Novation’s Circuit is a budget marvel. As a drum machine alone, it’s a steal – particularly with the ability to load your own samples. But also hidden inside are two synths based on the Novation Nova.

There’s one piece of software that really lets you maximize all these capabilities: the Circuit Editor plug-in from Isotonik.

It’s got two major advantages.

One, it lets you get inside all the hidden powers of the synths and drum machine locked into the Circuit hardware, not only as an editor but with extras like randomization and morphing. The upshot of that: you can use the editor to set up your box for jam sessions and improvisation, or to take onstage. Spend your time in the editor tweaking, then leave that behind and focus on playing when it comes time to play (in the studio or onstage).

Two, it integrates all of this with your DAW. So, when it’s time to actually finish tracks, you can store all your hardware settings inside your production environment for easy access. That’s essential of course when it’s time to actually make a track in Ableton, Bitwig, Logic, FL Studio, or whatever.

Now, for Novation’s part, we saw yesterday the launch of Circuit Components offline. That’s an awesome tool for loading your own samples, making backups, and sharing settings, now both offline and online.

Suren's Circuit, in the studio.

Suren’s Circuit, in the studio.

But think of this as the advanced companion – now with editor features that go far beyond what the related editor distributed officially by Novation provides. And what I love most about this is that the poor boy’s / poor girl’s groovebox is now a real powerhouse. That box is cheap, it’s small, it’s perfect for those who can’t afford a lot of gear (or, like, carry-on luggage fees even). It’s a reward for simplicity — without being simplistic, since you can go as deep as you want with the editor.

And wow, can you do a lot. Apart from loading, saving, and editing patches, synth sounds, and sessions, you get extras like:

  • Copy/paste macros
  • Randomization
  • Morphing between patches
  • Audition patches
  • X/Y parameter control (of any two parameters you pick)
  • OpenSoundControl [OSC] support
  • A bundled Liine Lemur template for that excellent iOS/Android app

It works in VST (macOS/Windows), Audio Unit (Mac – these days mainly for Logic), and standalone (macOS, Windows).

Adding still more depth to Circuit, Isotonik have set up a store for patches for the instrument:

That includes nice stuff like this:

The latest editor software is a £25.00 purchase — meaning for the price of a power adapter for another box, you can turn your Circuit into almost an entirely new instrument. Wow. Grab the editor plug-in/standalone (plus bundled Lemur template):

  • Bigmanonroad

    hehe that circuit is pretty

  • Gatsby’sPool

    I’m getting an unexpected bonus at work this month, and I just may end up getting the circuit. I’ve been wanting a new synth and a replacement sampler for my microSampler, and I think this might just be it. Or the Electribe Sampler… I can never decide.

    • Ive found the Circuit to be my most versatile and satisfying gear purchase in the last 20 years. Owned all of the Electribes and believe the current generation of them to be quite a let down.
      This advanced editor is unnecessary as the existing free version allows the user to create and modify all the available parameters of the machine, the paid version only includes the above mentioned features that many users are unlikely to require.
      Circuit is far cheaper than the Electribe sampler as well as being easier (don’t really need a manual) and in my opinion, more fun to use.

      • Gatsby’sPool

        Thanks for the detailed reply. The Circuit is definitely where my head is at right now, but I’m generally a Korg fan so I’ve been interested in the Electribe Sampler since it came out. Maybe I’ll just get the Circuit and keep my microSampler. Problem solved.

        I do own the Lemur app, so I might be interested in the Isotonik editor for that, but I’ll have a go with the Novation editor for a while to see if it’s enough.

        Thanks again.

        • c0wfunk

          Lemur is fine but the templates out there lack a live parameter refresh so you don’t really know where you are, which reduces the utility for me. I’ve been meaning to see if this is possible and make a template myself but my ideas are bigger than my time.

  • Armando

    Can you swap the knobs on a circuit? Mine feel like they’re freaking glued to the damn thing.

    • Darren E Cowley

      See the picture at the top 😉

  • unlock please

    The strictest of quantization applies to everything though, that rigid mathematical grid vibe cannot be escaped.
    The one big hope I thought eventual updates might address would be any kind of solution to the quantization. Now that the update process is apparently over, I’m giving up. Mine’s on its way to Craigslist.

    • c0wfunk

      Why do you say the update process is apparently over? I can’t find an announcement and there have been regular updates for a year and a half now.

  • c0wfunk

    Using the launch control xl with the circuit adds a whole other dimension to the box if you are an out of computer guy like me. There are templates that give access to all of the parameters in the synths and drums allowing you to live edit your sounds with knobs.

    • Gatsby’sPool

      Good to know. I have a Beatstep that I never use and have been thinking about selling that and getting a launch control instead.