Capsule from Capsule Audio is a diverse sample-based instrument plugin for macOS and Windows.
Capsule is a subscription-based collection of sound libraries that run within the Capsule Player. A subscription ($9.99 per month) gives you access to all current and future libraries.
Libraries are called Capsules, and each one contains up to 64 instruments. The instruments cover a diverse range from vintage electric pianos to orchestral sounds and modern synths. If you aren’t keen on a subscription plan, you can purchase a lifetime license for $19.99 per Capsule.
Each Capsule has a theme that describes the instruments inside, like 80’s Analog Hits, Exodus, and Arco Classico. I haven’t had a deep-dive into Capsule by any means, but so far, I’m very pleasantly surprised by the sound quality. Especially libraries like Arco Classico because orchestral instruments are often the weakest in a collection, but it sounds great.
If you have ever used Arcade from Output, Capsule will look very familiar to you. I have an Arcade subscription, and I love it, although I haven’t used it anywhere near as much as I should have.
The difference between the two is that while Arcade focuses on sample manipulation, Capsule is all about fully playable chromatic instruments. However, something I think they have in common is that they are great for inspiring ideas.
When I use a plugin like Capsule, I would often put ideas or a template together quickly, then go back and see which sounds I want to keep and which I want to swap out. Capsule is a quick way to find inspiration because you can access many different sounds from one place. It’s also nice to open it up with the possibility of new libraries being available.
Each instrument has a different interface, although they are all built around the same format. Capsule offers a pretty powerful synthesis engine condensed into eight simple macro controls. The macro controls vary in function, depending on the instrument you have loaded.
Despite the easy-to-digest interface, much is going on behind the scenes with impressive virtual analog and sample-based oscillators.
The interface has two main windows; Play, where you can play the instrument, and Browse to preview and download instruments, which you can do from inside your DAW.
Once you have an instrument open, you have the main macro tab, the keyboard tab, and the play settings tab that offers things like Response, ADSR, and Voicing adjustments.
There’s also the Capsule Portal, a desktop app that lets you download entire libraries, organize them, and curate your collections. Since you’ll be downloading new content, you need to be online, but you can still access and use previously downloaded content when offline.
To me, Capsule seems like it could quickly become a go-to plugin for producers and beatmakers. The only catch is that you need to make sure you get your money’s worth when you’re paying monthly.
The other option, of course, is to purchase a perpetual license for the price of $19.99 per library. That way, you can add your favorite Capsule libraries to your DAW permanently without opting for a monthly subscription.
But, after saying it a million times, I still maintain I will make more time for making music. On that basis, I’m keen to check out more from Capsule.
Capsule is available in AU and VST3 formats for macOS and Windows. If you aren’t convinced, there’s a 30-day FREE trial.
More info: Capsule