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Let's Compare: Scaler 2 vs Captain Chords MIDI Plugins

Captain Chords and Scaler 2 are the two most popular MIDI chord progression plugins on the market. Both have interfaces that lean heavily on music theory, making them a better fit for intermediate and advanced musicians.

In this article we'll share a general overview of each app and help you evaluate which one might be the best option for your needs.

Overview of Scaler 2 and Captain Chords

scaler 2 vs captain chords
Scaler 2 and Captain Chords interfaces

Captain Chords is a song-sketching and composing plugin with an embedded piano roll and tabs that allow users to manage several song-sections. The full Captain Plugins bundle costs $99, including Captain Chords and Captain Melodies.

Scaler 2 lacks the piano roll and song sections, opting to focus on scale detection and chord construction instead. Scaler can listen to existing MIDI tracks, make an educated on the key signature, and then recommends a huge pallet of chord options to the user. It's currently priced at $59.99.

Captain Chords and the Captain Plugins

Captain Chords is a popular chord progression generator plugin. It comes bundled into a greater collection called the Captain Plugins Epic.

Here are six of our favorite features of the Captain Chords VST:

  1. Custom chord progressions - Captain Chords allows you to create your own custom chord progressions, handing over control for the harmonic structure of your music. However, you can edit them directly in the app as well.

  2. Rhythm generator - Explore interesting and complex rhythms for your chords without programming them into the piano roll manually or playing them by hand on a MIDI keyboard.

  3. Multiple chord voicings - Captain Chords lets you to choose from multiple voicings on each chord along with the ability to target a specific octave.

  4. Note length manipulation - Adjust the length of each note in your chord progression. Create passing tones to give the arrangement more character and feeling.

  5. Key and scale detection - Scan an existing track and Captain will guess the key and scale of your project to suggest related chords.

  6. Instrument presets - Listen back to your music through a variety of instruments, so you don't have to drag MIDI into your DAW for playback.

Captain Chords includes a variety of presets and customizations to help you explore new ideas and sidestep any songwriting blocks.

Captain Chords

Scaler 2 by Plugin Boutique

Plugin Boutique's app Scaler 2 is packed with several impressive features. It might not have a piano roll or song section builders, but that actually lightens the interface a bit and makes it easier to navigate.

Here are some of our favorite Scaler 2 features:

  1. Chord detection and suggestion capabilities - Scaler 2 can analyze the MIDI melodies, chords and progressions that you feed it. Based on those notes, it will suggest related chords that fit perfectly with your music.

  2. Extensive library of chord progressions - Pick from a collection of chord progressions tailored to different genres, including pop, rock, jazz, and EDM. The library is organized in a clear and easy-to-use way, making it simple to find the right chord progression for your project.

  3. Arpeggiator and expression tools - The arpeggiator adds movement and depth to your chord progressions. Since you don't have a piano roll to work with, this is a way to add some rhythmic variation and dynamics.

  4. MIDI drag-and-drop functionality - Transport individual chords or entire chord progressions from the app to your DAW using the MIDI drag-and-drop functionality.

  5. Horizontal Chord Builder - Construct your own chord progressions from a set of options within a key or scale. For variation, click on a closely related scale and use one of its altered chords to spice up your song a bit.

  6. Wide range of MIDI effects - MIDI effects like humanization, velocity and swing can help you generate new ideas and make your music more interesting. These effects can help you add emotion and depth to your music and take it to the next level.

Scaler 2 includes a range of tools for music theory analysis, chord detection, and arpeggiation, making it a valuable tool for both intermediate and experienced producers.

Scaler 2

Popular alternatives to Scaler 2 and Captain Chords

If the Scaler and Captain plugins feel too dense, or the features aren't quite what you're looking for, consider these options instead.

  • HookPad is a modern MIDI composition app that includes melody and chord construction kits. Like Captain Chords, it includes Roman Numeral and piano roll notation, but it also comes with an AI MIDI generation tool called Aria. The interface is lighter in general and easier to user.

  • Logic Pro 2's session musicians are specific to Apple's DAW, but if you're already on MacOS it may be worth the investment. The AI session musicians are programmed based on a chord progression and will use generative models to create original, expressive compositions for bass, piano, and drums.

  • AudioCipher is an easy-to-use MIDI chord and melody generator that turns text into music. Just type in words that inspire you and drag the idea to MIDI. Then chop it up in the piano roll and find an arrangement that works for you.

Check out our complete list of the best chord generators of 2024 for more ideas.


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