nord lead 2x or mek ?

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radam
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nord lead 2x or mek ?

Post by radam » Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:05 am

Would you rather add a nord lead 2X or a DSI MEK to the following system:

mpc4k, a-station, ms2000r, tx802, microwaveII


I'm replacing my midi keys controller with a synth and it has come down to these two options.

I bought the nord I've got it in the studio now. It's still returnable. I'm loving how you can setup "drum kits" where it basically splits the keyboard into zones with different patches. The drums sound great too. This is sort of what I'd really be sad to give up. Is anyone out there getting nice drum sounds like this from their MEK's?

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Post by yburn » Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:43 am

the MEK is an analog monosynth. I can make drum sounds but only one at a time, ALTHOUGH you can kind of create fake drum and bass loops using the sequencer to control individual oscs although the filter settings in the sequences can get difficult to get right.
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Post by tunedLow » Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:48 am

While you definitely can get percussion from the MEK, you won't get stuff that's on the Nord. But I just sold a Nord Lead 2x for a MEK and couldn't be happier. I didn't give a second thought to losing the drum sounds though, there are tons of free drum samples online, and I never thought the Nord's were all the special.

How did you come down to these two? They are very different synths.

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Post by tyrannosaurus mark » Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:31 am

I just sold my nord lead 2 for an evo

they do very different things, but if the evo fits your needs better it's great because it's so small and cheap, plus its anaolgy sounds are much for varied to my ears
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Post by clubbedtodeath » Sun Apr 06, 2008 12:41 pm

Hi Radam

Welcome to VSE.

Since this is your first time here, I suggest you read the Guidelines (click here).

It's best to do a bit of research on synthesisers before asking questions about them here: that way we can help you better.

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radam
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Post by radam » Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:18 pm

Oh trust me, I've done my research (haven't we all done way too much?). VSE has become quite a valuable tool. Thanks so much to all contributors!

Over the past few days of playing the Nord, I do actually quite enjoy percussive keyboard split ability. I feel like the MEK could possibly be a bit more versatile as an additional synth for me right now though.

Do any of you have experience with both the MEK and the microwave? Has your experience been that the microwave is more extensive as a wavetable synth? Or do you feel that the MEK's digital side is right up there with it? Is it true that there is no way to modulate or "sweep through" a wavetable on the MEK?

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Post by clubbedtodeath » Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:50 pm

radam wrote:Over the past few days of playing the Nord, I do actually quite enjoy percussive keyboard split ability. I feel like the MEK could possibly be a bit more versatile as an additional synth for me right now though.
I have the Desktop Evolver, the keyboardless version of the MEK. It's a versatile synth alright -- near modular in parts -- but it's monophonic. You'll certainly not get any 'percussive keyboard split ability'.

Comparing it to a Nord Lead, which I also own, is comparing chalk with cheese. This makes your question a difficult one to respond to.

If you don't mind, I'd like to pose you some questions of my own:

- What kind of music do you play?
- What gap in your current set-up are you trying to fill?
- Are there specific roles you want to cover?

Cheers,
A.

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radam
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Post by radam » Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:07 pm

I'm working mostly in experimental electronic music, but it's a tough question to answer. I'm also doing quite a bit of sound design for film.

My initial goal was simply to replace my keys controller with something that also makes sound, why not right?

I have a feeling that they keys on the MEK are probably a bit nice than the nord.....am I right?

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Post by clubbedtodeath » Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:39 pm

radam wrote:I'm working mostly in experimental electronic music, but it's a tough question to answer. I'm also doing quite a bit of sound design for film.
In that case, I'd check out the Evolver. The Evolver has far, far more modulation routings than the Nord Lead.

The Evolver has:

- 4 LFOs
- a 3rd assignable envelope
- 4 tracks (one per oscillator) for an internal 16-note sequencer

That might not sound too exciting, but each one of those has a 'destination': ie., it can be routed to modify a variety of sound parameters - well over 60 of them (see 'Modulation destinations' in the manual). You can also lay on top modulation wheel and aftertouch to do the same thing. The Evolver can be treated as an effects processor too, since it has stereo inputs.

