Novation // Circuit


actually, there is a way.
an NRPN-capable MIDI control surface.


It definitely is. I wanted one but it’s double the price of the Circuit and I just got my Digitone and still need a Digitakt to complete my setup :smile:


Just my 2¢, the DT is much more capable at drum duties than the Circuit. I love my circuit, but it’s pretty damn limited in most aspects. I would just save up for the DT if I were in your shoes.


I will. It’s between the Presonus ATOM to complement my DAW or just get the Arturia Keylab 49 Essential because I could use a few more keys on my set. Plus it comes with a free software bundle currently.


I seem to recall that the LaunchControl XL opens access to basically the entire Circuit as a control surface and Novation has a premapped template as well for the LC XL.

Edit: Found the info on how it is mapped :

Also, if you’re an ipad user, there is a full template for the TouchOSC app for the circuit on Novation’s site as well.


i have venerable ReMOTE Zero SL, but newer Novation gear for sure has to work with their own synths.


The Circuit is ok for sampling what you need into your DT and then sell it… I found nothing special about it, its a little boring tbh…


That doesn’t sound like something I would enjoy.


With Digitone being your synth and you primarily needing drum capabilities, the Circuit is more than fine. More than once in the past I’ve grabbed the Circuit instead of my Machinedrum just because it’s much simpler and sometimes I just need something simple for beats.

The drums are all sample based, so load it up with some good samples and its good to go. You can only have four sounds per ‘session’, but you can do what they call ‘sample flipping’ which is like the ‘sound lock’ feature on Digitakt and Digitone: you can load in different samples on different steps in a sequence. I think you can have 64 samples loaded? 128? There’s an overall limit to the length of samples, but it’s great for drums and one-shots.

Even before this sample-flip feature was added, for basic kick/snare/hat stuff (especially if you have some good samples), the Circuit is a good bargain and will hold you fine until you get a Digitakt.

Alternative is the Volca Sample. Downsides of Volca Sample is that it’s kind of a pain to load samples onto it, and the patterns are only 16 steps in length (on Circuit you can chain patterns and do some live pattern remixing). Volca Sample lets you load in more samples per pattern and provides some more transformative control. Either machine makes for a fine ‘quick and useful’ sample based drum machine.

Like others, I’ve never been particularly fond of the Circuit’s synth engine (but it can be really nice for ambient drone music with some trickery).


Well I also have a Moog Sub Phatty and the Pro version of my DAW which includes a sampler and such. I just enjoy the hardware.

If I don’t get Presonus ATOM (designed for my DAW) or a MIDI keyboard I’m just going to save for the Digitakt :3


I have circuit.
They’re cheap , 2nd hand £150 is the cheapest I’ve seen but typically a bit more.
Nice simple sequencer with some advanced features.
Usable fx
Basic editing on device via macros but they cover typical things
Very usable for drums , very usable for synth noises.
Some nice bizarre fx if you swap between sessions

Basically , it’s cheap , try it , if you don’t like it you are very likely to get money back .
Even better with pc/Mac attached though editors aren’t as intuitive as they should be
And configurable as midi controller I think.
Pointless speaker .


It’s a good box if you can embrace limitations as a route to creativity.

It is a lot less limited than it looks, but seems designed as a hands-on workman’s tool rather than an engineer’s device… by which I mean punching in melodies and beats, twiddling buttons and finding a groove, rather than dialing in precise clinical detail or offering immediate navigability.

Think of it as a 2 track volca sample with a better grid-based idea-entry ui plus two synth tracks that can deliver quite a wide range of novation synth possibilities with just a little blind effort and some pc-editor preparation.

As the world grows to love the OP-Z gui-less paradigm, I think the circuit will grow more appreciated. It was ahead of its time in that regard, beating the venerable TE to it with no screen.


All of a sudden thinking about getting one but wanted to ask if the sequencer recorded polyphonically for the two synth parts or not…


yep both synths are polyphonic.




Thought I might chime in after a few years of ownership.
What I find good about it:

  1. Portability, can take it anywhere, and I do
  2. Is really great in combo with Octatrack, can sequence the engines from OT or just clock it and use the internal sequencer. Very flexible
  3. In a live setting, it is great for quick sample drops (i.e. hit the button, drop the sample in)
  4. Can be used as a controller for the DAW, if grid playing is your thing
  5. Editor is very easy to use these days, integrated into components so quite fast to produce new patches with it. There are a lot of features which provides an initial learning curve, but great.
  6. Since creating my own patches and loading my own samples, this device becomes more flexible once you design it to align to your sound and set. The sound engine is often referred to as average but this is often due to using other peoples patches. When you create your own, you get closer to more sounds that ride your wave.
  7. Rapid creation of structured songs that can integrate well into a live set with other gear
  8. Hands on.
  9. A lot of the new features I havent used yet to their fullest but they are always welcome to have onboard regardless.

My next working environment I am planning on is Octatrack, A4, Circuit, Blofeld (gear I have but unfortunately have under utilised). The circuit is integral to becoming more productive with this setup due to its hands on - rapid approach.

Ehsan gives you a really good insight into how well the circuit and also mono station can be used for an extended set.


Only been a couple of hours but so far…

This thing is staggeringly good. Been closely watching it the last year and the the major updates and functionality novation continues to add was enough to see pull the trigger.

Truth be told. Cancelled a model samples pre-order and got this instead.

The digitakt remains the good old brain of the operation.

Thinking of (I know some people will be shocked to hear this) selling my Volca fm to get a volca sample.

Can see the digitakt, circuit and Volca sample being an incredibly powerful setup.

Any circuit users out there? Tips tricks and guidance welcome

Thanks Nauts!!


I use the circuit with my octatrack, iPad and launch control xl.
Use it as a midi controller for octa and the iPad, also play with the nova synths to sample them into the Octa. Really cool is to have full control of the synths with the LCXL. So you have with the circuit a grown up synth in your hand.
I also control the octa and my model d app by the LCXL. Sequencing is always the octa.

All the the midi works with midi 4+.

With the digitakt you could work in a similar way.


Firmware 1.8 with non quantized recording!


installed and tried 1.8 firmware and it works without problems. another great update. love this little thing! very immediate and fun…

i mapped the synth macros to the same specific synth patameters for many synth patches, like many others do, this gives you more predictable synth control…

i wish novation would allow for 8 more macrocontrols via the sidechain page of each synth (or fixed parameters like cutoff etc.)