Surge – A compelling and free software synth

Surge was a thing when I was just beginning to learn the fundamentals of music production. I’m still a novice but there is so much to learn… so I mean like, when i really knew nothing! I remember watching a video of some guy who said he preferred Surge. To me, the synth sounded pretty raw and I recall thinking, You’ll never make it if you simply use freeware.

Last version scanned at with 100% clean results.

Well, that may be true. But for the time being, I’m quite happy to limit myself to freeware. I find that the more I learn, the more I can make freeware sound like the big, paid-for synths. Add a little delay, a touch of EQ, and suddenly that cheapie doesn’t sound so different from the big boys and girls.

Any limits to my overall sound and success are probably more about my slowness in learning and, well, I hate to say it, but limited talent.

I do have big sounds and ideas in my head but putting them into practice is quite another thing.

Not only do you need knowledge but hardware – especially your soundcard – apparently limits you too.

I’ve just been using a bottom of the line i3 with a factory soundcard that came with my laptop. So I haven’t really had a chance to compare. But everyone at the forums always says, “sooner or later you will have to buy a decent external sound card.”

I don’t even know how that works!

So for now I am happy to dabble in freeware and talk about stuff I like.

Surge is one of those synths.

True, I did not like it at first, but it seems that after going into limbo for a few years, some enthusiasts have revived it.

To hear one of its presets in action, check the bassline in the middle of my latest adventure, “Scanning for Lifesigns.”

Perceptive ears will not only hear the bassline change around time = 1:13 to 1:53 but also that it sounds different. That’s because this is the only place where I use Surge — in the middle (well, also a tiny fade in at the end… time = 2:23). I added a compressor plugin on this bass track to keep the volume consistent across the octave, which was totally optional. Some producers/listeners might like a more uneven, slightly brighter bass.

Check it out!

The new Surge’s presets seem far more numerous and better sounding than what I remember with the old Surge. And Surge is now under constant development, so it is definitely something music makers should keep their eye on.

Err, ears on. 🎵😅

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