circuit hands on 6

Novation has been doing things with grids and knobs for some time, but those have come in the form of gadgets you plug into a computer and use with software like Ableton Live. Circuit is different: it’s an all-in-one groove workstation with sequencer, drum machine, synth, and arrangement in control, and it doesn’t even need to be plugged into power.

We’ve got one of the first Novation Circuit units here, so in advance of our full review, here’s a quick hands-on.

First, Novation’s video shows off the idea:

I first saw Circuit on a visit to Novation’s London office in August – the place where they’re cooking up a lot of their ideas for attracting more people to music. (iOS apps were getting sketched there, too.)

And there, Circuit was immediately all about getting you going with music ideas quickly. (I suspect anyone working for a music technology company, finding their own leisure time severely restricted, appreciates personally the import of getting things started – and of course, that was the topic of the teaser campaign for this hardware.)

So, it starts with an 8×4 grid interface and encoders. Those are velocity-sensitive pads, and the feel of them and the entire build makes this clearly the sibling to the Launchpad Pro controller. The difference here is, you can untether from the computer and use this box on its own. (You can get an idea of what standalone hardware Novation likes in the teaser video, which features a Dave Smith synth, a 303, and an Elektron.)

From there, what do you get?

It’s a modeled synth. There’s a two-part analog-modeled synthesizer in there, which Novation describes as “Nova-heritage.” It certainly has that edgy, modern, somehow English Novation sound.

It’s a drum machine. You get four parts here – simple, but tweakable.

You can play chords. There’s 6-voice polyphony onboard, so you aren’t limited to mono synth lines. And there’s actually a very clever chord mode, which I’ll talk about more when we do the full review.

It’s tweakable – albeit blind. At first blush, this may seem like a preset machine and a bit of a toy. But those eight encoders are paired with a whole lot of parameters for changing the sound. You can switch oscillator types and wavetables, not just twist the filter (though that’s there, too, of course). And all of those encoder adjustments can be recorded and played back in real-time, if you choose.

circuit hands on 4

It’s a step sequencer and pattern recorder. You can play in live, or adjust one step at a time, or a combination (navigating between those modes is atypically easy, in fact). You get up to 128 steps, so you aren’t limited to the 1 bar-patterns you hear in the first demos. Also, if you’re not a fantastic musician on the pads, things do auto-quantize and can be restricted by key – handy for low-pressure live performance. You also get 32 sequence slots for playing live, making this a bit like the Poor Boy’s Octatrack.

It does effects, mixing. Delay, reverb for effects, each fully tweakable, and live mixing plus side-chain capability.

It works with your other gear. USB for the computer, MIDI for external devices. True to form, there’s still a copy of Ableton Live Lite in the box – a bit odd as the main draw here is getting away from your computer. On the other hand, Live (or something like it) is likely to be how you finish whatever you start on the Circuit.

The MIDI support for me keeps this from being overly limited or turning into a toy. You can receive and send MIDI notes and controls, and automatically sync to received MIDI clock (plus forwarding it to the Out jack). More details on that in our review.

It’s ultra-portable and works standalone. You can run on 12V DC power via an adapter, or 6x AA batteries. (I do sort of wish manufacturers would start using rechargeable batteries, though you could invest in rechargeable AA’s if you aren’t already buying AA in bulk for your music gizmos.) But with a decently loud (if tinny) built-in speaker, and a headphone jack, you can go to the park with this one. (Or, as our UK-based friends say, “to the bus” – yes, London will offer long Night Bus trips to start and finish songs.)

And incredibly, the whole package is US$329.99 (£249.99 UK or 349€ including VAT in Europe).

So, how does it feel?

circuit hands on 2

I was actually impressed: this doesn’t feel like a do-everything $300 box. The pads are nicely velocity sensitive and everything feels solid. There’s a blue anti-slip, grippy surface to the bottom. It’s an incredible dirt magnet, but it holds everything in place.

It’s terrifically portable – it’s tough to say just how easy this is to toss in a bag.

Also, it’s clear that Novation has learned a lot from the Launchpad about workflow. You get all of that ready access, minus the computer. You can quickly add patterns, clear, duplicate, nudge, and change pattern length, plus easily get at effects and synth/drum sound parameters.

The oddest part about using the Circuit is perhaps that while all of the usability controls are well-labeled, you often don’t really know what twisting an encoder will do. Only the brightness of the LED underneath tells you the level, and you just have to learn what the assignments are. On the other hand, Circuit really feels like it’s about intuition, experimentation, and happy accidents, so the absence of a display doesn’t really kill the fun.

