Surreal Machines MODNETIC Review – Analog Emulation Doesn’t Need To Be Boring

Surreal Machines is a Berlin-based company which aims to produce “high-quality modern audio software using the latest techniques of analog emulation married with unique and personal takes on modern music production”.

They started their adventure releasing a handful of interesting plugins for Ableton Live and Max for Live, and they have entered the VST/AU arena with their first two plugins in VST and AU formats (also available in a bundle, see below). While these gathered some attention right after their release, we believe they deserve more…


MODNETIC is Surreal Machine’s flagship product. It provides supreme analog emulated tape delay, extremely realistic spring reverb choices and bucket brigade chorus on the one hand, but digital clarity and impossible tricks on the other, such as classic digital phasers, reverse-tape and clickless realtime routing options.

I’ve been using MODNETIC with a bunch of drum machines and synths, and I have to say I’m impressed. I’ve been able to shape some inspiring sounds in a matter of minutes, and the plugin seems to have a unique soul (which complements my other beloved software reverb/delay units, such as Soundtoys, Valhalla, Eventide, etc.)

It’s also pretty versatile, even though I’ve focused my test on its dirtiest side (if you love lo-fi, haunted spaces, this plugin will be your new best friend!)

Each section of the plugin has its on/off switch, quite handy to try different sound variations. I only wish the interface was resizable and/or easier to read (yep, I’m getting older!).
MODNETIC doesn’t have an auto-sync feature, but on this kind of tape delay inspired plugins I don’t really feel the need. It’s more fun without, at least for me!

I wonder if the company is considering making a modular or desktop unit out of this. I don’t know about you, but I would love to use one!


  • An Echo section with three combinable virtual tape heads, two different reverse delay effects and a hold mode for immediate sustained loops.
  • A Reverb section with 35 carefully crafted IRs.
  • A Modulation section featuring chorus, flanger and phaser effects, including analog models inspired by BBDs (Bucket Brigade Devices), clean digital effects and special sonically ‘broken’ flavors.
  • Four vintage machine ‘characters’ that affect the tonal and sonic qualities of the delay and modulation effects, with a character dial that controls the strength of the selected ‘machine style’.
  • Comprehensive routing options for blending the three effects in unique and creative ways.
  • Rewritten from scratch since the original Max For Live version to be fully optimized for both sound and performance in all modern DAWs.

Pricing: 69€ (currently on sale, 30% off).

Get DIFFUSE and Save With The Bundle – DUB MACHINES

The Surreal Machines catalog also offers DIFFUSE, a ‘simpler’ plugin – an analog modeled delay fused with a classic reverb design used in early digital units. With DIFFUSE you can morph between delays and reverbs, and find all kinds of fantastical sounds in between the two. It’s not as deep as MODNETIC, but if you like intuitive yet well-thought plugins, this it it.

MODNETIC and DIFFUSE are also available in the DUB MACHINES bundle, for 99€ only 69€ (for a limited time). If you ask me, even at full price they’re a bargain, so you won’t go wrong either way!

To read more about these plugins, visit Surreal Machines.

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