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Did they kill the Nord Lead x product line?

Postby Oakmasta » 26 Jan 2021, 16:09

Hi all,

Guessing no one knows for sure, but do you think the lead 4 was the last of it's kind? Thinking they might be doubling down on the ease of use aspect and replaced the line with the A(1) variant. Guess it would make sense from the live performance aspect.

The lead 4 seems to be out of stock or soon out of stock everywhere now and I am praying for a lead 5 soon, although I get the impression that the A1 was a bigger commercial success for them so my hopes are low..

What is your theory and the reasoning behind it?
Ofc some inside info or rumour from a credible source would be great :)
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Did they kill the Nord Lead x product line?


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Re: Did they kill the Nord Lead x product line?

Postby Spider » 26 Jan 2021, 17:11

The only real answer is...we have no idea. It's true that since 1995 Clavia always had a Lead in its portfolio, and it was actually the breakthrough product which launched the company, before the Electros and Stages came around. But it's also true that there are currently two synths in the lineup, and the competition has gotten very tough with the huge revival of synthesisers and the entrance of Behringer in the market.
I would be very surprised if we don't see a Lead 5 sooner or later, but we can only wait and see.
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Re: Did they kill the Nord Lead x product line?

Postby CountFosco » 26 Jan 2021, 18:23

I think it's quite obvious they have a solid plan for the release of the next 233 Lead models. Why else would they restart the numbering at A1? For me, what's more interesting than boring stuff like keybeds and LFO counts is if they choose to increment the letters or the numbers first.
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Re: Did they kill the Nord Lead x product line?

Postby Mr_-G- » 26 Jan 2021, 19:14

I bet it is a binary counter, so the next one should be the A10.

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Re: Did they kill the Nord Lead x product line?

Postby FZiegler » 26 Jan 2021, 19:23

Hey Oakmasta,

as you can see, some folks on the forum felt needled to taunt just a bit. But what the hell is your motivation to ask that question? Would be nice to know a bit about your background, for without, your question really doesn't sound very comprehensible.

But probably, the answer remains: nobody knows. And if someone knows, it's probably nobody on the forum.
Last edited by FZiegler on 26 Jan 2021, 19:25, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Did they kill the Nord Lead x product line?

Postby Oakmasta » 26 Jan 2021, 22:09

Well jokes at a question like this is ofc expected :) Taunting I don't know, depends on the forum.

Sure I can give a bit of background: I make trance music and I'm looking to expand my "computerless" setup with a multitimbral VA synth. I have already tried the Virus TI 2  and Waldorf Kyra but much prefer the sound of the NL4 that a friend of mine has. Not really interested in the other few VA's that exists. For me the NL4 sounds way better.

So why do I even care if there will come a NL5?

Well, I would buy the NL4 today but I am a bit worried the NL5 is just around the corner and would much rather wait in that case.

Also why do I care if the lead x series is dead or not?

Two things are important for me:

The sound:
NLx series has a bit more digital sound compared to the A series which is perfect for the music that I make. Since I already own the Wave 2 I am also interested in something that is slightly different.

I am assuming that a NL5 would not be based on the A1 sound.

The functionality:
The A series simplified functionality just doesn't float my boat, don't think it's neccessary to go into detail why :)

And yes I am assuming that an A2 will also be simplified, it is the whole reason why it exists.

So looking at these criteria (sound and functionality) then hopefully you can understand why I am interested to know if the NL x series is still alive: I think it is the best sounding VA synth series that exists and if a NL5 is a couple of months / a year away then I would rather wait.

As I opened with in my first post I am guessing (pretty sure) that no one knows, I just thought it would be interesting to discuss it.
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Re: Did they kill the Nord Lead x product line?

Postby Mr_-G- » 26 Jan 2021, 22:23

I just realised that the NL4 is in the 'legacy' category now at the Nord site, so the A1 is the only Lead now (which means you might be able to get the NL4 at a discounted/end of line price?).
I must say that I like the Kyra specs.
I would not be surprised if Clavia's aim is to sell the Wave2 to those wanting a new NL but not the A1, but who knows.
And I also wonder how healthy is the synth market at the moment... there seems to be a lot of competition.
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Re: Did they kill the Nord Lead x product line?

Postby Oakmasta » 26 Jan 2021, 22:35

It's been legacy for a year now, since the Wave 2 was announced. In Sweden atleast it's too late for a good deal, it's out of stock everywhere. Thomann has it in stock but at full price.

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Re: Did they kill the Nord Lead x product line?

Postby 23skidoo » 26 Jan 2021, 23:32

My sense is that Clavia are tired and perhaps they have less desire to innovate these days - they made their point (and nearly made an entire market exist out of thin air by validating the VA concept early on). They're re-issuing well-executed, refined, but re-hashed Electro tech and their simplified "Pareto-principle" synth engines in the Stage and A-series and they've made a pretty good re-issue of the Wave which in many cases does everything the Lead series was intended to do plus what the Wave was. It's a solid sendoff to the lineup, really. At this point I really can't see what they'd do to make a Lead 5 short of going in the direction of a Waldorf Quantum or something, and that market's saturated pretty heavily. I could see a re-hashed UI eventually but those take a long time to nail down and Nord's basic modus operandi has been one knob per function (ish, but that's the idea) as long as it's been reasonable to do so, so I don't see them going the hybrid UI direction that most other manufacturers have, and that means almost by definition that their options for features are limited to what will realistically fit in a set of physical controls.

I could see a Lead 5 that's basically a Lead 4 with the effects section of the A1, but that's hardly worth a new number and would certainly command a lower price than the Wave 2, which means it wouldn't be a flagship lead board, so I just don't see them going for it, market-wise. Plus it's rather boring from a creativity and innovation standpoint. So, where to go from here is a good question. And if Hans is still keeping a tight rein on the firm (I haven't seen any evidence yet that he's got a clear successor in mind, and all of his major competitors who might have been willing to buy the brand have mostly developed their own VA architectures by now, so selling out would only work to an IP consolidator or other financialization company, really), then the innovation, such as it is, would still be driven by what interests him, and he's gotten burned (Lead 3, Modular) trying to get too fancy in the past. I don't see what options they have at the moment for a Lead series unless they came up with some totally new platform that offered something VA synths today all lack.

What I could see would be putting something like a Pianoteq modeling engine into the Stage and Piano, and that may yield some interesting synth architectures too, but we haven't seen much interest in that direction yet so that's not even a wild guess, honestly.
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Re: Did they kill the Nord Lead x product line?

Postby Spider » 27 Jan 2021, 11:43

Yes, it's true that the competition has gotten a lot tougher with the synth renaissance, but there have been a few things people have been asking for years, specifically a better keyboard with aftertouch, bigger-better screens and the return of the Lead 3 LED rings.
It's true most of these things have been addressed by the Wave 2, but still a flagship synth with all this plus the deep synthesis functions of the Lead 4, plus all the latest effects from the Stage3/Wave2 would be awesome.
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