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

Stage Classic Compact or Electro 5D

Postby Guido3 » 13 May 2018, 11:48

I could just do with a bit of guidance regarding the 2nd board for my live rig. I currently use a Nord Piano 2 as my main board and use a Novation Sl61Mk2 to control Mainstage as my 2nd board.

There are times when I would like to leave my Mac at home but at the moment I can’t as I need a 2nd board. I am looking to replace the Novation with either an Electro 5D or a Stage Classic Compact. As I would mainly be using the top board for Organ, the Electro would make more sense as it has manual Drawbars and also has an upgraded sound engine compared to the Stage Classic. However, the Stage Classic would give me more versatility as it has the built in synth and the ability to pull external sources onto the front panel.

The only thing that is stopping me getting the Stage Classic is it’s age. Are the piano and EP sounds upgradable or is it too old to use either the current crop of samples?

Can anyone throw some advice my way? Electro 5D makes more sense as it is a lot more current but the Stage would integrate better into my live rig plans.

Thanks.
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Stage Classic Compact or Electro 5D


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Re: Stage Classic Compact or Electro 5D

Postby MartinJ2EX » 13 May 2018, 16:41

As you know, Stage Classic has no sample playback.. The synth is very outdated - not that you can't get a good sound out of it (you can for sure), but Sample playback is one essential feature I wouldn't want to miss...

Maybe the Electro 6 would be the perfect choice for you? ;)
500 MB for samples, so you could put lots and lots of Synth samples in it :D

Stage Classic Organ is probably sounding a lot different to NE5 / NE6 / NS3 :?
As the Nord website says
"Nord Piano Library
Compatible with:
Nord Stage/EX/2/2 EX/3 • Nord Electro 3/4/5/6 • Nord Piano/2/3"

But: Stage Classic has 128 or 256 MB (sorry if I'm wrong here) of Piano memory, so you won't get a lot of Pianos in there...


If your priority is the Master Keyboard functionality (and a basic synth w/o samples), I'd get the Stage Classic c
If it's the new Organ engine, 1GB of piano memory and 250/500MB sample memory, I'd get a NE5 (or even better NE6)


Leaving out of question that the NS Classic is very old, and I'm not sure if you'll get one in a reasonable condition. ;)
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Re: Stage Classic Compact or Electro 5D

Postby anotherscott » 13 May 2018, 17:30

Guido3 wrote:the Stage Classic would give me more versatility as it has the built in synth and the ability to pull external sources onto the front panel.

If you will only be using the Nord's built-in sounds when you are NOT using Mainstage, then the EXT function you describe may not make much of a difference, as one of its big benefits is n integrating internal and external sounds simultaneously. As long as you are only playing one or the other, it's not so different from what you can do on the NE5D. Though as a MIDI controller, the Stage also adds benefts like pitch stick, mod wheel, and aftertouch.

Guido3 wrote:The only thing that is stopping me getting the Stage Classic is it’s age. Are the piano and EP sounds upgradable or is it too old to use either the current crop of samples?

You can load all the same EPs and almost all the APs. You can't load the ones that are bigger than 128 mb. (And of course can't load as many at once.) They won't have the more advanced string resonance or long release options as they do on newer models, though. However, since you have all these capabilites on your Nord Piano 2, maybe they won't matter much here anyway.

A big advantage of the NE5D over the Stage is that it can load samples from the Sample Library (or your own custom samples), but again, since you can also do that on your NP2, maybe that doesn't really matter here.

Check out the thread at nord-stage-forum-f3/stage-ex-t15412.html which involves a similar comparison, between the Nord Stage EX (same as the original Stage except double the piano memory) and Electro 3 (similar to the Electro 5... the 5 has more memory, abilty to split/layer 2 sounds, drawbars, OLED display, string resonance and long release piano enhancements, etc.... but loses some Clav settings).

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Re: Stage Classic Compact or Electro 5D

Postby Guido3 » 13 May 2018, 17:44

Martin, thanks for taking the time to reply.

As I already have a Nord Piano 2, I have a lot of bases already covered. I’m just missing the organ!!! Whatever I get, I wouldn’t be loading it with Piano sounds. Probably A few E.Pianos, Clavs etc.... It would be purchased purely for the organ plus control of Mainstage.

Obviously, an Electro would tick all the boxes but the Stage Classic Compact would also do this plus a few extra bits. I have found one for sale near me so I have the option to get one if that’s the right thing to do.

Whatever I get needs a waterfall keybed. Electro 5 would give me splits and layers and the sexy OLED screen. An Electro 4D would also work (I used to have a E4HP so know what it’s capable of). The Stage will give me the synth, organ and 2 panels of each plus the ability to use external sources. However, it is 10+ years old so not really cutting edge!!!

