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My Nord Piano 4 Review

Postby cphollis » 14 Feb 2019, 05:00

My context? I've been playing Nords for years, and have bought (and sold) a bunch of them.

A few months back, I got connected with this acoustic singing duo. We play private events mostly, and stay pretty busy. The other musos brought some game, so I felt I had to as well. Good money, super fun, not a lot of schlep. These are single-board lightweight gigs, so I thought hard about it and decided to pull the trigger on a NP4. Fortunately, budget is usually not an issue.

I have been DELIGHTED.

Most AP players are concerned with (a) action, and (b) weight. OK, it's not the same action that I get on a Bosendorfer (or Yamaha APs), but it's pretty damn good. Heavy enough that I can dig in, light enough that I'm not tired after three hours. I can easily express myself, which is all that matters.

The board weight is easily manageable, especially if you get the super-cool Nord case with wheels and the optimally placed handle. Love that bag.

I won't comment on the AP voices, except that I have everything I need in my arsenal. Two or three go-to APs, two or three go-to DPs, and then color for Jimmy Buffet or 60's stuff. Just to be clear, I have a NS3C which I use for the live electric band.

Yep, it can do a whole boatload of more cool stuff, but not what I need for the acoustic gig. I can do maybe 80% of what the NS3C does in electric band, so no big deal.

Here are the magic bits I love?

The workflow is very natural for me, and I've been playing Nords long enough that I know where every realtime control is and what it does without having to think about it.

The all-access pass to the Nord piano and sample library is worth the price of admission alone. Especially with the new dyno EPs.

The samples have a "filter" and a "velocity" button. Both work pretty well.

They make it so much easier to bring samples into a AP-centric (or DP-centric) gig. I'm not using it, but the volume pedal thing works well for this. I prefer to do it through velocity. Some super impressive results, like the angels singing their hearts out during the climax.

BTW, if you haven't gotten in sample layering behind your APs, you should. All sorts of dramatic stuff results. The musos adore it, as does the audience. The trick is to be subtle about it.

The split function works well enough. If I have to do a flute solo for a reggae tune, the split points work OK. Yes, people will bitch about variable split points, not a concern in my world.

Amplification? At the low end, it's a Bose L1 Compact. They have this nasty bass peak at 100 Hz which I can't seem to dial down. I have tools to tame it, just don't want to bring them to a low-end casual gig.

So, bottom line, the NP4 is a keeper. I've bonded with the sound. And the action. And the form factor.

Might be the sleeper in Nord product line. For an AP-centric guy like me, all good.

Cheers!
Last edited by cphollis on 14 Feb 2019, 15:51, edited 1 time in total.

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My Nord Piano 4 Review


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Re: My Nord Piano 4 Review

Postby cphollis » 07 Mar 2019, 04:21

UPDATE: The NP4 love affair continues to grow.

The Bose L1 Compact has turned out to be a pain in the butt. Dialing down the 100 Hz bass peak (+10db!) has required me to upgrade my small mixer to include parametric EQ where I can squash that bug. But now we're back to normal.

For nicer gigs (e.g. more $$$) I bring a stereo pair of K8.2s, RCF TT08-a or FA 12acs. More schlep, nicer enveloping piano sound, total ear candy. Our acoustic trio now has a full calendar, and we've started to charge more. Seems like people respond to two great singers and piano dude supporting them. See the thread on the STAY stand which is part of the deal.

The NP4 continues to shine.

I don't know what they've done to the action, but it's turning out to be way better than my NP2 (which I liked) and better than the few times I've played a NP3. Once you get used to it, let it rip!! Super comfortable, super expressive. More people should be talking about it, because I think it's something special.

My hand strength has now improved to the point where I can play 3-4 hour piano-centric gigs on the NP4 and not suffer the next day. The action is firm, solid and responsive, but not overly stiff. That's appreciated. I'd put the action up there with among the best DPs: Yamaha, Kawaii, etc. Everyone has their preferences.

Even with the super-simple architecture of the board (choose a piano, choose a sample, choose a split) there's an amazing amount of moods and feelings you can get very easily. Play it through some serious amplification, it's a VERY immersive experience -- which, in turn, makes me play more expressively.

The other musos in my acoustic trio think I've brought manna from heaven. They continually comment on how great the board sounds. Well, it does.

My N3C stays in its bag, unless there's a loud electric gig coming up where I need sonic firepower. Otherwise, it's my NP4 on a single-tier stand, looking good -- and sounding great!
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Re: My Nord Piano 4 Review

Postby SteveNordP3 » 07 Mar 2019, 05:11

Does your Bose L1 have the Tone Match mixer? Tons of eq capabilities there. I love mine! It’s mono - though you could use a pair of them to do stereo - I find live it’s not needed.

Glad to hear the 4’s action works for you. I’m disheartened with the feel of the 3 but the sounds are absolutely outstanding. Thanks for the update!
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Re: My Nord Piano 4 Review

Postby kikiubo » 25 May 2019, 08:09

What are the main differences between P2 and P4? I´m thinking about buying one of those but cannot decide yet.
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Re: My Nord Piano 4 Review

Postby baekgaard » 25 May 2019, 11:32

The NP4 has 2x the amount of piano memory, and 4x the amount of sample memory. It has a better keyboard with an extra sensor. It supports seamless transitions (i.e. it doesn't cut the sound when you change from one program to another). It has 3x the amount of polyphony in stereo (and 2x in mono). It has a better display. It has more locations to save your programs. It also supports the latest epiano sounds (that are quite a bit improved, in my view), and is has the improved filters (including dyno settings). Split points can do crossfades. There are other smaller or larger tweaks in the UI too.

Bottom line: a much better instrument, if any of the above are important to you. If not, the NP2 is still a fine keyboard :-)
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