Captain Plugins Review: Redefining Music Production (… for the Best?)
Music theory is often considered to be one of the most complex areas of music, and with multiple other aspects to take into consideration, it can often be overlooked.
Fortunately, there are a wide variety of plugins available in the market to aid the music composition process, whether you intend to create or effect sounds within your DAW (digital audio workstation). However, with so many choices at hand, it can be hard to find what best suits you.
This post takes a look at the various aspects of Captain Plugin to help you determine if it is worth your consideration.
What comprises the Captain Plugins?
Captain Plugins includes the following:
Captain Chords allows you to write chord progressions in a wide variety of DAWs, including Ableton Live, FL Studio, and Logic Pro, among others.
- Create your chord progression
You have the option to write chord progression in any scale and key. Captain Chords allows you to come up with your chord progression from scratch, as well as discover the sound of a variety of chords. You have the option to add passing chords, automatically minimize the leap, add notes to each chord to make them more complex, choose inversions, and so on.
- Add rhythms to the chord progressions that you create
You can apply rhythms to the chord progressions that you come up with. There are over 100 rhythms in Captain Chords, ranging to the most basic to more sophisticated varieties.
- Record your rhythms
Captain Chords allows you to create your chord structure, after which you can add style by tapping out your rhythms. You can use your MIDI keyboard or computer to come up with your rhythms. Apply a variety of quantization settings, overdub, and spot to create the perfect progression.
- Space knob
This is a newly added feature that focuses on creating varying degrees of space between your notes, with 8 different settings affect the amount of space that is between notes in a variety of ways.
- 249 built-in sounds
There are keys, basslines, leads, pads, guitars, and so on. These built-in sounds are intended to make your work more efficient as you can hear your chord progressions played using a variety of instruments.
How does it work?
- How to open Captain Chords in your DAW
Captain Chords can be opened in your DAW using the same technique as any other 3rd party instrument plugin.
- Selecting key and scale
When you open the Captain Chords user interface, you will find options for setting the song key and scale. If you know the key and scale you will be using, then you can simply adjust the fields to your choice and click on “go”.
- How to adjust chord rhythm and note length
You can easily find a rhythm that will suit your chord progression thanks to the preset rhythms that are available within Captain Chords. Using the arrow keys, scan through a variety of presets, or click the preset name under “rhythm” and select from the rhythm browser.
- Sound presets and effects
To access the presets, click the ‘sound preset” and choose what you want to use.
Captain Melody is a plugin that is supposed to make the process of writing melodies in your DAW more efficient.
- Edit melodic tension
You have the option to edit MIDI notes within the plugin. You can edit a melody to determine how it affects the harmonic within a chord progression
- Smart pencil and paintbrush for MIDI
The brush and pencil tools let you paint notes onto the canvas. You can apply a rhythmx of your choice to your paintbrush and illustrate the MIDI notes with a single stroke.
- Reshape your melodies
Within the Idea Tool, you will find the Lanes tab which you can use to reshape the fabric of the melodies that you create. You can focus on a variety of intervals throughout a melody to emphasize and highlight the different emotions.
- Take advantage of the random tool
The Melody 4.0 features a randomization button that you can use to access a randomly generated version of your selection.
- Songwriting tools
With Captain Melody 3.0, you will have access to 6 songwriting tools that are intended to help you improve your songwriting skills.
How does it work?
Captain Melody 3.0 can be seamlessly integrated with Captain Chords, or be used as a standalone composition tool.
To connect Captain Melody with your DAW, go to your AU or VST plugins menu and select Captain Melody. Add it as an instrument to a MIDI channel. If you are a Logic user, you can also add it as a MIDI FX unit.
Captain Melody is made to follow chord progressions created in Captain Chords for each tab, “chorus”, “pre-chorus”, “verse”, and “drop”. An alternative is to create your chord progression in standalone mode. Like with Captain Chords, you can also play Captain Melody live and record it using the Captain Play tab.
Captain Melody doesn’t auto-populate the plugin, opting to give you a variety of options for generating notes instead:
- “MOVE” – grab notes to arrange, resize, and move them on the piano roll. Double-click to delete or add notes.
- “IDEA” – use this tool to help you create unique melodies
- “PENCIL” – to delete or enter individual notes, simply click your mouse on the timeline
- “BRUSH” – hold down your mouse to enter your notes and draw them in with brush-strokes
- “IMPORT” – you can import MIDI files directly from your library
- “RECORD” – use your MIDI keyboard or computer to live record notes to your timeline.
The Idea Tool has a variety of parameters that generate notes and influence the melodic composition. You can combine them in multiple ways – to get started by clicking the “+” icon to view your idea. You will find that the notes are auto-populated, and if you are already connected to Chords, they will be influenced by the chord progression that you created. Otherwise, they will be influenced by whichever key and scale that has been selected.
According to the Captain Plugins website, Captain Deep allows you to add a bassline that will follow the chords.
- Compose a bassline that will integrate seamlessly with your chords
Captain Deep allows you to create a bassline that will fit with your chords seamlessly. Any change that you make inside Captain Chords will reflect inside Captain Deep.
