(Manuals are also available from the ‘Preset’ menu inside each Plugin interface)



(Manuals are also available from the ‘Preset’ menu inside each Plugin interface)



Surreal Machines STORE

When I try to 'Place Order' at your store, the page keeps reloading and not moving forward ?!

We are really sorry you are having problems.

Do you have your TOWN in the ZIP CODE box? This is a common way to format addresses in Germany, for example.

Please remove the town from the form and just leave the numbers there and try again.

You might even have to leave the Surreal Machines website, refresh your browser and try again.


What payment methods do you accept?

Paypal, most Credit Cards and some Debit Cards.

You do not need a Paypal account if you choose to pay by Credit or Debit Card.

Will there be ‘crossgrade’ offers for users of the MaxForLive Dub/Transient Machines?

Sadly we are not in a position to do official ‘crossgrades’ for users of the MaxForLive devices which are related to (but in no way exactly the same as) the eponymous VST / AU releases.

The M4L projects were with a different company (Ableton) and we have none of their details or data about customers or orders.

We gave away Diffuse VST/AU for free at the beginning of it’s release period – this was our way of giving a discount to all our loyal M4L users. We have also made the Crack VST/AU permanently free for similar reasons.

Modnetic had two years of additional development, so giving away Diffuse for free was a consolation.

Similarly, Impact had a further 18 months of additional development work, and thus a similar relationship to the free Crack.

You can try a demo of Modnetic to test out all the new features if you wish. The new modulation section alone could be considered an entirely new plugin. Any CPU ‘fixes’ are also to do with this long research period, but also to do with what is possible writing native C++ code rather than working in Max/Gen.

Similarly, with Impact there is a demo to download, and even an online WAM (Web Audio Module) to try out directly in your browser!

We hope these are a good compromises for everyone.

Can I resell my VST/AU plugin authorisation?

In principle, yes, but please be aware that license transfer is a completely manual, non-automated process, so can take some time. To begin the process, email [email protected] to make a request.

Why can I not buy your Max for Live packs directly from you?

Because they are Ableton products which we made for them. Purchasing from Ableton is easy from your Ableton account. Click on the links on the Max / Live product page to get there…

Plugin Installing and Authorising

What are the System Requirements for your VST/AU Plugins?

Surreal Machines plugins have been tested in most of the compatible plugin hosting digital audio software for Windows and macOS.

If you find a bug please contact [email protected]


Windows 8 or 10

32 bit or 64 bit VST 2.4 or VST 3 host

Minimum Intel i5 CPU and 4GB RAM or more recommended


macOS El Capitan (10.11) or higher, including Big Sur (11.0) (but NOT compatible with AppleSilicon yet)

32 bit or 64 bit VST 2.4, VST 3 or Audio Unit host

Minimum Intel i5 CPU and 4GB RAM or more recommended (NOT compatible with AppleSilicon yet)

Note: Surreal Machines plugins may work well on other configurations, but the above details are the recommended (and supported) specifications. We offer demos for all our plugins so you ca try them out on your system first.

On Windows, why do the Transient Machines installers say they are not safe?

This might happen when installing Surreal Machines plugins, although only rarely. Sadly we have not managed to fully provide the more usual Windows Certification process to our installers yet. But you can safely ignore warnings and go ahead and install.

If you have any problems, contact [email protected]

On macOS, why do Dub Machines installers say "scanned for malicious software" and not let me install?

This is because we released Modnetic and Diffuse before Catalina and Apple gatekeeping.
To get around this, right click on the installer and click “Open”. This ensures Apple that you intentionally want to run the software.
We plan to have an update for Dub Machines in 2021 that will be notarised.

If you have any problems, contact [email protected]

The plugins will not authorise, what should I do?

Firstly, have you authorized correctly?

Once installed, the first time you load a Surreal Machines plugin an authorization screen will appear with instructions. You will need to copy your serial number, which will look something like this:

START|Your Name|[email protected]|XXXX-XXXX-XXXX-XXXX|END

You must copy the entire serial as it appears in your email, including the words START and END.

Then simply click on the plugin window authorization screen. There is nowhere to paste! Just Click on the authorization screen!

That’s it!

For complete instructions on installing and authorizing Surreal Machines plugins see the “Setup” section of any of the manuals.

Secondly, a common problem:

Sometimes your email client can format the serial in a strange way, so when you copy it it gets copied with extra spaces or carriage returns.

Try pasting it first into a plain text document to get rid of this formatting.

Furthermore, some users print their email messages to PDF. Printing to PDF can also change the formatting, so try the plain text editor trick above as well.

If you have any further problems, get in touch with [email protected] and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

How do the DEMO VST/AU plugins work?

