Best Arpeggiator VST Plugins (Top 5)

Which are the Best MIDI Arpeggiator Plugins? Let me share my Top 5 recommendations.

Best Arpeggiator VST PluginsHello, 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

  1. Cthulhu by Xfer Records
  2. Thesys by Sugar Bytes
  3. Kirnu Cream by Arto Vaarala
  4. BlueARP by Oleg Mikheev
  5. The Arpeggiator in your DAW

What is a MIDI Arpeggiator Plugin?

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.

My Top 5 Arpeggiator VST 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

  1. Cthulhu by Xfer Records
  2. Thesys by Sugar Bytes
  3. Kirnu Cream by Arto Vaarala
  4. BlueARP by Oleg Mikheev
  5. 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, video creator, coffee lover, science geek and true nerd…

I want to invite you to Join Professional Composers today (Free to Join).

2018-08-02T09:45:48+00:00