John Valentine
Surge sound design

Surge synth is a free and open source synth plug-in for AU and VST audio workstations. If it weren't free, it would still be among the best. It's versatile tool that can create a wide range of sounds.


The patches in Surge XT that I designed:



  • Cicada Forest
  • Fireworks - Bang And Fizzle
  • Fireworks - Launch
  • Fireworks - Screamers



Plucks & Guitars


  • Folky High Pipe*

Cello 2021

The Cello is based on the violin, with some parameter tweaks to customize the sound. See Violin 2021, as the controllers are mostly the same.

Nylon Acoustic Guitar

The instrument can be played with some of the variations allowed by the physical original.

You can use multi-track techniques to isolate expression control of more than one string, or enable MPE in Surge and your DAW.

MacroMIDI CCNameDescription
141MuteLowers the high-frequency components of the guitar.
242Soft pluckSet low, this gives a hard pluck with sudden excitation of the string. Set high, this rubs the string with a finger pad as it is released, for a soft excitation.
343Play at bridgeWhen high, the sound is harsher with more high harmonics and body resonance for the pluck.
444BanjoIntroduces specific body resonances for the banjo drum, and decreases the ringout.
545Dual stringAdds a second string to the mix, which you can detune in the oscillator parameters.
848ReverbAdds a room ambience.

Demo 1: Cavatina

This is the start of Cavatina (Theme from the Deer Hunter) by Stanley Myers. It uses vibrato on the modulation wheel, with expressions of Soft pluck and velocity. The pitch wheel controls any transitions between frets.