Which are the Best MIDI Arpeggiator Plugins? Let me share my Top 5 recommendations.
BlueARP is available for free download via KVR Forums (229kB download size, 32-bit VST plugin for Windows). The current v1.1 release is a beta version. It seems that BlueArp will remail freeware even after the official release. My favorite arpeggiator until now has been Kirnu by Arto Vaarala.
Hello, Mike here, and I am a composer.
Just. Like. You. 😃
I love using arpeggiators, for coming up with cool rhythms & patterns that add more energy and drive to my music.
I have found that it can help with experimentation and creative accidents, that you might not have come up with using only the standard piano roll and sequencer.
Let me start by sharing a list of my top 5 MIDI Arpeggiator effects, and then I will give you some information about each plugin.
My Top 5 Arpeggiator VST Plugins
- The Arpeggiator in your DAW
Let’s first define what a MIDI Arpeggiator Plugin is. Basically it is a MIDI insert effect that you add to any track in your DAW, and then you use presets or program patterns that are triggered from the chords or notes you perform on your MIDI keyboard or in the main sequencer. And what you play or sequence gets turned into arpeggios. That’s how it works. Now let me give you my top 5 recommendations for MIDI Arpeggiator Plugins.
1. Cthulhu by Xfer Records
This is actually both a chord generator and arpeggiator in one single plugin. The chord module lets you turn single notes into full chords, and it comes with a great number of presets and scales. It is also very quick and easy to manually record (save) your own chords with the learning mode, and then trigger them with one key.
The arpeggiator module is very powerful, because it gives you step by step control over the notes, including note duration, velocity, transpose, harmony etc.
All in all Cthulhu has been designed very well, because even if it has lots of rich features and amazing possibilities, it is one of the MIDI Arpeggiators (and chord plugins) that is easy to get started with right away with a low learning curve compared to others.
2. Thesys by Sugar Bytes
Thesys is actually a full MIDI step sequencer plugin, with lots of deep features. This is a double-edged sword, because yes it will give you way more control for arpeggiators and much more, but at the same time it adds more complexity in practical usage.
I personally like the fact that it shows 32 steps on screen, because 16 steps can sometimes feel a bit restricted. Another great thing about Thesys is that it supports MIDI drag-and-drop.
The performance section is simply a MIDI programmers dream, because of all its features: octave, note rolls, pitch-bends with custom shapes, chord trigger and randomization…for each step. That’s crazy cool in my book!
It even has a modulation matrix to sequence CC-values, for example: modulating filters etc.
3. Kirnu Cream by Arto Vaarala
Kirnu Cream is a MIDI performer plugin with a lot of deep features. It can be a bit daunting to learn how to use effectively, but if you don’t mind switching a lot between sequencer tabs, and diving deep into its capabilities, this plugin can be just what you need.
It has features like chord memory, gate, swing, accents and much more. It also comes with a pattern sequencer, and you can even choose the step length for each individual pattern.
4. BlueARP by Oleg Mikheev
Let’s get to this plugins main plus: it is free! Oleg has developed BlueARP as an independent project for many years, and kindly gives it away for free (at least at the moment).
It might not win any graphic design award, but wow is it fun to use, and you might be surprised at how cool this plugin is to use in practice! =)
It has step by step control over which note or notes of the chord is triggered. This means that you don’t have to use those boring up/down or down/up motions for your arpeggios, but can actually customize the pattern as you wish, and even add harmonies to the steps you choose.
On top of that, BlueArp comes with lots of presets that you can try out as a starting point, to get new ideas, or simply use straight away for your sequences.
5. The Arpeggiator in your DAW
I know. I’m pretty sure you have a “doh!” reaction now. But hear me out please. 😃
The reason is that we always look for the new shiny thing, which makes us often forget how great the tools are, that we have right in front of us. I know I forget this all the time myself.
Your DAW most certainly comes with a very capable MIDI arpeggiator. I know Logic Pro X does, because that’s my main DAW. I also know Propellerhead Reason does, because I’ve used that DAW for many years.
So check out the built-in MIDI arpeggiator that comes with your DAW, and go deep into its features to learn its potential. It is often greater than you might first think.
Summary: My Top 5 MIDI Arpeggiators
- The Arpeggiator in your DAW
Your Time to Take Action! =)
I recommend that you start experimenting with the built in MIDI arpeggiator plugin in your DAW, and then continue by installing the demo or trial version of some of these third party arpeggiator plugins. Good luck and have fun with arpeggiators! =)
My name is Mikael “Mike” Baggström, and I am a composer, sound designer, artist and educator.
PS. Do you want to LEVEL UP as a Composer? – Learn How here.
Hi. I’m Lyubo. I’m a music producer. Just like you. And just like every other music producer, sometimes I hit writer’s block. In situations like this, when my brain seems to have stopped working and can’t come up with a dope melody, arpeggiator vst’s come in very handy. They are great tools for creating complex and powerful sequences with the click of a button. In this article, we’ll take a look at the top 10 best Arpeggiator VST plugins (both free and paid) in 2019. Enjoy!
So What Exactly is a MIDI ARP Plugin?
A MIDI Arpeggiator VST doesn’t produce any sound of its own. It sends and receives MIDI data, so you’ll need an instrument vst – such as Serum or Massive to hear it playing.
