Everything about the Nord Electro 2, Electro 3, Electro 4, Electro 5, and Nord Electro 6.

before I pull the trigger on a my very first NORD

Postby ddg874 » 17 Apr 2021, 07:25

Hi all,

I never had any NORD instrument. ABSOLUTE newbie.

I hope to get some insight and opinions from someone who has a similar background or experience.

My background is playing live in a cover band and have used Yamaha Motifs, MODX6 and even a Mainstage setup with a mac.

I currently have a Yamaha MODX6 that I load with ALL POSSIBLE SONGS our singer can sing at gigs (my band does not really believe in fixed live sets. :lol: ).
I also load the MODX6 with samples or effects (example Uptown Funk stuff. lol). I do lots of splits and layers because I prefer just one board to haul.

My MODX6 is super light for gigging, loaded with lots of sample-based patches and FM sounds. I like it but the keybed kind of sucks. I figure the Nord is preferred by lots of artists so it must have a great keybed.

I am thinking of
(1) getting a Nord Electro 6D with 73 keys or 61 keys (lighter) for most piano/EP and organ duties and using the MODX6 for Synth/FM stuff. OR, if possible
(2) ditching the MODX6 and going with the Nord solely if it can handle samples and leads and effects.

Is it worth doing this Nord 6d and MODX combo? Or can the Nord 6D be an all around single keyboard for a cover band player?


Any insights from anyone on this? I appreciate it.
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before I pull the trigger on a my very first NORD


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Re: before I pull the trigger on a my very first NORD

Postby Tasten-Bert » 17 Apr 2021, 09:10

Hi ddg,

I‘d go with your idea 1) and I tell you why. You‘ll get a great organ, and having said that I mean both the sound itself and the handling resp. tweakability with the drawbars and all buttons. You‘ll get wonderful piano sounds, good e-pianos, and a light weight of it all.

What you most likely will miss are the bread & butter sounds for a cover band such as brass, saxes, string pads, solo synths which, to my personal taste, don‘t reach the quality and the flexibility you are used to when you play a Korg, Roland or Yamaha workhorse.

I‘m in two cover bands, one of it plays German Schlager which has a huge demand of the bread & butters, so I seem to understand you. The combi of two boards - I have a Korg along with my NE 5D - is great on stage.

Good luck with your thinking. Cheers from Germany
Last edited by Tasten-Bert on 17 Apr 2021, 09:13, edited 2 times in total.
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... and I loved these of my former stuff: nord electro 3, Roland VR-760, Fatar Studio 1100, korg 01/W, Roland U-20

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Re: before I pull the trigger on a my very first NORD

Postby alex78 » 17 Apr 2021, 09:15

From what I can understand your playilist consists of various kind of songs that have different needs soundwise.
I find your first option more versatile as the electro isn't really capable for synth stuff. It's synth engine is restricted to sample playback with a very basic filter, no actual modulation capabilities and no pitch bender wich is very important for leads. If you wanted to go with just one keyboard then a stage compact would be prefered, it's more expensive though.

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Re: before I pull the trigger on a my very first NORD

Postby FZiegler » 17 Apr 2021, 11:48

"Pulling the trigger" isn't what you should do with a Nord in my eyes. Every now and then people pop up on the forum being taken aback about things their new Nord can't do and their XY always did without a problem.

There are several reasons why a Nord Electro or Stage is an amazing instrument, but no: The keybeds aren't a miracle of something that will fit like a charme for organ, synth and piano purposes all at the same time. The Nord SW keybeds (Electro 6D, Stage 3 Compact) are really great for organ (not so bad for synth playing, still rather playable with piano sounds), the Pianos and the Grand are definitely good for playing piano (not synth), the HA keybed of a Stage 3-88 is a lighter version for piano (just oookey for organ though), the HP keybeds are simply lightweight and nothing more in my eyes (while there are people who don't have problems with them)... To sum up, I'd say your idea of
I figure the Nord is preferred by lots of artists so it must have a great keybed.

could be a misinterpretation.

Nords have a rather unique UI with knobs and buttons all over the board (like analog synths) and have started to been copied for that. They have a great sound library to choose from. But there are restrictions, too: The piano engine can only use samples from the Nord Piano Library (no third party sounds, no self made things), the (sample) synth engine will only play samples with one velocity layer which isn't enough for stunning brass or wind sounds or some sort of synths. If you take a Stage, you've got a real synth, too, but you will still only have 2 synth engines with 1 LFO each at a time to shape your sounds (and if you use custom samples, a synth slot is occupied, too).

