Novation Circuit Components – this one’s special…

I really like the Novation Circuit. The things you can do with it are pretty special, and for just £249, the price is pretty special too. And all in a portable, self-contained box that you can use when creativity strikes on the go, and easily integrate back in the studio and turn those loops into the bases of your songs. As of now though, the Novation Circuit has become a lot more powerful…

Novation Circuit Components

The canvas is all yours…

If you’ve not heard much about the Circuit before now, you might want to take a quick look at this post. As I’m sure you can hear, the Circuit can make a lot of sounds. With the release of Circuit Components though, it can make any sound you can make.

At the end of last year, the amazing Isotonik Studios released a Max4Live patch to edit the patches of the two inbuilt synths inside the Circuit. Given that there are two Nova-based engines inside each – and indeed every – Circuit, that’s a lot of power. The Circuit Components software goes above and beyond though, and you don’t even need Live Suite

Novation Circuit Components

So let’s think about what the Novation Circuit is. It’s a drum machine and groovebox, with a sample-based percussion engine and two Nova-heritage synth engines inside. Yes, you start off with a range of presets, but the range over which they can be altered can take you (not literally) a million miles from where you started.

The Novation Circuit Groovebox

Novation Circuit Components simply strips the Circuit down to the powerful groovebox that it is, and gives you complete command over its, well, components I suppose.

Let’s quickly have a run-down on what components can do:

Sample import – drag and drop your own samples into Circuit. With 60 seconds of sampling time and 64 sample slots, you can fairly put your own mark on those kits!

Synth patch editor – Get yourself in front of your computer screen and get programming some unique patches and fire those over to the Circuit ready to use.

The librarian – Filled up all the 32 session slots with pure musical gold? Simply back up with the librarian software, return to them at your leisure and free up those slots for even more compositioning!

How do I get started with Circuit Components?

Well, first of all you’ll need to update your Circuit firmware to version 1.2, but fret not, Novation have prepared yet another handy video to walk you through the process:

The firmware update adds quite a few useful new features as well:

  • Record MIDI notes from external instruments plugged into Circuit: either chromatically, or tuned depending on your choice of key and scale
  • Manipulate Circuit’s macro controls from an external MIDI controller and record as automation. You can even use your iPad
  • Automatically sync Circuit up with Live and easily record MIDI from your session – in tempo, in time, in key – with just a few clicks
  • Hold record, punch in and overdub notes or macros without losing your flow – or accidentally breaking your existing work
  • Step Edit – even easier step-by-step automation: have a different pitch on your drums for each hit or add effects to a choice selection of notes in a sequence
  • Remotely switch the sound of either of Circuit’s two synths or the drum sounds on the fly using MIDI program change messages

After you’ve sorted your firmware, head over here and take advantage of all the joys of ‘the cloud’ and web MIDI (You’ll need to use Chrome or Opera) to start importing, programming and librarianing.

Enjoy your new and improved Novation Circuit!

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Fynn Callum

producer, guitarist, engineer & dj
From indie guitarist to deep house producer via Northern Soul dj; mix engineer, producer and gear enthusiast. Jaffa Cake aficionado.

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