Just picked up a Novation Circuit this weekend.

Want to talk about music hardware or software that doesn't include Reason?
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jayhosking
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Post 14 Aug 2018

cognitive wrote:
14 Aug 2018

This is wonderful. I'm enjoying this very much. I'm going to buy and recommend it to my friends too.

Your work needs to be a story for Novation. "Hey, I got a Circuit and made a 5-song EP in a week. Have a listen."

Well done!


Do I have your permission to share this in a couple of Circuit user groups?
Yeah, it really is an example of the creative power of something like the Circuit. It's honestly so freeing to spend no time looking through soundbanks or instruments, to have it all in right in front of me.

And yes, for sure, please do share this with Circuit user groups! (And maybe tell me where to find said groups?)

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cognitive
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Post 14 Aug 2018

jayhosking wrote:
14 Aug 2018
cognitive wrote:
14 Aug 2018

This is wonderful. I'm enjoying this very much. I'm going to buy and recommend it to my friends too.

Your work needs to be a story for Novation. "Hey, I got a Circuit and made a 5-song EP in a week. Have a listen."

Well done!


Do I have your permission to share this in a couple of Circuit user groups?
Yeah, it really is an example of the creative power of something like the Circuit. It's honestly so freeing to spend no time looking through soundbanks or instruments, to have it all in right in front of me.

And yes, for sure, please do share this with Circuit user groups! (And maybe tell me where to find said groups?)
Seems like a lot of these groups are on FB, as Novation doesn't have an official Circuit forum.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/circuitowners/
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1144716382214622/

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jayhosking
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Post 14 Aug 2018

Hey thanks for these groups! I’ll take a look when my life is just a little less hectic.

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selig
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Post 14 Aug 2018

jayhosking wrote:
14 Aug 2018
So I, uh, just wrapped up recording a live EP of the Circuit. It's pretty background-music-y, but I think it captures that joy I get from toying around with the Circuit. It's been a really fun week of making music!

Care to take a listen?
Nice, very enjoyable and in the best possible way it's sparse and uncluttered. VERY listenable (am listening now!).
:)
Selig Audio, LLC

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jayhosking
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Post 14 Aug 2018

selig wrote:
14 Aug 2018

Nice, very enjoyable and in the best possible way it's sparse and uncluttered. VERY listenable (am listening now!).
:)
Hey, thanks so much! That little unit spits out some very pleasing audio.

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selig
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Post 16 Aug 2018

jayhosking wrote:
14 Aug 2018
selig wrote:
14 Aug 2018

Nice, very enjoyable and in the best possible way it's sparse and uncluttered. VERY listenable (am listening now!).
:)
Hey, thanks so much! That little unit spits out some very pleasing audio.
While I appreciate your humility, I'm sure the human behind the controls had SOMETHING to do with why I enjoy the results…
;)
Selig Audio, LLC

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cognitive
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Post 16 Aug 2018

selig wrote:
16 Aug 2018
jayhosking wrote:
14 Aug 2018


Hey, thanks so much! That little unit spits out some very pleasing audio.
While I appreciate your humility, I'm sure the human behind the controls had SOMETHING to do with why I enjoy the results…
;)
Agreed. As someone on Facebook commented, "Also says a bunch about musical ideas being more important than gear."

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cognitive
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Post 27 Aug 2018

I finally broke down and ordered an Arturia Keystep as a companion to my Circuits.

I had mentioned enjoying playing the Circuit synths via MIDI keyboard, but the problem is that none of the keyboards I own are appropriate for a mobile "backpack" setup. Well, I do have an Akai MPK mini MKII laying about. Unfortunately, the Akai only supports USB, there is no external power supply, etc. Great for a portable laptop rig, but not easy to integrate into a non-laptop hardware-only Circuit setup, unless I want to start getting onto external USB/MIDI bridge boxes and more cables and complexity.

The Arturia Keystep seems to be the closest to an ideal keyboard companion for portable Circuit play, and I've been seeing a lot of people using them with Circuits.

My target with all this is not just backpack portability. For real shows, I want to be able to open a single hard case with my small Circuit-based rig already hooked up, plug in a power strip, hand a sound person a couple of 1/4in cables for L/R stereo and be ready to go.

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jayhosking
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Post 27 Aug 2018

cognitive wrote:
27 Aug 2018
I finally broke down and ordered an Arturia Keystep as a companion to my Circuits.

