Which Nord?

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Funkydroid
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Which Nord?

Post by Funkydroid » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:16 am

:hmm: Hi! Can someone who has good knowledge on Nord synths give me a suggestion what to look out for in the future? There seems to be lot's of Nords on second hand in my area but i'm not in a hurry, just want that sound to my collection at on point.

Certainly not into electro but more into synth side. Also modular is off as i'm going into eurorack soon. Lead,pad,bass, el piano, organ- in that order would be the sounds i'm looking for it.

Now from brief research i gathered that older ones have better sound? Which would you recommend? I like that they really keep their value as older Lead2 is going 800+€. Are they really built like a tank way? I appreciate your insight!

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Post by chvad » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:18 am

The Leads aren't really great for pianos or leads. Leads are great at classic synths duties. Some leads have wavetables but they are ok at best for emualtion of other instruments. Clavias other products hit those areas much better. The leads are great synths though old and new. Old sounds better than new is entirely subjective. Ive had a Lead 4 for years and it sounds great. Build quality on Nords is great. If you ride hard on the pitch stick that might have to be replaced occasionally as those can wear out.

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Post by minimalist » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:25 am

The Lead 3 has a nice FM implementation and the best user interface due to the LED collars on each knob. When modulating from an external source, it is really helpful to see the LEDs dance. :love:

Some prefer the sound of earlier ones but my experience is limited to the 3, which I really like but mainly for the cool lights. :oops:

The A1 is meant to be great as it has interesting shortcuts (for want of a better description) and a "like" button which is like a soft save so you can revert to previously liked patches if you get lost exploring a sound.

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Funkydroid
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Post by Funkydroid » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:30 pm

Tnx folks, wow A1? Haven't noticed that. Does the A1 has any improvements over the usual lead 1-4

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Post by chvad » Tue Apr 25, 2017 12:34 pm

the A1 has some odd limitations. If I was choosing between that and other leads I'd go with the other leads.

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Post by Catmandeux » Tue Apr 25, 2017 1:46 pm

Funkydroid wrote:Tnx folks, wow A1? Haven't noticed that. Does the A1 has any improvements over the usual lead 1-4
The primary differences with the A1 are...
An all new oscillator engine.
To my understanding, the same filter engine but no 48dB low pass option
A shaper configuration that can skew or PWM any waveform
Effects that were modeled after specific classic vintage effects
Streamlined architecture... faster to edit... not as flexible as the Lead 4, some functions are hardwired (such as LFO2 being dedicated solely to vibrato)
Some data values are curated, particularly cents for detune
Uses 3 stage instead of adsr envelopes... faster to edit, slight sacrifice in expression.
And the "Like" button as mentioned earlier
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Post by ranix » Tue Apr 25, 2017 2:36 pm

I like my Lead 4 a lot. The left hand controls are wild. The "impulse morph" feature lets you do some crazy timbre changes on the fly. It's piles of fun to just noodle on a square wave with impulse morph changing the pwm, delay parameters, detune, etc. I also like that each of the 4 polyphonic channels can be controlled independently via MIDI. And it's really super fast to dial in a patch from the init patch.

I recommend trying a Lead 4 in a store before deciding on the A1, I think the impulse morph is a killer feature worth buying the Lead 4 for.

One negative aspect I noticed is that there is a high-rpm fan inside cooling the CPU. It's audible and distracting sometimes.

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Post by chvad » Tue Apr 25, 2017 3:29 pm

there's no fan in the lead 4. its just a loud transformer. I do agree its a bit of an annoying thing though. the morphs are def great.

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Post by 12eightyfive » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:32 pm

The Leads 1 and 2 you can find for well under a grand, those sound great! The nord Mod (1 at least, can't speak to 2) is fun, hard to make patches on (if you are computer illiterate like myself) but going for pretty cheap nowadays (under a grand also). North of a grand you've got the Wave, which mixes samples with a decent synth engine (comparable to the Lead 3's anybody?) but at that price (~1800) you might as well keep an eye out for a cheap Stage - bound to be coming down in price now that the Stage 3's on the horizon. Kind of like a Wave but with a great piano and organ section as a bonus! :deadbanana:

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Post by Blairio » Tue Apr 25, 2017 10:51 pm

A used 'Stage 2' is a good call. It gives you a great keyboard action, plus piano / Electro / VA synth capabilities. The closest thing to a Stage 'Lite' is the Electro 5, but that has no synth capability - other than playback of synth samples.

Nord kit is very well built, finished, and plays and sounds great. As a result most people who buy Nords tend to hang on to them. This means that there are few 2nd hand Nord bargains to be had, but also that they are a good investment.

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Post by 12eightyfive » Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:37 am

I got some good stuff out of my Electro, but yeah, no synthesis. I did put some of my own synth samples on there - and it might have worked for me - but no pitch bend or mod wheel :bang: anyway, you get some flutes and organs going, little bit of Fairlight samples, sounds amazing.

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Post by fac » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:00 am

If you don't mind using a software editor, I'd suggest grabbing a first-gen Nord Modular. They're incredibly cheap for what they do. The G2 is also great but quite expensive these days.

It does not matter if you plan to buy an analog modular. The Nord Modular is a thing of its own and does lots of things an analog modular can't (and viceversa).

Nord Leads are also good synths. My favorite is the 3, but right now I own a 2X rack. Raw sounding, no-nonsense interface, and adequate for pretty much any electronic genre. Add some external effects if you need them.

