While clearly the entire level of a sampler is to document and carry out with your individual samples, I do have to offer Novation credit score for the inventory sound choice. Most of your bases are coated from acoustic drums, to 808s, to guitar licks, electrical piano and synth pads. And they sound good too, which isn’t one thing you could possibly say in regards to the presets on the Circuit Tracks. Basically, it doesn’t matter what style of music you make, there needs to be sufficient right here to get you began.
While the essential workflow of the Circuit Rhythm and Tracks are mainly equivalent, there are some variations. There are particular pages for recording and processing samples, as an example, and a web page devoted to what Novation calls “Grid FX”, that are mainly punch-in results like repeat, gate and vinyl simulation that offer you primary instruments for manipulating your beat.
But, identical to the Tracks, among the extra superior options aren’t at all times instantly apparent and having the handbook helpful is a should when you’re discovering your bearings. I’m certain that ultimately I’d be capable of commit most capabilities to reminiscence, however after a number of weeks I’m nonetheless having hassle remembering learn how to flip threshold on and off when recording samples, it took me eternally to determine learn how to manually place slice factors, and I nonetheless haven’t found out learn how to set a count-in for unquantized recording. (I’m not even certain you’ll be able to.)
The results are additionally one thing of a combined bag right here. The delay, reverb and sidechain results are all the identical as on the Tracks. They’re charmingly lo-fi, however the line between barely noticeable and excessive (particularly on the sidechain) is extraordinarily skinny. And the Grid FX are fairly mediocre. The vinyl sim is satisfactory, however the beat repeat and gate results at all times felt barely out of sync. It’s completely probably that I simply haven’t mastered performing with the Rhythm but, however I don’t wrestle almost as a lot with the identical results on Teenage Engineering’s PO-33.
There are some options that may be tremendous helpful too that I’m hoping to see Novation add in a future firmware replace. For one, the flexibility to swap or alter Grid FX from the system itself could be enormous. You can load as much as 16 of them, however they’re all presets, so you’ll be able to’t change the depth of the flanger, as an example, with out connecting to the Components app in your pc. This additionally implies that if you happen to begin a brand new “Pack” on the Circuit (Novation’s time period for a set of initiatives and samples) you’re caught with the default results.
Fine-grained management over the tempo can be a should that’s at present lacking. I spent properly over an hour making an attempt to line up a pattern from “Stridulum Theme” off the soundtrack to The Visitor, however it doesn’t matter what I did I couldn’t fairly get it to loop cleanly. The precise BPM of the pattern is someplace between 85 and 86 BPM, however the Rhythm will solely deal in entire numbers. (It doesn’t assist that and not using a display screen, trimming a loop to the right size is a huge PITA.)
The Circuit Rhythm is way from excellent, however undoubtedly provides quite a lot of compelling options at a good worth. The query, in the end, is what options are most vital to you?
The Model:Samples is $100 cheaper at $299 and its sequencer blows the Circuit out of the water, if you happen to ask me. But it’s not as finger-drum pleasant, plus it doesn’t have built-in sampling capabilities or a battery. (You should pay $50 for a particular deal with that you simply stick AAs in.) Korg’s Electribe Sampler feels rather a lot sturdier than the Circuit and may use single-cycle waveforms to primarily change into a synth. But it prices $70 extra, its sequencer feels a bit outdated and, in my restricted expertise, it’s simply not intuitive.
You may in fact go for a Roland SP-404, from which the Rhythm is clearly takes inspiration. The trendy model, the 404A, prices $550 — fairly a bit greater than then Circuit. It’s workflow may additionally really feel a tad archaic if you happen to’re used to extra trendy gear. That being mentioned, the SP-303 and SP-404 have legions of followers for a cause: They’re plain classics.
Then, in fact, there’s the opposite large of hip hop manufacturing: the MPC. As the most cost effective possibility, the MPC One remains to be fairly costly at $699, whereas the brand new touchscreen workflow has earned loads of detractors. If you need an old-school beat-making expertise you gained’t discover it right here, and the costs for classic MPCs are uncontrolled.
If you’re on the lookout for the most cost effective and most transportable system with sampling potential although, I can’t advocate the $89 PO-33 sufficient. It’s not almost as succesful as any of the opposite gadgets listed right here, however it will probably really feel like a stripped-down SP-303 that matches in your pocket when you grasp its quirks.