Let us know if you have questions about this, and what you think, in advance of our full review. Here are some unboxing pics in the meantime. (And yes, it does include the MIDI minijack connections that are fast becoming an accidental standard, plus breakouts and power and USB all in the box for you.)

circuit hands on 1

circuit hands on 9

circuit hands on 3

circuit hands on 5

By the way, this is a 13″ MacBook Pro – it really is small, the Circuit.

circuit hands on 7

  • David Schroeter

    I suspect this will drive sales of the KORG electribes.

    • T

      Because they compliment each other or because you think the Electribe is superior? In what way? For me, this + an Electribe would adequately be an Ableton-less kit, which I think it part of the sales pitch for each of those machines.

      • David Schroeter

        I think, despite their buginess and flaws, that the electribes are far superior. They have a screen which makes selecting and tweaking sounds and paramaters and patterns much easier. They can have (with some voice stealing) any combo of drums or synths on 16 parts. They have multiple effects, with insert per part and a master effect. They are available in a synth or sampler version, and the sampler has a simplified synth selection. They are made of metal and $399. Aside from that, they have a lot of similarities.

        • Synthesis

          I was all interested but then saw no SD card slot. So, that’s a dealbreaker. Electribe seems better as a result. Plus Ableton export.

          • SD card slot – why? For loading samples, or something else?

          • David Schroeter

            For the electribe sampler, it’s for loading samples and exporting to Ableton. Sure, you can sample part-by-part through audio-in, but that’s really slow and degrades the audio. I just run the export command, pop the SD into my desktop, and load an .als with all tracks perfectly cropped and ready for further tinkering.

          • whiteblob

            i think you could be right, if korg gets the firmware right on paper the electribes win hands down. novation like a bug or two themselves so once the dust settles i think functionality and work flow will separate buyers not price in the end since i don’t think the difference is great enough to entice buyers toward the circuit on that principle alone.

          • djkm

            I’d like it if there were some kind; any kind of way of backing up the settings and patterns. The manual doesn’t mention it but I hope they have something in the pipeline that runs out of the USB midi cable.

          • djkm

            to answer my own question: there will be – this piece on it covers backup, and potential to have more control over the synths – http://www.factmag.com/2015/10/01/novation-circuit-review/

          • Freeks

            Maybe moving what you have done to computer?
            Or how is that done?
            Or is just for fooling around with no intentions to do anything proper?

            I use iMaschine as scratch pad -> maschine. Then i use Live as scratch pad -> Logic.

          • Rocksteady Mary

            you know, for kids

        • I don’t necessarily agree. Having more features on paper doesn’t necessarily make something better. 😉 It’s all about workflow – and if we were just looking at superiority in terms of number of features, you’d always choose the computer. The market for both these devices suggests that in some situations, less is more. Let’s wait for a full review.

        • Polite Society

          Speaking of which, what’s up with the electribe sampler 2? There are pretty much no reviews out there. Is it that bad?

        • jef

          I couldn’t get rid of the Electribe 2 quick enough. The sound engine did not sound good. The Circuit sounds much better in the two videos I’ve seen and I like the UI much better.

  • David Schroeter

    I suspect this will drive sales of the KORG electribes.

    • T

      Because they compliment each other or because you think the Electribe is superior? In what way? For me, this + an Electribe would adequately be an Ableton-less kit, which I think it part of the sales pitch for each of those machines.

      • David Schroeter

        I think, despite their buginess and flaws, that the electribes are far superior. They have a screen which makes selecting and tweaking sounds and paramaters and patterns much easier. They can have (with some voice stealing) any combo of drums or synths on 16 parts. They have multiple effects, with insert per part and a master effect. They are available in a synth or sampler version, and the sampler has a simplified synth selection. They are made of metal and $399. Aside from that, they have a lot of similarities.

        • Synthesis

          I was all interested but then saw no SD card slot. So, that’s a dealbreaker. Electribe seems better as a result. Plus Ableton export.

          • SD card slot – why? For loading samples, or something else?

          • David Schroeter

            For the electribe sampler, it’s for loading samples and exporting to Ableton. Sure, you can sample part-by-part through audio-in, but that’s really slow and degrades the audio. I just run the export command, pop the SD into my desktop, and load an .als with all tracks perfectly cropped and ready for further tinkering.

          • whiteblob

            i think you could be right, if korg gets the firmware right on paper the electribes win hands down. novation like a bug or two themselves so once the dust settles i think functionality and work flow will separate buyers not price in the end since i don’t think the difference is great enough to entice buyers toward the circuit on that principle alone.

          • djkm

            I’d like it if there were some kind; any kind of way of backing up the settings and patterns. The manual doesn’t mention it but I hope they have something in the pipeline that runs out of the USB midi cable.

