I needed an arpeggiator plugin for a work in progress music project yesterday, so I browsed the web to see which tools the freeware VST plugin world has to offer. As a result of that search here’s another BPB Freeware Studio article featuring the best freeware arpeggiator VST/AU plugins for Windows and Mac.
Arpeggiators can be an awful lot of fun, especially if you produce electronic music. You can use them to trigger your virtual synthesizers and come up with exciting new bassline and lead sequence ideas without actually playing a keyboard. Don’t limit yourself to synthesizers, though. Try triggering a sampler or a drum machine with an arpeggiator, as this could lead to surprisingly good results on occasion.
Also see: Free Step Sequencer VST Plugins
Free Arpeggiator VST Plugins
The plugins below are listed in alphabetic order. Follow the links for screenshots and more info about each listed plugin:
- Arp4midi by xoxos (Windows)
- ArpLite2 by SynArp (Windows)
- BlueARP by Oleg Mikheev (Mac, Windows)
- hypercyclic by mucoder (Linux, Mac, Windows)
- Kirnu by Arto Vaarala (Mac, Windows)
- RandARP by CodeFN42 (Windows)
Special thanks to Numanoid for helping us refresh the list!
Do you think that a certain plugin is missing from this list? You’re welcome to leave your suggestions in the comments section below!
Kirnu by Arto Vaarala
Arto Vaarala’s brilliant Kirnu seems to be everyone’s favorite free arpeggiator VST plugin at the moment. Featuring everything you may need from a MIDI arpeggiator and then some, this thing rocks once you get the hang of it.
Even though an improved and more advanced version of the plugin called Cream has been released in the meanwhile, the good old Kirnu still remains a solid choice for anyone looking for a workhorse freeware arpeggiator. Dancing on a thin line between an arpeggiator and a step sequencer, this plugin pretty much provides all the features an advanced user would need from a plugin of this type.
Kirnu may be a bit too hard to grasp at first, but programming this plugin should become a breeze after you watch any of the tutorial videos available online. Keep in mind that you’ll need a VST host application capable of handling plugins with MIDI output. For a quick starter, here’s a set of 25 free presets for Kirnu.
BlueARP by Oleg Mikheev
Released in 2012, the amazing BlueARP was instantly recognized as a solid contender to Kirnu in terms of features and functionality. Developed as a powerful arpeggiator with a unique pattern sequencer workflow, this freeware plugin should definitely be on your download list.
The developer describes BlueArp as a “pattern arpeggiator”, “step sequencer style arpeggiator” and an “arpeggiator with pattern input”. The bottom line is that this plugin can offer much more than a standard arpeggiator, borrowing some of its functionality from popular hardware groovebox instruments such as the Korg Electribe and Novation Nova’s arpeggiator.
In my opinion, this plugin is more intuitive and easier to program than Kirnu, however this probably varies from user to user. The official download page for BlueARP provides a handy set of video tutorials which are definitely a recommended watch before using this feature packed plugin for the first time.
UPDATE: BlueARP is now also available as a VST plugin for MAC OS X and MIDI-FX for Mac OS X (for Logic Pro X 10).
Thanks for reading! As always, you’re welcome to leave your own suggestions in the comments section below. Also, please consider sharing this article if you find it informative! Have fun with the freeware arpeggiators listed above and make some great music!