With Surreal Machines plugin, the DEMOs are actually separate plugin downloads.

You can try out any Surreal Machines plugin before purchasing by downloading this separate file (using the “Demo” button on the website) and going through the purchase procedure which will default to €0.

This way the demo download link will always be available to you via your Surreal Machines account.

The demo plugins have the following restrictions:

– If you recall a non-factory preset or if you reload in your DAW (including saving, closing then reopening a session), audio will be bypassed.

– If you automate the plugin it will not respond (the GUI will update, but the audio engine will not respond).

Once you decide to purchase, you must revisit the Surreal Machines website and go through the purchase procedure to gain access to full versions of the plugins. You could delete the demo plugins from your computer before installing the full versions, although as they are separate files the full installers will overwrite any demo preferences.

I accidentally installed a DEMO plugin over the top of my purchased full version, what should I do?

Simply delete the demo and reinstall the full version. You can access the full version from the download link in your online Surreal Machines account.

I have lost my plugin authorisation code, where can I find it?

Your authorization serial number is emailed to you when you purchase, so it will always be available to you in your email account.

Your serial number is also always available to you from your Surreal Machines online user account.

If you ever have any authorization problems that cannot be solved via your account, contact [email protected] and we will help you as quickly as possible.

I need to reinstall the OS on my computer, will my plugin authorisation be lost?


Your authorization serial number is emailed to you when you purchase, so it will always be available to you in your email account.

Furthermore, all details, including permanent download links to your purchased plugins, are always available to you from your Surreal Machines online user account. If you need to reinstall any Dub Machines plugin, simply visit your account, download your linked files and use your serial.

If you ever have any authorization problems that cannot be solved via your account, contact [email protected] and we will get you a new link or serial as quickly as possible.

I have purchased Surreal Machines VST/AU plugins, can I install them on my macOS computer as well as my Windows computer?


When you purchase any Surreal Machines plugin, you receive one serial and two download links. One link is for Windows, one link is for macOS. You can download both and install on different operating systems with the same serial.

You can download your plugins at any time by signing into your account on the Surreal Machines website where your available download links are listed.

About Transient Machines (Impact and Crack)

What is the difference between the old (M4L) Impact and the new (VST/AU) Impact?

Compared to the Ableton M4L version, the new VST/AU plugin has been completely rewritten from scratch in C++ for better performance.

Most obviously, as a VST/AU the new Impact can be used in any plugin host as a mono or stereo effect or insert.

Also, the new Impact:

has saturation parts improved with resampling changes

has dynamics sections improved with better detection algorithms

has the same array of unique internal routing options, but switchable in real time without any clicks, as well as dynamically managing it’s CPU load

has new and improved metering and displays that render on the GPU

has a brand new modern interface (that can be resized)

has additional plugin features like AB compare

and more!…

About Dub Machines (Modnetic and Diffuse)

What is the Difference between the old MAGnetic and the new MODnetic?

Compared to the Ableton M4L version (Magnetic), the new VST/AU plugin Modnetic has been completely rewritten from scratch in C++ for better performance and higher quality. We’ve painstaking created brand new ‘character modes’ that affect the whole system, provided a new set of reverbs and colors (keeping the best from before) and made everything completely smooth and click free in realtime performance, not to mention plugin features like AB compare and mix lock… but the biggest change has to be… our new modulation system!

Modnetic has a fully featured and easy to use modulation section with chorus, flangers and phasers. In each type you get many modes that go from analog modeled BBD circuits to clean digital and character modes for each type.

The manual is dense, we know. But there’s lots of tips and tricks and a ‘walk through’, plus details we hope you don’t need to know, but give you expert control, like how our level dials automatically have a secret life as dry/wet knobs when needed, etc.

(As an aside, the whole process took about two years of research and development, lots of gear rental, two UI redesigns and a new web page …plus blood, sweat, tears and trans-European travels).

There is noise coming from the Modnetic plugin, what is wrong?

There are parts of the plugin that are ‘always on’. This gives the closest hardware-like behaviour as well as offering great versatility. In Modnetic the preamp, output stage and noise are just such ‘always on’ elements.

In Modnetic we model the noise present in old hardware units caused by the power supply, the circuits and the BBD system. This gives an authentic quality to the sound design options offered by the plugin.

By default the ‘noise’ slider is at 50%. For a cleaner sound you can simply turn the ‘noise’ slider down to 0% ! (At 0% the CPU used by the noise emulation system is turned off). The modulation fx part of the plugin can also produce similar modelled sounds, most notably if using the ‘character’ options.

For more tips and tricks on how to get the most out of the noiseyness and the other parts of the plugin that can produce dirty sounds, see the “Noise, Wow and Saturation” & “Digging Deeper” parts of the “Quick Start” section of the Modnetic manual.

