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!
Kirnu is totally the winner here imho! It’s almost as good as the apreggiator on the Blofeld, and that one totally kicks ass!
bedroom producers blogon
yeah, Kirnu is exceptionally good! although i also like having a few simpler plugins laying around – they come in handy in situations when i need to just set something up quickly. WOK’s SimpArp is great for that.
Hey guys, why does the article mention AU plugins? I cannot see AUs anywhere, except I am missing something ;-) The links only redirect to Mac VST plugins.
Thanks – great article. I’m looking for something that will let me quickly and easily mimic 80’s arpeggio sounds like “Rio” in live performance – do any of these plug-ins have presets that let you do that without hours of tweaking?
Where the hell does it say Kirnu is free? I just checked the website and unless I want the demo it’s 35 Euros >< is there another version out there that's free?
Kirnu 1 is still free, although a bit hidden… ;)
— EXPIRED LINK REMOVED —
Bedroom Producers Blogon
thanks for the link!
Wusik VM is a great tool thanks bro
Although this is a good list, i think that it lacks the king of them all:
It’s programmed in reapers JS format and usable in all other host via ReaJS.
Here is the forum thread where you can download it:
i assume that you haven’t tried it, because if you would’ve it would probably be your #1 recommendation (taking into account my past experiences of your taste :D)…
In my view, this is better than BlueArp and a lot better than Kirnu, but well… find out for yourself, or not… :)
Absolutely agree on arp!0 (pronounced arpbangzero).
Like you say, you need ReaJS to run it, which is here: https://www.reaper.fm/reaplugs/
As the time moved on, Kirnu is nowhere to be found to download, and Cream has died, there is vast thread about no support / bugfixes on their forum …
yeah i am also still searching for that *functioning* mac support ARP Vst :D