General Discussion of the Nord Stage (EX), Nord Stage 2 (EX), and Nord Stage 3 Synths, FAQ, Troubleshooting etc.

Which Stage 3 to buy? Do Compacts strangle sound?

Postby Benjamin Golby » 14 Sep 2020, 15:30

I've been thinking of upgrading from my Nord Stage Compact to a Stage 3. Which model would you suggest buying?

The 88 key is bulkier than I'd like - I like to be portable (and I love the physical drawbars on the Stage 3 Compact). However, would you help with something I can't work out, does the Compact strangle sound?

I ask because I've been running comparisons between my old Stage Compact and a friend's Stage 88 (both from the original Stage series). Using the exact same piano samples, I've noticed the 88 key breathes and has an organic sound - the Compact, by comparison, is choked and almost plastic sounding.

Is this possibly just something from the original series? Is this not so noticeable on later models? Could this be the weighting of the keys - weighted v waterfall?

It may also be that my old Stage Compact is dying - I've been having other strange problems with it (doesn't like loading, gets stuck restarting some times). Hence, considering spending a large amount of money on a replacement.

Other than uncertainty about sound strangling, in deciding which model to buy:
- I'm not fussed between waterfall and weighted keys. I've liked having waterfall on my Compact, but weighted is fine by me.
- I don't play live anymore, mostly home studio use, so portability isn't essentially, but still valued.
- In part, the upgrade is because I want to get at the Nord Sample Libraries, and to buy Fairlight/Chamberlin/Melletron/DX7 VSTs almost, not quite but almost, justifies buying a new Nord.

Would be grateful for any advice,
Benjamin :thanx:
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Which Stage 3 to buy? Do Compacts strangle sound?


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Re: Which Stage 3 to buy? Do Compacts strangle sound?

Postby FZiegler » 14 Sep 2020, 16:00

Hi,

I've bought a NS3C and am happy with it. But of course, I'm lugging 2 keyboards to a gig: The NS3C and a weighted 88-keyboard - I can't control piano sounds on that keybed in an appropriate way, it's more than a challenge.

I'm quite sure the sound is the same and you get more controls with an NS3C (drawbars, halfmoon switch, live organ mode), but the keybed is a crucial point. I will only play piano with it in emergency cases.

Which should be perfectly fine for you as you can easily buy a Compact + a 88-key MIDI controller for your studio at the price of an HA88.
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Re: Which Stage 3 to buy? Do Compacts strangle sound?

Postby Hlaalu » 14 Sep 2020, 17:52

FZiegler wrote:Which should be perfectly fine for you as you can easily buy a Compact + a 88-key MIDI controller for your studio at the price of an HA88.


Exactly. Don't do the opposite, namely to buy a 88 and then to hope to find a waterfall MIDI controller for organ. This is what I did and such a controller either doesn't exist or it is so expensive that you might as well buy another organ clone altogether with that price.

As FZiegler says, get a Compact and get a 88 key weighted MIDI controller. This is what I'll be doing in the (distant) future when I'll buy a Stage again.
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Re: Which Stage 3 to buy? Do Compacts strangle sound?

Postby ericL » 14 Sep 2020, 20:23

I'm here to confirm that Compacts do not "strangle sound" - there will always be a different feeling based on the keyboard action though I can confirm that I had all three actions of the NS2/NS2 EX and the sounds were identical across boards. I've used both the NS3 88 and Compact with the same result. I'll always prefer playing piano from a hammer action keyboard, though I get the same sounds on a waterfall keyboard and have actually become very used to playing piano from the waterfall action. I think the Compact is the way to go, based on the comments above. I love the drawbars and portable form factor. So much that I have two of them!
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Re: Which Stage 3 to buy? Do Compacts strangle sound?

Postby LeftyBass68 » 14 Sep 2020, 21:14

I have both.88 and Compact.Both V1.2 builds with the older panels.Got a deal on the 88 when the new panel hit the showroom floors.Try and find an older Compact and bargain!
Yes,there are more than one version of the Stage 3 's out there,not just the three different 'models'.Does Nord show both on their website? No! Even in the manual it is glossed over.
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Re: Which Stage 3 to buy? Do Compacts strangle sound?

Postby analogika » 14 Sep 2020, 22:01

The hardware revisions of the Stage 3 relate to front panel differences, not differences in sound.

Some functionality that was added after the first units shipped (Dyno e-piano filters) were silkscreened onto later revisions, and I believe one knob was repositioned.

There are no internal differences to the revisions, to my knowledge.

In addition, the different models (88, 76, Compact) have identical internals, though they may of course respond slightly differently to your playing due to the variations in keyboard action.
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Re: Which Stage 3 to buy? Do Compacts strangle sound?

Postby ericL » 14 Sep 2020, 22:22

Right, I have one of the original NS3 Compact versions and one of the newer ones where they moved a few functions on the panel. All the Programs and sound capabilities are the same across versions. This was also a thing on NS2 where Nord made a few panel changes after the first year or two. I cannot remember if/when any updates were added to the manuals though the changes are pretty small.
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Re: Which Stage 3 to buy? Do Compacts strangle sound?

Postby christianjwagner » 15 Sep 2020, 17:39

Solution: Construct yourself a hybrid 2-in-1 stage like I did ;-), see in my recent post:https://www.norduserforum.com/nord-stage-forum-f3/diy-2nd-manual-for-my-nord-stage-2-sw-self-made-v-2-0-t20045.html.
Besides that, I always had the same problem. I am not a classic piano player, so my hands get tired quite easily on a weighted keybed. And I don't feel comfortable playing synth or organ parts on a heavy piano key. However, there is some unparalleled feeling when playing on a proper keyboard for Piano (acoustic, Rhodes, "ballad"). So I decided to make my own ;-)

If I needed to chose, I'd have always gone for the Compact. Right now, I'm not sure any more.
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Re: Which Stage 3 to buy? Do Compacts strangle sound?

Postby Hlaalu » 15 Sep 2020, 19:01

Well but that's the thing: if you get the Compact plus a 88 weighted controller, this is the way to have the best of both worlds. The keyboards market is in such a way that you are encouraged to do as such, as opposed to get a 88 and get an "organ"-like controller. And I speak having "wrongly" gotten a 88.

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Re: Which Stage 3 to buy? Do Compacts strangle sound?

Postby stringtapper » 16 Sep 2020, 04:36

Most likely a psychological effect of playing weighted keys versus waterfall keys.
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