How to Connect a MIDI ARP to a Third-Party VST Plugin in FL Studio
Fruity Loops has always been my DAW of choice, so here I’m only sharing with you what I know well. For tips on how to do the same in other DAWs check this link. I’m using Cthulhu for the example below, but the process is exactly the same for all arp plugins.
Step 1: Click on the gear icon in the upper-left corner of Cthulhu’s Fruity Wrapper.
Step 2: Now go to the vst wrapper settings button and assign a number to the input and output ports, for example, number 3:
Step 3: Pick a third party VST from your inventory, open it and click on its wrapper gear icon, just like we previously did with Cthulhu. I’m using Synapse Audio’s Dune for this example.
Step 4: Go to the wrapper settings again, and then assign a port number, but this time on the input only.
That’s it, you’re good to go! Go back to your arp vst and now you’ll be able to play it.
1. BlueARP Arpeggiator VST (Free)
Number one on our list is a free vst, but don’t be fooled – BlueARP is giving its paid competitors a good run for their money! The creator of this vst, Oleg Mikheev drew inspiration from classic hardware groove boxes and arpeggiators such as Korg Electribes and Novation Nova. Some of BlueARPs features include:
- a matrix editor
- lots of included presets
- Up to 64 steps per pattern
- Up to 64 programs per bank
- Real-time input quantization
- Input range setting for keyboard-split performances
- Separate settings for octave and semitone per step transpose
- Custom color themes
While BlueARP is certainly not going to win any awards in the visual department, the plugin is still a pretty good choice for both beginners and professionals.
Get Blue Arp from Oleg Mikheev’s website or from KVR
2. Xfer Records Cthulhu Arpeggiator VST
Before the massive success of Serum, Steve Duda gave life to a little less known, yet incredibly powerful midi plugin – Cthulhu. Cthulhu is actually 2 in 1 – arpeggiator vst and chord player / memorizer that’ll allow you to rework and manipulate various chord progressions. The main interface is divided into 8 tabs, where you can tweak octaves, pitch, gate, harmony and much more:
Cthulhu is simply inspirational and boasts more than 150 chord presets to play around. Of course, you’re not limited to that – you can always come up with your own and save them for later use. And if that’s not enough you have a WTF button, that will generate random chords.
Verdict? Chtulhu’s arp is light years ahead of the typical up/down/random arpeggios you’re familiar with. It is my go-to when it comes to Arpeggiator VST’s and chord plugins.
The only downside I’ve heard people complain about is compatibility issues in Logic Pro, but from what I understand sounds more like a Logic problem, rather than Chtulhu’s.
Bluearp Vst Free Download Mediafire
The price is also reasonable – currently, Chtulhu costs about 35 bucks. You can get it from PluginButique:
3. Arto Vaarala Kirnu Cream Arpeggiator VST
Another one of my favorites, although I’m not using it that much these days. Cream is the bigger brother of Arto Vaarala‘s Kirnu 1 and brings so much more to the table!
According to the developer, this plugin is not your standard MIDI arpeggiator, but a powerful MIDI-performer, intended for both live and offline usage.
Cream’s interface is fairly intuitive and easy to grasp. You can create catchy sequences with just a few clicks.
Free Vst Plug-ins
All the standard arpeggiator controls – octaves, swing and rate can be accessed from the pattern controls pannel. With four tracks, chord memory and sample-accurate MIDI timing, this monster is a pumping powerhouse of instant pattern-based performances. I’d say definitely download the demo version and give it a try. If you’d like to buy it, the price is the same as Cthulhu’s – $35
4. Sugar Bytes Thesys Arp VST
Yet another arpeggiator VST that deviates from the standard definition of an arp vst. Thesys is a MIDI sequencing tool, created with performance in mind. Thesys boasts not one, but five step sequencers, each one working with a different type of MIDI Data.
Some of Thesys’s features include:
- Internal synth, for creating patterns on the fly
- Pattern sequencer with random and mutate functions for each of the five sequencers
- MIDI Drag and Drop for exporting
- A standalone version of the plugin
All in all, Thesys is a fantastic addition to any music producer’s arsenal. It’s a superb tool for deploying quick basselines, leads, chords and pads. This plugin can be also taken on live stage with its smart menu functionality, which allows you to trigger various performance options – transpose, twist, mutate – without even being on your laptop. Definitely a must-have.
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5. Squaredheads Nora 2 Arp VST
The developer of Nora describes as a “polyphonic phrase arpeggiator with piano roll technology”. It employs advanced editing tools to easily create powerful rhythms. At first glance, it may seem more like a DAW, rather than just an arp plugin. The full contextual interface allows you to come up with solo melodies, complex rhythms, leads instantly. Why should you give it a try:
- 8 tracks, 8 independent arps
- 64 patterns per track
- a wide variety of presets
- sample-accurate MIDI precision
- real-time quantizer
- Easy and quick workflow
- Very CPU friendly
- extremely customizable – this thing has more than 400 parameters to tweak
- thousands of unique presets
- copy/paste function
- fully resizable GUI
- randomizer functionality
Bluearp Vst Free Download Crack
To summarize, Nora is one of the best arpeggiator plugins out there. Tonnes of useful features and a user-friendly interface. You can get a copy of the plugin from here:
So there you have it folks – the top 5 best arp plugins. Regardless of which one you like the most, remember that plugins are just tools to expand on your creativity. Don’t just buy every new shiny thing that comes at as sight. My advice is to go deep into the arpeggiator in your DAW and explore its potential first. It’s often greater that you think it is.
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