A Beginner’s Guide To The Novation Circuit Groove Box

A complete video tutorial of the Novation Circuit

Novation Circuit
If you’ve ever wondered where and how to start your journey into the world of electronic dance music, chances are you’ve felt it might be a little daunting. And we don’t blame you. With the sheer amount of gear available to you, it can be hard trying to figure out which product is the best thing for your sound. Luckily, one of the greatest tools in the EDM, DJ and music production industry, is also one of the easiest to use and one that is widely recognised as an industry standard. We’re talking about the Novation Circuit Groove Box. This easy to use unit is given the full run down in our Novation Circuit tutorial, which will help you on your way to music superstardom – we believe in you!

What is the Novation Circuit?

The Novation Circuit Groove Box is a powerful standalone music production device, that features a 16 step sequencer, a built-in 4 part drum machine, 64 production patches, 32 memory slots for music creation and recall without the need for a laptop, two of Novation’s Nova Synth engines – which feature in the Novation MiniNova Synthesiser and Novation Ultranova Synthesizer and a built in speaker so you can start creating beats straight away – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg!

Now when you open the box, you may be looking at it, thinking “where do I start?” but slow down, UK product specialist Mark from Novation, is here to help you understand what each knob and button can do. In this blog, we’ve broken down the Circuit’s features into 5 easy to digest parts and easy to watch video tutorials, so you can fully understand how to use the unit and start making music straight away.

Novation Circuit Groove Box Tutorial Part 1: Intro & Overview

Here’s the first part of our 5-part video series, which will help break down the capabilities of the Novation Circuit Groove Box and allow you find out exactly what your unit can do. In this short video, Mark explains each feature of the unit, including the 32 pads that make up the grid, the 2 part synth, 4 part drums, 8 different macros, the global filter, main volume and the connectivity options on the rear of the unit.

Novation Circuit Groove Box Tutorial Part 2: Drums & Drum Sequencing

In the part 2, Mark shows you how you can get started with some drum sequences. Using the sequencer, you can place default samples into the sequence and add notes where you wish, including manipulating your own beats. For those of us who haven’t got the greatest rhythm, you’ll be pleased to know that Circuit quantizes the beats for you – perfect. Want to change the sound of your drums? Just use the macro controls quickly and easily. Watch as Mark shows you how quick the workflow is and how easy you can get four drum parts working together seamlessly. Crafting beats has never been easier.

Novation Circuit Groove Box Tutorial Part 3: Mixer & FX

In part 3, Mark takes a look at the FX and mixer sections of the Circuit, including 16 different delay types and 8 different reverb effects. Watch and learn how to change the tempo and swing to get the ideal sound for your music and see how the Circuit uses the pads to highlight your bpm, making it it a user friendly unit.

Novation Circuit Groove Box Tutorial Part 4: Synths

In part 4, Mark shows us both ways to play the synth, whether we prefer on the fly recording, or more concise sequencing. We also discover how to use the Scales mode which includes 16 varieties of major and minor scales, including the chromatic keyboard layout. In addition, Mark discusses how velocity and gate can affect what you’re playing as well as how side chain compression can change your basslines. Notable mention goes to the ultra useful Pattern Nudge and Pattern Length features!

Novation Circuit Groove Box Tutorial Part 5: Circuit components and Outro

Circuit components is an extremely useful tool for those who want to utilise their own samples and sounds and work them into their music. Sample import gives you the ability to drag and drop your own MP3 or WAV file into the unit. With synth editor, you can “get under the hood” as Mark puts it, and create your own patches and send them to your device. This means the unit is fully customisable and becomes your own instrument the more you delve into it. Watch how easy it is to drag your own samples and sounds over to the Novation Circuit Groove Box.

Thanks to Mark and the team at Novation for hooking us up with this great Novation Circuit tutorial. Watch the full tutorial and check out the Novation Circuit Groove Box over at the Dawsons website.