Novation Circuit Rhythm: Portable, Powerful Sampling for Beatmakers


Expanding Novation's line of popular and portable Circuit Series music-making machines is Circuit Rhythm, a potent stand-alone sampler and drum machine purpose-built for beatmakers and electronic music artists in the studio, on stage, or anywhere creativity flows. With its eight sample tracks, 32 RGB pads, screen-free workflow, and powering via USB or the internal rechargeable four-hour battery, Circuit Rhythm is a highly capable beat production station that can go anywhere―no computer required.

Novation Circuit Rhythm Standalone Groove Sampler
Novation Circuit Rhythm Standalone Groove Sampler

Don’t let its miniscule size deceive you: Circuit Rhythm packs an impressive feature set into a small footprint. Shocking as it may seem, Circuit Rhythm manages to put 32 RGB pads along with 28 RGB backlit buttons and eight endless encoder knobs with RGB indicators at your fingertips. This means that instead of squinting at a screen, your workflow revolves around a slew of tactile controls.

It boasts eight tracks, which can utilize artist sounds pre-loaded by Novation or custom samples created by you. Load samples from a microSD card or record them in from a turntable, a cool synth, or even your smartphone via the unit’s two 1/4" input jacks. With sample controls such as pitch, length, filters, distortion, and more, you’ll have no problem tweaking samples to perfection.

When it comes to sample playback, Circuit Rhythm presents a welcoming grid of 32 RGB backlit and velocity-sensitive pads (arranged in four rows of eight) for triggering samples with high-demand functions like one-shot, looped, reverse, gated, slice, and chromatic. Thanks to the onboard 32-step sequencer—complete with real-time and step-input recording, as well as key/time lock settings—building an interesting beat that’s on point in tempo and pitch is intuitive. Once you've whipped up some tasty tracks, you can sweeten them with the onboard reverb and delay and inject the mix with sidechain and master compression.

The inclusion of USB connectivity, MIDI in/out/thru ports, and an analog sync out connection allows this sampler to integrate smoothly with your DAW system, MIDI keyboard, and even modular synth goodies. The online companion, Novation Components, is ideal for backing up samples to the Cloud and managing content and templates with ease.

As a tool for live performance, Circuit Rhythm is equally well equipped. Use the master filter like a DJ, add grainy artifacts with Vinyl Simulation and Digitiser, create instant stutters with Gater and Beat Repeat, and manipulate your sounds with Phaser, Auto-Filter, and more. Run external audio into the 1/4" inputs to add effects in real time and use the headphone and line outputs to monitor through cans or speakers.

With so much creative horsepower under the hood of this compact sampler and beat machine, it may be added to the list of things you never leave home without… wallet, keys, phone, Circuit Rhythm.

Use the Comments section, below, to tell us how you'd wield Circuit Rhythm for your own songs.