Just played with a Nord Lead 4

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Andy_X69
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Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by Andy_X69 » Thu Mar 27, 2014 3:19 pm

Okay, my impressions:

The synth is very easy to use, and it sounds great. It has the characteristic Nord Lead sound... VERY bright, metallic, toothy, cutting high-end. It still isn't good for bass but its a clear improvement over previous Nords... the sound is a bit fuller than before!

The modelled filters sound good but aren't really accurate. The Moog-emulation sounds nothing like a Moog... the resonance doesn't even attenuate the bass like a Moog filter.

I thought that this synth would lack the Nord 3's FM, but the implementation of digital waveforms means that you can get better digital timbres out of this synth than out of the Nord 3(!). Its a bit less flexible than the Nord 3's FM (in terms of detuning the different FM operators) but the complex spectral waves provide very similar tonal characteristics, so its kind of a wash. And the filters are far nicer-sounding than the Nord 3's filters too.

All filters have overdrive now, plus there's addition overdrive and bitcrushing in the FX section so this synth can really scream/shriek/wail. Its very good at sounding guitar-like... rock bands particularly will love this synth for how well it will take to guitar FX pedals.

The built-in FX and the digital waveforms really increase the flexibility of this synth's sound palate.

The real problem with this synth is the stingy modulation capabilities. Sure, the real-time Morphing is cool but this synth is designed more for live performance than deep programming. However, they could at LEAST allow you to route the LFOs and Mod Env to more than one destination at a time! In addition, the fact you cannot control the pulsewidth with the Mod Env is a drawback... but a more devastating drawback is the lack of the ability to manually control the pulsewidth at all (!). At the very least the encoder used to select spectral waves could've been used to control pulsewidth.

PROS:
Sounds great. Expanded sound palate.

CONS:
Limited modulation routing.

SUGGESTIONS FOR CLAVIA SHOULD THEY WISH TO IMPROVE THE PRODUCT (OR ITS SUCCESSOR)
1) Provide 8 different destinations (as opposed to the current 6) for each modulation source
2) Allow each mod source to modulate multiple destinations at the same time, rather than only one
3) Re-introduce the NL3's Dual Sine FM mode for the second oscillator to expand FM possibilities
4) Allow manual control of the Pulse Width.
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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by chimney chop » Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:41 pm

Andy_X69 wrote:CONS:
Limited modulation routing.

SUGGESTIONS FOR CLAVIA SHOULD THEY WISH TO IMPROVE THE PRODUCT (OR ITS SUCCESSOR)
1) Provide 8 different destinations (as opposed to the current 6) for each modulation source
2) Allow each mod source to modulate multiple destinations at the same time, rather than only one
3) Re-introduce the NL3's Dual Sine FM mode for the second oscillator to expand FM possibilities
4) Allow manual control of the Pulse Width.
so strange that you can't manually control PWM!
to me the Lead 4's biggest infraction is the lack of aftertouch.
this renders the module/desktop space next to the controls useless (to me at least)

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by TheKeytarist » Thu Mar 27, 2014 4:42 pm

5) add a readable LCD
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— Benjamin Franklin

:keys1: :drums: :keys2:

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by goldphinga » Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:57 am

Hey guys, just to let you know i've made and official soundset for the Lead 4. Tried to focus on playable sounds rather than loads of arps that you usually find in these sorta banks. Let me know what you think!

htttp://www.myspace.com/jazzdoctor73
htttp://www.jd73.co.uk

LP/Voyager/Source/Moogerfoogers/NordStage/Logan SM2/Solina/Memorymoogplus/MicroKorg/B3+122RV/ClavD6/Rhodes Suitcase73x2/EmuE4K/YamahaEx5/Dx100

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by Bitexion » Wed Jul 09, 2014 4:50 pm

Heh, that guy in the comments.."Nice sample set, looking forward to hearing these samples on a future set/album"?