You have two delay units. But you can adjust the feedback of both on the fly, more than that, you can change the feedback frequency on the fly, spontaneously. (This is one of my favourite features)

My own feeling about the Evolver is that, while it can easily do wild sounds, it will also cover the area of lead monosynth when quite happily. To some it seems like it has quite a powerful sound, possibly dominating a mix, but switching the output to mono and using the highpass filter gives the sound a certain delicacy.

As far as concerns over DCOs and the DSP which covers half of the signal path -- I was never aware of any aliasing, and that Curtis low-pass filter certainly made those DCOs sound warm enough to me.
My initial goal was simply to replace my keys controller with something that also makes sound, why not right?
Indeed. I can't answer any questions on the MEK as a controller, though.

Personally, I'd get the Evolver because it sounds bloody good.

(And no, I don't work for Dave Smith!)

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radam
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Post by radam » Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:50 pm

And in terms of using it as a percussion generator....I could simply create patches for each sound, and then build patch changes into my sequence?

Does the internal sequencer allow for patch changes?

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Post by clubbedtodeath » Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:10 pm

radam wrote:And in terms of using it as a percussion generator....I could simply create patches for each sound, and then build patch changes into my sequence?
No; it's not capable of that.

Each of the four Evolver oscillators (2 DCOs, 2 digital waveforms), has a sequencer track to itself. That track can be used to control their individual note pitch, and any of the other modulation destinations for that patch.

I honestly can't see it replacing the percussion functionality of the Nord Lead. It is a wholly different beast.

I would however, strongly suggest you take yourself along to a music shop and try going through some of the patches. It's capable of other-worldly sounds that the Nord Lead can't touch.

If you have the money, you could go for the polyphonic keyboard version of the Evolver, the PEK...
Last edited by clubbedtodeath on Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by nathanscribe » Sun Apr 06, 2008 6:13 pm

Have a good read of this stuff:

http://www.carbon111.com/

Plenty of good info on the Microwave and the Evolver (and its sequencing capacities).

The MEK has a nice keyboard with aftertouch, which the Nords lack. Though of course you only get 3 octs rather than 4. I have both a MEK and a Nord 2x rack, and they fill different roles sound-wise. I also have a Waldorf XT, but haven't really used it yet. Initial impressions are that it is yet a different creature with a different niche.

The MEK, being an Evolver, contains wavetables from the VS, so there's some of that digital edge in there. For my money, I hate the Nord's percussion, I think it sounds like c**p, but it's not my cup of tea. It's a good all-round VA within its limitations, but if you want to get experimental I recommend the MEK.

Anyway, go and read Carbon's stuff. Illuminating.

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Post by JSRockit » Sun Apr 06, 2008 7:28 pm

Based on the info given... I can't decide for you. :lol: [/list]
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radam
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Post by radam » Mon Apr 07, 2008 5:03 am

clubbedtodeath wrote:
radam wrote:And in terms of using it as a percussion generator....I could simply create patches for each sound, and then build patch changes into my sequence?
No; it's not capable of that.

So I'm assuming you meant that the internal sequencer is not capable of changing patches....

Couldn't I just build the patch changes into the mpc's sequence?

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Post by actuel » Mon Apr 07, 2008 6:26 am

i agree these are really different beast, but just to offer a different perspective i am not a fan of the EVO or MEK. i have owned both. while they have a huge laundry list of features and plenty capable, the sound and programming on these units does nothing for me...and no i'm not whinning about the matrix of the EVO :)

now before i get slaughtered...i have owned many-o-synths and love sound design and programming. i just don't enjoy these units. i have tried to get into it...twice. i have yet to give-up total hope and am still holding onto my MEK...for now.

having had both units i can't imagine drawing a line between the two. i will say this, i know more people who have had a EVO/MEK and sold them, then i know folks who have sold their Nords. BUT(!) in most of those cases it was a the EVO which the interface seems to jive with some and not others.

good luck. either is plenty powerful.

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