I had mentioned enjoying playing the Circuit synths via MIDI keyboard, but the problem is that none of the keyboards I own are appropriate for a mobile "backpack" setup. Well, I do have an Akai MPK mini MKII laying about. Unfortunately, the Akai only supports USB, there is no external power supply, etc. Great for a portable laptop rig, but not easy to integrate into a non-laptop hardware-only Circuit setup, unless I want to start getting onto external USB/MIDI bridge boxes and more cables and complexity.

The Arturia Keystep seems to be the closest to an ideal keyboard companion for portable Circuit play, and I've been seeing a lot of people using them with Circuits.

My target with all this is not just backpack portability. For real shows, I want to be able to open a single hard case with my small Circuit-based rig already hooked up, plug in a power strip, hand a sound person a couple of 1/4in cables for L/R stereo and be ready to go.
I'm sure the Keystep will come in handy for a few reasons, yeah! Good choice. I've been curious about them. Capture some audio or footage when you have a moment!

Currently, my interest is piqued by the Synthstrom Deluge, which is like the Circuit but with a lot of nice bonus features. I've also been tinkering around with a Maschine Mk3, which has such a nice wide sound palette but is much less intuitive and immediately fun than the Circuit. Also playing around aplenty with the Circuit, too! It's a productive time, musically.

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cognitive
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Post 27 Aug 2018

jayhosking wrote:
27 Aug 2018
cognitive wrote:
27 Aug 2018
I finally broke down and ordered an Arturia Keystep as a companion to my Circuits.

I had mentioned enjoying playing the Circuit synths via MIDI keyboard, but the problem is that none of the keyboards I own are appropriate for a mobile "backpack" setup. Well, I do have an Akai MPK mini MKII laying about. Unfortunately, the Akai only supports USB, there is no external power supply, etc. Great for a portable laptop rig, but not easy to integrate into a non-laptop hardware-only Circuit setup, unless I want to start getting onto external USB/MIDI bridge boxes and more cables and complexity.

The Arturia Keystep seems to be the closest to an ideal keyboard companion for portable Circuit play, and I've been seeing a lot of people using them with Circuits.

My target with all this is not just backpack portability. For real shows, I want to be able to open a single hard case with my small Circuit-based rig already hooked up, plug in a power strip, hand a sound person a couple of 1/4in cables for L/R stereo and be ready to go.
I'm sure the Keystep will come in handy for a few reasons, yeah! Good choice. I've been curious about them. Capture some audio or footage when you have a moment!

Currently, my interest is piqued by the Synthstrom Deluge, which is like the Circuit but with a lot of nice bonus features. I've also been tinkering around with a Maschine Mk3, which has such a nice wide sound palette but is much less intuitive and immediately fun than the Circuit. Also playing around aplenty with the Circuit, too! It's a productive time, musically.
That Deluge looks sick, like a Circuit on steroids. Might be overkill for me at the moment, but wow, is it enticing.

With my current progress on turning a couple of Circuits into a viable live performance rig for one or more upcoming shows, I can only imagine the rabbit hole a Deluge would lead me down. But what a fun rabbit hole that could be.

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cognitive
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Post 29 Aug 2018

The Arturia Keystep arrived today. Surprisingly solid little controller. It's plastic, but it has some heft and seems to be well constructed. The mini keys have a nice resistance to them, not flimsy feeling at all. The knobs and pads feel good as well.

The keys themselves are just a TINY fraction wider than the Akai MPK Mini keys. Odd, but I can feel that fractional difference. Having 32 keys instead of 25 makes a noticeable difference too. Of course it is certainly more cramped than any of my full keysize keyboards, but still, a very usable and a well thought out compromise between playability and portability.

And ... it seems to mate perfectly with my Circuit setup. Less than a couple of minutes and I was up and running. I had to find a 9v power supply, since it only comes with a USB cable, but I have a box of old power supplies lying around so it was only a matter of a little digging.

Clock sync worked with the Circuit, so sequences and arpeggios from the Keystep are in time with the Circuit music. Even though I will probably use sequences and arpeggios in a limited fashion, it's cool to have that option.

Dimension-wise, it is the exact height of the Circuit in both body and knobs, and is a tiny fraction of an inch wider than 2 Circuits. So, configuring a live performance rig layout in a case with my two Circuits and the Keystep is going to be a breeze.