He doesn't have much of a clue I guess..poor guy. I guess "EDM" listeners nowadays all think everything has to be samples.

Reminds me of Deadmau5 twitter feed.

-He posts a nerdy pic of his new studio cabling patch notes.
-Ilove2party99 replies OMG Is that setlist for you next show?! I CANT WAIT I LOVE YOU PLS RETWEET

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by madtheory » Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:15 pm

I really think the Nord is over rated. Plenty of better sounding VAs out there. What their synths have going for them are:
  • Lovely mod and pitch bend controls.
  • That chorus (indie bands love it).
  • Red. You can't miss it. So every hipster knows about them.
  • Don't easily break when toured.
I think the Novation KS Rack sounds better than any Nord, and has more functionality- but the parts are less durable.
Andy_X69 wrote: ...toothy...
This could mean anything :lol:

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by vinyl_junkie » Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:50 pm

Honestly don't know what Clavia were/are smoking with their latest products or prices but any way imo their best products or certainly my favourites were the modulars, they should of expanded on that some how.

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by Pro5 » Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:51 am

madtheory wrote:I really think the Nord is over rated. Plenty of better sounding VAs out there. What their synths have going for them are:
  • Lovely mod and pitch bend controls.
  • That chorus (indie bands love it).
  • Red. You can't miss it. So every hipster knows about them.
  • Don't easily break when toured.
I think the Novation KS Rack sounds better than any Nord, and has more functionality- but the parts are less durable.
Andy_X69 wrote: ...toothy...
This could mean anything :lol:
I think the same, only I choose AN1x over Nord. Had a KS-rack, nice synth but just feel AN1x actually does what it says on the tin more often (sounds analog). Obviously Nord has the looks and the build, but on a VA especially it's the sound that counts most (or otherwise I'd just go software). I also prefer something a bit different to the ubiquitous red wedges. If it sounded amazing then ok...

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by Stab Frenzy » Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:35 am

madtheory wrote:I really think the Nord is over rated. Plenty of better sounding VAs out there. What their synths have going for them are:
  • Lovely mod and pitch bend controls.
  • That chorus (indie bands love it).
  • Red. You can't miss it. So every hipster knows about them.
  • Don't easily break when toured.
I think the Novation KS Rack sounds better than any Nord, and has more functionality- but the parts are less durable.
Andy_X69 wrote: ...toothy...
This could mean anything :lol:
Totally agree. Nords are great gigging keyboards but don't sound too hot. Agreed the pitch and mod wheels are fantastic.

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by zoomtheline » Thu Jul 10, 2014 10:56 am

Always thought they were just a bit generic.

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by madtheory » Thu Jul 10, 2014 11:31 am

Pro5 wrote:I think the same, only I choose AN1x over Nord. Had a KS-rack, nice synth but just feel AN1x actually does what it says on the tin more often (sounds analog).
Hmm the AN1x is one I didn't get to try when I was shopping. I wanted something to replace and expand on my Yamaha CS10+CS5+CS5 setup. The KS not only got me the same sounds, but I found it much easier to dial in than the 2x or the Alesis Ion (which sounds great too). I had them all (including CS) side by side for a while. Also tried the MS2000 which sounded a bit grainy/ digital compared to the others.

But the CS are not exactly "fat". I really like the KS rack. For example, I've got it to do the BoC "Roygbiv" bass (SH-101 I believe) and the EWF "Let's Groove" bass (Minimoog). The rack is better than the keyboard, which is short on envelope controls.

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by Pro5 » Thu Jul 10, 2014 12:45 pm

madtheory wrote:
Pro5 wrote:I think the same, only I choose AN1x over Nord. Had a KS-rack, nice synth but just feel AN1x actually does what it says on the tin more often (sounds analog).
Hmm the AN1x is one I didn't get to try when I was shopping. I wanted something to replace and expand on my Yamaha CS10+CS5+CS5 setup. The KS not only got me the same sounds, but I found it much easier to dial in than the 2x or the Alesis Ion (which sounds great too). I had them all (including CS) side by side for a while. Also tried the MS2000 which sounded a bit grainy/ digital compared to the others.

