Novation Updates Circuit With Polyrhythmic Drum Sequences & More

Novation is continuing the rapid development of Circuit with the release of Circuit firmware v1.4 – an update that introduces several user-requested features, and brings new sessions, samples and synth patches.

Here’s the official video intro:

Novation Circuit 1.4

The latest update brings a new pattern-length parameter for the drum tracks to enable polyrhythmic drum sequences, where previously the drum patterns were locked to 16 steps. Also, it’s now possible to switch each track’s patterns on the fly so you can create fast-changing fills and pattern-change effects.

You can now change the color of the sessions from the unit itself (instead of from the Components software), and there are new setup options to optimize Circuit’s interoperation with other MIDI hardware.

Finally, Novation has added brand new samples, synth patches and sessions.

Here’s what’s new in Circuit 1.4:

  • Polyrhythmic Drum Patterns – You can now set the length of your drum patterns individually to create mind-bending cross-rhythms and pattern variations.
  • Instant Pattern Switch – Change patterns instantly and combine with automation for glitchy drum fills and beat repeats.
  • Session Colour Select – Now available from the unit; change your Session colour when saving.
  • Clock Settings – Improved setup page with more versatile MIDI control. Separate transmit and receive settings for MIDI clock.
  • Circuit Packs – All-new samples, synth patches and sessions to completely transform your Circuit. Use Components to load the new Circuit Pack and, of course, backup your existing work.

Pricing and Availability

Circuit v1.4 is a free firmware update available to all Circuit customers. The update is quick and easy, and is facilitated by Circuit Components, a suite of browser-based utility tools for Circuit. Find out more at Circuit Components’ website. The Circuit hardware is available for US $329.

13 thoughts on “Novation Updates Circuit With Polyrhythmic Drum Sequences & More

  1. I think they are overstating this a little. If the step rate is always 4 steps per beat, then you ALWAYS just have 16th notes. Tracks 1 and 2 can have one length of steps and 3 and 4 can have another. That let’s the two patterns (of 16th notes only) share a common denominator and run with independent step lengths.

    That is basically a modulation of groups of 16ths. That is a simple form of polyrhythm where you keep your time-signature and beat division common between two parts, but create groupings that are shifted.

    What is lacking in most of these grid sequencers is the ability to divide beats differently. The ability to assign a different step rate in relation to the beat. As a result we have a whole generation of music makers who can only do and hear 16th notes. Even something as simple as a triplet (i.e., 6/8, 9/8, 12/8) has to be done as a workaround.

    No manufacturer should get away with bragging about “Mind-Bending Polyrhythms” when they can’t figure out how to divide beats in any way besides 4 steps.

    (As an aside, Behringer’s DM12 appears to at least provide a range of beat divisions. Good on them!)

    1. Fair point, and one could argue whether this is really polyrhythmic, since the patterns cycle rather than sync.

      But get creative and you can do things like 5 against 3 and phasing patterns, which are impossible with many step sequencers.

      Unfortunately, polymeter and polyrhythm are considered esoteric by many manufacturers, along with microtonal tuning support.

      1. Even if we weren’t talking about “mind bending” polyrhythms, just the ability to use triplets– but also being able to go back and forth with triplets (1/12) and 16ths would be so useful. I spent a fair hunk of time making grooves with 4 beats of quintuplets and was surprised how quickly my mind adapted and started enjoying them.

      2. well it could be argued that if you really want to make complex poly rhythms, you could always just use the USB to control the unit with a sequencer. I love my circuit but in reality I use it more to play live synth lines than I do as an AIO box – same with the electribe.

  2. So the firmware is only available through Chrome or Opera? I don’t see why they can’t provide a download, like normal!

    Also, I have a login for Novation, but it doesn’t seem to work for this… really? Why do I have to associate yet another account (google) because I’m about as likely to use facebook as I am to dive through thorn bushes naked into a vat of lemon juice where they’re playing bieber at top volume as I am to use something like facebook to log in… I know it takes all types, but why foist those types upon all of us? I use a specific email account for registrations that is NOT tied to the all knowing, all seeing eyes of google and facebook 🙁

    *sigh* I guess I’ll just put the machine aside when I get tired of not having the new goodness of v1.4. Maybe I should trade my Circuit for a Cajon where the firmware can be sanded offline — just not the Roland electric cajon.


    1. Sorry for the double, but after trying to get this to work, if you want the new firmware you definitely have to give up your facebook or google account to them — worse, they want they want access to your account’s public information. Why do they need access to my picture? to my public profile? Answer? They don’t. They’re harvesting data, holding the update either hostage or as a present depending on how you look at it.

      Some will call this reasonable, or the wave of the present and future. I call it unacceptable.

      You will also notice that the librarian and related functions are now -online-only- so you can’t even work on the machine without being connected and sharing your social profile. Really?

      So I’m getting rid of my Circuit — and other Novation gear, not interested in a company that demands a privacy invasion in exchange for a _promised_ product update. they “Promise not to post your information to social media without permission” … if they have to promise that, they’re not worth trusting — they wouldn’t be the first (or last) company that says that then changes the terms later unilaterally. The risk alone is unacceptable, if they “promise not to share,” then they know you’re giving them something for free. Shame on Novation, a company I wanted to like, but turned out to be like every other corporate jackal.

Leave a Reply