When I learned that Isotonik’s Sigabort would be releasing a VST/Au version of an Editor for the Novation Circuit, I knew it would be a great addition to the arsenal of utilities and upgrades the Circuit has seen since its original release. It’s been enjoyable, and Novation keeps on with Circuit, releasing the Circuit Mono Station just on the heels of the VST Editor.
Of course the most obvious benefit of a VST/Au edition of the Circuit Editor, is the ability to host within DAWs. In Ableton Live, for example, if you create an options.txt document, you’ll be able to have instant access to 128 Circuit parameters. There are over 700 parameters on the Circuit, though many are attributable to the modulation matrix. What’s nice about Sigabort’s script – he took the time to arrange the most crucial parameters, such that the 128 you get are arranged in a sensible manner, unlike many synths, which plan the first 8 and leave the rest in a useless ordering.
Let’s take a look. With the options.txt installed, you can load up the MIDISynth-Circuit as a VST – then unfold the device parameters with the little arrow shown here:By clicking the Unfold Device Parameters arrow the 128 parameters of the MIDISynth Editor are unfolded to the right. You’ll also notice in the above image the Blue Hand, indicating that I’ve got Remote Control of the device, which I’ll discuss below.
Now let’s glance the ordering of the Circuit’s newly-exposed 128 parameters, which I’ll show here in Banks of 24
Reading each of the parameter banks of 24, arranged in Vertical Columns, left to Right, you notice the first 16 in Bank 1 are Custom – allowing you to select those most prominent to your workflow. You also get 4 assignable parameters to X/Y coordinates. You can map these to knobs, or external pad controllers. Bank 4 contains the 8 Macro Controllers for Synths 1 & 2, and so on.
So now you can map these parameters to your external hardware as you see fit, and save various configurations as Ableton Live Presets, along with all the features it, and other VST/Au Hosts can bring to the Circuit. For me, this brings together the best of both worlds Circuit has to offer; immediate jamming, and deeper sound synthesis with all the under the hood control, which this editor brings into play.
Hardware Control over the MIDISynth-Circuit Editor
Reading over the Circuit Owner’s Facebook Group, and elsewhere, I notice quite a few people are using the Circuit with external hardware controls. There have been quite a few good scripts for the LaunchControl XL, for example. If you happen to own a LaunchControl, LaunchControlXL, Behringer BCR2000, (and others) then one of Isotonik’s XXL Scripts is the way to go to take full advantage of the Parameter Banks the MIDISynth-Circuit Editor has to offer. In my case, I have both the LaunchControl XL and the BCR2000. With the LCXXL and BCR2000 XL Scripts installed, all 128 parameters of the MIDISynth-Circuit Editor are instantly mapped to the LaunchControl XL. By tapping the Send Select Arrows, I can scroll through the 6 Banks of 24 parameters, or 32 in the case of the BCR2000. Used side-by-side with the Circuit, it’s a really great way to quickly synthesize sounds with mouse-free access to the most important parameters.
To complete the arsenal of Circuit controllerism is PrEditor, also from Isotonik Studios, and also developed by Sigabort. PrEditor is a “Preset-Editor.” It’a a Max device, though it doesn’t require a Max license. It reads all the parameters of your loaded device in Live, arranging them out into banks of 24, up to the 128 parameter limit set by Ableton Live (which we all hope they will lift!). Here’s a screen capture of the MIDISynth-Circuit Editor
As you can see all the Macros are arranged in a logical order. But you can also create your own Banks, edit the existing ones, duplicate parameters across multiple banks, or even place blank spaces in your mappings. You can quickly save and recall your mappings as Presets, and there are more in-depth options you can also explore. Clicking on any of the parameters in the grid allows you to select from a list, just click the parameter you want mapped, and its updated – no need to shut down and restart Live for the mapping to take effect:
So whether you just want to bring the parameters and features of a VST or AU plugin to your Circuit, or have been wanting to pair it with your hardware for a more complete control over the Circuit’s synths, the MIDISynth-Circuit Editor coupled with an XXL script and PrEditor is the best way to maximize the functionality of this great little groovebox. There’s even a terrific Lemur template included, which will be much appreciated by those who, like me, use iOS to control the Circuit as well. You can pick up the MIDISynth-Circuit Editor here