Truth is, I could certainly "play" the Circuit pads live, but my muscle memory is just more comfortable with a keyboard, and live, the less you have to consciously think about, the better.

So far, the Arturia is exactly the Circuit companion I had hoped for.

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jayhosking
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Post 30 Aug 2018

cognitive wrote:
29 Aug 2018
The Arturia Keystep arrived today. Surprisingly solid little controller. It's plastic, but it has some heft and seems to be well constructed. The mini keys have a nice resistance to them, not flimsy feeling at all. The knobs and pads feel good as well.

The keys themselves are just a TINY fraction wider than the Akai MPK Mini keys. Odd, but I can feel that fractional difference. Having 32 keys instead of 25 makes a noticeable difference too. Of course it is certainly more cramped than any of my full keysize keyboards, but still, a very usable and a well thought out compromise between playability and portability.

And ... it seems to mate perfectly with my Circuit setup. Less than a couple of minutes and I was up and running. I had to find a 9v power supply, since it only comes with a USB cable, but I have a box of old power supplies lying around so it was only a matter of a little digging.

Clock sync worked with the Circuit, so sequences and arpeggios from the Keystep are in time with the Circuit music. Even though I will probably use sequences and arpeggios in a limited fashion, it's cool to have that option.

Dimension-wise, it is the exact height of the Circuit in both body and knobs, and is a tiny fraction of an inch wider than 2 Circuits. So, configuring a live performance rig layout in a case with my two Circuits and the Keystep is going to be a breeze.

Truth is, I could certainly "play" the Circuit pads live, but my muscle memory is just more comfortable with a keyboard, and live, the less you have to consciously think about, the better.

So far, the Arturia is exactly the Circuit companion I had hoped for.
I certainly hear what you're saying on
1) mini keys. I had to get rid of the Korg Minilogue because its mini-keys were not quite right, and honestly it threw off my playing so much. Funny how all that's built deep into our motor programs!
2) how keyboards just feel right for making melodic ideas. Truthfully, I love the way the pad system on the CIrcuit makes me stumble onto melodies and arrangements that I normally wouldn't find, but I am also not looking to play the pads in a live setting, only tweak the knobs (and throw other keys over top).

Thanks so much for the update on this! Funny how the Circuit acts as a gateway drug to more hardware. I'm definitely in the same camp over here, and enjoying the journey.

I've been experimenting for the last couple weeks or so with alternate samples and synth patches in the Circuit, and honestly it's a great indicator of how well Novation chose the factory soundbank for the Circuit. Other patches and samples, whether from users or from Novation's packs, weren't nearly as inspiring, the macros were too subtle, and often I couldn't find something that would do the trick in the moment. As such, I have a half dozen abandoned sessions that dead-ended when building out the synths. Just reinstalled the factory sound bank and looking forward to toying with it again!

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cognitive
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Post 03 Sep 2018

Just got confirmed to do a live 2hr EDM (mostly house) set at a dance club. I intend to do as much as possible with my Circuit setup, so I have some serious (fun) work ahead of me over the next few weeks.

I'll have to adopt some Jay's "EP in a Week" work ethic to pull that off.

Time to jump in the deep end without any floaties.

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jayhosking
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Post 03 Sep 2018

cognitive wrote:
03 Sep 2018
Just got confirmed to do a live 2hr EDM (mostly house) set at a dance club. I intend to do as much as possible with my Circuit setup, so I have some serious (fun) work ahead of me over the next few weeks.

I'll have to adopt some Jay's "EP in a Week" work ethic to pull that off.

Time to jump in the deep end without any floaties.
Hey, that's fantastic news! I know no one in any electronic scene, and thus have never performed this kind of music live, so I can't even imagine how much work this is going to be! Two hours sounds like a shit-tonne of work, though! Get that work done! (And let me know if you want me to send you those house songs to perform live on your Circuit.)

Here's hoping somebody records your set.

Meanwhile, I haven't been able to find another Circuit, but I did order a Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator (the 33, K.O., sampler-thingy) to complement my portable music-making.

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cognitive
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Post 04 Sep 2018

jayhosking wrote:
03 Sep 2018
cognitive wrote:
03 Sep 2018
Just got confirmed to do a live 2hr EDM (mostly house) set at a dance club. I intend to do as much as possible with my Circuit setup, so I have some serious (fun) work ahead of me over the next few weeks.

