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Circuit Feature Wishes

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Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 10/27/2015 - 11:59
Circuit Feature Wishes

Since there is no dedicated Circuit Forum yet I'll just dump this here.


First of all: Really amazing unit. I unpacked it, was making beats five minutes later, then watched the tutorial videos and had fun for hours over several days. Then I actually took the time to read the manual and just learned one additional thing (per step automation). It's extremely intuitive and fun.


However, there are a few things that I would wish for or that could be improved in my opinion.


1. Length of Step Editing:

There is a dedicated mode for this, however I feel that it could be done better/easier by just holding the step I want to change and then tapping the step until where I want to the note(s) on that step to sound. Exactly the same interaction pattern that is used for pattern chaining, just for steps in the synth sequencer.

2. Nudging individual steps:

This is missing and should be possible, f.e. by holding a step in nudging mode and then pressing the backward/forward button. I don't know how to solve the problem of recorded automation being nudged, but I can currently duplicate and delete steps to get the same result, it's just extremely tedious.

3. Transposing steps by one scale step (or however to call this, it's not semitones):

This is also missing completely but is really needed. If I just want to transpose a motif or pattern to match a chord progression I have to input/record it all over again, instead of being able to simply transpose it. For single steps it should be possible to hold the step in Note mode and then use the Oct up/down keys to transpose it (instead of changing the octave), I don' know how to do this for several steps or a whole pattern though.

4. Changing the layout of the notes in Note mode:

Currently the first step is always the tonic, it might be extremely useful to be able shift this to other notes in the scale, especially for entering more complex chords. No idea how to do this though.

5. I have no idea if this is possible, but the ability to load/use my own drum-sounds would be absolutely amazing. There are a lot of usable and great drumsounds, but of course there are a few that make me *personally* go "meh". It would be great if I could change those for sounds I like more.

This is all for now, I would be extremely grateful if you could forward these suggestions to the Circuit Team.



Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 11/03/2015 - 04:11

First off, hell yeah Novation!!! The Circuit is really cool!  I agree with nipheon, the unit was easy to learn, and playable almost immediately.   I am so glad you've taken up the design challenge of offering a standalone, groovebox with modern features and a highly visual/tactile/fun interface.  This is a market that is WIDE OPEN and ripe for the taking.  There has been a resurgence of hardware lately, but in my opinion nothing strong/versatile enough to be that central show controller tying it all together.  Suffice it to say, I hope you do well with the Circuit, because I CAN'T WAIT for the Circuit Pro!  In the meantime, I think you could still offer some valuable improvements to the existing hardware through firmware.


I'm really missing what I think are some pretty essential sequencing/beat-making features.  (I'm a power user of Yamaha's flagship groovebox - the RS7000).

The good news is, based on the controls you have available on the machine, and the elegantly simple grid-based editing paradigms you've established for Circuit, I think you could vastly improve this machine with a few key firmware updates.  With that as the goal, I hope you'll entertain the following feature requests:


Feature 1:

NON-quantized, real-time recording.  This is a real must, but not sure its possible within your internal hardware architecture.  Even though a grid can be an easy way to get something started, not everything musical fits well into a grid.  Without the ability to capture the delicate subtleties of a nuanced real-time performance, this will not be very useful as a "centerpiece" sequencer -- something that you'd build a performance, album or other project around.  Enabling this would make this emminently more playable, and the creations much more personal.  

How I'd solve It:

In terms of working within the existing interface, I think you could simply represent notes played on the nearest grid light, to allow for easy editing within the grid paradigm (basically each note simply retains its own offset from the nearest grid square representing it).  This is my top request, and I'll bet many musicians would agree.


Feature 2:

Sub-measure gating.  This is needed because the current Gate mode is too limited.  In particular, I currently can't specify anything shorter than a 16th note.  This is exacerbated by the lack of a useful envelope in some of the sounds, making it very difficult to incorporate short, staccato parts into an arrangement.

How I'd Solve It:

Using key combo 'Shift + Gate', go into a mode that would let you enter a multiplier against the currently selected (Normal) Gate that the Circuit already lets you enter.  I'd use this most often when the existing length is 1 square (16th note), to get shorter notes.  That said, I'm sure others might come up with innovative uses for the scaling of multi-square 'normal' lengths.  Let's say the currently selected Gate is N, I'd probably autorange the Shift+Gate multiplier to yield Gate N-1 at its minimum, and N+1 at its max, effectively letting you get all the lengths in between your current 'normal' Gate multiplier.  If this isn't understandable, PM me, and I'm happy to explain further -- not sure if my explanation is very clear.


Feature 3:

In DRUM EXPAND mode, MORE PADS PER DRUM.  Seriously!  I love that I can drum on the pads in real (albeit grid-quantized real) time, but there aren't enough pads available!  You have all of those unused pads available, why not enable multiple pads per instrument?  Its pretty hard to play a two, let along 3 or more, fingered roll on one tiny pad!  