People can be veeery happy with a Nord and get their creativity engaged, but should nevertheless either have played one or at least have read the manual before buying. Best: Do both - with your music in mind.
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Re: before I pull the trigger on a my very first NORD

Postby cphollis » 17 Apr 2021, 14:39

Both the MODX and the Nord E6 are very capable keyboards, but in different ways as mentioned above. The bread and butter sounds that Tasten-Bert mentioned is one differentiator that favors the MODX. Pianos and organs are where the NE6 shines. Both do a good job with external samples.

I would offer that the Nord horns/strings/etc. are "not bad". Not great, but not bad. They don't stand up particularly well as solo sounds in a live band, but they do mix pretty well for choruses, record nicely, etc.

I guess you don't do a lot of piano-oriented playing, as both smaller MODX and NE6 are semi-weighted keybeds vs. weighted. I can't do piano stuff well on non-weighted keybeds, but I know people who do just fine with them.

Certainly each has its own character, so they' shouldn't overlap much.

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Re: before I pull the trigger on a my very first NORD

Postby anotherscott » 18 Apr 2021, 04:18

Forget option 2, it can't do the job. *Maybe* you could do it all on a Nord if the Nord was a Stage 3. But not an Electro. Limited split/layer capabilities, limited synth capabilities.

Also, people don't typically buy Nords for great actions, that's not one of their bigger strengths, generally.

Sonically, all the Electro is really above average in are organs and pianos... and, if you get the Nord Stage 3, arguably add VA synth. MODX will sound better for almost everything else.

Other than that, Nord's virtues are primarily in simplicity, including having direct knob access to the things you most commonly need to do, which allows you to create patches more quickly, and to more easily manipulate the sounds in performance. Also, being lightweight. MODX is more flexible, though. The combination of the two is excellent.

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Re: before I pull the trigger on a my very first NORD

Postby SynMike » 18 Apr 2021, 10:39

ddg874 wrote:Is it worth doing this Nord 6d and MODX combo? Or can the Nord 6D be an all around single keyboard for a cover band player?


ddg874,

I think my needs and working style match yours pretty well, at least as you described them.

I recently got an Electro 6 HP. I'm using it with my Roland FA-06. I don't think a Nord replaces a MODX6, not unless your use of MODX6 is fairly simple. From your explanation of how you use your MODX6, I don't think any Nord is a suitable replacement, but a good partner in a 2 keyboard rig.

The core of my rig for many years has been workstation type synths including Roland XP-50, Fantoms, and now FA-06. I had a MOFX6 for a couple of years. I create specific programs for every song, often with 3, 4, or even 6 splits across the keyboard to cover all the sounds in a song. I usually have a 2nd keyboard with me. The choice of the 2nd depends on the set list. Set list with more piano means adding the Nord, more organ = VR-09, more synth = Sledge.

I was surprised at the simplicity of the Nord. On one hand, that's a compliment - its kind of the Nord ethos I think. On the other hand, I was surprised at its limitations. It simply is not as powerful and as flexible as those workstation type synths or as configurable as I expected it to be, especially at the premium price (luckily, I got a great price on a used one).

I really like the Nord for the great Piano library (and electric pianos). Better than Roland pianos IMO, and far better than those in my FA-06. I prefer Yamaha pianos over Roland. The pianos in the MOFX I had are far nicer than the FA-06 pianos. I have a Yamaha P105, which I recognize is not a top level like the CP and YC series. I find that Yamaha tends to have _very_ good piano sounds, although perhaps the pianos they record are almost too good, maybe tuned too well? Most of the pianos in the Nord library tend to have a bit more character, most are not as perfect as the Yamaha. But I'm still getting used to the Nord so my opinion is in flux.

The Nord Organ is decent. But not as good as my VR-09 or VK-8. The Nord is lacking in bottom end. I guess that might actually serve well in context of playing in a band, less muddying the sound and less conflict with the bass player. But it's not as true to a Hammond original. But the bigger letdown is the Leslie simulation. It is not as good as the Roland. Many users get a Ventilator pedal for use with the Nord. The Nord could be somewhat better if you had more adjustments over details, as the Roland gives you. Honestly, if you are mostly looking for organ to add to your MODX, save a lot of money and get the superior organ sound of VR-09 (that one's key feel is okay for organ, but maybe not even as good as your MODX).