          • djkm

            to answer my own question: there will be – this piece on it covers backup, and potential to have more control over the synths – http://www.factmag.com/2015/10/01/novation-circuit-review/

          • Freeks

            Maybe moving what you have done to computer?
            Or how is that done?
            Or is just for fooling around with no intentions to do anything proper?

            I use iMaschine as scratch pad -> maschine. Then i use Live as scratch pad -> Logic.

          • Rocksteady Mary

            you know, for kids

        • I don’t necessarily agree. Having more features on paper doesn’t necessarily make something better. 😉 It’s all about workflow – and if we were just looking at superiority in terms of number of features, you’d always choose the computer. The market for both these devices suggests that in some situations, less is more. Let’s wait for a full review.

        • Polite Society

          Speaking of which, what’s up with the electribe sampler 2? There are pretty much no reviews out there. Is it that bad?

        • jef

          I couldn’t get rid of the Electribe 2 quick enough. The sound engine did not sound good. The Circuit sounds much better in the two videos I’ve seen and I like the UI much better.

  • David Schroeter

    I suspect this will drive sales of the KORG electribes.

    • T

      Because they compliment each other or because you think the Electribe is superior? In what way? For me, this + an Electribe would adequately be an Ableton-less kit, which I think it part of the sales pitch for each of those machines.

      • David Schroeter

        I think, despite their buginess and flaws, that the electribes are far superior. They have a screen which makes selecting and tweaking sounds and paramaters and patterns much easier. They can have (with some voice stealing) any combo of drums or synths on 16 parts. They have multiple effects, with insert per part and a master effect. They are available in a synth or sampler version, and the sampler has a simplified synth selection. They are made of metal and $399. Aside from that, they have a lot of similarities.

        • Synthesis

          I was all interested but then saw no SD card slot. So, that’s a dealbreaker. Electribe seems better as a result. Plus Ableton export.

          • SD card slot – why? For loading samples, or something else?

          • David Schroeter

            For the electribe sampler, it’s for loading samples and exporting to Ableton. Sure, you can sample part-by-part through audio-in, but that’s really slow and degrades the audio. I just run the export command, pop the SD into my desktop, and load an .als with all tracks perfectly cropped and ready for further tinkering.

          • whiteblob

            i think you could be right, if korg gets the firmware right on paper the electribes win hands down. novation like a bug or two themselves so once the dust settles i think functionality and work flow will separate buyers not price in the end since i don’t think the difference is great enough to entice buyers toward the circuit on that principle alone.

          • djkm

            I’d like it if there were some kind; any kind of way of backing up the settings and patterns. The manual doesn’t mention it but I hope they have something in the pipeline that runs out of the USB midi cable.

          • djkm

            to answer my own question: there will be – this piece on it covers backup, and potential to have more control over the synths – http://www.factmag.com/2015/10/01/novation-circuit-review/

          • Freeks

            Maybe moving what you have done to computer?
            Or how is that done?
            Or is just for fooling around with no intentions to do anything proper?

            I use iMaschine as scratch pad -> maschine. Then i use Live as scratch pad -> Logic.

          • Rocksteady Mary

            you know, for kids

        • I don’t necessarily agree. Having more features on paper doesn’t necessarily make something better. 😉 It’s all about workflow – and if we were just looking at superiority in terms of number of features, you’d always choose the computer. The market for both these devices suggests that in some situations, less is more. Let’s wait for a full review.

        • Polite Society

          Speaking of which, what’s up with the electribe sampler 2? There are pretty much no reviews out there. Is it that bad?

        • jef

          I couldn’t get rid of the Electribe 2 quick enough. The sound engine did not sound good. The Circuit sounds much better in the two videos I’ve seen and I like the UI much better.

  • Alessandro Automageddon

    Are there dedicated external midi tracks?

    • Darren E Cowley

      Yes track 1 and 2 for the synth and track 10 for the drums…

  • Alessandro Automageddon

    Are there dedicated external midi tracks?

    • Darren E Cowley

      Yes track 1 and 2 for the synth and track 10 for the drums…

  • Alessandro Automageddon

    Are there dedicated external midi tracks?

    • Darren E Cowley

      Yes track 1 and 2 for the synth and track 10 for the drums…

  • Kris Keyser

    This is unbelievable. $330 for something like this is an absolute steal, honestly. I was expecting $500-600. Eagerly awaiting your review of this Peter- if the workflow ends up being as intuitive as it appears in the video, this thing is going to quickly become a staple for producers in my opinion.

    • Will

      if the workflow ends up being as intuitive as it appears in the video

      Funny, to me it appeared easy in the video but not at all intuitive! I honestly have no idea what the hands were doing for 3/4 of the video but I could tell they were doing lots in what appeared to be a simple fashion.

