The Native Instruments FM8 arpeggiator is brilliant.

Native Instruments - FM8

Native Instruments from Berlin are one of the top plug-in manufacturers. One of their early smash hits was a recreation of the FM synthesizer the Yamaha DX7 called FM7. It could load original DX7 patches but was far easier to use. Many people finally unplugged there old DX and TX’s and put them on eBay.

This year they released the FM8. They added many new features but one component is the bees knees: the appeggiator. I probably would not have upgraded my FM7 but when I saw how much fun this thing was my credit card was out. Something tells me Native Instruments always had plans to release their own sequencer but the market was too saturated. Most of their new plug-ins are loaded with mini arps and sequencers. All of them are great. “NI” should not have a case of sequencer envy.

There is a complete working demo on the Native Instruments website.

Random Dice IconOpen the plug-in and pick a nice synth patch in the browser. Click on arpeggiator. In the global section click “on”. See the little yellow square stepping though the pattern editor? Hold down a key on your controller and you will hear whatever notes you play being effected stepping along. You can slide the little black triangle in the pattern editor to shorten or lengthen the loop.

Now here’s where all the fun is. See next to each lane on the pattern editor there is a little black dice icon? It’s a random button. Do it! Click them all! Do you hear what I hear? Thats the sound of fun. Thats the sound of… “Oh yeah cool idea I can use in this song!”.

Next try out the shuffle. It’s very strong which in my book means its very good. Lastly, take a look in the global section where you turned the arp on and find the drop down menu. There you can find some pre-programmed sequences. You can also save your own which is handy when you want to try out different sounds with a cool sequence you created.