Sonic Lab: Novation Circuit - A New Kind Of Groovebox

Gaz Williams takes a look      04/12/15
    MP4 27:57 mins    

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Novation's Launchpad format has been one of the new breed of grid based hardware that revolutionised non-keyboard music composition. Mostly working in the Ableton Live paradigm it needs a host computer to get the most from it, but the new Novation Circuit brings it all into a single, stand-alone unit.

With two 6 voice synth engines and four drum tracks, 2 side-chain tracks, two effects plus on board sequencing and mixing, it encourages you to get stuck in. There's no menu diving, all parameters are accessed via a cunning use of the 32 pad grid and mode buttons.

The 8 controllers also come into play for mixing and sound tweaking duties, indeed - automation is at the heart of what makes the Circuit tick. With battery power and an internal speaker for mobile use, its a perfect match for Gaz Williams interest in small portable devices. He takes an in-depth look at what Novation have got right and wrong with the Circuit.

Available now priced at £249/$329

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


  • 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%

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