How I'd Solve It:

It'd probably be most consistent with the UX if you'd enable the vertical strip of four buttons under each instrument for me to play that instrument on.  I'm sure I'd come up with some interesting lines just based on having that grid of notes avaialble to finger-drum on.   That said, I'd probably prefer a 2x2 quad of pads for each drum, rather than a vertical strip.  Even better, allow me to assign any of the pads in DRUM EXPAND mode to whatever instrument I choose. 


Feature 4:

This is really a sub-wish-list extension of Feature 3 that tries to supercharge the REAL-TIME playability of that awesome bank of pads.   So, instead of just the drum sounds being available, add the other two instruments, (and perhaps the sidechains too?) to the playable instruments list in DRUM EXPAND mode, allowing me to play any of them.  As to what note you'd play for the melodic instruments...

How I'd Solve It:

Why not let me store all of the knob parameters of a given instrument voice, the color of that instrument, plus a note with each of the 32 available pads?  That'd give me a KICK-ASS 4x8 grid on which I could really create a killer palette of sounds to play in real (albeit grid-quantized) time.    


Feature 5:

Single-pattern RECORD.  I LOVE that I can motion sequence the knobs in my patterns!!!  I hate that while recording, and trying to nail a performance, I have to quick try and disable the RECORD button before it overwrites my great performance!  This is complicated by the fact that my wrists actually cover the record button when I'm tweaking on the knobs.

How I'd solve It:

SHIFT + RECORD auto-terminates Record mode after a single pass through the pattern, leaving it in Play mode.  This would prevent me from having to worry about hitting Record-OFF while trying to capture a performace.


Feature 6:

An arpeggiator.  In Note-mode, let me arpeggiate pressed notes on the scale.  Also let me do that in the Real-Time Play mode (described in Features 4-5).

How I'd Solve It:

As I hold down buttons in either of those modes.  Arpeggiate among them while the buttons are held down, once per grid step.  OR, even better, let me use Shift + BPM to set the arpegiator speed.


Feature 7:

Some kind of brightness control(s) or usability-optimized (as opposed to appearance-optimized) lighting modes.  In particular, at least in my studio's lighting, the DIMLY LIT buttons can be quite hard to differentiate from the FULLY LIT ones.  Even harder to discern are the slowly pulsing buttons in Pattern Mode.  These are pretty hard to see at a glance.  I'd probably prefer a fast-blinking, or different color as a way to differentiate this hard-to-see button state.


Feature 8:

In Note mode, some visual indicator if a note is present above or below the range currently visible on the grid.  

How I'd solve it:

FAST-BLINK if there is a note present ABOVE the currently visible range, SLOW-BLINK (and I mean BLINK, not PULSE (see above)) if a note is present but BELOW the currently visible range.


Feature 9:

The ability to save the current knob settings with the sample/voice.  This would let me create and save my favorite sound using the built-in sound engines/samples, and be able to start from there, instead of fumbling around trying to find a good sound before I can use a preset.  This is particularly important in Shift + Instrument mode.  Often as I'm auditioning sounds by playing a pattern, they come up silent.  I basically have to just skip that sound if I want to quickly try out possibilities. (Granted, once I learn the patches better, I think it'll become easier to dial something in).


------------ SUPER-DUPER WISHLIST, but your hardware probably doesn't support it.

Feature 10: (TOTALLY AGREE WITH nipheon)

The ability to import my own samples for the Drum/(sample-based) instruments.


Feature 11:

Use the Sidechain button as an extra instrument, OR at least allow me to control the sidechain level through a pattern.  While I LOVE that you've built easy side-chaining in, I long for more layers/voices.  Understandably this might have to wait for a hardware refresh.


Feature 12:

The ability to have a distinct Delay and Reverb for each instrument.


Feature 13:

The ability for each pad in Pattern mode to have an intrinsic length of 1-8 measures, so that I don't use up the entire bank of patterns making a single 8-bar loop. 

How I'd Solve It:

Shift + Pattern allows you to select the current single pad's length.  I can then chain them together as normal in your nice, intuitive pattern chaining controls.



Well that's it for now.  Great job Novation!


FWIW (Shameless self-plug follows):  Here's a thought... let me help you add these features!  I am an electronic light artist and an longtime performing electronic (and analog) musician, as well as an embedded software/hardware engineer with over 20 years of experience.  I currently have availability work-wise.  Let me work with your team to implement these features, and more.  Your team has done such an inspiring job already with this machine.  I'd love to help make it even better.  Hit me up if you're interested.  You can see what I do at: 



Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: 03/20/2015 - 21:41

Hey guys,

Thank you for taking the time to share your ideas about the Circuit. We are glad to hear you are enjoyoing the product and having fun, and we do appreciate hearing feedback and suggestions as this is something we take seriously. I will make sure to forward the information over to our development team.