      • Darren E Cowley

        ten minutes is all you need with it and then it’s like second nature…

  • Kris Keyser

    This is unbelievable. $330 for something like this is an absolute steal, honestly. I was expecting $500-600. Eagerly awaiting your review of this Peter- if the workflow ends up being as intuitive as it appears in the video, this thing is going to quickly become a staple for producers in my opinion.

    • Will

      if the workflow ends up being as intuitive as it appears in the video

      Funny, to me it appeared easy in the video but not at all intuitive! I honestly have no idea what the hands were doing for 3/4 of the video but I could tell they were doing lots in what appeared to be a simple fashion.

      • Darren E Cowley

        ten minutes is all you need with it and then it’s like second nature…

  • Kris Keyser

    This is unbelievable. $330 for something like this is an absolute steal, honestly. I was expecting $500-600. Eagerly awaiting your review of this Peter- if the workflow ends up being as intuitive as it appears in the video, this thing is going to quickly become a staple for producers in my opinion.

    • Will

      if the workflow ends up being as intuitive as it appears in the video

      Funny, to me it appeared easy in the video but not at all intuitive! I honestly have no idea what the hands were doing for 3/4 of the video but I could tell they were doing lots in what appeared to be a simple fashion.

      • Darren E Cowley

        ten minutes is all you need with it and then it’s like second nature…

  • echolevel

    Thanks for the low-down, Peter. Did you get any clues from the Novation folks whether some of those Nova-inspired parameters will be accessible over MIDI/sysex? The Nova’s MIDI implementation was fantastic (lots of gracefully packaged NRPNs) and it would be great to be able to go deep – especially since the Nova engine is gone from all existing products (and since I’ve long since had to sell both of my Nova Desktops and my Supernova II…).

    And like Alessandro, it would be good to know if MIDI notes can be sent to external hardware on dedicated tracks. I’m assuming not, from the videos I’ve seen today, but it would be amazing to be able to pair this with my Yamaha SU-10 for grimy wee loops. Novation’s firmware game is strong these days, so perhaps that could be a thing down the line.

    • Daniel Clarke

      can send notes to external hardware. synth 1 on channel 1, synth 2 on channel 2 and drums on channel 10

      • echolevel

        Thanks for the clarification, Daniel! (And apologies if it’s in the manual and I missed it in my excitement…)

  • echolevel

    Thanks for the low-down, Peter. Did you get any clues from the Novation folks whether some of those Nova-inspired parameters will be accessible over MIDI/sysex? The Nova’s MIDI implementation was fantastic (lots of gracefully packaged NRPNs) and it would be great to be able to go deep – especially since the Nova engine is gone from all existing products (and since I’ve long since had to sell both of my Nova Desktops and my Supernova II…).

    And like Alessandro, it would be good to know if MIDI notes can be sent to external hardware on dedicated tracks. I’m assuming not, from the videos I’ve seen today, but it would be amazing to be able to pair this with my Yamaha SU-10 for grimy wee loops. Novation’s firmware game is strong these days, so perhaps that could be a thing down the line.

    • Daniel Clarke

      can send notes to external hardware. synth 1 on channel 1, synth 2 on channel 2 and drums on channel 10

      • echolevel

        Thanks for the clarification, Daniel! (And apologies if it’s in the manual and I missed it in my excitement…)

  • echolevel

    Thanks for the low-down, Peter. Did you get any clues from the Novation folks whether some of those Nova-inspired parameters will be accessible over MIDI/sysex? The Nova’s MIDI implementation was fantastic (lots of gracefully packaged NRPNs) and it would be great to be able to go deep – especially since the Nova engine is gone from all existing products (and since I’ve long since had to sell both of my Nova Desktops and my Supernova II…).

    And like Alessandro, it would be good to know if MIDI notes can be sent to external hardware on dedicated tracks. I’m assuming not, from the videos I’ve seen today, but it would be amazing to be able to pair this with my Yamaha SU-10 for grimy wee loops. Novation’s firmware game is strong these days, so perhaps that could be a thing down the line.

    • Daniel Clarke

      can send notes to external hardware. synth 1 on channel 1, synth 2 on channel 2 and drums on channel 10

      • echolevel

        Thanks for the clarification, Daniel! (And apologies if it’s in the manual and I missed it in my excitement…)

  • leolodreamland

    wow lovely – half a grid tho

  • Rawticks

    This decice will compete with the new electribes. The electribes do lack some features (which might be resolved in a future update) that the circuit seem to have nailed – a proper arpeggiator, no voice stealing (from what I can make out of the video) and 128 steps sequences. But the lack of a display on the circuit and the lack of labelling on the knobs will make precision editing harder than on the electribes.

    Now one thing I really wish the electribes would have is a way to turn off the step quantization like on MPCs, and I’m not sure from what you describe if the circuit will be able to record a performance without quantization.

