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Novation Circuit Reviews 2021: Top Full Guide

Novation Circuit Reviews 2021 Top Full Guide

Novation is a producer that’s always focused on constructing user-friendly hardware. This focus on workflow and ease of use has played a role in introducing a new generation of creatives into music-making.

In Novation Circuit Reviews. Fidlar will take a look at a few of the chief features and discover out whether the Novation Circuit stays the force it had been when initially published in 2016.

What’s The Novation Circuit?

The Novation Circuit is a standalone groove box that will attract artists of all sorts. Standalone means it could operate without a pc; it has a built-in speaker also may be battery-powered.

Therefore it is super mobile. A groove box must make it effortless to hit the floor running, making audio out of the get-go; that is precisely what the Novation Circuit editor does well.

It’s two 6-note polyphonic synthesizers, a 4-part sampler, three major function styles; routine, FX, and blend. The Circuit is as much a performance tool addition to a production tool, which you could sequence in measure or real-time. The Circuit center is that the 32 velocity-sensitive drum pads make it effortless to begin instantly.

Novation Circuit Reviews

Novation Circuit Reviews

Tech Spec

  • 2-part Nova-heritage analog-modeled synthesizer
  • 4-part drum machine
  • 4×8 grid of RGB, velocity-sensitive sequencer pads
  • 6 voice polyphony
  • Loads of oscillator types and wavetables
  • 64 production-ready patches
  • Step sequence or build live
  • Lock your music in time and key
  • Combine ready-made drum patterns
  • Tweak using 8 synth macro encoders with RGB LEDs
  • Record and playback your tweaks
  • Combine up to 128 steps of synth and drum patterns
  • Add amazing delay and reverb effects
  • 32 slots for creating, saving, and playing tunes without a laptop
Novation Circuit Groove Box with Sample Import: 2-Part Synth, 4-Part Drum Machine and Sequencer, Black (NOVSYNTH04)
  • 2-part Nova, analog-modeled synthesizer, 4-part drum machine, 6 voice polyphony per synth; Compatibility - macOS 10.12 Sierra , Mac OSX 10.11, Mac OSX 10.10, Windows 10 , Windows 8

First Impressions/ Setting Up

Novation continues to be popular with all the DJ/producer audience due to its Launchpad collection of grid controls supposed to be utilized with Ableton Live and a notebook.

Lately, Novation established Circuit, a standalone circuit synth, drum machine, and sequencer in a single, with a focus on permitting you to make tracks in minutes, without a computer or applications. Is it a fantastic production tool for both beginner and intermediate DJ/producers? We see in this overview.

First Impressions Setting Up 

The Circuit looks slick: it includes a black top plate along with a blue rubber foundation. It has a 32-pad grid at the center, with eight rotary encoders, a Master volume knob, and a filter knob (everybody wants filters nowadays). You will find function buttons all over the grid, and we are going to go through them later in this report.

Round the back is a set of 1/4″ Master output jacks, 1/8″ Midi in and out sockets for linking to additional Midi equipment (they include 1/8″ into Midi wires ), a USB jack for Midi link to your notebook, and also for firmware updates, along with a plug for the power guide.

The front of this device is a 1/8″ headset jack. Circuit also be powered through six AA batteries for mobile production, and it even includes a built-in speaker in the base of the device.

I discovered it is lacking (not suitable if using it in a public location ). However, if you just can not be bothered to work with your headset when using it in your home, it does the job. Do not expect earth-shattering bass.

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Drum patterns could be performed in real-time at a detailed view with only four active pads. But because there’s no clock on the choice, you will generally begin in measure arrangement style and include a few hits to have a grid reference.

When measure sequencing, the drums are divided into two pairs, each triggered by 16 of the 32 pads. Patterns are always 16 measures, although as we will see, more loops could be produced by stringing up to eight patterns collectively for each component.

To overdub instantly, you can change into the four pad style and hit Record. This captures speed (with the same excellent texture and dynamics as the brand new Launchpad Pro) and quantizes it into the nearest measure.

