Captain Plugins 5.0 – A Big Beautiful Update
MixedinKey just released their most recent update to their killer composition suite – Captain Plugins. We’re here to announce the newest features and let you know what we think. Read on below.
What are the Captain Plugins?
Captain Plugins 5 for Mac and Windows, comes with five VST plugins. The updated VSTs allow for super-fast songwriting and creation of chords, melodies, bass lines, and drums for any genre of music.
Captain Plugins are designed for use by producers, DJs and songwriters.
The Captain Plugins have had a solid place in our DAW workflow ever since reviewing Captain Chords 2.0 and Captain Melody 3.0. The plugins are fantastic tools for any producer whether new to the practice or a seasoned veteran.
You saw our scores above, and our shortlist of pros/cons. So, what’s new with the update? There are enhanced MIDI editing features, improved connectivity/A.I. algorithms in play, and a fancy new ability to use plugins WITHIN the plugins. Pluginception!
Continue below to see what’s new.
Edit MIDI inside Captain Chords
Captain Chords now includes full MIDI editing, including the ability to add or delete notes, move notes up and down to create new chords, resize chords and draw in rhythms. The interface even identifies the name of each custom chord that you create.
This is a fantastic new addition, it’s certainly the one we’ve been waiting for the most. It has a few bugs that do need to be worked out, like the undo button skipping actions and the chord splitting is moody.
At first, we weren’t sure if it was being finicky or we were using it wrong, but we’ve yet to find the actual user manual, just this out of date how-to guide.
We’d love to see them implement a fully-fledged MIDI editing space like the clip editor in Live. Until then we love what we see with the new Captain Chords.
This updated feature drastically improves the usability of the plugin. We’re eternally grateful and you will be too.
Host VST plugins Inside Captain Plugins
Use your favorite presets from third-party instruments directly inside Captain plugins. This feature offers producers a unique workflow and allows popular plugins like Serum, Sylenth1, Kontakt, Spire, Arcade, Omnisphere and more to be used as the sound source inside Captain Plugins.
We’re not sure who this feature is for, but we ain’t mad about having it.
Discover Beautiful New Chords
On the second row of Captain Chords, there’s a new selection of chords that work well in the selected key, scale, and scale degree. Those chords provide beautiful voicings to allow for more experimental songwriting.
More chord options do equal fewer problems. Booyah.
Use your computer keyboard as a musical instrument
In Captain Play in the ‘Play Chords’ section, the types of chords that are available on each row of the computer keyboard have been improved.
Root position, 1st and 2nd inversions, borrowed chords, 7th chords and complementary chords are now available. One keypress plays the entire chord.
This improvement broadens the computer keyboard abilities of producers. For tips on how to make the most out of your computer keyboard check out our other awesome post.
Huge improvements to Captain Beat 5
Captain Beat is the drum pattern plugin in the Captain Plugins Suite. This time around it has some welcomed features that enhance its already impressive capabilities. Find more out below!
Add Drum Fills to create massive buildups
Drum fills make beats more interesting. Whenever you break from the main drum pattern to another groove, this is called a drum fill. Captain Beat features exceptional drum fills that allow producers to create variety in their rhythms.
Import and export custom Kits, Patterns, and Fills within Captain Beat
Captain Beat allows you to import your own samples to create custom drum kits. Now you can also import and export banks of Kits, Patterns and Fills. This makes it easy to share your patterns and kits with producer friends and collaborators.
We love this addition, it makes it easy to save patterns and insert them onto your drum tracks. However, we dinged the overall rating of the Captain plugins because of this simple flaw – no MIDI routing.
Yes, you can export the MIDI patterns. Yes, you have built-in drum sounds. So why not connect the two and save users a step?
We should be able to route the MIDI output to external tracks just as we can with Captain Chords/Melody/Bass. It’s a major misstep for what seems like an obvious function.
Add Universal Drum Rhythms
A list of universal ‘Foundation’ rhythms can be found inside the Rhythms folder and are accessible on any instrument channel.
These rhythms work on instruments like Kicks, Hi-hats or Claves. Latin clave and reggaeton rhythms are included for adding spice to your patterns.
Artist Pattern Packs
Mixed In Key is pleased to announce the release of three new Pattern Packs by L.Dre, Polaris and Jack Massic for Captain Beat. Each Pattern Pack contains 20 original MIDI loops created by the artists.
L.Dre created a pack of raw hip hop patterns, Polaris contributed an inspiring pack of driving drum & bass patterns and Jack Massic has crafted a pack of pop, South American and Tropical House grooves.
As we mentioned, not every plugin in the suite received equal improvements – Captain Deep – most notably.
Captain Deep lacks the same MIDI editing and Idea Box features that were introduced into Captain Chords and Captain Melody over the last few iterations. Why is this? We’re not sure, but the difference was quite apparent.
Captain Deep’s connection to the other plugins stops short with limited shapes. They are rudimentary and not representative of the Captain Plugins’ true potential.
This wouldn’t be as glaring an issue if users had the ability to edit MIDI notes like the other plugins, but the feature is nowhere to be found. That being said, hopefully, Mixed in Key is highly aware of this gap and working hard to fill it.
Captain Beat also is missing a feature common amongst the others – MIDI routing. We’re not sure why this wasn’t included, but we want it. We wish this to come with a minor update patch as well.
All-in-all we love what they did with the thang. The entire suite of Captain Plugins has been a longtime favorite, and Mixed in Key continues to improve it. Well done.