Surge XT 1.3.0, another impressive update for the free multi-engine Synthesizer plugin

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Surge XT 1.3.0 is out now and is another impressive update for the open-source free multi-engine Synthesizer plugin for mac, Linux, and win.

Plugins don’t work forever. Operating systems are constantly being further developed. You usually benefit from the new features via updates or by installing a completely new version. In order for synthesizers, effects… plugins to work again, they need to be updated.

This costs the developer money and time. Many plugins died because they no longer received updates. But some have been given a second life thanks to a re-release as a free open-source plugin. A prime example is the Surge or now Surge XT Synthesizer. Long dead as a commercial synth, revived as a free synth plugin. 

Surge XT 1.3.0

Thanks to a large community, Surge XT has been massively expanded in recent years. So massive that it surpasses certain commercial synths in functionality. Just before Christmas, the developers gave Surge XT another impressive update. 

Surge XT 1.3.0

Update 1.3.0 is now available for download. Of course, again for free and the open-source developer community has once again pumped the Surge XT full of new features and improvements. 

On the sound engine side, the FM part got a little makeover. There is now a vintage FM feedback mode for the sine, FM2, and FM3 oscillator, which uses the average of last two samples to calculate feedback (like on the very first FM synthesizers). The FM3 oscillator’s M3 frequency parameter is now extendable to 0.5 Hz.

Surge XT’s built-in ring modulator channels in the mix now have a solid set of alternate combinator modes (complex XOR and scale-invariant linear modulation).

New Effects

Then, you can make sounds with a Bonsai. This is a new organic-sounding tape/saturation effect processor, combining a highly non-linear bass boost with an emphasis-filtered waveshaper and noise AM. It creates great beefy gnarly sounds but also works with subtle settings.

Surge XT 1.3.0 Bonsai

Surge XT 1.3.0 includes new X and Z filters from Airwindows and a new audio-in functionality. It allows you to insert audio downstream from filters and waveshapers into the signal path. The ring modulator effect now also has an audio input available as carrier. 

Besides this, the feedback and crossfeed parameters of the delay are now bipolar, and the mod depth parameter has a wider range (increasing from 2 semitones to an octave).

The modulation engine also benefits from new useful math functions (parity, signum, sign, rescale…) and a new slew limiter to the formula modulator prelude. 

Further, the built-in tuning editor offers two new visualizations: true keys and radial mode. The true keys mode shows the actual keys depressed and the interval between them in cents. The Polar (ex Radial mode) now contains the radial and angular modes. Plus, in MTS-ESP mode, the tuning editor is now also a tuning analyzer.

Two other highlights of the Surge XT 1.3.0 update are the complete OSC implementation (Open Sound Content) and support for MIDI program change messages. On top, the standalone version of the Surge XT effects now works in mono and stereo out with Bluetooth options. 

In addition to these new features, there are many improvements to the GUI and workflow. Plus there are plenty of new patches to explore.

First Impression

Another awesome update for the Surge XT Synthesizer. The plugin grows and grows. It’s amazing how much work and effort the open-source community put into this plugin. Thanks a lot. 

Surge XT 1.3.0 update is available as a free download. It runs as a VST3, AU, LV2, and CLAP plugin on macOS (native Apple Silicon), Linux, and Windows. 

More information here: Surge Synth 

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