    I’d guess that it won’t be able though, as editing this with LED pads and without a screen would probably be a pain. Still, looks tons of fun!

    • viess

      hm… where you see arpeggiator on circuit?

      • Rawticks

        it looks like there’s one in the video? I could be mistaken too…

  • leolodreamland

    wow lovely – half a grid tho

  • Rawticks

    This decice will compete with the new electribes. The electribes do lack some features (which might be resolved in a future update) that the circuit seem to have nailed – a proper arpeggiator, no voice stealing (from what I can make out of the video) and 128 steps sequences. But the lack of a display on the circuit and the lack of labelling on the knobs will make precision editing harder than on the electribes.

    Now one thing I really wish the electribes would have is a way to turn off the step quantization like on MPCs, and I’m not sure from what you describe if the circuit will be able to record a performance without quantization.

    I’d guess that it won’t be able though, as editing this with LED pads and without a screen would probably be a pain. Still, looks tons of fun!

    • viess

      hm… where you see arpeggiator on circuit?

      • Rawticks

        it looks like there’s one in the video? I could be mistaken too…

  • leolodreamland

    wow lovely – half a grid tho

  • Rawticks

    This decice will compete with the new electribes. The electribes do lack some features (which might be resolved in a future update) that the circuit seem to have nailed – a proper arpeggiator, no voice stealing (from what I can make out of the video) and 128 steps sequences. But the lack of a display on the circuit and the lack of labelling on the knobs will make precision editing harder than on the electribes.

    Now one thing I really wish the electribes would have is a way to turn off the step quantization like on MPCs, and I’m not sure from what you describe if the circuit will be able to record a performance without quantization.

    I’d guess that it won’t be able though, as editing this with LED pads and without a screen would probably be a pain. Still, looks tons of fun!

    • viess

      hm… where you see arpeggiator on circuit?

      • Rawticks

        it looks like there’s one in the video? I could be mistaken too…

  • echolevel

    They’ve stuck the user manual up in their Downloads section (and there are some knowledgebase answers regarding the Circuit too) : http://uk.novationmusic.com/sites/default/files/novation/downloads/10690/circuit-ug-en.pdf

    • Loowfizzz

      Thanks!

  • echolevel

    They’ve stuck the user manual up in their Downloads section (and there are some knowledgebase answers regarding the Circuit too) : http://uk.novationmusic.com/sites/default/files/novation/downloads/10690/circuit-ug-en.pdf

    • Loowfizzz

      Thanks!

  • echolevel

    They’ve stuck the user manual up in their Downloads section (and there are some knowledgebase answers regarding the Circuit too) : http://uk.novationmusic.com/sites/default/files/novation/downloads/10690/circuit-ug-en.pdf

    • Loowfizzz

      Thanks!

  • djkm

    I love it, but I do wish there was a LCD of some kind; tempo is going to be a bit of a guess, unless there are ‘quick links’ to various tempos.

    Also, if the intention is to continue on your desktop, I guess the only way of getting the ‘stems’ out is to mute each part separately? There aren’t that many outs to cover each section.

    aside from that, day one purchase. I need more gadgets in my life. I guess the midi out may mean it can replace my beatstep?

    • Nick De Friez

      Tempo is displayed via the pads – Its really clear

  • djkm

    I love it, but I do wish there was a LCD of some kind; tempo is going to be a bit of a guess, unless there are ‘quick links’ to various tempos.

    Also, if the intention is to continue on your desktop, I guess the only way of getting the ‘stems’ out is to mute each part separately? There aren’t that many outs to cover each section.

    aside from that, day one purchase. I need more gadgets in my life. I guess the midi out may mean it can replace my beatstep?

    • Nick De Friez

      Tempo is displayed via the pads – Its really clear

  • djkm

    I love it, but I do wish there was a LCD of some kind; tempo is going to be a bit of a guess, unless there are ‘quick links’ to various tempos.

    Also, if the intention is to continue on your desktop, I guess the only way of getting the ‘stems’ out is to mute each part separately? There aren’t that many outs to cover each section.

    aside from that, day one purchase. I need more gadgets in my life. I guess the midi out may mean it can replace my beatstep?

    • Nick De Friez

      Tempo is displayed via the pads – Its really clear

  • Loowfizzz

    I am really super excited about sequencing external gear with this! Hope this will work well!

  • Loowfizzz

    I am really super excited about sequencing external gear with this! Hope this will work well!

  • Loowfizzz

    I am really super excited about sequencing external gear with this! Hope this will work well!

  • chaircrusher

    Reading the manual — it doesn’t say if it can act as a MIDI clock master. It can use its internal clock, or slave to incoming clock, but no mention of transmitting clock.

