Novation Circuit Tracks is the successor to the Circuit with two additional MIDI tracks, a built-in rechargeable battery, more sequencer power, expandable storage & more.
Shortly after Christmas there was a massive leak about two new Novation Circuits. One device is now official.
Novation today presents the Circuit Tracks, a further development of the popular Circuit groove box with a refreshing new design and some new features. At first glance, a lot remains the same: two polyphonic synth tracks, four sample-based drum tracks… however, the big differences are hidden in the details.
New Battery-Powered Design.
What is immediately noticeable is the new design of the Circuit Tracks. Novation has adapted it to its last product releases. Significantly flatter, less rounded but more angular. The new design fits the CT. It makes it more attractive and eye-catching in my opinion. Novation says:
“Circuit Tracks features a modern industrial design, with a sleek and space-conscious enclosure that enhances portability while offering all the essential connectivity.”
The flat design also has a disadvantage. The battery compartment with which you could also power the Novation on the go has been omitted. But Novation found a solution. The new CT features a built-in rechargeable Li-ion battery, offering up to 4 hours of battery life perfect for making tracks on the move. With the built-in USB-C connection, thanks, you can also charge it with a standard power bank on the go. Good decision.
On the back, the Circuit Tracks makes a big leap forward. You get here a USB-C connection, a microSD card slot, full-size MIDI In, Out & Thru, sync out, left/right stereo output, headphones, two mono audio inputs, and a Kensington MiniSaver.
The Circuit Tracks is equipped with a micro SD with which you can access up to 32 packs on the unit at once. A pack consists of a full of synth patches, samples, and projects. So you can save and access thousands of each without plugging into your computer. Good to know, a pack now features twice as many synth patches (64 -> 128) and projects (32 -> 64). This is a good upgrade when you look back on how much space the original Circuit had. It doesn’t have sample-streaming nor expands the sample memory. That’s a bummer.
Then, it has 2 new mini audio inputs that allows you to route external gear inside the Circuit Tracks. The incoming audio can be routed through delay, reverb, and mix alongside CT’s internal sounds. No sampling, a shame, but a nice extension that makes the device even more standalone.
Synth Engine & New MIDI Channels
According to official information, the internal digital synth engine has not changed. It still has two virtual-analog style synth tracks and four-sample-based drum tracks. No change in the sample time, so it remains with a very narrow 1-minute sample content per project. That’s a little downer. New, however, are two MIDI tracks that transform the new Circuit into a standalone hardware sequencer. These are capable of sending notes as well as CC automation to external gear. You can assign custom CC mappings using Components and save up to 8 presets for quick access on the device.
Circuit Track’s sequencer builds upon the original Circuit’s feature-set and immediacy. Novation has expanded its capabilities in the new Circuit Tracks, alongside improving the accessibility of the many features added in updates. You get 32-step patterns, 8 patterns per track, and with the ability to chain them together. The scene functionality allows you to create and perform full-length songs.
Like the original, it also comes with unquantized record and micro-steps that allows you to create very creative sequences. Plus it has individual sync rates and play orders for each sequencer. So you can playback individual patterns faster or slower, and with triplet rhythm. On top, you get probability and mutate. With this, you can keep your tracks evolving by applying probability to the trigger chance of each step, and shuffle steps with Mutate.
Novation Components for the Circuit Tracks got a major upgrade that makes it now easier to dive into the engine. You have access to the synth engine, the ability to load samples, backup projects, and create MIDI templates. For this, Components’ design has been radically overhauled to offer a vastly improved experience.
Further, you get a click track, a view lock for editing patterns that aren’t currently playing, side-chain source selection, and a new pan automation.
At first glance a nice further development. A bit of a shame that the internal synth engine didn’t receive an upgrade. Some new features would surely have been cool like another, alternative engines like deeper wavetable synthesis or real FM. The same applies to the sample engine where it still lacks a basic sample start/end functionality. I like the “industrial” slim design as well as the fact that it now has a built-in battery. Nice job.
Novation Circuits Tracks is available soon for 399€/$399/ £359.99
More information here: Novation
Available here at partner for pre-order