I'll have to adopt some Jay's "EP in a Week" work ethic to pull that off.

Time to jump in the deep end without any floaties.
Hey, that's fantastic news! I know no one in any electronic scene, and thus have never performed this kind of music live, so I can't even imagine how much work this is going to be! Two hours sounds like a shit-tonne of work, though! Get that work done! (And let me know if you want me to send you those house songs to perform live on your Circuit.)

Here's hoping somebody records your set.

Meanwhile, I haven't been able to find another Circuit, but I did order a Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator (the 33, K.O., sampler-thingy) to complement my portable music-making.
Jay, that offer is very kind and generous of you. I would be more than happy to play/perform some of your music during my set.

I would also want to make certain that you have proper attribution for the music, but something can be arranged there, especially on social media and the promo material for the show.

I'll PM you to follow up.

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fieldframe
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Post 07 Sep 2018

jayhosking wrote:
30 Aug 2018
I've been experimenting for the last couple weeks or so with alternate samples and synth patches in the Circuit, and honestly it's a great indicator of how well Novation chose the factory soundbank for the Circuit. Other patches and samples, whether from users or from Novation's packs, weren't nearly as inspiring, the macros were too subtle, and often I couldn't find something that would do the trick in the moment. As such, I have a half dozen abandoned sessions that dead-ended when building out the synths. Just reinstalled the factory sound bank and looking forward to toying with it again!
I'm glad you enjoyed the factory soundbank... For some reason it didn't click with me at all! As I've started experimenting with the editor, though, I've come up with some patches that I can really get into (and all have filter cutoff and resonance mapped to the first two macros).

The Circuit really is a gem. I've been using it with a Korg Monologue for leads, and I'm thinking about getting a Behringer Neutron which I would sequence with the Circuit. Although I've taken an increasing interest in the Polyend Dreadbox Medusa, which looks like it would be a great boutique companion to the Circuit... although it would certainly be more of an investment.
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jayhosking
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Post 07 Sep 2018

fieldframe wrote:
07 Sep 2018

I'm glad you enjoyed the factory soundbank... For some reason it didn't click with me at all! As I've started experimenting with the editor, though, I've come up with some patches that I can really get into (and all have filter cutoff and resonance mapped to the first two macros).

The Circuit really is a gem. I've been using it with a Korg Monologue for leads, and I'm thinking about getting a Behringer Neutron which I would sequence with the Circuit. Although I've taken an increasing interest in the Polyend Dreadbox Medusa, which looks like it would be a great boutique companion to the Circuit... although it would certainly be more of an investment.
It’s funny, when I first started tinkering with the synths, I felt they were the weakest part. And I still do. But I was surprised that most of my needs could be met (as long as I avoided the “acid” patches, hah). But I’m still looking for other solutions for the patches, so if you’ve made any you’re willing to share, I’d love to check them out!

And yeah, I love this little device. It really is a feat of design and intuitive workflow. I just wish it had a few more “pro” features, like master compression/limiting, one more synth at least, and maybe some dedicated controls for certain effects or parameters on every single sound (or more in the effects send section). Still, it’s a great device as is.

Finally, I’ve had my eye on the Dreadbox stuff, thanks to sonicstate, but the one I really like the sound/look of (the Nyx) isn’t available anywhere for me. But I’m waiting on a Moog Minitaur, so maybe I’ll try chaining them up!

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fieldframe
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Post 09 Sep 2018

So, I just found this, and it's kind of mind-blowing: https://circulate.neuma.studio/

It requires Chrome because Chrome is the only browser that currently supports WebMIDI. But what that means is you don't download the patches; you actually send them to the Circuit in real-time. The page in your browser literally becomes a patch browser you can click through and play as you browse!

Furthermore, something I didn't understand about how the Circuit is designed: These patches you send are saved with the session. So you can load a patch from Circulate, save it in a session, and never overwrite the preset. You could have 32 sessions each with its own synths 1 and 2 that use none of the presets currently saved on the device!

