Everything about the Nord Wave Synthesizer

NW2 AT and Velocity

Postby hector space » 29 Jun 2020, 12:52

I’m loving the sound quality and diversity of the new NW2, I’ve read the manual cover to cover so that I can fully understand the modulation and morphing facilities provided. This is because an instrument of this quality deserves the subtlety And nuance that can be added by after touch and velocity.

It is disappointing that Nord have only provided a velocity on off control for the filter and a crude three step control for amplitude control. This places a huge emphasis on the velocity calibration on the instrument being right in the sweet spot for both these important modulation features. Otherwise velocity control is of limited use.

On most of the NW2 competitors both velocity scaling and after touch scaling (sensitivity adjust) are available from a system menu (e.g. Kronos, Kurzweil Forte and DSI Prophet X) Nord has chosen not to provide this. Why? Are their in-house calibrations so much better than their competitors ? Or do they think that velocity and after touch control is unimportant?

Perhaps the latter is the truth. After all Nord have yet to provide their standard sample libraries with the facility to hold velocity switched sample layers. This is something that all their competitors have done for years. It was one of the reasons I dumped the NS2 back in 2014 and 6 years later they still haven’t caught up.

Maybe they don’t think velocity is important enough and that the beautiful subtly of the harmonic change made possible with switched velocity sample layers is something their customers need. To me it seems Nord are forever backward looking in their aim to produce products that replicate the sounds of at least 35 years ago.

If the NW2 can have vibrato depth and rate adjustment in a system menu then why can’t there be velocity depth and scale for filter and VCA? And why can’t there be after touch sensitivity? These are obvious system menus.

Pity because the NW2 could have been a lot more than another wall of sound producing slab. It could have delivered beautiful subtle instruments that have never been heard before. But for that you need exact control and access to nuance.
Last edited by hector space on 29 Jun 2020, 12:53, edited 1 time in total.
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NW2 AT and Velocity


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Re: NW2 AT and Velocity

Postby baekgaard » 29 Jun 2020, 15:42

You know you can use the velocity morph function to make any of the amp env and filter parameters change with velocity (in the positive or negative direction as you need)?

That should provide quite a lot of granularity, one would think...

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Re: NW2 AT and Velocity

Postby Bjosko » 29 Jun 2020, 22:54

At least, the velocity to morph are working very well on the A1.
I have not tried the W2 yet, but it are high on my wish-list.
/Bjørn
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Re: NW2 AT and Velocity

Postby tsss27 » 30 Jun 2020, 05:44

I suspect that because you can control the exact amounts of velocity and pressure with morphing, they don't include menu options; you're essentially setting a response for each patch. I can think of scenarios where this is not ideal and precise global keyboard response would be better, but generally it makes sense. However as far as the 1 velocity sample limit I agree 100%, this is so outdated especially since the piano library doesn't have that limitation but we are not allowed to create those.
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Re: NW2 AT and Velocity

Postby hector space » 30 Jun 2020, 12:57

Thanks for the feedback. I would love to think that using velocity as a morph modulation source would provide enough subtle control over its effect. I’m sure we all know that mod wheel morph is good but just how much control is possible using velocity?
Maybe someone can feedback as to how effective it is.
Here’s a scenario:
Let’s suppose we want to produce a velocity layered bass guitar sound. We can creat two sample maps (one for each velocity layer) and load them into the NW2. We can assign these to two of the NW2’s parts (one to each). We can then use velocity morph to control the vca level on each. The lower velocity part being morphed negativity so that for soft playing it will be loud and for hard playing it will be quiet. The second, high velocity, sample map part would be morphed positively so that it only sounds when played harder.
So this (although crude) could be a way of providing velocity switched (x faded!) sample playback.
My guess is this should work but it may not be that effective without the ability to adjust the keybed velocity curve and sensitivity. It has certainly been my experience that this is necessary on other keyboards. Take the DSI prophet 6, a great synth but we fought long and hard to get Dave’s guys to add some usable velocity curves to it!! Lol
With Kurzweil we actually persuaded them to add a per note velocity calibration facility for the Forte, this really improved the Fatar TP40 performance a lot.

My view is morphs are a great feature but you have to get the modulation sources in the right range to provide usable control. That’s why there’s calibration for the external swell pedal..... Different people play with different strengths and all keybeds have tolerances. This means user calibration for velocity and after touch is important.
Last edited by hector space on 30 Jun 2020, 13:00, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: NW2 AT and Velocity

Postby baekgaard » 30 Jun 2020, 18:14

Yes, that was what I meant -- you can use the velocity morph to control a quite wide set of parameters including also the layer volumes.

It works as expected; you can morph all the way from no sound to full whack at the other end of the scale, going from MIDI velocities 1 to 127 (or the other way round). Specifically for the layer volume, you can use that in combination with the amp vel settings off, 1, 2 and 3, so in essence you can combine the 4 different scalings provided with your own scaling -- for instance, you could velocity morph layer volume from 5 to 10 AND use amp vel setting 2 if you want it to be a little softer at lower amplitudes, or the other way round, e.g. morphing from 10 to 5 using amp vel 3, which gives you just a slight scaling a bit like amp vel 1 (but probably with a slightly different curve).

In addition, you can in many cases also morph the filter settings to open up the higher frequency content at higher velocities, making the tone brighter and louder and/or you can morph not only the filter frequency but also the envelope amount, so you effectively also have full control of how velocity sensitive it should be.

I thought from your first post that you had a NW2 yourself, but if not, you should definitely try playing with the velocity morphing. I think it can do more creatively than what may be apparent from a quick read of the manual. At least I find that combining the different parameters e.g. the way I listed above gives you at least some of what you're asking for.

My personal guess is that, as Nord is about well-designed and musical controls and less about offering abilities to tweak settings like the curves, that it is not likely that a velocity curve editor is added to the game. But I could very well be wrong, of course :-)

The swell pedal calibration is needed to make the instrument work with multiple pedals; I have several of different types and if the wrong curve is picked, it's not working well. So it's not so much about personal preferences, but more objectively that the useable range of one pedal may be only 20% of the entire range if the wrong curve is used.

Hope this helps?

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Re: NW2 AT and Velocity

Postby hector space » 01 Jul 2020, 12:38

Thanks very much for that. From that for me it’s definitely worth trying it out now! Cheers

BTW regarding swell pedal calibration: Nord seems to be at odds with most other brands.
From my direct experience the following products all work fine without swell pedal calibration, but they all provide user selectable velocity curves or velocity offsets:-

DSI Prophet 6
Kurweil Forte
Roland RD2000
Roland RD700SX/GX/NX
Roland RD800
Roland Juno Di
Korg Kronos

Generally provided you choose the right tip/ring/sleeve assignment they work.
Can't say the same for people's playing styles which is why they all have selectable velocity values.
Even my NE3 73 doesn't have a swell pedal calibration. And since 2011 and many different pedals it hasn't needed one! lol
Last edited by hector space on 01 Jul 2020, 21:08, edited 3 times in total.

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