Imagine taking everything that Novation is known for, putting all in a blender, and then forming into a single modern Launchpad-esque box… that what the new Novation Circuit controller is.

novation circuit

Part synth, part drum machine, and part sequencer, Circuit is an all-in-one music creator that can interface with software, but is really designed to be used standalone. Usefully, it’s a regular controller too, so for those of you with aspirations as DJs, performers, and producers, it can be used wherever you are.

Anyway, many official words follow:

Introducing Circuit

The grid-based groove box

Sometimes, starting a track can be a difficult and daunting task. We’re sure that like us, you’ve sat staring at a screen overwhelmed by the choice of plug-ins, struggling to write a beat that inspires you, a melody that doesn’t sound corny.

As our ‘Start Something’ series has illustrated, inspiration can come in many shapes and forms, from taking a break from the studio and just living life to digging through vinyl and hunting for that elusive sound to get the ball rolling.

We suffer from this problem too and wanted to create a solution. We wanted something small and portable, something that doesn’t sound like a toy, something that gives maximum creative output from minimum input, something that encourages exploration and creates ‘happy accidents’. That’s why we created Circuit.

Circuit is a standalone groove box that combines Nova-heritage synths with expertly sculpted drums. It’s all you need to make music anywhere. You don’t need to buy three different things. With Circuit you can create an entire tune by combining up to 128 steps of synth and drum patterns, then add space, depth and energy to your music with built-in effects. It even has built in sidechain. When you’re done, save your tune to one of 32 slots.

The intuitive navigation delivers immediate results, scale modes ensure that you never hit a bum note and cleverly mapped macros deliver deeper personalisation, ‘happy accidents’ and moments of genius.

With Circuit, making a genuinely decent sounding track requires very little effort and takes minutes not hours. And because it’s battery powered you can do it all on the bus, then take it back to your studio and finish it in your DAW.

Key Features

Ideas in Seconds. Tracks in Minutes
Circuit inspires, straight out the box. It combines a 2-part synthesiser and a 4-part drum machine with a 4×8 RGB velocity-sensitive grid sequencer, which will have you finding new musical directions and creating electronic grooves in no time.

Stand Alone
Compact and battery-powered, Circuit truly stands alone. You can create entire tunes from scratch without a laptop, then save them and play them back live. You don’t even need speakers, because it has a one built in. Of course, Circuit will plug in to your sound system and work with your computer and other synth gear too, via its Line outputs, USB and MIDI ports.

Cutting Edge Sound
Building on our true Nova heritage, Circuit delivers cutting-edge sound with production-ready monophonic and polyphonic patches and tons of character for easily creating deep bass lines, epic leads and warm pads.

Build Ideas Quickly
Embrace a new way to make music. Circuit’s split grid shows your steps and notes at the same time, so you can sequence and play while seeing exactly what’s going on. Build up your parts quickly and easily, either by programming each step or capturing your performance in real-time.

Combine Simplicity and Experimentation
Use simple streamlined modes to keep your harmonies, rhythms and melodies locked in time and key while you make riffs, hooks and chords. Or start experimenting for some serious sequencing exploration.

Looking for the Perfect Beat?
Velocity sensitive RGB pads let you quickly build expressive drum beats, by step sequencing or playing the wide range of drum sounds. Define your sound with total control over pitch, decay, distortion and EQ.

Easily Tweak Your Sound
Sculpt your sound using eight macro knobs allowing you to subtly tweak or completely transform each patch. Then add movement and rhythm by recording or sequencing your performance.

Build Whole Tunes with Effects
Create an entire tune by combining up to 128 steps of synth and drum patterns, then adding space, depth and energy to your music with built-in effects. Sidechain your synths to the kick drum to get them to pump. When you’re done, save your tune to one of 32 slots.

Tech Spec

Product Hardware Specifications

  • 32 RGB backlit velocity sensitive button grid
  • 28 RGB backlit function buttons
  • 8 Continuous pots with RGB indicator LEDs
  • Dedicated filter and volume pots
  • 1/4″ jack sockets for left and right outputs
  • Two MIDI sockets (3.5mm jack sockets with MIDI din break-out cables)
  • USB socket
  • Front-mounted 3.5mm jack socket for headphones
  • Integrated speaker
  • Rubberised knob caps
  • Rotary controls secured to the chassis with metal nuts
  • Power supply connector
  • Power switch
  • Battery compartment for 6x AA batteries (included)
  • Kensington Security Slot

Sound Engine

  • 2 Nova synths
  • 4 Part drum machine
  • 6 Note polyphonic per synth
  • 64 Synth patches
  • 64 Drum patches
  • 8 Synth macro controls (Control up to 4 parameters with one knob)
  • 4 Drum parameter controls (Pitch, Decay, Distortion, Filter)
  • Mixer view with levels and mutes
  • Master FX with individual track sends
  • 16 Delays
  • 8 Reverbs
  • Sidechain effect (7 types and off). Triggered from Drum 1
  • Hi-pass / low-pass master filter

Sequencer

  • 32 Sessions
  • 6 Tracks per session (2 Synth and 4 Drum)
  • 8 Patterns per track (Synth 1, Synth 2, Drum 1&2, Drum 3&4)
  • 16 Demo sessions
  • Real time record (notes, with velocity and automation)
  • Auto-quantise notes to steps and automation to 6 events per step
  • 50 Automation parameters (up to 4800 events per pattern)
  • Internal tempo range 40 – 240
  • External synced tempo range 30 – 300
  • Swing 20 – 80%

Real Time Performance

  • Full range velocity scanning and record. Editable to 16 levels
  • 16 Scale types and chromatic transposition
  • Synth expand view doubles playable area
  • Drum expand view allows real time drum record
  • Octave (input) and pattern octave (edit)
  • Pattern length and nudge
  • Configurable pattern chain
  • Session instant switching and queued switch

Editing

  • Velocity and gate per step
  • Multiple gate lengths per step (via real time record)
  • Automation edit per step
  • Clear step, automation parameter per pattern, pattern, session
  • Duplicate step, pattern

Software Compatibility

  • Ableton Live Lite 9 is included

Circuit will also work as a standard USB-MIDI controller.

Power Requirements

  • Circuit can be powered using 6x AA batteries or a power supply (both included). It can not be powered via USB
  • Maximum power consumption 12V DC 600mA

Product Dimensions

  • 240mm width x 200mm depth x 35mm height

Novation circuit (3)

It’s a little box (same width as an iPad — just saying) that does a lot, and for ¢330/£250 is quite the steal. Team DJWORX tell me that this is a very exciting box of tricks, and I’m looking forward to seeing what all the fuss is about. In the mean time, pour over the Circuit – Getting Started Guide, and the Circuit User Guide to find out everything it does.


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