But the CS are not exactly "fat". I really like the KS rack. For example, I've got it to do the BoC "Roygbiv" bass (SH-101 I believe) and the EWF "Let's Groove" bass (Minimoog). The rack is better than the keyboard, which is short on envelope controls.
A nice thing about Novation in my experience, one of the encoders was dodgy on my KS-Rack, I enquired about a replacement (bearing in mind I bought it 2nd hand off ebay years after release) and not only did they send me one but they sent it for free!! :mrgreen: Now that's cool service.

An1x gives a terrible first impression because it's presets are trying to be mostly like all the other VAs of the era (trancey dancey weirdo stuff) and where the AN1x really shines is in a more vintage/traditional analog sound. I heard more impressive stuff on other unit's presets (inc ms2000 and KS-rack) - btw when I rebought an AN1x while I still had my MS2000, I played the AN just after the MS for the first time since my first AN and there was just no competition, the MS as nice as it can sound (and I don't hate it) really did show the difference between a 'fake' sound and something that's almost real (the An1x). AN was so thick and full in comparison.

Digging into them all I found AN1x had more of what I valued, a thickish, warm appealing sound somewhere between a wannabe prophet 5 & Jupiter8 and easily covering JX and Juno stuff. It'll never be quite as 'there' as the real things but it's so close it barely matters.

What I really appreciate is the feedback and edge functions as they allow you to sculpt the osc and filter sound (every change affects everything else's tone) until you hit the sound you are trying to emulate... or produce. Trying to get the sound of the JX-3P and succeeding was down to the ability to whack the feedback up to around 50 and edge set to around 100, if feedback was on zero and edge at default it sounded too different and I guess many VAs are 'stuck' sounding what they sound like in that respect.

Later on when you mess with the FREE EG it can do some really off-beat stuff, furthermore I love the 2 scenes per sound that gives 2-in-1 patches (inc the morphing) and some very thoughtful features from Yamaha (small things like scene swapping, store to scene copy from another patch's scene etc), practical stuff that makes me really enjoy using it as a sound design tool and an instrument. Plays so well too (keybed).

I don't have much bad stuff to say about the KS-Rack either, some great features... and at least it has midi sync LFOs, it didn't sound quite as warm to me next to the AN1x, but I did like it and it has a fairly "watery" filter. :)

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by madtheory » Thu Jul 10, 2014 3:32 pm

Ya watery makes some kind of sense, the CS filter could be described the same way. I just couldn't get an AN1x here to try out. The free EG was a feature I wanted- the osc parameters sound interesting, must look into those. What got me the SH101 bass on the KS was the oscillator randomness amount. Interesting about the encoder- mine has the same problem! Will be starting repair today...

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by tomorrowstops » Sun Jul 13, 2014 1:16 am

I've used Nords extensively for their sample libraries and general rock solid touring abilities. Top notch s**t for those purposes.

Synthesizer engines? Ehhhh, not so much...at least, they're just not my thing.

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by Music Maven » Tue Jul 15, 2014 10:15 am

Pro5 wrote: I think the same, only I choose AN1x over Nord. Had a KS-rack, nice synth but just feel AN1x actually does what it says on the tin more often (sounds analog). Obviously Nord has the looks and the build, but on a VA especially it's the sound that counts most (or otherwise I'd just go software). I also prefer something a bit different to the ubiquitous red wedges. If it sounded amazing then ok...
The AN1x (which I owned back in the day) definitely wins in terms of richness of sound. However, the programming interface on the AN1x is so poor compared to that on the Nord that I just couldn't use the AN1x effectively and ended up selling it. Plus, there is something more unique about the sound of the Nord 2, IMO. It's not authentically analog at all. But it's very punchy and crisp sounding.

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