First Impressions of (Novation) Circuit

First, it should be noted that I just got Circuit today, so I definitely don't pretend to understand it fully.
So recently I've been lucky enough to get my hands on the Novation Circuit. It wasn't my first choice as I was looking to go the full keyed synth or keyboard route, but I was thinking a bit about optimizing my gear for live performance and that was what I could afford, the Circuit I mean.
As a past owner of the M Audio Venom 49 Key synth, I learned the hard way to customize my synths and samplers as soon as I get them, that way there can be no problem with future updates to my Mac OS that prevents me from customizing the synth later. Luckily for me, figuring out how to replace the stock drum sounds on Circuit is a breeze. Now all I have left to worry about is whether to eventually buy a synth pack to replace some of the synth sounds. To be honest, given the groove box nature of Circuit, I'm not too concerned with how the synth plays. The only thing that would convince me to buy a pack is if it not only had patches, but also sort of like complete synth parts pre-recorded [Editors note: you can select synth patches for already recorded synth patterns, thus somewhat negating this comments relavance].
I ultimately opted to not buy the synth pack at this time.
When playing electric guitar along with the Ciruit, it's clear Circuit very much overpowers the guitar sound. That's a shame, but I may have a solution. To get around this problem and further optimize my gear for live performance, I've invested in a loop pedal for my guitar. I figure adding a few layers of looped sound should do the trick to boost my guitar signal up to that of Circuit's.
To get into the nitty gritty of my review, I wouldn't buy Circuit if you are looking for a sound module for a midi controller or synth/keyboard. It just doesn't produce sounds that are worth the effort of hooking up the controller to it. Furthermore, I wouldn't buy Circuit if you're looking for a tool for recording really. I didn't expect Circuit to work well for this purpose, and I was right.  Circuit doesn't really produce original material exactly. Sure, you can definitely change things up quite a bit, but realistically it's certainly not the end all for recording. Also, another draw back is that it's only got 16 built in sequences, so it's not really very versatile in that regard. It does have 16 additional sequences for user input or programming, but honestly I find it unrealistic that even the most advanced user would find this very appealing.
Honestly, I would say a Korg EA 1 Mk ii does a much better job as a synth/sequencer, but the built in drums of the Circuit are in my opinion where it truly shines. Indeed, the Circuit is very much like a cross between the electribes of yesterday meets Maschine-Era technology with beautiful lighting and sequencing.
I haven't figured out how to add length to the synth patterns, which is also kind of a shame. All things considered, if you ever see me play live, probably Novation Circuit will be doing the heavy lifting.


Popular Posts