    I’m asking because I’m getting to where I have a bunch of tabletop boxes with internal sequencers.

    • Nick De Friez

      It can work as both master and slave.

  • chaircrusher

    Reading the manual — it doesn’t say if it can act as a MIDI clock master. It can use its internal clock, or slave to incoming clock, but no mention of transmitting clock.

    I’m asking because I’m getting to where I have a bunch of tabletop boxes with internal sequencers.

    • Nick De Friez

      It can work as both master and slave.

  • chaircrusher

    Reading the manual — it doesn’t say if it can act as a MIDI clock master. It can use its internal clock, or slave to incoming clock, but no mention of transmitting clock.

    I’m asking because I’m getting to where I have a bunch of tabletop boxes with internal sequencers.

    • Nick De Friez

      It can work as both master and slave.

  • heinrich zwahlen

    A fun little all in one box!

  • heinrich zwahlen

    A fun little all in one box!

  • heinrich zwahlen

    A fun little all in one box!

  • I love Novation products. I (regrettably) just sold my UltraNova. : ( I have a Bass Station 2 and a Launchpad and I just love Novations aestethic and functionality. I already have the new Korg E2 but I have a soft spot for groove boxes. I just really love them. I most definitely be grabbing one of these. It looks like so much fun!!!!!
    Hoping I can sequence external gear w/ it also but if not Ill add it to my hardware set-up!!!!

  • I love Novation products. I (regrettably) just sold my UltraNova. : ( I have a Bass Station 2 and a Launchpad and I just love Novations aestethic and functionality. I already have the new Korg E2 but I have a soft spot for groove boxes. I just really love them. I most definitely be grabbing one of these. It looks like so much fun!!!!!
    Hoping I can sequence external gear w/ it also but if not Ill add it to my hardware set-up!!!!

  • I love Novation products. I (regrettably) just sold my UltraNova. : ( I have a Bass Station 2 and a Launchpad and I just love Novations aestethic and functionality. I already have the new Korg E2 but I have a soft spot for groove boxes. I just really love them. I most definitely be grabbing one of these. It looks like so much fun!!!!!
    Hoping I can sequence external gear w/ it also but if not Ill add it to my hardware set-up!!!!

  • FS

    looks like a ton of fun. i would get this to just relax and mess around with. i could see already wishing for an Mk2 version with a little screen and a sampler! but somehow this thing has caught my attention above a lot of other little boxes out there. cool…

  • FS

    looks like a ton of fun. i would get this to just relax and mess around with. i could see already wishing for an Mk2 version with a little screen and a sampler! but somehow this thing has caught my attention above a lot of other little boxes out there. cool…

  • FS

    looks like a ton of fun. i would get this to just relax and mess around with. i could see already wishing for an Mk2 version with a little screen and a sampler! but somehow this thing has caught my attention above a lot of other little boxes out there. cool…

  • SyntheticJuice

    Is it 128 steps per pattern? Another site said it was only 16 steps per pattern..

    Also, what happens if you freed hand play a melody in via midi in? is it just one note/chord per quantized step? Or will it record all my poorly timed trills, chords, and notes in their unquantized glory. 🙂

    • Darren E Cowley

      16 steps per bar max, you can have 8 bars per pattern….

      • curious

        So the sequencer style is prioritized over live playing I guess? I was looking for less-quantized, straight MIDI recording behavior.

        • Darren E Cowley

          You don’t have to sequence it, you can just use it as an instrument if you’d like….

          • curious

            So you can record instrument-style free playing like trills and such?

  • SyntheticJuice

    Is it 128 steps per pattern? Another site said it was only 16 steps per pattern..

    Also, what happens if you freed hand play a melody in via midi in? is it just one note/chord per quantized step? Or will it record all my poorly timed trills, chords, and notes in their unquantized glory. 🙂

    • Darren E Cowley

      16 steps per bar max, you can have 8 bars per pattern….

      • curious

        So the sequencer style is prioritized over live playing I guess? I was looking for less-quantized, straight MIDI recording behavior.

        • Darren E Cowley

          You don’t have to sequence it, you can just use it as an instrument if you’d like….

          • curious

            So you can record instrument-style free playing like trills and such?

  • SyntheticJuice

    Is it 128 steps per pattern? Another site said it was only 16 steps per pattern..

    Also, what happens if you freed hand play a melody in via midi in? is it just one note/chord per quantized step? Or will it record all my poorly timed trills, chords, and notes in their unquantized glory. 🙂

    • Darren E Cowley

      16 steps per bar max, you can have 8 bars per pattern….

      • curious

        So the sequencer style is prioritized over live playing I guess? I was looking for less-quantized, straight MIDI recording behavior.

        • Darren E Cowley

          You don’t have to sequence it, you can just use it as an instrument if you’d like….