It’s a really tricky one. Is the organ significantly better on the 5 compared to the 4 or the Stage Classic?
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Re: Stage Classic Compact or Electro 5D

Postby Guido3 » 13 May 2018, 19:20

To put things in context.....

Nord Stage Classic Compact £750 inc Nord case
Nord Electro 5D - £1000 ish.....


Where would your money go?
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Re: Stage Classic Compact or Electro 5D

Postby anotherscott » 13 May 2018, 20:12

Guido3 wrote:As I already have a Nord Piano 2, I have a lot of bases already covered. I’m just missing the organ!!! Whatever I get, I wouldn’t be loading it with Piano sounds. Probably A few E.Pianos, Clavs etc.... It would be purchased purely for the organ plus control of Mainstage.

So the issue of whether the Classic can use current Piano/EP sounds really doesn't matter anyway.

Looking at the purchase strictly from the perspective of the board being purely for organ plus control of Mainstage, my main question would be, when using it as a controller, would you have any need for the board to have pitch bend, mod wheel, aftertouch, or any other kinds of controls (like knobs for synth filter cutoff/resonance, envelopes, that kind of thing)?

Another board I might look at is a Numa Organ 2. It functions as a 61-key organ with drawbars, or you hit a button and it functions as a 73-key MIDI controller with pitch and mod wheels. Strictly as an organ and controller, I'd say it beats the Electro 5. Of course, it has none of the Electro's non-organ sonic capabilities, but as you say, you've pretty much got those covered in your NP2 anyway.
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Re: Stage Classic Compact or Electro 5D

Postby Guido3 » 13 May 2018, 20:36

anotherscott wrote:Looking at the purchase strictly from the perspective of the board being purely for organ plus control of Mainstage, my main question would be, when using it as a controller, would you have any need for the board to have pitch bend, mod wheel, aftertouch, or any other kinds of controls (like knobs for synth filter cutoff/resonance, envelopes, that kind)

Yes mod wheel and pitch ‘stick’ would be nice but not a deal breaker. Ultimately, it will come down to the quality of the organ. If the Electro 5 is miles better, that’s the direction I think I’ll go. If not much in it, Stage it is. It’s going to be used live so would be difference, if any, be that noticeable?
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Re: Stage Classic Compact or Electro 5D

Postby anotherscott » 13 May 2018, 22:42

Guido3 wrote:
anotherscott wrote:Looking at the purchase strictly from the perspective of the board being purely for organ plus control of Mainstage, my main question would be, when using it as a controller, would you have any need for the board to have pitch bend, mod wheel, aftertouch, or any other kinds of controls (like knobs for synth filter cutoff/resonance, envelopes, that kind)

Yes mod wheel and pitch ‘stick’ would be nice but not a deal breaker. Ultimately, it will come down to the quality of the organ. If the Electro 5 is miles better, that’s the direction I think I’ll go. If not much in it, Stage it is. It’s going to be used live so would be difference, if any, be that noticeable?

Nord has improved the organ over the years, but there's always a subjective quality, you'll even routinely see some people here complain about a new "improved" organ and say they liked the older one better. Part of it is just opinion, part of it may be usage (a jazz player may focus on different aspects of the sound than a rock player or a gospel player), and there are just so many elements to it, not just when comparing one Nord to another, but also in comparing a Nord to a Numa or anyone else's. It's hard to say that any quality emulation is clearly better than another. One may have a better tone, another may have better chorus/vibrato, another may have better percussion, another may have more tweakability, another may have better overdrive, another may have a better rotary effect... and most of these "betters" are subjective as well. And to me, having real drawbars versus not is probably a more significant difference than some of the tonal differences!

Check out the thread at nord-electro-forum-f9/hamm-c3-5d-organ-simulation-technical-qs-t15405.html for more thoughts about comparing organ sounds.

So to you question, is the NE5D organ miles better than the original Stage? Well, there's no way to measure it, but I think most would probably say yes, between the improvements to the organ and the rotary effect that have been made over the years, plus the drawbars. But someone else might think the difference isn't so significant, and only you will be able to tell how big a difference it is to you. Again, I'd also look at Numa, since many people seem to feel Numa organ is better than Nord, and that way you can get your real drawbars AND your pitch and mod wheels, and still be within about the same budget. Plus the Numa action is not as highly sprung, so most people feel it's better for that reason as well. Nord probably adds more resistance to their action because they feel it make it more amenable for piano playing as well, but since you are not concerned with piano playing from this board, that's not a factor for you.

But again to show how hard it is to say anything is unquestionably better... I liked the rotary effect of the Numa Organ 2 much better than the NE5D... but I liked the leakage ("vintage") effect better on the Nord than the Numa. It's always something...

ETA: For organ alone, the Mojo61 is another strong contender, possibly the best of the bunch... my suggestion of the Numa is based on it being stronger as a controller, with its 73 keys, pitch/mod wheels, and front panel button to switch it between internal and external sounds.
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