As a bonus, Circulate even includes a full patch editor which I'm already somewhat preferring to both the Isotonik and Novation editors. This is going to completely change how I use the Circuit.
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jayhosking
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Post 10 Sep 2018

fieldframe wrote:
09 Sep 2018
So, I just found this, and it's kind of mind-blowing: https://circulate.neuma.studio/

It requires Chrome because Chrome is the only browser that currently supports WebMIDI. But what that means is you don't download the patches; you actually send them to the Circuit in real-time. The page in your browser literally becomes a patch browser you can click through and play as you browse!
This is pretty cool! If I ever get ten seconds, I'll have to try this out.

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jayhosking
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Post 10 Sep 2018

cognitive wrote:
29 Aug 2018
The Arturia Keystep arrived today. ...

So far, the Arturia is exactly the Circuit companion I had hoped for.
Hey, cognitive, just curious how this pairing has been holding up. I'm picking up another synth with no keys and may want to grab a controller with sequencing features. I don't know of any alternative to the Keystep. How are you faring with it?

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cognitive
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Post 14 Sep 2018

jayhosking wrote:
10 Sep 2018
cognitive wrote:
29 Aug 2018
The Arturia Keystep arrived today. ...

So far, the Arturia is exactly the Circuit companion I had hoped for.
Hey, cognitive, just curious how this pairing has been holding up. I'm picking up another synth with no keys and may want to grab a controller with sequencing features. I don't know of any alternative to the Keystep. How are you faring with it?
Hi Jay,

The Keystep is, so far, right on the money in pairing with the Circuit. I currently have no complaints, nor would I really want to change anything about it.

I have that live house show coming up in a couple of weeks and being able to play certain Circuit synth parts live with the Keystep instead of pads is going to really expand what I can do musically.

With two Circuits, my current setup is that I send the Keystep into one of the Circuits that has a good bank of synth patches, aside from the ones stored with the sessions. This Circuit #1 has sessions (songs) that have "room" for live performance. A cool thing is that if you mute a synth in the Circuit mixer, it is still playable from the external controller. You're really just muting sequencer data for that channel. So at any time in a song, I can hit mute on a synth and then dynamically play that synth.

Back to that cool bank of synth patches in Circuit #1: Circuit #2 has songs that are arranged in a more "Circuit-like" way without the intent to play one of the parts live. Now I can play Circuit #1 as a dedicated synth along with whatever is going on in Circuit #2. I have a couple methods to do this: 1) I can mute all channels in the Circuit #1 mixer, then select a synth patch I like from the channel I intend to play. Quite a few pad and button presses there, and not really that quick. 2) I can pick an empty session, then select a synth patch. Either of these methods are okay, but involve some finger dancing. So I like method number 3) I have a small number of blank sessions, but each with preset "good" live synth patches selected in both synth 1 and 2 channels. This way, with a single session select (and maybe a Keystep midi channel select) I get to my bread and butter synth patches on Circuit #1 to play along with Circuit #2.

Anyway, this is fun stuff, and a big part of the fun is the way the Circuit is so configurable for whatever flow for live performance I want to do here.

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cognitive
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Post 18 Sep 2018

So here's my live performance rig with 2 Circuits, the Arturia and an iPad running djay Pro.

The iPad with djay Pro is there to give me a breather once in a while from all the pad/button pressing, knob twiddling and keyboard playing, since my set next week is 2hrs.
DJSpaceP_LiveRig02.jpg
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jayhosking
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Post 19 Sep 2018

This set-up is beautiful!

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jayhosking
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Post 04 Feb 2019

cognitive wrote:
18 Sep 2018
So here's my live performance rig with 2 Circuits, the Arturia and an iPad running djay Pro.
Hey, Cognitive, how have the sets been going? Did you ever get any recorded footage of that one show you told me about?

After playing around with many other synths, it's always nice to go back to the Circuit and realize how powerful, versatile, and inspiring it is. If you haven't picked up a Circuit Mono Station, maybe consider it! It plays very, very well with the original Circuit.


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O1B
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Post 04 Feb 2019

Awesome thread, JH! And - Congrats on the Show, Cognitive!

And, a very nice "Live" Setup, indeed.
Very Impressive.... Inspirational.
cognitive wrote:
18 Sep 2018
So here's my live performance rig with 2 Circuits, the Arturia and an iPad running djay Pro.

The iPad with djay Pro is there to give me a breather once in a while from all the pad/button pressing, knob twiddling and keyboard playing, since my set next week is 2hrs.

DJSpaceP_LiveRig02.jpg

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