Matthew Kurpakus // Novation Technical Support

Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: 11/05/2015 - 00:48

Great machine as is, but I'd like to see:

Use of shift with encoders to allow additional parameters like for example - panning in mixer, extra synth and drum parameters, fine adjustment of gate, nudge, velocity, editing fx parameters like feedback, shelving, decay etc.

Sticky shift button by double tapping to toggle, this could be handy for cuing up mutes and pattern changes (if they are added) and for the additional encoder parameter mode requested above.

An app to allow the user to set sounds, parameter choices, drum samples, fx settings.

The drum sequencer to allow any sound on any step, maybe in realtime mode where the 32 sounds for each drum pair appear on the pads, and in steptime mode by selecting drum part using lower 2 rows and octave button to switch to next 16 in each bank.

Drum parts to have their own length step count like the synth parts can.

Battery power save mode by dimming LEDs a bit.

A more balanced range for the filter knob, currently it has too much effect between 9 o'clock and 3 o'clock and not much before or after that range.

Use of gate button in drum mode to set sidechain rhytm rather than just the kick channel.

Sidechain presets to have some filtering as well as amplitude slots, leave the current preset button row 1 as is, have row 2 as LPF, row 3 as HPF, row 4 as combos of amplitude LPF and HPF.

I could probably come up with a few more ideas too, whilst I understand the desire to keep it a simple to use immediate machine I do not think that most of these would detract from that, alternatively there is the option to do what Yamaha did with the Tenori On and have a user unlockable advance mode.




Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 11/06/2015 - 22:00

Wow, some great ideas there. 

I second the per step sound lock feature. But not only for drums, but also for the synths. 

Also i would like to see:

- Muting/Unmuting of steps by simply pressing the step button(s)
- Altering all Sound parameter at once on all drumtracks of one encoder by pressing Shift+ turning the Encoder. A macro for all the macro, so to say.
- +1 for an arpeggiator
- 128 slots per synth/drums
- editor which let us upload our own samples/single cycle samples and for the full synth engine
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 10/15/2015 - 17:28

One maybe simple request.

One of the most useful scale modes is a chromatic scale but laid out in 4ths like a guitar fretboard.

I have a launchpad pro and this scale mode is very natural for a guitar player.

I find the current chromatic keyboard too short and not that easy to play.


Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: 04/12/2013 - 20:34


I have an Ableton Push And love that layout! Very intuitive and easy to play. Would love to see that on my Circuit!

Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 11/11/2015 - 23:01

Hi there , Very tempted to buy one of these , but does any one know if its possible to do tempo nudge ?   would be great to hook up to my mix if it does but cant find the info on this, cheers n beers :)

Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 11/08/2015 - 19:51

Right, feature suggestions. I'm coming at this from the perspective of having bought one to use live, both as part of a wider rig with a Mininova, iPad and Volcas (into my own submix sent to the desk) and as a means of being able to turn up at a gig with one small bag and one small but versatile instrument when i can't be arsed to fill my boot with stands and instruments and drive to a gig I can't have a beer at :/

My band are improvisational. We plug in, pick a key, sync to someone's master clock and play. It works, most of the time. Happy accidents create some amazing music and there are also periods where someone's  accidentally crapped all over an otherwise lovely section of music while experimenting with a new setting or patch.

This is to be avoided when playing to a good crowd, or broadcasting on BBC Introducing or somehting. As such, I found during our recording session this week that while Circuit is pretty much a total solution for me most of the time, there are points where I'm playing the underlying drum parts for the band, and they sound awesome. I'm playing the basslines for the band, and they sound awesome. But then I want to use the other synth to do some higher-pitch riffing and I'm much less confident about selecting a new patch at random and just diving in. Eventually I plucked up the courage to risk it and selected one, started playing and.... it really wasn't good. 

tl;dr - What I'd really like is to be able to send, say, drums and synth 2 out of the rear outputs as normal, but divert synth one temporarily to the headphone out by itself, or at least have everything through the headphone out but deselect things for L/R rear outputs temporarily, so I can experiment with patches in the spirit of the instrument without crapping all over my bandmate's efforts in real-time. This may not be physically possible within the instrument architecture, but if it is, it would make the perfect compromise between Circuit's intended purpose as an inspiration tool and its potential as a killer libe performance groovebox which can be controlled sufficiently for really professional performances. This could be done with one of the unilluminated rows beneath the instrument muting buttons in the mixer. And I would love you forever.


I'm sure everyone with a Circuit has turned their thoughs to what the DSP is capable of inside, and the mooted software. I am assuming given current evidence that what we have here is some extent of a nova engine, x2, with the rotaries performing much the same functionality as the blue pads on the mininova, therefore those rotaries can have their extent and purpose changed and the patches can be changed, too.

