Novation announced two new Circuits at the same time. The Circuit Tracks and the Circuit Rhythm are both designed to be portable, compact, and easy to use groove boxes. They share many features, so if you want to know which model would suit you best, read this comparison guide.
Updated! New firmware updates. Both are now sold in the same price range, below $400 or 400 euros.
I'll try to update this article when we get more information, since Novation is known to update frequently their products. Currently they share:
- 8 Tracks: Both models provide 8 tracks for versatile music creation.
- Full-size MIDI Ports: Equipped with MIDI IN/OUT/THRU ports featuring TRS mini-jack connectors, along with analog Sync-In for seamless connectivity.
- Global Tempo and Swing: Keep your beats in sync with adjustable global tempo and swing settings.
- Step Sequencer: Enjoy a 32-step sequencer with an off-grid function for precise control.
- Pattern Chaining: Create longer sequences by chaining patterns, offering up to 256 steps per track.
- 16 Scenes: Quickly launch sets of patterns, with mute states now recorded for added convenience.
- Polyrhythm: Explore intricate rhythms and freely set the start and end steps of patterns.
- Steps Probability and Mutation: Add variety to your sequences with steps probability and mutation features.
- Storage: Save your synth patches, samples, and projects on a microSD card for easy access.
- Integrated Audio Effects: Enhance your sound with built-in audio effects.
- RGB Keys: Utilize the 32 velocity-sensitive, backlit RGB keys for expressive playing.
- Battery-Powered: Perfect for on-the-go musicians, both models come with an integrated battery.
- Master FX Sends: Shape your overall sound with Delay, Reverb, and Side Chain master FX sends.
- Similar Max Sample Time: Circuit Rhythm offers 228 seconds, while Circuit Tracks provides 196 seconds per pack.
Next, let's see the differences between the Tracks and the Rhythm.
Circuit Tracks strengths
- 2 polyphonic Synth tracks (6 voices), 2 polyphonic MIDI tracks fo external gear (6 voices), as well as 4 drum sample tracks
- External audio input to mix and process with effects from the Circuit.
- 2 Nova polyphonic synths engines
- 2 dedicated MIDI tracks for external synths, capable of sending notes and CC automation.
- Easy patterns transposition to other scales, and selectable scales for melodic tracks
- up to 64 samples on drum tracks
Custom MIDI CCs
Circuit Rhythm advantages
- 8 monophonic tracks for samples, and up to 128 samples per session
- And improved samples playback engine with edit, shape, slice, reverse, loop and resample.
- Beat Match to speed up or slow down selected samples
- Record samples directly into the Circuit with auto-start
- Slice a sample to 4, 8 or 16 slices. You can easily edit the starting point and length of the slices
- Or play your samples chromatically
- Grid FX with beat repeat, vinyl simulation, phaser, reverse, gater, digitise, and auto-filter that can be applied live.
Fixed Length Recording of samples
Why would you choose the Circuit Tracks?
You will prefer the Novation Circuit Tracks:
- if you have external hardware synths that you would like to mix live with the Circuit generated sounds and effects
- if you need more melodic options thanks to Two Nova synth engines integrated, and the 4 polyphonic tracks, with 6 voices per track.
Why would you choose the Circuit Rhythm?
You will choose the Novation Circuit Rhythm:
- if you want to directly sample external instruments, and then chop, sculpt (no direct sampling on the Circuit Tracks, but you can put your samples on the SD Card)
- if you prefer to play with samples, instead of synth engines
- for the Beat Match feature, which allows to retime a sample without changing the pitch.
My preferred Circuit
IMHO it seems that the Circuit Tracks would be a better option if you need more melodic sequencing than rhythmic. Polyphonic sequences are only available on the Circuit Tracks and, the 8 tracks of the circuit Rhythm are all Monophonic.
If you're more into sample editing/tinkering, resampling, and making beats from samples, then the Circuit Rhythm will be much better for you.
But don't forget that the sample tracks of both Circuits are very powerful thanks to sample flipping. 4 or 8 sample tracks, does not mean 4 or 8 playable samples! You can play any of the 64 or 128 samples in your pack on each step! This is much better than any other sampler on the market for this price.
Currently, if you have a lower budget and already have external synths to sequence, maybe using a 4 tracks sequencer would be better for you? On that subject, I have an interesting comparison between the Korg SQ-64 and the Launchpad Pro MK3.
If you want to support my blog, you can buy them using the affiliate links below 👍
- Novation Circuit Tracks on Amazon ⭐
- Novation Circuit Rhythm on Amazon ⭐
- Novation Circuit Tracks ⭐
- Novation Circuit Rhythm ⭐
Feel free to comment below if you find more information about the Tracks and Rhythm 😊