LibreArp - my free pattern-based VST arpeggiator

VST, AU, etc. plug-in Virtual Effects discussion
alefunguju
KVRer
11 posts since 17 Oct, 2017

Post Fri Jun 22, 2018 6:29 am

Hello, everyone.

I'm working on an open-source pattern-based arpeggiator MIDI effect.

Version 1.1 can be downloaded now from the official website.

Currently, Linux and Windows are supported. I'm looking for a maintainer of community macOS builds so if you are a developer using macOS and are interested, please see issue #19.

Here is a video of a pre-1.0 version in action. It is slightly outdated but it shows the essence of the plugin quite well, I think: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yav_xcA6qW0

Check it out if you're interested and let me know what you think!

User avatar
phreaque
KVRian
1201 posts since 17 Jul, 2007 from Baghdad-Iq

Post Fri Jun 22, 2018 8:07 am

Checked your video and the workflow of this new Arp tool, I believe there's a big room of improvement to be considered before moving to MacOS, here's some:

1. Color based keynotes to determine the key sorting (e.g. blue = 1st note, orange = 3rd note, grey = root note etc.)
2. Ability to add markers and to define Midi CC to jump through different arp variations.
3. Adding a midi out feature so it gives ability to sort certain key notes to be sent to a specific midi channel..

I'm not sure if you're considering to think of adding these feature, especially if the VST is a freeware, but why not to make a payware version of it with such capabilities? It will make a huge benefit for us.
Saif Sameer - content designer
Reveal-Sound Image-Line SoundCloud

lobanov
KVRian
529 posts since 7 Oct, 2005

Post Fri Jun 22, 2018 9:09 am

I like it.

But I have questions and thoughts.

1. Why have you made LibreArp VST effect? I think it's possible in Juce to make it VSTi. Am I wrong?

2. The linear approach to arpeggios is good. Unexpectedly for me. I write arpeggios note by note for an entire song... May be.
But sometimes we need to change fast one pattern to another one. Without moving many notes, replacing them etc. Linear approach becomes tedious, boring in such case.
Markers in linear approach could be very useful. We need something to navigate quickly.

3. How do you plan to develop LibreArp? Do you plan to introduce live mode?

alefunguju
KVRer

Topic Starter

11 posts since 17 Oct, 2017

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 12:51 am

First off, there will be much more coming in the future versions. Consider the first version a proof-of-concept.

If you're interested in what's on the to-do list (it's already quite a lot and more items are being added), you can take a look at the issue tracker on GitLab (link on the official page).



To phreaque:
to be considered before moving to MacOS
Why would I do that before moving to macOS? The codebase is cross-platform as-is, someone just needs to compile it, which I can't do, personally, simply because I don't have and currently don't plan on getting a macOS device. I see no reason to postpone macOS community builds (that is: done by someone else than me) until more features are done.
1. Color based keynotes to determine the key sorting (e.g. blue = 1st note, orange = 3rd note, grey = root note etc.)
I'm not exactly sure what you mean here. If you mean some visual representation of which note is which number in from the input, that's already on the to-do.
2. Ability to add markers and to define Midi CC to jump through different arp variations.
I rather plan on having the ability to add multiple arp patterns and a song-wide timeline of when each pattern is supposed to play. The plan is to add this feature on version 3.
3. Adding a midi out feature so it gives ability to sort certain key notes to be sent to a specific midi channel..
I can add this, sounds like a reasonable idea.
if the VST is a freeware
It's not. It's free open-source, point of which is that it can be a collaboration of volunteers who contribute to the codebase - anyone can see the source, edit it, send changes back to me, create their custom version etc etc.
why not to make a payware version of it with such capabilities. It will make a huge benefit for us.
I won't be doing that, I'd much rather keep it open-source. Trust me, you wouldn't benefit from that - I'm a comp-sci student doing this in free time and making a paid version wouldn't magically create more free time for me to work on it.



