Nord's classical Virtual Analog Synth Nord LEAD 1/2/2x/3/4/A1 and Nord Rack versions

Re: Help me choose a Nord Lead Model

Postby alcools » 07 Nov 2018, 21:01

- Nord wave don’t use splits (only layer mode)
- Nord Stage series have only 2 synth sounds simultaneously. Only the NS3 can sound like a « real » VA (like are the NL3 or NL4). The NS3 can use samples, this is clearly a good point. Choose a 73 for synthetic use.
- Nord Lead 3 and 4 and A1 have only 2 split zones. Feeling on the NL4 keyboard is not very good and asn’t AT.
- Nord modular G2 has 4 split zones (and you can choose precisely the split points), and you can have more split using his modular achitechture (insering 2 different sounds in a patch). This is the most advanced for synthesis, and ther is a huge sound bank on the web. You can frequently find G2X in sale in France (+/- 1600 euros). And you can have the instant morph function like the NL4.

For the sound, each of them are different, but each can do what you want (80’s sounds). The G2 will have more possibilties, and huge FM capacities. The better analog filters emulations are on the NL4-A1-NS3, and the worth on the Nord Wave. To finish, the A1 is the less powerfull for complex sounds (only one LFO).

You could have a look on the Prophet 12 too. Powerfull synthesis possibilities, very user friendly, good keyboard, good for 80’s sounds (not for the bass sounds). I don’t remember the number of split points on this one.
Actual synth: Nord Modular G2 ex - Nord Stage 3 compact - DSI Tetra
Before: Nord Lead 3 & 4R, Stage 1&2, Wave, Virus C & Ti, P6 & P12, and few others...
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Re: Help me choose a Nord Lead Model


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Re: Help me choose a Nord Lead Model

Postby Quai34 » 08 Nov 2018, 06:32

One split point on the Prophet 12, so, the sound on each side but you choose the split point....but I think the Prophet 12 is more expensive than any of the Nord anyway....
Last edited by Quai34 on 09 Nov 2018, 05:04, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Help me choose a Nord Lead Model

Postby tweeeeeak » 09 Nov 2018, 00:58

Also consider getting a rack version and using an external keyboard that you can split in more than 2 zones. The 3, 4 and A1 all have 4 parts assignable to different midi channels. You can also use a midi sequencer to play 2 parts, for instance, and play the other 2 live on a keyboard.

Of course, you can do this with keyboard versions as well, but it makes less sense to do so.
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Re: Help me choose a Nord Lead Model

Postby ricard » 09 Nov 2018, 17:09

I don't think any of the Nord Leads has weighted keyboards. The 3 does have aftertouch, however, it tends to be hard to control and works more like an impulse morph than true aftertouch, being either off or on.

My very personal take on the Nord Leads is that the 3 has the best UI and the most advanced architecture and is the most controllable with its four morph groups; at the same time, it is the least analog sounding of the lot. Some people swear by it for atmospheric and complex sounds though.

The A1 with its effects unit is the most analog sounding, however, the architecture for me is a bit stifled with its single (but multi functional) oscillator, lack of sustain parameters on the envelope generators and single LFO. A lot of people like its scaled-down simplicity though.

While it's certainly possible to get the 4 to sound as analog as the A1, it lends itself to more aggressive lead sounds (hey, it's a Nord Lead isn't it) - think Infected Mushroom for instance - carrying on the tradition from the original one.

The original Nord Lead (often referred to as the 1), 2 and 2X sound identical to me although some swear the sound got progressively less harsh as the series progressed. The 1 apparently can have its internal DAC calibration thrown off which causes it to get a more grungy sound; the 2 and 2X have high precision DACs that don't need (and can't be) adjusted. Given that, I'd go for the 2X any day to avoid the hassle with external battery backed-up PCMCIA RAM cards on which patches are stored. Soundwise, the 1/2/2X has a character of its own, and I see them as predecessors of the 4. When it was launched, I felt the Nord Lead took off from where analog had stopped and carried on from there; today I honestly find the sound a bit too characteristic, and does not have that analog feel that other VA's have even though they are fine instruments in their own right. Architecture-wise, the 2X is the perfect balance for a knob-only synth, with its two oscillators, three envelope generators and two LFOs.

I would say that if the OP is going after classic 80's analog sounds, the A1 would be the one to go for.
Last edited by ricard on 09 Nov 2018, 17:11, edited 1 time in total.

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