- Bassline sound options
Within Captain Deep, you have access to the top bassline sounds from tracks that have charted on Beatport and Spotify. You are also provided with a unique sound pack that you can integrate with your compositions that come for free with the plugin.
- Create a rhythm
You can either go through the Captain Deep rhythm list to find a rhythm that suits you or opt to experiment with the notes of your key and scale to make a unique bassline.
How does it work?
Captain Deep is made for integration with Captain Chords to ensure that you come up with basslines that go hand-in-hand with the chord progressions that you created in the latter. As a result, Captain Deep should be launched when you Captain Chords is connected in your DAW. Once you launch Captain Deep, select “connect” to integrate it with Captain Chords.
Captain Deep follows the chord progression that is created in Captain Chords. Therefore, when you select the appropriate tab in either Captain Deep or Captain Chords, the other plugin will automatically mirror this action.
Like with Captain Chords, you can also play live and record Captain Deep using the Captain Play tab:
- Use keys A – J to trigger individual pitches within your selected key and scale.
- Keys below and above row A – J will trigger the notes an octave below or above
- Bracket keys will move the 4-octave range up or down
You can map your computer keyboard to be fully in key and scale within your DAW.
- Play complex chords by pressing one key
When in the Chords mode, Captain Play will play a whole chord with the press of a button. For instance, pressing the “A” key on your keyboard may play the A minor chord. You can take the time to learn all the common chords used in music today, as well as make your chord progression.
- Make your MIDI keyboard or computer
You can easily select any key or scale and play all of the correct notes. Consider trying “D Lydian” as it is easy to play using Captain Play, plus it is more interesting than typical major and minor scales.
- Create your signature sound
Captain Play comes with a wide variety of sounds that you can experiment with, whether it is basslines, plucks, or leads.
How does it work?
Captain Play allows you to play complex chords, turbo-charge your MIDI keyboard, and play melodies in scale and key. To connect it to your DAW, select it from your AU or VST plugins menu. You can then add it to a MIDI channel like you would any other instrument.
If you are a Logic user, you have the option to add it as a MIDI FX unit. Captain Play seamlessly integrates with your DAW as with other plugins. An alternative is to access Captain Play via Chords, Deep, or Melody by selecting the Play tab. To route external MIDI signals like MIDI synthesizers via Captain Play, use it as a VST insert instead of AU.
If you are using your computer keyboard to connect Captain Play, choose this option from the top menu bar and select play chords or play melodies. You can then press space to either start or stop recording MIDI notes to the clip box.
To use your MIDI keyboard, choose the “MIDI Keyboard” option from the top menu bar. In the Captain Play’s setting menu, make sure that “Use MIDI input to play while in the Play tab” is checked. When working inside Captain Play, the sound preset, delay, reverb, volume, and filter can be adjusted.
Captain Beat is hailed as an ultra-modern beat-making plugin that is meant to make the process of producing music more efficient.
- Mix and match patterns
You can mix and match over 500 different patterns to come up with unique rhythms. Combine a variety of rhythms on different channels.
- Professional-grade drum kits
With Captain Beat, you have access to dozens of professional-grade drum kits. You will find cross classic re-creations that have innovative drum hits, plus you have the option to add your own samples to make beats.
- Tap out patterns
If you prefer to lay down your beats in a tactile manner, you can use hotkeys to trigger sounds with your computer or connect a MIDI device.
How does it work?
Captain Beat combines sample-manipulation, sequencing, and sound design with professional drum sounds.
To connect Captain Beat with DAW, select it from your U or VST plugins menu, then add it to a MIDI channel as an instrument. Unlike with the other plugins, Captain Beats can’t be connected to Captain Chords. Captain Beat can be used as a standalone drum plugin.
To get started, open the plugin to view 16 populated drum instrument channels as well as a 16-beat pattern grid. You can extend or shorten the grid by dragging the timeline marker. Directly above the grid, you will see 4 tabs; effects, controls, basics, and export. Above the grid, there are 4 arrangement tabs, “pre-chorus”, “verse”, “drop”, and “chorus”.
There are 3 command types that you can use to add and edit drum notes: edit, pencil, and record.
When you click on these command types, you have access to a variety of controls, including drawing in single notes, deleting notes, cropping notes to canvas, moving notes, duplicating notes, trigger via MIDI controller, and trigger via hot-key.
Captain Plugins, a bundle that includes Captain Melody, Chords, Play, Beat, and Deep is sold for $99.
- Smooth and intuitive workflow
- Plugin linking is convenient
- Reliable preset rhythms
- Highly customizable progressions
- No option to integrate Captain Beat with Captain Chords
Captain Plugins allows you to create fully-realized compositional structures in style. The interface is intuitive and slick, the onboard sounds are more than adequate, and being able to see and hear Melody and Deep follow the changes that are made in Chords is quite impressive.
Some knowledge in music theory will serve you well, but it is not necessary – you can simply experiment in Play mode or try out a variety of chord sequences in the piano roll. In conclusion, Captain Plugins is a great tool for both newcomers and experienced musicians who handle music composition.
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