My Novation Circuit Review

About Novation

Co​​​​mpany Details

Novation Digital Music Systems Ltd. is a British musical equipment manufacturer, founded in 1992 by Ian Jannaway and Mark Thompson. 

Today the company specialises in controllers, performance synthesizers, and DJ equipments and interfaces.

Novation Website

My Initial Thoughts

The Novation Circuit is a multi-purpose performance device with sequencing, synth, and sampling capabilities at the user’s fingertips.

It can be integrated into any pre-existing rig with ease, and it will go a long way toward making sure you always have all the capabilities you need on and for any performance situation.

In this review, we will be taking a look at some of the most prominent features of this device, starting from the most basic ones first.

We will then move on to give some information about the more advanced aspects.

With that in mind, let's get started!

Check the Price on Amazon

Novation AMS-CIRCUIT Circuit Groove Box w/ Sample Import: 2-Part Synth, 4-Part Drum Machine and Sequencer
64 Reviews
Novation AMS-CIRCUIT Circuit Groove Box w/ Sample Import: 2-Part Synth, 4-Part Drum Machine and Sequencer
  • 2-part Nova, analog-modeled synthesizer,...
  • 4-part drum machine: store up to 64 drums,...
  • 4x8 grid of RGB velocity-sensitive pads, 28...

Feel, Specifications, Dimensions, and Integrations

The hardware capabilities of this device are its most noteworthy aspect, as this functionality allows for a flexible performance of drum beats, or other sampled patterns in a live environment.

To that end, the front panel prominently features 32 RGB backlit pads which are fully velocity-sensitive, and feature aftertouch as well. 

In addition to these pads, there are also another 32 function buttons, designed to have all the options integrated within the device available at your fingertips at all times.

These buttons are further supplemented by 8 continuous potentiometers with adjustable parameters.

There is another additional potentiometer which controls the master volume.

Another great hardware feature of this device is the fact that it also contains an integrated speaker.

That means it is well suited for simple practice runs, in addition to the obvious performance functionality offered by the device. 

Advanced Features and Performance

Most of the advanced features of this device have to do with the sound engine, and the capabilities it offers to the user.

This is best described in numeric terms, so let us see exactly what this device has to offer.

Firstly, it features two nova synths, which allow the user to combine various sounds and filters into one sound.

The drum machine itself consists of four parts, which can be interchanged to the user’s preference.

The pads themselves offer 6 note polyphony, which is not bad considering the fact that there are 32 pads in all.

Already installed on the device are 64 drum patches, as well as 64 synth patches, which is more than enough to get you started until you’ve built your own library of samples and patches.

In terms of effects, this device offers 16 different delays as well as 8 reverbs, and these can be modified and memorized for future use.

The sequencer contains 32 sessions, with 6 tracks available per section, 4 drum tracks, and 2 synth tracks.

There are also 50 automation patterns which help take the load off you, so you can focus on other things.

The tempo can range from 40 to 240 BPM, which is more than enough for any type of music. 

Pros & Cons of Circuit


Everything is backlit

Velocity sensitive pads

Great synth capabilities

Affordable price, beginners can buy it


Cannot be powered via USB

Too little memory

Too few patches

Limited number of effects at once

My Final Thoughts

This device can really unlock your potential in terms of the performance you can produce in a live setting.

That is not to say, however, that it is only designed to cater to the live performer.

The Novation Circuit can be used to great effect in composition as well, and its integration with Ableton increases its functionality significantly.

All in all a great synthesizer for any user interested in electronic music.

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