This labor-of-love, free and open-source software synth has gotten a whole lot more love – with new filters, features, modulation, and content. Surge is a must-have on Mac, Windows, or Linux, and keeps getting better.

Paul Walker sends this in, who it seems got involved in the project after reading about it here. That’s great, Paul, and thanks back from the rest of us!

Version 1.8.x, out this week, has some nice new features:

New filters. Multiple new filter models – two style of ladder filter, OB-Xd filter, K-35 and diode ladder from the open source Odin 2 synth, a weird and fascinating cutoff warp and resonance filters based on Jatin Chowdhury’s blog, 24 dB options for existing biquad bandpass and notch filters, and an allpass biquad filter.

New skins. “Royal Surge” from Voger Design recalls vintage hardware – plus you’ll find improvements to the Classic and Dark skins.

And Royal Surge looks utterly beautiful. (It’s what’s pictured here). Honestly, this is likely what put a lot of people off Surge, and now makes it irresistible. It’s also a zoomable interface. Cough. Reason.

Well, that’s pretty for a paid synth, let alone a free one.

Multi-segment envelope generator. Fully implemented as a modulation source.

More modulation with MIDI controllers and LFO presets, plus additional per-voice and scene modulators.

New Airwindows FX for the FX chain – adapting a great library of open source effects.

Drag-and-drop effects reordering.

An FM3 Oscillator.

More content, for more than 200 presets in the library.

Plus don’t forget you can create your own wavetables.

And that just scratches the surface. The just-released 1.8.1 has a bunch of fixes and tweaks, too.

Mac (64-bit AU/VST3)
Windows (64-bit and 32-bit VST3)
Linux (64-bit VST3)
— and you can even install it via HomeBrew on macOS (which I think means a native Apple Silicon install should be possible; have to give that a shot)

Runs as a synth, or use it as effects bank for processing synths and other inputs.

It supports MPE, too – with a bunch of improvements in 1.8 for MPE specifically. Here’s a great demo with Roger Linn and his beautiful Linnstrument from an earlier release:

Plus if you missed 1.7, check the Sin oscillator:

And because this is a volunteer and community-driven effort, they’re always looking for more folks to get involved. It’s really great to see this hobbyist effort, even alongside other stuff and favorite commercial tools. Synths are about personality, anyway, so having that community-based personality in your arsenal is awfully nice. (I also make heavy use of Surge’s VCV Rack implementation – for fellow modular fans.)

Grab it here: