Not a day goes by where I don’t covet a new sampler/pad controller. I already have a SP-303, SP-404, MPC 1000, MPC Touch, PreSonus ATOM and Novation Launchkey Mini MK2 (that’s half a flex and half a realisation that I hoard gear). But now I think I want something else: the Novation Circuit Rhythm.
Circuit Rhythm tech specs
- Dimensions: 240mm x 210mm x 30mm
- 32 RGB backlit velocity-sensitive pads
- 28 RGB backlit tactile click buttons
- Power button with charge status LED
- USB-C socket
- MicroSD card slot
- 3x MIDI DIN (In, Out, Thru)
- 3.5mm sync out
- L/R Sample In Pair
- L/R Audio Out Pair
- Headphones out
Novation has chosen correctly in terms of design, opting for a silver exterior and sans-serif typography for its labels, reminiscent of DAWs like Ableton. They know this sampler will cater to the DAW crowd both in its ability to connect with those workstations and offering that standalone functionality at an affordable price.
Recording samples and workflow are flexible whether you’re a newbie or a beat veteran. You have 32 pads, 10 knobs, and 28 buttons to play with as well some really cool and popular effects such as lo-fi tape, sidechain, beat repeat, and delay. There’s also a micro SD slot for increased storage. You’ll never run out of space for samples and beats again.
The notable omission from the Circuit Rhythm is a screen. That might be a dealbreaker for some producers who may want to see their samples but anyone who has used old samplers will be used to screenless hardware; it just might take some getting used to.
Oh, and about that “affordable price”—£359.99. Compare that to the MPC Touch which retailed for £529 and was intended to be the middle ground between the MPC Live and MPD/pad controller lines and that’s a bargain. Getting a standalone unit of this quality for under £400 is a steal IMO and I suddenly want this even more as I’m writing this. Novation, if you’re reading, you’ve got me hooked.
The Circuit Rhythm will be available from mid-July.
But don’t just take my word for it. Stream a deep dive video below.