Novation Circuit Tracks Adds MIDI Tracks, Audio In, Analog Sync And More

Novation today officially introduced the Circuit Tracks – the latest in their Circuit family of grooveboxes.

The company says that the Circuit Tracks is designed to let users create instinctively and perform immediately. It expands on the capabilities of the original circuit with features that many users asked for, including: dedicated MIDI sequencing tracks; DIN MIDI In, Out & Thru; sample loading via SD card; audio inputs for processing external audio; analog clock out and more.

Other key features of the Novation Circuit Tracks include velocity-sensitive pads, 32-step sequences, microtiming, probability and pattern mutate.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“Circuit Tracks is a studio powerhouse.

Equally at home alone or among other music machines, its full-size MIDI in, out, and thru, plus analogue sync out, complements other gear. Two MIDI sequencer tracks enable control and programming of external equipment, from drum machines to effects units. Audio inputs allow external sounds to be brought into and manipulated by Circuit Tracks. Outputs provide monitoring options for all occasions.

As with all other Novation equipment, Circuit Tracks is supercharged by Novation’s online companion, Components. Using the browser-based or standalone app, users can delve into the synth engine on screen, create patches with custom macros, load samples, make MIDI templates, backup projects, and get new artist-made sounds.”

Novation has also updated Components for the Circuit Tracks:

Components lets you do deep editing of synth patches, sample management and more.

Performance Demo:

Features:

  • 32 RGB backlit velocity sensitive pads
  • 28 RGB backlit tactile click buttons
  • Power button with charge status LED
  • USB-C socket
  • Kensington MiniSaver slot
  • MicroSD card slot
  • 3x MIDI DIN (In, Out, Thru)
  • 3.5mm sync out
  • 2x Mono audio in
  • L/R Stereo out
  • Headphones out
  • 8x endless encoders with RGB indicators
  • Master volume pot
  • Master filter pot with center detent

Pricing and Availability

Circuit Tracks is available now, priced at £359.99, $399.99 USD.

28 thoughts on “Novation Circuit Tracks Adds MIDI Tracks, Audio In, Analog Sync And More

  1. Strange. I was under the impression that the Circuit could already sequence MIDI gear.
    If it can do at least 8 polyphonic tracks I may finally get one.

    1. The original can sequence external gear, but you have to use one of the two internal synth tracks to do it. That means muting the internal synth voice unless you want to layer sound. The new device has 2 internal Nova-based polyphonic tracks, 2 external polyphonic MIDI tracks and a 4-part drum track (which will cheerfully play whatever samples you want).

    2. It can, but you have to give up an internal synth to do it. Here they basically replaced the Sidechain tracks with MIDI sequencers.

  2. It’s cool, I like the rechargable battery – I’ll wait a bit though to see if I feel like getting it – I have the orig and the monostation but not sure if this is worth the price tag for the upgrade as of yet

  3. Not quite the transcendent upgrade some where hoping for, methinks. I suspect a version with a screen, for maybe $100 more, might have been more appealing to some. I have an original circuit, and it is fun, but the lack of meaningful access to the synth engine without a PC made me like it a lot less. Still, they are wiping the floor with Roland, pricing-wise, so there you go.

    1. Indeed, I was really hoping for a different synth engine. Right now everyone leaving comments talks about how ‘deep’ it is, but I think these are all people who are into the sound of the original. A lot of people out there don’t like the sound so much.

      But no one else has two synths in one box with 6 voices each. Now I’m just hoping for some good used prices on the original.

      1. What are you talking about? As a “supporter” of the original one (with the very first firmware, pre-updates) and as a “supporter” of the Monostation I do not feel slapped in the face at all. I knew what the Circuit could do and what not when I bought it. Everything they’ve added in firmware updates is a bonus and they gave us a lot of them. Lots of feature request made it into firmware updates, they’ve even added features people didn’t know they want/need until they had them.
        You come a cross as someone who feels entitled to something, when in reality you are only entitled to the advertised features. If you buy gear with the idea that it might get better over time with firmware updates then you basically play lotto.

  4. Nice upgrade! It seems like an even more fun box for jamming and coming up with ideas. Probably also great for beginners. The one big negative for me is only 32 steps per pattern (64 would have beet SO much better). I know you can chain patterns but it’s not the same, that is pretty much why I sold my og Circuit.

    1. Yes. USB-C is just a type of connector. The transport layer is good old USB2. A dirty secret is that most affordable microcontrollers only include USB2 transport.

  5. I hope they are able to add some of these features to the OG circuit like the Probabilty and the extra midi tracks. The hardware features aren’t quite enough to want me to upgrade but some of the new sequencer features would be cool to have in the original.

