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

Nord Lead 3 vs Lead 2x - My theory

Postby Android » 08 Feb 2019, 09:15

Hi everyone.
I have read a lot about how many people feel the Lead 2x is better than the Lead 3, and I too thought this as well. But I own both, and after my tests (as follows) I am finding the Lead 3 can reproduce very same sounds that I love on the 2x.
What I did was load up each of my favourite patches on the 2x, and set the knob values to the actual values by twisting each one until the sound returned to normal, exiting the sound and reopening it... and then continued the same process for every knob and button.
Once I was satisfied that I had the values correct, I simply loaded an INIT patch into the 3, and one by one, matched the values that were on the 2x... and voila! THE SAME! Or better!
And on top of this I had additional filters, including a Moog filter emulation that gave the sounds that extra analog feel. The Lead 3 also allows you to transpose in semitones increments that the 2x cannot do, not to mention fuller sized keys, aftertouch, expanded morph options, and those LED encoders that tell you exactly what is going on.

I think that the 3 has gotten a bad reputation based on the presets, which were programmed to highlight the additional functions that the 2 did not have. Also, the 3 was MUCH more expensive, so naturally the user base was much smaller... so there were less people programming sounds to be shared, and fewer talented programmers overall.
The 2x has a much larger user base, and thousands of people programming and experimenting. No wonder the library is so huge.

In the end, I am finding the 3 to be my main go to when performing, and the analog is sounding so real, and rich, like the 2x, and in many cases, better than the 2x. And now that I understand the programming of it better, I can create my sounds faster that I could on the 2x.
Last edited by Android on 08 Feb 2019, 09:17, edited 1 time in total.
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Nord Lead 3 vs Lead 2x - My theory


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Re: Nord Lead 3 vs Lead 2x - My theory

Postby AdamStage2 » 08 Feb 2019, 11:02

The NL3 is my favourite of all the Leads,I think a lot of people are put off it,because it has this image of being Cold sounding which is complete fabrication,It can do everything the other leads do with the addition of FM as well and being able to combine the two forms of synthesis makes for some real interesting and weird results,I'm a long time user of the Yamaha DX7 and the NL3 can emulate a vast majority of the sounds I used back in the day infact if you are into 80s type digital sounds the NL3 is a great machine for that,if I had to keep just one NL synth in my rig then the NL3 would be the One I would choose.

If your one of those people who are put off by FM synthesis because of the science behind it,then the NL3 is a great synth to start on as it allows you to approach FM in a more traditional Subtractive Synth interface type of way.plus the fact it has those great LED encoders as well,Its the NL I have created the most new sounds on and always continues to inspire me.

It can also do those classic tones from the NL1/NL2 as well,and it has great Chorus/Unison that none of the other NLs have so you can dial in as much or as little unison rather than being stuck with preset values like the other Leads have,its great for Lush pads,most of the sounds I made on the NL1/NL2 I replicated on the NL3 and ended up selling them because I didn't need them any longer,it can do many sounds not possible on any of the other NLs due to its endowed Filter section,you can also morph sounds to destruction thanks to the encoders making pretty much everything morphable so you can switch between completely different types of sounds in the Same Slot with a wheel movement and its great for experimentation and weirdness using AT as well.It has some unique touches that none of the Other Leads ever had,even the NL4 was a step backwards in some respects from the NL3,The Keybed also seems to be different to the usual NL keybeds as the keys are slightly longer.

I don't get why people dislike the NL3 its a hybrid beast with the best of FM/VA and perhaps the best interface of many Synths of its era a true wolf in sheeps clothing and I think many people are now realising its potential with the recent hike in secondhand prices of the NL3

:keyboard2:
Last edited by AdamStage2 on 08 Feb 2019, 11:16, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Nord Lead 3 vs Lead 2x - My theory

Postby Android » 08 Feb 2019, 17:11

Sounds like we’re on the same page here. The reason for my long winded post was I believe the reason that people think that 2x sounds better, is that they are more likely to find a sound In the presets that is somewhat close to what they need. Minimal tweaking is needed, and to the beginner to intermediate sound designer, it is more rewarding.
The presets on the 3 focussed more heavily on FM sounds, meaning that there were far fewer sounds that were ‘close’ to what VA users are looking for. On the 3 You have to know what you are doing, to get to the sounds you are looking for, and relying on others who have done the heavy lifting that you can simply tweak... is less of an option, simply because there are far fewer people who have one.
Same goes for the Nord Modular vs Nord Modular G2 debate.
Last edited by Android on 08 Feb 2019, 17:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nord Lead 3 vs Lead 2x - My theory

Postby criss » 09 Feb 2019, 10:16

AdamStage2 wrote:I'm a long time user of the Yamaha DX7 and the NL3 can emulate a vast majority of the sounds I used back in the day

It has FM operators? My NLA1 has FM waves but it cannot emulate the FM sounds of 4/6OP old FM synths without the operators.
Last edited by criss on 09 Feb 2019, 10:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Nord Lead 3 vs Lead 2x - My theory

Postby AdamStage2 » 09 Feb 2019, 11:16

criss wrote:
AdamStage2 wrote:I'm a long time user of the Yamaha DX7 and the NL3 can emulate a vast majority of the sounds I used back in the day

It has FM operators? My NLA1 has FM waves but it cannot emulate the FM sounds of 4/6OP old FM synths without the operators.



Correct.

2 Operators in single Osc mode or 4 operator,if you use the Dual Sine wave oscillator configuration that is per slot,so although you can't create a complete 8 operator type sound from a single NL3 slot,you can stack the Sounds to emulate similar DX7 timbres.

The FM feature in the Other Nords(with the exception of the Nord Wave) is just a basic configuration of a single knob to modulate one osc against the other,whereas the NL3 allows you to go beyond that,and set full Ratio and modulation values,The NL3 Has more FM modes to be able to give more of the Type of traditional FM parameters and also the LFO's extend the capabilities beyond the other Nords Modulation of its FM section it doesn't just have have preset FM ratio configurations like in the Other Nords/Stage models
Last edited by AdamStage2 on 09 Feb 2019, 11:19, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Nord Lead 3 vs Lead 2x - My theory

Postby Duplobaustein » 09 Feb 2019, 11:26

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Re: Nord Lead 3 vs Lead 2x - My theory

Postby Quai34 » 11 Feb 2019, 16:25

Well, I was close to buy an NL3 AND a wave few years ago but found a used NL2X anniversary that was cheaper. And then, when it was again time to buy another synth, I had to make a decision between another lead or a Prophet 08, I don't regret my prophet 08 but this NL3/Wave GAS have been bugging me all the time....
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Re: Nord Lead 3 vs Lead 2x - My theory

Postby Android » 13 Feb 2019, 06:57

I used to have a Wave as well. It was a great board for creating album ready sounds, that would fit into a mix, but I could never get it to make sounds that would make guitarists make “that face” of awe. I also found the lack of arpeggiator and only 2 slots to be limiting, and the aftertouch could not be assigned to a morph parameter. Only modulation. I’d say Wave is a studio board, and Lead 3 is a performance board.
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