How to create an insanely fast chiptune-style arpeggio

It's time to head back to the 8-bit era as we show you how to create classic, arcade-style, hyper-fast arps with Plogue's (opens in new tab) Chipounds.

Click here to download the files you'll need to complete this tutorial.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 1: Plogue’s (opens in new tab) Chipsounds has an arpeggiator section for simplifying the creation of chiptune-style melodic runs. Create a 95bpm project, load Chipsounds, import Hyper arps.mid, and import Bass.wav and Beat.wav. Chipsound has a wide selection of chips – choose RP2AO3 (NTSC), which is inside Pure Chip and 2AOX. Turn off the effects.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 2: Turn the Arpeggiator on by clicking the circle to the left of the header. Next, select a duration of 1/64, a range of 2 octaves, the Up Down Exclusive mode, and Sync it to the host BPM. That’s starting to sound like chiptune already!

(Image credit: Future)

Step 3: One trick that early programmers used to get the most out of their limited chips was MIDI delay – ie, using extra MIDI notes to emulate echoes. Turn on the MIDI Delay section and choose a Duration of 1/24. The lower the Decay, the more notes we’ll hear, so let’s go with 15%. Again, be sure to Sync it to host tempo.

(Image credit: Future)

Step 4: Our arp is fairly dry, so head to the effects section and load a Stereo Delay. Turn the Feedback down to about 30% and the Fb Mix to 40%. The feedback tail is a little dull, so bring Fb Tone up to around 70%. 

(Image credit: Future)

Step 5: To create musical interest between arpeggiator sections, go back to the MIDI Delay and unsync it from the host BPM. While you’re there, experiment with the Decay amount. Try going all the way down to 3% to see how that affects the overall sound.

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