    1. I would be willing to bet money that they started developing the firmware for the Circuit Tracks using the OG Circuit. The front panel layout is essentially identical, except for labeling.

      That said, it would be a really welcome surprise to see any of these features make it back to the original. Novation seems to have completely removed the old Circuit from their site. And they obviously want you to upgrade.

      I’m like you, though – I’d love to see the Probability and Mutate features brought to the original. If they did that, Circuit owners would be customers for life. And most of us would probably get one of the new Circuits, eventually, because there are so many other nice features there.

    2. the biggest one is kind of minor but double tap and hold would be awesome so would having separate screens/32 steps for the drum tracks

  6. Huge upgrade, from my perspective. Patterns are twice as long, which is HUGE, because I always using two patterns together, so this will be like twice as many patterns to work with.

    Dedicated MIDI sequencing tracks are great, too, plus audio in. Saving to a SD card is huge, too, because now you can save your sets on the card and switch between them. Analog clock is a biggy, too, going to clock my modular with it.

    I have lots of questions, though. Can you add effects, etc, to the external audio? I’m guessing that you can control that using the MIDI tracks just like you would the other tracks, but son’t see that stated anywhere.

    Since there’s a SD card slot, does that mean we can use larger samples? I don’t see any mention of sample memory or if you can play longer samples from the SD card.

    Seems like this opens up a ton of potential beyond what the original could do, while not losing what made people like the original.

    If anybody know more, let me know!

    1. “Thanks for nothing Novation. ”

      5 years of *massive* updates for the original was a pretty good run. The *only* other company that’s done that well by owners is Elektron.

      If having an exceptional track record of free updates is ‘nothing’ to you, no well-run company would listen to your feedback.

      I’d love to see a few of these features (like MIDI tracks, probability & mutate) ported down to original Circuit. But I also love the original for what it is, and understand that it makes sense for Novation to be investing their time in developing for today’s technology.

      With powerful instruments, your investment isn’t just your money, but the time you spend learning it. Novation is 100% respecting your investment in time and effort learning the Circuit, so that you can sit down at a Circuit Tracks and be able to make music right away. Another thing just about every other company could learn from.

  7. With the original, you had to sacrifice the synth tracks to have two external midi tracks. Can you still do that with this one? In other words, can you sequence a total of FOUR external synths if you don’t want to use the internal synth engines? That would be awesome . . .

  8. I’m a tiny bit disappointed in the new Circuit, which doesn’t mean it’s not an absolute killer device, more that the original Circuit set a really high bar.

    Like:
    – MIDI tracks + external audio input for integrating external gear sounds great.
    – Integrated battery is a welcome addition.
    – New sequence/pattern manipulation tool(s) could be fun (I’ve yet to look into these)
    – More flexible side-chain compression sounds like a great addition

    Dislike/wanted:
    – Audio input + SD card, but no sampling? This feels a bit weird, I wonder if the hardware is actually suitable for sampling and they might add this functionality in a firmware update. Or the hardware is capable, but they intentionally disabled sampling to differentiate this box from the upcoming Circuit Rhythm?
    – I’m not sold on the new look/shape yet. It looks slick, but I’m not sure if it’s more practical/robust than the original. Plus I wonder if/how it affected pad sensitivity and velocity response (I prefer the old Launchpad Pro to the Launchpad X in terms of pad response).
    – No new effects. I really hoped they’d add some new track/master effects (e.g., bitcrusher, saturation, compressor/limiter).
    – They don’t seem to have improved sample playback (although I’ve yet to dive into the manual). Me and others have been using the sample selection view for finger drumming, which is kind of a hack and results in all drum parts sharing the same choke group. It would’ve been great to see some improvement here. Being able to handle velocity layers would’ve been a huge feature for me, especially now that the SD card makes it possible to store a lot more samples.
    – The integrated speaker is gone. It wasn’t the most useful feature of the original, but still.
    – The price is over 50% higher than what my Circuit cost when I bought it a few years ago.

    It still looks like a terrific little box, I just don’t feel that immediate urge to upgrade.

  9. As a power user, it is very disappointing. A grid of 16 with 4 synths and 8 drums and you are talking about a must have. As it is, you can get by just fine with the old Circuit.

    1. you know that after using it extensively and checking all the fine details?
      sentence that started with “as a” are always wrong…
      maybe you meant powerful hastiness?

  10. Might sound silly but the lack of an arpeggiator is kind of a deal-breaker for me. Hadn’t given into the OG because of that and the need to sacrifice one synth for external midi control, one major fix but still the other is bugging me A LOT. Alternative would be the Deluge but we’re talking an entirely different price point. Thoughts?

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