What does that tasty ice, cold vanilla ice cream need? Chocolate sauce and peanuts. What does the Novation Circuit need? This sample pack.

No, seriously. Cuckoo, that brilliant YouTube personality, has put his love for gear into a brilliant and genius sound pack for Novation’s adorable Circuit drum machine – the box for the common man and woman to make riotous noise uncommonly easy.

And it works like this: you give Cuckoo love in the form of Patreon (in absurdly small increments if you’re broke), then he gives you love back in the form of a download that shows his love for Circuit.

There are two elements: one, sampled drums based on Teenage Engineering’s excellent-sounding Pocket Operator. Two, synths based on some friendly abuse of the wavetable sound — because, as he puts it, wavetable synthesis “kind of sounds a bit gritty” if you push the parameters.

And that’s basically perfect for making some dirty sounds. In fact, if I have any complaint about the Circuit, it is that its internal sound bank is too vanilla. I don’t blame Focusrite/Novation; you’re meant to make your gear sound good. But then it’s up to the rest of us to make it sound bad, which is better.

The Teenage Engineering sounds, for their part, benefit from not being locked inside that inscrutable Nintendo interface, love it as we do.

Here, you can watch the ever-charming Cuckoo with his epic beard and hair as he walks you through what he’s done:

If I rambled on like this, no one would watch, but… he’s sort of mesmerizing.

And, for absolutely no reason at all, it goes on for 89 minutes, rivaling ambient Enterprise-D engine noise for “nerdy things from YouTube you might leave on in the background as you fall asleep.”

Anyway – the pack. Thanks, Cuckoo. Total win.


And for anyone wondering: no, Focusrite/Novation are not flying me over to the UK regularly to ply me with curries and ales. (Curry my favor, so to speak.) Rather, the Circuit has found its way into my rig at home and abroad, and more importantly, everyone I know who owns one is finding themselves blissfully happy with it, meaning I’m thus obligated to keep talking about it in this way. See above regarding love and happiness. But… actually, Focusrite/Novation, you are welcome to violate ethics and do that, as it sounds a good idea. I promise not to spill vindaloo on my Circuit.

  • This is a great pack at a ridiculously low price. Thanks, Cuckoo!

  • 4ormal

    Loving my circuit! I even got a Novation LCXL to use in conjunction for editing all the synth parameters hands on without the PC editor. I’d like to get my grubby little paws on this patch kit, but I have no desire to sign up for Patreon 🙁

  • and with new stuff incoming for the circuit you have to really think what other device at the £250 price point has evolved as much as this one in 12 months dev time and offers so much fun with such limited yet playable features. Love mine. Don’t get nearly enough time on it.

  • James

    Thanks Coocoo!
    A good a place as any to ask: my livid instruments base II is practically the same configuration. Any ableton scripts popping up for the Circuit? The one thing that broke the mould for me was the vertical note offset on the pad layout, and now novation has introduced the same ability with their standalone midi layouts with adjustable overlap for the launchpad. If I knew I was getting a music maker, on top of being able to trade out my Base, I’d be singing Circuit’s praises along with the choir.

    • Darren E Cowley

      The Circuit doesn’t have a dumb mode as such you could use it as a MIDI controller with the sound turned down…. No scripts out there a the moment to my knowledge, we’d build one instantly if the dumb mode existed…

  • I’ve been more of a Ableton/audio/sample-based music guy for many years. Hardware synths, drum machines and sequencers have never really interested me much. Until now. I decided to buy the Circuit just to experience a different kind of workflow. The big selling point for me – no display, no screens. Just buttons & knobs.

    This thing is delightful! Haven’t had this much fun in a long while. And so impressed with how they’ve updated the firmware and made it more flexible and interactive w/ other software & gear.

  • SevenEyeballs

    I don’t want to spill the beans here … but my circuit really shines when I connect it to my iPad and automate/control synths&mixers while leaving the iPad screen free for touch control 😉


    Thank you so much for this lovely article! The curry is on me, mate!