To adjust the trigger’s speed, you grip the corresponding pad at the sequencer on end, utilize both of the other rows of pads to pick a value of 116. This idea is employed in the synth components as well for placing gate length and speed.

Alter tapping some of these audio components switches the grid patch choice manner. On the side, you will find 64 sampled drum sounds, divide into Kicks, Snares/Claps, Hats, and Percussion, all very much with an electronic/dance/hip-jump flavor.

Even though the four drum components default to kick, snare, and shut and open hats, you can assign any audio to any mat.

My primary frustration with the Novation circuit software was that the inability to audition sounds. With the patch choice grid available, you rely on the present order to perform sounds as you pick them.

I would much rather have the ability to pick a good original then order it. You get a lot better idea of a preset as soon as you’re able to sense how it responds to pitch and speed, and the noise itself frequently inspires the area you capture with this.


Both synthesizer circuit components are powered by precisely the same engine and discuss a pool of 64 spots. Novation state the synths have been Nova legacy, which I figure means more akin to some Nova-badged synth than, say, the embedded synths on a few of their earlier controller configurations.

To my ears that they cover a fantastic range of analog modeled sounds, with a great deal of wide-ranging modulation, oscillator sync, etc., providing you ample scope to deviate in the presets. The palette is weighted towards basses and vivid leads, which operate nicely when sequenced.

Adhering to a tried and tested conference, the presets provide starting points with eight macro controllers for shaping the sound. This is an excellent compromise between simplicity and tweak ability.

The horn missions are loosely standardized, but this strategy is thankfully abandoned when more intriguing or appropriate modulations are available.

The trade from the arrangement is the Circuit isn’t likely to completely satisfy the noise designer or analog speaker. On the flip side, the more well-chosen macros provide adequate scope inside each noise, which also comes in especially useful when shooting knob movements.

Among the beautiful things about the Electribe boxes has been that the Motion Sequencer and the Circuit have the same feature. To catch a few parameter automation, you just hit Record and twiddle that the macros, along with the moves, will be inserted into the recent routines.

Additionally, it is possible to place knob values in particular sequence measures. At the same time, playback is stopped, producing some intriguing rhythmic outcomes or allowing effects to be inserted into single strikes.

The standard Notice view for every synth divides the pads into two rows of playable keys’ and two rows showing the measure activates.

A committed Scales button provides a selection of keys and origin notes, so each row of eight pads is cut to an octave, with the exclusion of the Chromatic scale that sets out two rows such as piano keys.

To measure sequence, you merely hold down a measure at the bottom half of this grid, then tap on the notice (s) you need to include. Chords can be used easily by tapping many pads.

Velocity and Gate views permit you to correct every step’s speed and gate duration; again, it is fast and intuitive. The synth parts also have two additional modes.

With Nudge, you can slide patterns in only measures against the grid, while Length allows you to lower the number of measures. All these are excellent fun for producing random versions through a performance.

Patterns & Performance

The Circuit has some reasonably innovative means of producing larger structures from the strings. Unlike a regular groove box or workstation, patterns are standardized to 16 measures (besides any synth patterns using a diminished length value).

This isn’t the restriction, it seems, as more loops are made by chaining patterns with each other, rather than at the stiff and laborious manner standard of drum machine tune manners.

The grid is split into four pillars in a designed manner, each revealing the eight routine slots accessible to every part and drum set. Patterns could be triggered separately from the pads in Live Session View style.

However, the genius move is that if you hold two pads down inside a component, the Circuit will loop round this range of routines. All playback, recording, and sequencing operations are then conducted inside these longer constructions.

Although this fluid arrangement of patterns and loop lengths allows for flexible and fast fly arrangement, you might need more space for a maneuver. Fortunately, you are not confined to the simple Session container.

It is trivially simple to conserve a duplicate of your Session into a different slot at the view. Nowadays, you’ve got space for new layouts and automation, and you may also change any other element of this Session: audio presets and macro settings, Mix and FX settings, and so forth.

