone skilled at developing plugins will use the available source code to come up with a more modern graphical design for this otherwise impressive virtual instrument. Better yet, make it a resizable GUI. And yes, compatibility with different platforms is another aspect that can be improved upon. At the moment, only 64-bit VST and VST3 plugin hosts on Windows are supported.
To download Surge, visit the GitHub page linked below and click on the Releases tab. Download the latest installer and run it on your Windows machine. Once installed, you will find the plugin files in the Program Files/Common folder on your C drive. The destination directory can’t be customized with the current version of the installer. For more info about the instrument, check out the product page on Vember Audio’s website. A big thank you goes out to our reader Drew Lake for letting us know about the news!
Surge is available for free download via GitHub (7.47 MB download size, EXE installer, 64-bit VST/VST3 plugin format for Windows).