To lobanov:
1. Why have you made LibreArp VST effect? I think it's possible in Juce to make it VSTi. Am I wrong?
There's no particular reason other than that VST is missing something like a MIDI effect category, it only has instrument and (audio) effect. LibreArp doesn't really fit in either, so I just arbitrarily chose one. So far in my testing with multiple DAWs I haven't come across a case where this causes problems, neither has anyone reported any such problems. If it causes problems to you, could you please submit an issue on the GitLab page describing what exactly goes wrong?
2. The linear approach to arpeggios is good. Unexpectedly for me. I write arpeggios note by note for an entire song... May be.
But sometimes we need to change fast one pattern to another one. Without moving many notes, replacing them etc. Linear approach becomes tedious, boring in such case.
Markers in linear approach could be very useful. We need something to navigate quickly.
As mentioned above, I'm planning on adding multiple arp patterns and a song-wide timeline to trigger them in version 3. It'll take some time (currently working on version 2 which already has quite a lot planned) but it'll get there eventually.
How do you plan to develop LibreArp?
Well, currently it's in active development and I plan on keeping it that way, since it came from my own need of such a plugin and not finding a suitable one that would also support Linux. The development is kept public since it's open-source - it can be tracked on the GitLab page.
Do you plan to introduce live mode?
Depends on what you expect from it. I was thinking of adding the ability to manually launch patterns (once multiple patterns are implemented in version 3) for live shows. If you have some particular ideas, please open an issue on GitLab, we can discuss it there.

nonstatic
KVRist
148 posts since 7 Nov, 2002

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:18 am

Very cool, the polyphonic element is something not seen very often.

The first request that comes to mind is a realtime swing function (not a fan of groove templates, prefer a single knob/slider). Apologies if it's already in the current release, have only watched the video so far.

alefunguju
KVRer

Topic Starter

11 posts since 17 Oct, 2017

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:23 am

nonstatic wrote:Very cool, the polyphonic element is something not seen very often.

The first request that comes to mind is a realtime swing function (not a fan of groove templates, prefer a single knob/slider). Apologies if it's already in the current release, have only watched the video so far.
Realtime swing is not implemented at the moment but I agree it would be a nice-to-have feature. I'll open an issue as a to-do.

ENV1
KVRAF
2797 posts since 31 Aug, 2011

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 3:21 am

alefunguju wrote:
1. Why have you made LibreArp VST effect? I think it's possible in Juce to make it VSTi. Am I wrong?
There's no particular reason other than that VST is missing something like a MIDI effect category, it only has instrument and (audio) effect.
While technically true, there are hosts that just add that category based on the plugins properties. VSTHost for instance has the normal Instrument and Effect categories, but also a MIDI category which contains all DLLs that have at least a MIDI Out pin but neither an audio input pin nor an audio output pin. (Regardless of whether they are VST or VSTi.) Not sure how many other hosts there are that have that functionality, but it would surprise me if VSTHost were the only one.

alefunguju wrote:LibreArp doesn't really fit in either, so I just arbitrarily chose one. So far in my testing with multiple DAWs I haven't come across a case where this causes problems, neither has anyone reported any such problems.
The main difference between VSTi and VST in this context is that with a VSTi (Instrument) the incoming audio will usually be passed through to the next plugin in the chain whereas with a VST (Effect) the incoming audio will be 'intercepted' and not passed through to the next plugin in the chain. (I say 'usually' because thats ultimately up to the host.) Both can obviously be desired or undesired, so which one you want to use, VSTi or VST variant, will ultimately depend on the situation. The best solution is therefore to provide both variants, (which many devs do), or to have an INI file where you can set a flag which tells the plugin how it should respond to the host when it asks 'what are you, what can you do'.

Excerpt from ERA.ini:

VST_IS_EFFECT=0
VST_CAN_INSERT=0
VST_CAN_SEND=0

You get the idea.

alefunguju
KVRer

Topic Starter

11 posts since 17 Oct, 2017

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:40 pm

The main difference between VSTi and VST in this context is that with a VSTi (Instrument) the incoming audio will usually be passed through to the next plugin in the chain whereas with a VST (Effect) the incoming audio will be 'intercepted' and not passed through to the next plugin in the chain.
I really can't imagine a setup where this would matter for LibreArp (which isn't to say that such a setup doesn't exist, I just really cannot come up with one).
The best solution is therefore to provide both variants, (which many devs do), or to have an INI file where you can set a flag which tells the plugin how it should respond to the host when it asks 'what are you, what can you do'.
The first solution would complicate the release build process because Projucer doesn't allow selecting both Instrument and Effect versions to be built.