Sessions could be triggered by the grid and will begin quickly, quickly remembering the sounds and patterns used in that minute. On top of that, if you hold Shift when choosing a brand new Session, it will activate immediately from precisely the same beat position since the present Session exactly what Live calls for a Legato Launch.

To put it differently, Sessions may be utilized much more like Scenes than best grade projects. They are also able to be snapshots and also fills.

By way of instance, I made a variant of a Session with one different synth audio and a few different designs to utilize as a different tune segment.

I then had another that had snare rolls I could change to for the strange bar for a fill, another which had long reverb and delay configurations.

This is a lot of fun as changing between Sessions with different effects triggers classic delay projecting while the ramifications morph for their new configurations.


There is no fantastic deal of connectivity, which is not strange for this sort of product. It’s 1/4″ jack sound outs, MIDI in/out, USB, and a mini-jack headset input. Although, it will have something that many do not; a Kensington lock port for safety when traveling.


Workflow is really where the Circuit excels and exactly what Novation does best, making everything easily accessible. The Circuit includes 32 multi-function, velocity-sensitive pads and 28 backlit operate switches. Let us take a good look at how they work.

In design mode, the pads have been divided into four pillars of 8 pads, which would be the eight slots for each component. We stated earlier that stretching loops was easy, so let us consider an example:

In case you’ve got a complete pillar of 8 synth patterns, comfortable hold down any two pads, also. It will loop through patterns involving these two pads.

That means it does not need to be two pads next to each other; you can join as many of the eight routines as you would like. As soon as you mix patterns, then you work inside the sequence.

Whether utilizing the synths/drums in step listing or real-time, the design is fast and efficient. Adding a sound into a measure is merely a case of holding the proper step from 1-16 then pressing on the desired sound that we’re attempting to state, without repeating ourselves that what about playing/sequencing is as intuitive as it could be. Everything was made to inspire and accelerate imagination.

Even smaller features are exceptionally well thought out. By way of instance, correct the speed for a particular cause when using the drum machine, then hold down the proper step, then opt for a speed setting from 1-16 in another row of pads. Fixing the gate length or speed for synths is completed in precisely the same manner.

A frequent criticism of different systems is that conserving your Session is a lot more complicated than it ought to be. Luckily, we could say there’s not any such problem with this Novation Circuit.

From the session perspective, you can save a copy of your Session into a different slot, effectively wiping the slate clean that you make a new session.

If you’re a celebrity, the rate at which you can remember previous sessions is superb. Sessions could be recalled immediately, but what is more impressive is they begin at an excellent time with no difficulties.

What’s more, if you would like to activate a stored session on a particular beat before the present arrangement finishes, hold Shift when choosing the Session.

The eight macro controls are constant pots, meaning that they work flawlessly for numerous rotary knob.

We might go through every job, but it could take a long time. The main point is the Circuit will raise your workflow and imagination if you set it into use.


The Novation Circuit has ever been quite well-liked by artists and producers. But if this review were written a couple of decades back, it would be a lot easier to locate flaws.

You will find problems after the first launch. Also, Novation has taken care of the majority of them through their Circuit Components software/editor.

That being said, there are still a few minor niggles, but they’re minor difficulties in the best. By way of instance, a click will be useful in real-time communicating.

It is easily overcome by beginning in a measured manner and setting a note/sound you may use to conserve time. Complaints in this way matter that Novation will continue to mend, so general, we’ve got only excellent things to say.

Our general guidance on equipment such as this is that if it does not boost your workflow, you should not purchase it. In that section, Novation has completely nailed it.

Past workflow, a groove box must have sufficient excellent sounds and editing choices to keep you generating long-term. Formerly, the Circuit will be missing here, but that you could upload samples, so the options are infinite.

The synths are analog-modeling, not entirely analog synths; they seem excellent, with over sufficient parameters to change, and that is impressive for a funding drum system.

Last update on 2021-04-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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