Surge An Excellent, MPE, Free, Open-Source Synth

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Surge is one of my (Roger's) favorite synths. Why?

* Highly versatile, enabling very complex and beautiful sounds

* MPE compatible

* FREE

* Runs on Mac, Windows and Linux

* Open source

* 2 "scenes" (voice partials), each containing 3 oscillators and 2 multi-mode filters, enabling powerful and highly complex sounds.

* Highly versatile oscillators: classic, wavetable, FM, and a unique variant of wavetable called "window", all with a wide variety of ways to modulate the timbre, ideal for LinnStrument's Y-axis control.

* Among the filter modes is a Comb filter, one of my favorites for Y-axis modulation, permitting very effective timbre modulation and manual chorusing when continuously moving Y-axis.

*Just about everything can be modulated by just about everything, and in a simple and intuitive way.

* Lots of effects: delay, reverb, chorus, distortion, rotary speaker, EQ, compressor/limiter/expander, frequency shifter, vocoder

* The Distortion effect has pre- and post-EQ, good for guitar amp simulation.

* The manual is easily accessible from the panel's "menu" button. Why doesn't everyone do this?

 

Surge is maintained by a group of talented coders, but was originally created by Claes Johansen, the principal creator of Bitwig Studio and one of my favorite music software creators. So the fundamental architecture is well-designed and very capable.

You can download Surge from here:

https://surge-synthesizer.github.io

To use Surge with LinnStrument:

1) Set your LinnStrument for MPE play: In Per-Split Settings > MIDI Mode column, hold ChPerNote (Channel Per Note) for 1 second. This will change all needed settings for MPE play.

2) In Surge, turn on MPE mode, either from the MENU or by turning on the "MPE" button in the top middle of the control panel.

3) Either change Surge's default MPE Bend Range from 48 to 24 (in the "MENU" button) to match LinnStrument's default Bend Range, or change LinnStrument's Bend Range to 48.

4) The UI is pretty packed so I recommend zooming the UI up to 125% or 150%, which can be done from the MENU button.

I like Surge so much that I created some LinnStrument sounds for it. They are included in the version 1.6.4.1 (or later) distribution. Click the Patch Browser at the center top of the window, then select "Roger Linn (MPE)" from the drop-down menu. Here's a video in which I demonstrate how these sounds are intended to be played:

 

Roger Linn Design

Los Altos, CA

Surge An Excellent, MPE, Free, Open-Source Synth