ShortCircuit XT Sampler Pre-Alpha Released By Surge Synthesizer Team


Surge Synthesizer Team released a pre-alpha version of the ShortCircuit XT free sampler plugin.

One of the more exciting developments in the freeware realm was the open-sourcing of Vember Audio’s once-discontinued Surge synthesizer plugin (currently available for free download as Surge XT).

Surge was a contemporary of Native Instrument’s Massive and has a massive (ha!) feature set that was beautifully modernized for DAWs and even ported over to VCV Rack.

Vember Audio’s other venture was ShortCircuit, a flexible sampler plugin meant for use as a musical instrument and bearing many controls for shaping and sculpting sounds.

Surge Synthesizer Team announced last year they would be tackling ShortCircuit but couldn’t give an ETA for any pre-release builds. A lot of this came down to having to rewrite large chunks of the plugin’s code to fit modern standards, as ShortCircuit didn’t maintain the sort of popularity Surge held.

Thankfully, the team has pulled it off and made an early pre-alpha build available for testers and musicians. The nightly build is highly unstable, and the team does suggest the use of low-volume levels and a limiter on the master before instantiating in your environment.

ShortCircuit is a robust sampler and is capable of multisample playback. Each sample slot has its own individual filter, along with envelope generators and multiple modulation sources to alter the sound.

There aren’t any integrated effects to speak of, but thankfully it takes very well to the Surge FX plugin or whatever your desired third-party processors might be.

ShortCircuit XT can be used for just straight sample playback or for truly transformative sample-mangling work. With single-cycle waveforms, it can even be used as a synthesizer, given the degree of control present.

Currently, ShortCircuit is only available for Windows systems and is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit hosts. Plugin formats currently supported are VST3 and CLAP. Linux and macOS compatibility is on the roadmap as well.

Keep in mind that this is an early pre-alpha version of the software. Use it for testing purposes only, as it isn’t stable enough to use in projects.

Download: ShortCircuit XT (pre-alpha)


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Liam is a producer, mixing engineer, and compressor aficionado. When not mixing, he can be found pretending to play guitar, as he has been doing for the last 20 years.


  1. My favorite sampler ever! Actually, I posted about this release here a couple of weeks back. I stopped using v1.1.2 a long time ago (that was the stable one) and version 2 was never finished, unfortunately, and unusable. So I almost forgot about it but then all at once it came to my mind I should check what happened with it and on that very day this version was released. That must mean something :) Anyways, I can hardly wait to be able to use it again.

  2. This is huge news, Shortcircuit remains my favorite sampler and I kept wondering if the Surge team would ever revitalize it as they did with Surge.

  3. ShortCircuit was released at the end of 2004, and it cost €150! The original remains a favourite of mine. It is great that they are working on a new release all these years later, but for those who can’t wait, TX16Wx is already out there ;-)

    • TX16Wx is a PITA to work with in terms of UX. No disrespect, it’s a very capable and feature-rich sampler (including the free version), but it’s just not fun or straight-forward (efficiency) to work with, at least the last time I checked it.

      I always liked that I could work with Shortcircuit very quickly and everything in clear and accessible.

    • I love TX16Wx, but Shortcircuit came first. They made it free to use in 2007, and TX16Wx was released in 2011 and TBH, I didn’t feel the need to really get into it until it was pretty clear ShortCircuit wouldn’t become x64 any time soon, if ever. Anyways, they’re not the same and it will be great to be able to use both. Actually, the obvious ShorCircuit alternative should be Grace, but it never really worked for me (it had some bugs too, AFAIR).

  4. George Martínez


    Yeeeeahhhhhh this is amazing news, the best sampler I have ever used now open source and in great shape :’3

  5. Exciting update but damn that’s one ugly GUI (sorry!) I’ll definitely be watching the development of this though. The original Short Circuit was fantastic!

      • Tomislav Zlatic


        I have to agree. I really preferred the first version of ShortCircuit over the update. But I’m hoping that the Surge team will take ShortCircuit to the next level.

    • The GUI is completely temporary and was written to be replaced with a proper one. Just something to tweak the engine, really. Don’t worry, it will have a pretty great GUI, and it won’t look like SC1 nor SC2, it will be its own thing taken to the next level.

      • Ahhh its christmas ! for me the best sampler for everything , Huge THANKS to people who have the talent and generosity to improve it and shares with us .Personnaly i hope that the surge team will implementin the future others and new things to it .Like a granular engine and maybe an additive engine and why not others things like FFT spectral filters, airwindows’x fx and a convolution engine ? This will be heaven on earth ! Again Thanks to you you are the best !

  6. These are actually really old news, this repository existed since September 2021, hehe. :P

    Pre-alpha as it is in current state has existed for more than half a year already.

  7. Wow, this is great news! I still use both Shortcircuit 1& 2 to this day, can’t wait to try out their XT to-night. Thanks BPB!

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