          • curious

            So you can record instrument-style free playing like trills and such?

  • Ashley Brown

    Im glad it wasnt an app. Might have pulled a Ronny Pickering on that one

  • Ashley Brown

    Im glad it wasnt an app. Might have pulled a Ronny Pickering on that one

  • Im glad it wasnt an app. Might have pulled a Ronny Pickering on that one

  • 444Levels

    the fx section is extremely weak, it looks like the launchpad iPad app has better fx

  • 444Levels

    the fx section is extremely weak, it looks like the launchpad iPad app has better fx

  • 444Levels

    the fx section is extremely weak, it looks like the launchpad iPad app has better fx

  • Will

    Would like to know: How much control of the synthesizer is available via external MIDI control? Can it record ‘off grid’ via MIDI in? Can it send sequence data to its internal synth and external MIDI gear simultaneously?

  • Will

    Would like to know: How much control of the synthesizer is available via external MIDI control? Can it record ‘off grid’ via MIDI in? Can it send sequence data to its internal synth and external MIDI gear simultaneously?

    Edit: “of the synthesizer” ^guts. Or: how much of the synthesis engine is exposed to external midi control.

  • Will

    Would like to know: How much control of the synthesizer is available via external MIDI control? Can it record ‘off grid’ via MIDI in? Can it send sequence data to its internal synth and external MIDI gear simultaneously?

    Edit: “of the synthesizer” ^guts. Or: how much of the synthesis engine is exposed to external midi control.

  • P Boer

    Oh, look a Livid Base!

  • P Boer

    Oh, look a Livid Base!

  • P Boer

    Oh, look a Livid Base!

  • pinta_vodki

    This may be interesting, but I really think they should’ve made a better video. It just doesn’t drive you to buy the product in that holy-shit-I-gotta-own-it-right-now way Launchpad demos did.

  • pinta_vodki

    This may be interesting, but I really think they should’ve made a better video. It just doesn’t drive you to buy the product in that holy-shit-I-gotta-own-it-right-now way Launchpad demos did.

  • pinta_vodki

    This may be interesting, but I really think they should’ve made a better video. It just doesn’t drive you to buy the product in that holy-shit-I-gotta-own-it-right-now way Launchpad demos did.

  • Fayek Helmi

    this will go along great with a couple of midi controlled gameboys for some sexy live chipping!

    • Fayek Helmi

      i just really wish there could be the option to have more sequencing on other empty midi channels going out instead of wasting the synth engine on outboard sequencing….

  • Fayek Helmi

    this will go along great with a couple of midi controlled gameboys for some sexy live chipping!

    • Fayek Helmi

      i just really wish there could be the option to have more sequencing on other empty midi channels going out instead of wasting the synth engine on outboard sequencing….

  • Fayek Helmi

    this will go along great with a couple of midi controlled gameboys for some sexy live chipping!

    • Fayek Helmi

      i just really wish there could be the option to have more sequencing on other empty midi channels going out instead of wasting the synth engine on outboard sequencing….

  • Side

    drums are pcm samples or some va? I quite dont like the sound of them in demo.

    • jef

      In the sonic state video he says it’s sample based, but they can be tweaked radically with the macro knobs.

  • Side

    drums are pcm samples or some va? I quite dont like the sound of them in demo.

    • jef

      In the sonic state video he says it’s sample based, but they can be tweaked radically with the macro knobs.

  • Side

    drums are pcm samples or some va? I quite dont like the sound of them in demo.

    • jef

      In the sonic state video he says it’s sample based, but they can be tweaked radically with the macro knobs.

  • Séamus Bradd

    This looks fantastic. Amazing that they got the priced down so far too. Really really stoked for this!

  • Séamus Bradd

    This looks fantastic. Amazing that they got the priced down so far too. Really really stoked for this!

  • Yung Spleen

    This looks fantastic. Amazing that they got the priced down so far too. Really really stoked for this!

  • Cosme Lozano

    Will this double up as an ableton controller à la Launchpad?

    • Darren E Cowley

      It doesn’t come with a session mode for Ableton but can be used as a MIDI controller….

  • Cosme Lozano

    Will this double up as an ableton controller à la Launchpad?

    • Darren E Cowley

      It doesn’t come with a session mode for Ableton but can be used as a MIDI controller….

  • Cosme Lozano

    Will this double up as an ableton controller à la Launchpad?

    • Darren E Cowley

      It doesn’t come with a session mode for Ableton but can be used as a MIDI controller….