Sometimes I hear wet signal in the Modnetic plugin, even if the ‘mix’ slider is set at 0%

Modnetic offers comprehensive routing options unlike the hardware units on which it is based. It is therefore possible to use it as just an analog delay, or just a convolution system, or just a modulation fx system, or any combination of these. However, all sound always travels through the modelled input/output stages which, although subtle, give the plugin a lot of its ‘tape tone’ analog feel.

So, if the ‘modulation’ routing is set to ‘pre dry’ and the ‘reverb’ and ‘delay’ sections are switched off, the ‘mix’ knob can appear to be always wet modulation, regardless of dry or wet position.

In the Modnetic plugin it sounds like the reverb is going through the delay – my old Space Echo never did that?!

Modnetic offers comprehensive routing options unlike the hardware units on which it is based. It is therefore possible to use it as just an analog delay, or just a convolution system, or just a modulation fx system, or any combination of these.

The routing section in Modnetic enables you to do things the old hardware units could not. The ‘parallel’, ‘post’ & ‘pre’ options in the Reverb Routing section refer to the routing of the reverb (convolution) section (if it is on). If, for example, this is set to ‘pre’, the reverb will be put before the delay. The more common setting is ‘parallel’, where the dry (post preamp) signal is directed into both reverb and delay and mixed together afterwards.

For more information on getting the most out of audio routing in Modnetic, see the “Routing” part of the “Reference” section of the Modnetic manual.

The Modnetic plugin Reverb section is called ‘Reverb’ but actually it offers all sorts of convolution options?

Correct !!

At Surreal Machines we want to give you more than just ‘analog emulation’ – we want to extend the concept by offering multiple sound design possibilities whilst staying in the general sonic area of the emulation.

So here you will find many different reverb IRs as well as ‘color’ options – best just to explore to get a sense of what this ‘Reverb’ section can do!

For more information on the sound design possibilities of the ‘Reverb’ section, see the “Tips and Tricks” part of the “Quick Start” section and the “Reverb” part of the “Reference” section in the Modnetic manual.

My Modnetic plugin sounds mono, wtf?!

The ‘modulation’ section has a ‘spread’ slider and the ‘mix’ section has a ‘width’ slider. Are these set to your liking? Amongst other things, these sliders enable you to morph between guitar stomp box like behaviour and a full stereo fx processor.

In Diffuse, what does ‘150%’ regeneration mean?

Greater than 100% ‘regen’ simply boost the gain of the signal going into the feedback loop thus oversaturating the audio signal circulating in the plugin. This gives you the option of sustained, aggressive distortion, as the audio over unity is caught by the non-linearities in the device. Enjoy!

One of the key sound design features of Diffuse is this ability to sustain through constant recirculation whilst offering the characterful differences of the saturation algorithms between 100 and 150 % settings.

I’m confused by the EQ section of the Diffuse plugin, how does it work?

The ‘Lo Damp Gain’ & ‘Hi Damp Gain’ sliders attenuate (dampen) the level at the specified frequency ranges between -24 and 0 dB. The frequency region is specified in Hz via the ‘Lo Damp Frequency’ & ‘Hi Damp Frequency’ dials.

Rather than being a surgical EQ, this section aims to help you shape the general contour of the audio going through the feedback delay network in the plugin.

The ‘Hi Damp’ dial affects the frequency spectrum exponentially from 15000 Hz to 1900 Hz. The ‘Lo Damp’ dial affects the frequency spectrum exponentially from 45 Hz to 300 Hz. So with both dials, turning them upwards reduces the width of the frequency band (produces narrower filtering and greater damping if ‘Gain’ is attenuated).

So these are more like general tone control sections you would find on amplifiers. The regions of operation are chosen carefully to match the resonant frequencies of the plugin with a nod to the shaping controls on certain digital hardware devices on which Diffuse is based.

These tone shaping controls actually affect eight high shelf and eight low shelf filters in and around the allpass diffusion network in the FDN at the heart of the plugin algorithm.

For more information of the “Tone Controls” part of the “Reference” section of the Diffuse manual.

Other Stuff

I have complex questions about the GenExpr code in your awesome Filter Package. Who should I ask for help?

See you over on the Cycling ’74 forums !

How do I get hold of your custom 'Oscillot' modules?

Surreal Machines have 6 custom Oscillot modules. These are not a separate downloads but are included in the main Oscillot Plugin. You can get Oscillot from Ableton here.

Inside Oscillot, Surreal Machines modules are available from the module menus with the prefix “SM_”, and are fully documented via the Oscillot inline documentation system.

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