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ARPG8R - 32 Step Midi Arpeggiator Vst Review

Pentacom ARPG8R is a midi arpeggiator unit available both for PC and Mac OSX. I must admit that I'm not a fan of typical arpeggiator plugins shipped with DAW applications. Most seem uninspiring and just too limited to impress me somehow ;)

But let's start from the beginning. While the plugin is still in beta, I didn't have any problems. The installation process went very smooth. Using ARPG8R in project is also easy IF you know anything about routing - you need to load ARPG8R as VSTi instrument, load favourite VSTi and route the signal from one to another. If you're beginner, don't worry - the official website has step by step tutorials how to setup up ARPG8R in popular DAWs such as Cubase, Fl Studio, Sonar, Live.


ARPG8R has (up to) 32 Steps sequencer which means ... a lot of fun :) You can create your own patterns or use the existing ones (there are 6 presets). Creating patterns and overall using ARPG8R is very comfortable, mainly because of great GUI. The design is minimalistic, very clean. Reminds me great GUI designs created by D16.pl guys (ie. Nithonat). I like the interface a lot - it really invites you to spend some time with ARPG8R, to tweak some knobs, use pads etc.

There are six different arpeggio modes. While Up, Down, Up/Down are self explanatory, there are still three additional modes. It's Manual - the arpeggio is based on playing order. The first note you hit will be the first note in arpeggio. Poly mode just plays every octave at once (good for creating "trance gate chord" effect), and Custom mode helps you to create some unique combinations. The screen from the left describes modes pretty well.

You can set the arpeggio range to up to 4 octaves. Arpeggio can be triggered both by midi keyboard (good :) ) and just by laying down chords on piano roll. The other option is transpose arpeggio by +/- 12 semi tones. Small feature but can be a time saver (ie. you don't have to manually transpose your midi clip) - very handy.

Secret weapon

I used some midi clip, well it's a typical trance big chord (from Tiesto - Elements of Life track) with some notes stacked and spreaded across three octaves.
One feature I really like (best feature ?) is a section called Insert. It has three modes available:

Off - plays the typical, classic arpeggio just like any other arp plugin.
Lowest - it inserts the lowest note before each step which creates nice arpeggio bassline.
Highest - similar to lowest, it inserts the highest note before each step.

It really changes the way arpeggio plays and I like the effect.

Of course there is a Gate knob which makes the notes shorter and the Shuffle knob - tweak it and the whole arpeggio will start to swing :)

Final words

While I don't use standard arpeggiator unit, included in Ableton Live, at all, I'll use ARPG8R for sure. Why ? Because it's creative and it's fun. Some happy musical accidents may happen while tweaking pads, shuffle, gate konbs, insert modes. All parameters can be automated, and below there's an example. First - the raw chord, and then ARPG8R turned on :)

Raw chord - ARPG8R Turned OFF

Same chord - ARPG8R Turned On

The price is somewhere around 10 $ (it's converted from Japanase Yen) and it's a bargain :)

ps. The chords are from Tiesto - Elements Of Life :)

PRICE: ~ 10 $

More info: Pentacom ARPG8R


Anonymous said...

Great mp3 demo

Katherine said...


do you have any idea how to route this in Logic? I'm new to routing... I think maybe you would have to do it in the Environments window, but I'm not sure exactly. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

Anonymous said...

but, no target velocity modulation mapping?,...as found tucked away in the 'plain-ole useless ableton' arp ;) very powerful feature w/ many uses, when understood. the ableton arp's power especially comes through when properly paired with other native midi devices to form a complete unit, such as chord, scale, velocity, random, pitch, note-length etc. yes, i know, ableton's midi devices feat a bit of a learning curve but this is nothing that can't be overcome through dedicated experimentations. so don't discount the ableton arp. it IS powerful when you build it to be so. ;) great blog here. cheers

Greeg said...

Good points raised. Thanks for the comment :)

Anonymous said...

Abletons Arp would be dope if it was programmable like fm8's and if it had shuffle and swing options.

Greeg said...

I agree, maybe they'll improve the arp when Ableton Live 9 gets released (no one knows when :P)

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