The sample synth is extremely limited on the Electro. I don't like most of the factory Nord library either. I've got a few 3rd party sounds. I will probably make samples of some of my other synths. But to come close to replacing a MOFX or Fantom for my needs, I'd need a Nord Stage instead of Electro, and even then I don't think it would match up.

Overall, I think Nord is great for piano and electric piano. Good for organ. Great for players who are not much into the technology, maybe those don't program their own sounds so much.

The keys of my Electro 6 HP feel okay. Too noisy in a quiet environment. A keyboard at this price should have a better keybed. It's not as good as my P105 and the P105 is only a basic model, not as good as keys on upper models of Yamaha, Roland, Korg. So I don't think the Nord HP keybed is a notable bonus. It's not very piano-like. But it is quite playable for me; I'm happy with the feel and response. I just wish it wasn't so noisy.

To summarize, I like the Nord for pianos. And it's red, recognizable. I play with some people that, not knowing so much about synths, believe that serious keyboard players probably should have a Nord. It's the red that stands out on stage and on youtube videos. I probably own one for that reason as much as the piano sounds - sad but true. If that wasn't the case, I might have opted for a CP or YC instead.

If a set list calls for a lot of organ, I'll take the FA-06 + VR-09. If there is more piano, then I'll take FA-06 + Nord.
Last edited by SynMike on 18 Apr 2021, 10:41, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: before I pull the trigger on a my very first NORD

Postby anotherscott » 18 Apr 2021, 11:37

SynMike, I agree with a lot of what you said. A few things, though...

About the lack of bass in the Nord organ, depending on what you're doing, I wonder if the "B3 Bass" setting on your Electro might help? On the Stage 3, I have a bassier organ patch which splits two organ sounds, where the organ below the split point has the bass turned way up, and the Nord's ability to gently crossfade across split points ends up creating a very natural transition.

About the Leslie sim, one way Nord's beats Roland's is in the overdrive. But the importance of that depends on the sound you are looking for.

re: "Great for players who are not much into the technology, maybe those don't program their own sounds so much." -- Wheil Nord programming isn't very deep, it's easier than most boards. As long as what I want to do is within the board's capabilities, I can program a sound into a Nord more quickly than I can most other boards.
Last edited by anotherscott on 18 Apr 2021, 11:40, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: before I pull the trigger on a my very first NORD

Postby Tasten-Bert » 18 Apr 2021, 12:08

SynMike wrote:... The Nord Organ is decent. But not as good as my VR-09 or VK-8. The Nord is lacking in bottom end ... But the bigger letdown is the Leslie simulation. It is not as good as the Roland ...


I have no idea what SynMike is comparing the Roland‘s organ to - if I compare my nord‘s organ plus Leslie plus overdrive with what I know about real Hammond sound mine is much closer to it than that of a Roland VR simulation. I had a VR-760, know quite well the VR-730 of which the VR-09 is the economical version and must say that they don‘t match it.

Just a side step in my thoughts.

Cheers

Today „It’s raining again“ which would need a good Wurlitzer sound.
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... and I loved these of my former stuff: nord electro 3, Roland VR-760, Fatar Studio 1100, korg 01/W, Roland U-20
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Re: before I pull the trigger on a my very first NORD

Postby ddg874 » 19 Apr 2021, 06:48

first of all, I want to thank everyone for the insight/opinions. It helped me

I actually went to some shop today that has a nord electro 6d 73.
I loved the pianos and although I am not a skilled organ player, I had lots of fun with it. I enjoyed it thoroughly.

Coincidentally, they had a yamaha modx next to it which had a yamaha montage on top of it.
I mean, I was glad to see that so I can try the different suggestions here.

I tried brass and synth leads as well as strings on the modx and montage plus piano/organ/EP’s on the Nord.
It was indeed a good synergy.

I know this keybed topic is subjective and personal so I am sharing that I was not impressed with the keybed of the nord electro 6D. It was way better for EP/piano playing compared to my MODX but not super duper great feeling for my playing style.

Then, I realized I can try my piano playing on the Montage. It felt good to me. My fingers were instantly comfortable. I guess it is the same action as my Yamaha Motif ES6 from a couple of decades ago. I am seriously considering my original #2 idea with a Montage now. In addition to the comfort I felt, is this question:

Is it just me and how I was using it that the Nord Electro 6D’s seamless switching is between engines? I tried to go from an EP sound to the Royal Piano and back and even if I hold down the sustain pedal, the sound dies and gets cut abruptly when I switch to the other sound. Not as seamless as I expected. :-)

The Montage and Modx can do this.
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