I always look at people like they’re goofy when they say something like “what did we do before Uber?”, “what did we do before Google Maps?”, etc. You called a cab, or you used a paper map: not that mysterious.
However, I do recognize that we’re spoiled by modern technology—so much so that when Novation announces a drool-worthy new product like the Circuit Mono Station analog monosynth/three-track sequencer with MIDI/CV/Clock control, and there are no videos or audio demos available immediately, I’m left looking around in disbelief like “wh..wha…what is happening?”
I’m sure plenty of media on the Circuit Mono Station ($499) will be forthcoming well ahead of its scheduled release this July. Maybe Novation just wanted to get the news out in time for Superbooth17, which starts tomorrow, and to piggyback on the hammer drop that was the unveiling of the Novation Peak 8-voice hybrid-synth module. No matter.
Obviously, the Circuit Mono Station builds off the design and functionality of the Circuit digital synth/sequencer, except with an analog synth engine based on the Novation Bass Station II, an additional top section of synth controls, and CV/Gate plus Clock connections in addition to MIDI and USB.
Like the Circuit, the Circuit Mono Station has 32 velocity-sensitive RGB pads for note input (including Scale mode) and for operating the three sequencer tracks. The difference is that the Circuit Mono Station’s sequencer has two tracks for each synth oscillator and one modulation track to use for altering Gate length, switching patterns, switching sync rates, and mutating patterns. You can also process the analog audio input through the modulation sequencer, which I expect will be one of the coolest features to differentiate the Circuit Mono Station when it comes out.
I can’t wait to hear the Circuit Mono Station’s sound, as its synth has some very interesting features I wouldn’t necessarily expect from a compact monosynth. First off, its two oscillators have four waveform options and can run in monophonic or paraphonic mode. Paraphonic mode means that all notes triggered go through a single filter and amp, rather than separate filters and amps like in true polyphonic synths. But the paraphonic mode lets you control and sequence each oscillator separately. In addition, you have a sub-oscillator, noise and ring modulation.
(For synth geeks, self-professed gear fanatic Automatic Gainsay has an illuminating breakdown of “paraphonic’s” meaning on Facebook.)
The synth also has your choice of lowpass, bandpass and highpass modes with cutoff, resonance and overdrive controls, as well as three types of distortion. A modulation matrix lets you route the 4-waveform LFO, ADSR envelope, sequencer or velocity to a multitude of destinations, including the AuxCV port.
With Novation’s Components software, you can edit and back up as many Circuit Mono Station synth patches as you want to supplement the 64 hardware patch memories.
While I’m still antsy to hear and see this thing in action, these setup diagrams below show a whole slew of ways to incorporate the Circuit Mono Station into a larger setup.