I would gladly implement the second solution but that would require patching the JUCE library if I'm not mistaken. I may try doing that, eventually, but it's not a super high priority for me at the moment.

chk071
KVRAF
30680 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:45 pm

Someone correct me if i'm wrong, but, i don't even think a arpeggiator which works as a VST effect will even work in hosts which don't use or allow MIDI effects. All the arpeggiator plugins i know are VSTi's, and have to be set up accordingly (create a new track with an instance of the arpeggiator plugin, use the new track as the input for the to-be arpeggiated instrument, and turn on the monitor option for the to-be arpeggiated track).
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

alefunguju
KVRer

Topic Starter

11 posts since 17 Oct, 2017

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:56 pm

chk071 wrote:Someone correct me if i'm wrong, but, i don't even think a arpeggiator which works as a VST effect will even work in hosts which don't use or allow MIDI effects. All the arpeggiator plugins i know are VSTi's, and have to be set up accordingly (create a new track with an instance of the arpeggiator plugin, use the new track as the input for the to-be arpeggiated instrument, and turn on the monitor option for the to-be arpeggiated track).
This is how it works in Ableton Live, except it works even though LibreArp is not a VSTi. The only indication that something is "wrong" is that Ableton shows a "Drop Instrument Here" but it doesn't affect functionality as far as I've tested.

Bitwig doesn't even care what kind of plugin you put where, you can sort them any way you want and it just works. Practically the same goes for Ardour and for the Patcher setup in FL Studio.

Those are all the DAWs I've tested personally. Nobody else has reported any problems with LibreArp stemming from it being a VST effect as far as I know. But if someone tries using it in a different DAW and it doesn't work for them, I'm willing to change it to VSTi - it should a matter of flipping a checkbox after all.

chk071
KVRAF
30680 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 1:59 pm

In Studio One and Cubase it won't work that way, as far as i know. Needs to be VSTi. Check out other arpeggiators like - BlueARP, Kirnu Cream, and Squareheads Nora. They're all VSTi's.
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

alefunguju
KVRer

Topic Starter

11 posts since 17 Oct, 2017

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:09 pm

chk071 wrote:In Studio One and Cubase it won't work that way, as far as i know. Needs to be VSTi. Check out other arpeggiators like - BlueARP, Kirnu Cream, and Squareheads Nora. They're all VSTi's.
Ok, I'll grab the demos for Studio One and Cubase tomorrow, test it and change the plugin type for the next release if it really doesn't work. Thanks for the heads up.

chk071
KVRAF
30680 posts since 11 Apr, 2010 from Germany

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:13 pm

:tu:

I just downloaded the DLL, by the way. TBH, i wouldn't even know how to insert it in Studio One. It supports a few internal MIDI effects, like arpeggiator, note repeat, and a couple of other things, but, there's no way to insert external MIDI fx, as far as i can see. In Cubase, i think you can add a MIDI track, and it might work as a fx on that, but, i'm not sure.
Plugins and a DAW. On an operating system. Which runs on a computer.

lobanov
KVRian
529 posts since 7 Oct, 2005

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:22 pm

@alefunguju

Thank you for your answers. I see you have big plans. Cool! Good luck.

About VST/VSTi. IMHO, treating arpeggiator as VST is a bit unlogical. It's why I'm asking you. In Reaper LibreArp is represented as VST, in FL Studio it's represented as effect (not generator) and is loaded in MIXER! I think about VSTs as eqs, compressors, reverbs etc. They take audio input and then output transformed audio. Arpegiator is an instrument. Not an effect. Because it outputs MIDI. So even if the host has no MIDI category an arpeggiator is more an instrument than an effect.
It can be disputed, yes... But chk01 have indicated some technical limitations.

@ENV

.ini file is a good idea.

lobanov
KVRian
529 posts since 7 Oct, 2005

Post Sat Jun 23, 2018 2:25 pm

I could be more concrete. How to set up LibreArp in FLStudio without Patcher? I've tried, I've failed.

Return to “Effects”