Free Novation Circuit Update Brings Per-Step Sample Sequencing & More


Novation has released an update to their Circuit groovebox, making it more powerful and easier to use than ever.

The update, which is recommended for all users, delivers several feature requests from Circuit’s owners’ group, plus usability tweaks that they say ‘make Circuit one of the most capable music-making platforms on the market.’

The update marks the third update since Circuit’s release.


Here’s what’s new in Circuit 1.3:

  • Sample Flip – The new ‘Sample Flip’ function lets you create multi-sample drum lines on each of Circuit’s drum tracks. In previous versions of Circuit firmware, only one sound could be used on each drum track. Now, you can select a different sample for each step in all four of the drum tracks. So for example, you can have a kick and a snare on ‘Drum 1’, freeing up other tracks for additional instrumentation or sample playback. This transforms Circuit’s drum- and sample-programming functionality and opens it up to new styles of music.
  • Sample Preview – This frequently requested feature lets you play and preview your samples, without programming them into a pattern. In the studio, this speeds up the drum-programming process immensely due to the speed at which you can audition sounds. On stage, you can live-play any sample along with your existing drum patterns, using Circuit’s velocity-sensitive pads.
  • Session Colours & Single Session Backup – Using the Circuit Librarian — part of the Components suite of browser-based tools  — you can now change the color of the LED that represents your Session on the Circuit hardware. This means you can use colors to differentiate styles — pink for house, orange for Techno, for example — or to discern between different sections of your songs: green for intros, purple for main sections, say. Also new with Circuit v1.3 is the facility to manage sessions individually, rather than in a batch of 32.
  • Sound Management – Updates have been made to the Sample Import tool in Circuit Components (more information below). You can now change the placement of your samples so you can, for example, group similar sounds together to make it easier to remember which sample is on which pad. (For example, you could have kick drums on row 1; snares on row 2; vocal snippets on row 3.)
  • Bug Fixes – A bug relating to the timing of Session switching (leading to the very occasional missed playback of sounds on step one of the proceeding Session) has been fixed. Long samples, which were automatically faded out in prior versions of the Firmware, can now be played in their entirety, providing there is sufficient sample space on the Circuit.

Here’s a video intro to the new firmware:

Here’s a guide to the Circuit Components v1.3 update:

Finally, here’s a video demo by Dibia$e that showcases the updates:

Our contact at Novation says that “The functionality of Circuit will be constantly evolving, so it is all about building that community who will appreciate it.” They are planning a series of updates to the platform and have started a Circuit Owners Facebook Group for users to connect and to share feedback.


Pricing and Availability

The Novation Circuits is available now, with a street price of about US $330. The Circuit Components 1.3 firmware update is free, and can be accessed through the Circuit Components suite of web-based utilities, where you’ll also find updates to the Librarian.




25 thoughts on “Free Novation Circuit Update Brings Per-Step Sample Sequencing & More

  1. They would get Dibaise on the beats! These guys are smart. That dude can breathe life into the most generic samples.

          1. I’d say it’s inspired by the footwork genre. Footwork is kind of an acquired taste, I guess you could say = not something the average old synth player dude browsing Synthtopia will fall in love with the first time he hears it. 🙂

  2. They should have had “ScottWozniaknowsbest” demoing the new features….

    Because this was obviously A musical statement rather than a quick overview of a new feature by a respected artist….


      1. Dibia$e is a major player in the LA beat scene, so I guess that depends on where you’re coming from. Not sure who that Scott guy is though?

        (Not one of Dibia$e’s strongest performances though, I have to say, very far from it.)

    1. Pretty much quadruple it’s sample functionality. Amazing update. Someone needs to these guys and gals a freakn high five.

    1. I have both – they are different beasts – the engine on the circuit is great and you can do a lot more synth-y sounds, the electribe is more limited in the editing but you can do some real virtual analog-y sounds – electribe has more effects, circuit has sample and synth in the same box, electribe recently got pattern chaining, has pulse sync (if you are using PO’s or volcas) and ableton project export, the circuit seems to play a little better with the usb sync (they both sync fine but slaving the electribe has always had a little catchup time for a beat – haven’t tried since I updated the firmware) – among other differences

    2. Well, firstly the drums. Neither has synthesized drums. They both have most likely standard xox drums and classic dance drums, as well as the old minor and major house chord stabs.. The electribe I can guarantee has a few cheesy ” yeahhh ” one shots. At least with the Circuit you can customize your drums, stabs, vocal snippets, etc…

      The synths… E2 has a variety of modelled filters from the King Korg. The synths dont sound bad either. IIRC, you can load up a synth voice per one of it’s 16 channels. I dont think the modulation routing is as in depth as the editor for the Circuit’s Nova engine. E2 has motion sequence which is Korg’s fancy way of saying per step automation, Circuit too has per step automation. E2 does not have ” Sample Flip”, which the ne being a bit cheesy is very useful and very close to the “sound lock” feature found on the higher priced Elektron boxes.

    1. Actualy I think not ,needing, a display is what makes circuit unique. I bought the circuit because it didn’t need a display to use it outdoors in full sun and even indoors no need to squint at a tiny display . Of course if your indoors with a computer you can use your monitor for editing which is better than a 2 inch screen

  3. I dont think the Electribe has as many assignable modulation sources / destinations as the Circuit’s Nova engine. Somebody chime in if I’m wrong.

  4. I love circuit. I’ve never had a piece of gear that’s been so consistently updated. It just keeps getting better and better. This box is amazing!!!

    I haven’t taken full advantage of the synth editor yet. I need to get on that.

  5. Arguably the best music box created and by far the best firmware update of any company at its price point. I love mine. It’s top shelf so if you don’t already have one…. go buy one! Looking forward to a sonicstate updated review 😉

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