I'd like to be able to remove the patches I don't like completely (and do factory restores, of course!), organise the patches I really like into rows by type (specifically for live performance. At home taking a blind leap is fun, on stage it isn't necessarily so) and, per the Mininova, come up with entire new patches in a full-featured VST editor and dump a patch set onto the machine if I'm intending to do an ambient/drone gig, another if 'm playing with my band.


Circuit is so bloomin' nearly all the way there in terms of being a live performance device, a couple of tweaks to make it a safer bet in high-stakes situations would open a whole new market for it. i'm already getting jealous looks from bandmates with 5 electribes nailed to a plank.


Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: 10/15/2015 - 04:22

+100 to the idea of being about to mute one or more of the six parts from the rear outputs, while keeping them in the headphones.

Given the architecture of the sound path, it would be fine if the previewed (that is, muted from the main outs) sources were not sent to FX (since ohterwise you'd have to have two copies of the FX, one for main, one for preview), but were just mixed in dry to the headphones.

I recently did a live improve with another musician, and this is the one thing that kept my Circuit part from being perfect in the recording: Those times when I was hunting around for just the right bass drum or synth part to bring in.


Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 12/05/2015 - 00:51

I am really digging my circuit. I am okay with patterens only being 8 measures long if I could record chians of sessions. When I bought the circuit I thought this was possible. I woukd of returned it but my beatstep pro is able to record pattern chains so I do the main compostion on the beatstep and use the circuit as a flow in ideas thing. It would be great to be able to create, perform imporve full conpostions on the fly.

Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: 05/12/2014 - 21:35

I really want CIRUIT to be able to record via external keyboard..     I like the pads but I really like to see what keys I'm programming..



Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: 01/01/2016 - 10:52

My wishlist:

- Shift+Play to restart playback from the beginning of the Session.  Useful as a performance function to stutter the start of things.

- Some way to dim the pads if possible, they are very bright sometimes.

- REC button should be off totally if you're not actually recording.  Too many times I had to do a double take as I couldn't tell if I was accidentally recording or not.

- Selecting a new Patch in the Patch chooser will play the patch.  Even just the root note of the current scale, anything.  Right now you can only hear what the different patches are if you already have something sequenced, not useful when you're just starting a new Session.  When I'm browsing sounds in a new Session, I'd to hear even the vaguest idea of what the patches will sound like to help me find what I want.

- Some way to back up Sessions.



Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: 10/23/2015 - 20:38

heres some of the things ive thought about...

some already mentioned by others:


LED brightness/ custom colours per part and per session - using software?
LED change colour, subtle pulsing, strobe, animation, text... :)

tempo from 20 - 600 bpm

half time / double time / playback rates for each pattern
allow switch off quantize (using midi in can have extra long parts)
length adjust <16 for drum parts :)

pattern repeats - 1x8 2x8 3x4 4x4 etc

rolls or 32nd notes or 64th

record mute on/off to pattern sequence
record midi in to sequencer - cc + NRPN + prog change

session pattern chains

sound audition - 'double click' when choosing to hear the sound?

change sound per pattern (or step?)

change effects per pattern (or step?)

change scale/transpose per pattern (or step?)

change midi out params, cc no./channel

allow 'locking' of macro controls to one part while changing the pads - eg. macros
control synth 1 while pads are mutes from mixer 'tab'

extra synth macro controls on sidechain 'page' giving 16 macro controls per synth...

edit parts and copy sections independently (macro, fx levels, mixer, note, vel, gate)


tweaks and mutes - allow user defined functions on unused pads - prog change/mutes/fx/part groups - software?

Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: 01/05/2016 - 00:32

User samples for the drums would be cool.

Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: 01/12/2016 - 00:53

to be able to sequence externally 2 more synths(even if only mono), the sequencer is great to use, maybe on the sidechain's

Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: 01/14/2016 - 19:48

+10000 for chromatic scale like in guitar/launchpad pro/ableton push.

When I was ordering the Circuit I was sure this layout is built-in, and I was really disappointed that it was not there.

In fact that was the reason to send the device back to the shop and roll back to the bulky setup of launchpad pro + laptop :(

Please please please, add this note layout in the new firmware version!

Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: 04/12/2013 - 20:34

I like the length feature for experimenting with unusual rhythms on synth parts. But I don't like that once odd lengths are used it becomes incredibly difficult to return to a full 16 step pattern and have it line up with the downbeat. I would like if triggering a pattern only starts it on the next downbeat, not the end of last pattern. Chaining patterns can start whenever to accomodate odd lengths, but hitting a pattern (or chain of patterns) should start on the 1.

Last seen: 1 year 2 months ago
Joined: 04/28/2013 - 23:48
  • The ability to change the midi channel for input/output other than just 1, 2 and 10
  • An arp