Xfer Cthulhu MIDI Out to Piano Roll in FL Studio

Xfer Records Cthulhu program creates arpeggios and chords like none other. Lots of patterns when used with the correct synths, can sound a lot like deadmou5 and this makes sense as Joel Zimmerman has been known to use Cthulhu made by his associate, Steve Duda.

I find that often it is desirable for me to get the actual notes Cthulhu creates out to the piano roll in FL Studio so they can be edited individually and outside of Cthulhu.

I’ll start by showing you the basic set-up and then the one where you can get at those individual notes.


The standard use of Cthulhu is to just connect it to a synth like this:

  1. Set the output port of Cthulhu to some port number like 23 for example.
  2. Set the input port of some synth to the same port 23 for example.

Any problems? Not hearing anything?

Try this. Put some notes in the piano roll of Cthulu and play the pattern using your DAW transport play button. You should hear the chord and arp if you have both selected with presets in them.

If not, check this:

Double click on a note in the piano roll and check the color (channel). If it is 2 or anything different from 1, it is no good (N.G.) and the note won’t play in Cthulhu. Change it to 1 and accept.
If the note is a color of 1, then it will play o.k.

If you get something like the video below, then you have succeeded so far.

This gets you the output of Cthulhu coming from your desired synth. Great. But, what if not all of the notes are what you want? What if you want to alter individual notes to create a unique style? What if you just want it to look like you made all the notes by yourself and didn’t use Cthulhu? Asking yourself how can I do this? See below.


The MIDI use of Cthulhu:

  1. Download Loopbe – a virtual MIDI port. Install it. Restart your computer and FL Studio. (You can use any virtual MIDI software, but Loopbe is what I use.) Make sure it is active and not muted.
  2. Set the output port of Cthulhu to some port number like 23 for example.
  3. Set the input port of some synth to the same port 23 for example. (This is the same as the first part above.)
  4. Make some cool stuff using Cthulhu and listen to it through your synth. You will see notes in the Cthulhu piano roll from all your cool experimentation. These will not be the actual notes heard from the synth, however, they are only the base notes used by Cthulhu. Carry on.
  5. Now at this point you must have notes recorded into the Cthulhu piano roll, but not into the synth piano roll, as in the first part above. When you get to the record step below, those notes played in the Cthulhu piano roll will generate the corresponding actual notes in the piano roll of your synth.
  6. In the FL Studio Settings for MIDI, set Loopbe’s output (not input) port to the same port 23 for example. This is in the MIDI menu in the top part. Find Loopbe in that menu and change the port to 23 for example.
  7. In that same menu but in the lower part, the input part, enable Loopbe but do not assign a port to it. At this point, the MIDI menu should look like this picture below.
  8. Set FL Studio to record notes and automation. Don’t press the play button yet.
  9. Put your cursor on or cause to be active the synth (from above) where you want the notes to appear.
  10. Press the record button (actually it is the play button). Stop when finished.
  11. Notes will appear in the piano roll of the synth. If not, then something is wrong. Try again to see what you may have missed.
  12. Adjust the notes in the piano roll as needed. Tell everyone you did this all yourself and have no idea what Cthulhu is.

Full Video Walkthrough

See below a video that walks you through each step. View on YouTube to see the chapter titles.