  • Fash

    I’m not sure i’m able to make my 3/4 signature tracks on this machine. I guess the drums are fixed to 16 steps …

  • Fash

    I’m not sure i’m able to make my 3/4 signature tracks on this machine. I guess the drums are fixed to 16 steps …

  • Fash

    I’m not sure i’m able to make my 3/4 signature tracks on this machine. I guess the drums are fixed to 16 steps …

  • lushr

    I’d really like to understand work flow, what each screen does. I don’t work with pads at all, so I’m wondering how intuitive it will be for someone like me. Also is it an MPC replacer? Sequence all your hardware synths from it, etc? I have never used an MPC but the idea of one central sequencer for my studio is a tantalising one.

  • lushr

    I’d really like to understand work flow, what each screen does. I don’t work with pads at all, so I’m wondering how intuitive it will be for someone like me. Also is it an MPC replacer? Sequence all your hardware synths from it, etc? I have never used an MPC but the idea of one central sequencer for my studio is a tantalising one.

  • I’d really like to understand work flow, what each screen does. I don’t work with pads at all, so I’m wondering how intuitive it will be for someone like me. Also is it an MPC replacer? Sequence all your hardware synths from it, etc? I have never used an MPC but the idea of one central sequencer for my studio is a tantalising one.

  • kid versus chemical

    Very cool, but AA batteries? Why can’t synths use the type of batteries that handheld video games or iPads use? I guess you can use rechargeable AA’s, but regular batteries die so fast.

    • NRGuest

      The advantage is that in 5+ years you’re still probably going to be able to buy AA batteries. The battery in your iPad probably won’t be as lucky…

      It’s sad that you can still play a 100 year old violin, but most modern electronic instruments and controllers are at risk of being crippled or rendered useless within 2-3 OS updates.

  • kid versus chemical

    Very cool, but AA batteries? Why can’t synths use the type of batteries that handheld video games or iPads use? I guess you can use rechargeable AA’s, but regular batteries die so fast.

    • NRGuest

      The advantage is that in 5+ years you’re still probably going to be able to buy AA batteries. The battery in your iPad probably won’t be as lucky…

      It’s sad that you can still play a 100 year old violin, but a lot of modern electronic instruments and controllers are at risk of being crippled or rendered useless within 2-3 OS updates.

  • kid versus chemical

    Very cool, but AA batteries? Why can’t synths use the type of batteries that handheld video games or iPads use? I guess you can use rechargeable AA’s, but regular batteries die so fast.

    • NRGuest

      The advantage is that in 5+ years you’re still probably going to be able to buy AA batteries. The battery in your iPad probably won’t be as lucky…

      It’s sad that you can still play a 100 year old violin, but a lot of modern electronic instruments and controllers are at risk of being crippled or rendered useless within 2-3 OS updates.

  • richard conrad

    so only 64 preset synth sounds? does anyone know if they can be overwritten?

    • Frank

      Yeah i thought that was pretty lame too.

  • richard conrad

    so only 64 preset synth sounds? does anyone know if they can be overwritten?

    • Frank

      Yeah i thought that was pretty lame too.

  • richard conrad

    so only 64 preset synth sounds? does anyone know if they can be overwritten?

    • Frank

      Yeah i thought that was pretty lame too.

  • supersaw

    Novation Circuit presentation by Chris Calcutt at Budapest Music Expo 2015: https://youtu.be/arZF__rIkUc

    • Frank

      This video is ****ing unwatchable.Whoever thought it would be a good
      idea to put so many color shifts, video effects etc in it must be
      insane.Totally distracting from the actual content.

  • supersaw

    Novation Circuit presentation by Chris Calcutt at Budapest Music Expo 2015: https://youtu.be/arZF__rIkUc

    • Frank

      This video is ****ing unwatchable.Whoever thought it would be a good
      idea to put so many color shifts, video effects etc in it must be
      insane.Totally distracting from the actual content.

  • supersaw

    Novation Circuit presentation by Chris Calcutt at Budapest Music Expo 2015: https://youtu.be/arZF__rIkUc

    • Frank

      This video is ****ing unwatchable.Whoever thought it would be a good
      idea to put so many color shifts, video effects etc in it must be
      insane.Totally distracting from the actual content.

  • definitely cool, but wish they’d add a sd slot for importing samples. Maybe something for a future version?

    • they are apparently working on a software to load samples and tweak the synth via USB

  • definitely cool, but wish they’d add a sd slot for importing samples. Maybe something for a future version?

    • they are apparently working on a software to load samples and tweak the synth via USB

  • definitely cool, but wish they’d add a sd slot for importing samples. Maybe something for a future version?

    • they are apparently working on a software to load samples and tweak the synth via USB

  • Tobi

    So when is the full review coming?

  • Tobi

    So when is the full review coming?

  • Peter Strauss

    Has anyone tried out the new beta functions ? I saw a video of the patch editor and it looks very impressive. Any thoughts ? Also wondered when the review was coming…