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Post by Catmandeux » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:25 am

With regards to the Nord "modulars", are there any issues with running the design software in a modern OS? I assume it's for the windows platform. Or do you need to run a VM for the computer OS?
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Post by taylor12k » Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:35 am

i've got a lead 1, a G2 and a wave.. and the lead 1 is my favorite among them and one of my favorite synths of all time. there is something about the sound and strange little sweet spots in the oscillator section that make for incredibly organic and beautiful sounds.

i love the wave for it's expanded feature set, but the sound of the 1 much better.

the G2 has been sitting for a couple of years... as i've really not much desire to program it from a computer... (one day i'm sure i will again)


feature set is fairly objective, but the sound of these synths is highly subjective. what i find as the "best" sound you may not at all...

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Post by gruebleengourd » Wed Apr 26, 2017 11:22 am

My favorites are the the expanded NL1 v2 and NL3.

I'll concur with taylor12k above that there is something special about the NL1's sound and programming behavior. It's not really so much a virtual analog as a organic weird digital pseudo subtractive styled synth. Be forewarned unexpanded it only has 4 voices.

The tone of the NL3 is much different and more neutral. I like it's FM implementation and the distortion / dual filter modes. It's not so immediately accessible as the NL1.

The NL2 and NL2X are similar to the NL1, but not quite as charismatic.

The NL4 is a good VA but lacks the drum mode of the older leads.
It might be the best all rounder, but is the least uniquely interesting (Well maybe 2X). IMO
Drum mode is very cool.

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Post by taylor12k » Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:07 pm

yes, expanded and V2 EPROM on my NL1 as well... a must. am i correct in my memory that the NL1 is the first "virtual analog" synth ever made?

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Post by 12eightyfive » Wed Apr 26, 2017 12:28 pm

Catmandeux - I ran Nord Mod 1 software on a new windows computer (8) no problem.

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Post by cube48 » Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:16 am

Catmandeux wrote:With regards to the Nord "modulars", are there any issues with running the design software in a modern OS? I assume it's for the windows platform. Or do you need to run a VM for the computer OS?
NMG2 editor on W10, no major issues here except occasional disconnections. Restarting the editor gets me back to editing.

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Post by abruzzi » Fri Apr 28, 2017 8:11 am

Catmandeux wrote:With regards to the Nord "modulars", are there any issues with running the design software in a modern OS? I assume it's for the windows platform. Or do you need to run a VM for the computer OS?
The NM1 windows editor runs fine on modern OS's. The Last Mac version was a beta for OSX PPC, so it does not, however the windows version runs perfectly on wine on OSX. There is also an open source version of the editor called nmedit, written in java I believe, but I've never tried it.

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Post by syzygywell » Sun Apr 30, 2017 11:35 pm

The A1 is limited next to the other leads. However it sounds incredible (I've not heard a synth get that close the CS80 brass sound before). I have the 2x. I think if I were in the market for one I'd consider an expanded Lead 1 and an A1.
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Post by gruebleengourd » Mon May 01, 2017 10:25 am

taylor12k wrote:yes, expanded and V2 EPROM on my NL1 as well... a must. am i correct in my memory that the NL1 is the first "virtual analog" synth ever made?
I think one could make arguements for either Roland D50 or the Yamaha VL1 being the first VA or having sufficient "virtual analog" characteristics, but I do believe the NL1 was the first to be marketed as such.

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Post by digitalganesha » Wed May 03, 2017 11:57 pm

The NL3 is my absolute favorite digital synth. I don't treat it as a virtual analog synth but rather a straight digital sound synthesizer if that makes any sense. I would never go to it for analog sounds - that's what actual analogs are there for. What I use it for are huge dreamy pads, chaotic futuristic soundscapes, weird alien electric piano/dulcimer sounding instruments, synth key sounds that would fit in a "guitar" based rock/grunge type scenario and cosmic ambient space layers. It's power lays in the 4 part multi performances. Get's big and complex easily.

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Which Nord?

Post by Guille » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:25 pm

Hi there. For electric pianos and organs, any Electro will do the job. For synth leads, pads and basses, go for a Lead. But if you don't need or you're not interested in tweaking the synth parameters, the Nord Sample Library (compatible with any Electro) has tons of VERY good sounding classic synths.

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Post by khyber » Thu Dec 07, 2017 12:49 pm

Subjective, but I've owned a Nord Lead 1, Nord Lead 2, Nord Lead 2x (as well as the Nord Modular 1, Nord Micro Modular, and Nord Modular 2) and I like the Nord Lead 2 out of all of them sound and features wise. The NL1 really needs the voice expansion to shine (hard to come by these days), but the NL2 has roughly the same sound engine implementation (as is indicative of the presence of Pelle mode!) as the NL1 as well as more patch space, Nord Drum programs, and the best front panel font out of anything in the Nord line :).

Nord Lead 2x was a machine that I thought built on the success of the Nord Lead 2's engine (NL2x was my first Nord), but the sound engine is actually completely different and the sound itself seems thinner and less pronounced. It shares similarities with the Nord Lead 3 in that realm, people can coax great sounds out of it apparently. I'm still won over by the sound and immediacy of the Nord Lead 2, will probably be with my studio for as long as I have a studio.

All that said however, my favorite Nord architecture wise is the Nord Modular 1. It's a modular synth in a box with literally millions of user created patches out there to help guide your work. Sound quality is reminiscent of the Nord Lead 1/2 (Nord Modular 2 felt like Nord Lead 2x/3 in terms of sound quality) but the Nord Modulars contain so much uniqueness and possibility in terms of sound design. Getting the archaic software editor working isn't that much of a pain anymore, so much potential in that synth.
Last edited by khyber on Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Guille
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Which Nord?

Post by Guille » Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:04 pm

Agree with khyber. My first Nord was a NL2x. I ended up selling it (after 7 years), because it sounded so thin and unattractive to me.

Regarding the question on the topic, if you want synth leads, pads and basses, I'll prefer going for any existing analog polysynth.

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