Just played with a Nord Lead 4

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Pro5
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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by Pro5 » Wed Jul 16, 2014 11:34 am

I have zero, and I mean 0.0000 problems programming any traditional sound from the AN1x's interface. It's all there in front of you at the push of a 'select' button.

You don't need to use the matrix/rockers for basic sound shaping, and stuff like the FREE EG (which is better done from the software editor) is a bonus not including on most synths anyway.

Sure it could have had a better interface and better build but the sound more than makes up for it. Even if it didn't do these analog emulations so nicely, everything else it does just makes it a really great and useful synth to me, I fill a bank of 128 (+ scene 2s) with hardly any effort, just dialing in new, beautiful and musically useful sounds. I wish it had a card slot for ease of swapping sounds (as I have so many banks for it now that I've made). I love the texture of it, the harmonics even when not really analog sounding, it has it's own sound that is a cross between an 'ideal analog' and some weird digital space machine, sounding warm and thick enough for a mix at least (which you normally EQ a lot of the low end out of on bass heavy machines anyway).

Am not knocking the Nord particularly, I'm sure it's got many positives I'm just stating why I find the AN1x so good soundwise, and I enjoy programming it. I don't enjoy the multi select knob for the rockers (i.e flicking between unison detune, poly/mono mode/arp settings etc) but realistically there is so much included that had they put everything on a knob I have a feeling they would have just sooner removed features (like on the JP-8000 which pales against an AN1x in sound quality AND possibilities). Furthermore I appreciate a full size keybed vs most other VAs inc nords and the JP, that is probably more vital to me than a few more lesser used features mapped readily to physical controls.

And besides you can plug a midi box in and map the lot if you want easy hands on without mooching around the interface :)

I could not live with some of the limitations of the early nords vs what I now know I can turn to the AN1x to do effortlessly.

And that sound... :mrgreen:

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by madtheory » Wed Jul 16, 2014 4:03 pm

How do you think the AN1x compare to the V Synth VA?

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by Pro5 » Thu Jul 24, 2014 9:41 am

madtheory wrote:How do you think the AN1x compare to the V Synth VA?
AN1x is much smoother, far easier to coax 'realistic' sounding analog tones from, reacts in a more analog fashion (all the various sections feeding off each other), is warmer, sounds thicker and the filter is nowhere near as 'shrill' and cold.

The PWM is nicer on the An1x (to my ears) sounds very close to what I'd expect (say from an Alpha juno PWM), the raw oscillators sound nicer, it's a bit more punchy, and has what appear to be more analog like envelopes/response.?

Resonant filter sweeps on both show the AN1x is extremely smooth and able to cope with some immense res and analog squeals without getting harsh, the V-Synth you have to be more careful with as it can thin out and get very digital/harsh if you just set things haphazardly. However a lot of my favourite V-Synth 'analog style' patches sound great because of that COSM filter being the way it is, and the slightly grainy quality is why I love it, it's different and it beds into a foundation of a track nicely.

Upsides to the V-Synth is that for certain types of VA/Analog sounds it can be a bit more bitey/aggressive than the An1x which can do heavy sounds but with a soft sheen vs the more 'raw' sound from the V-Synth. The An1x also can tend towards being a bit too perfect sometimes, slightly pre-mixed almost (good for a mix but not as easy to hit you over the head), V-Synth can do some very extreme things that can pierce your brain, which sometimes you need, and also has a touch more overall presence/body.

I think V-Synth has more frequency representation (low to high range) and less 'idiot friendly' filters. I believe the AN1x filters are slightly tamer than they say (24db isn't quite that) but I think Yamaha did that to constrain the VA engine within it's power so that it didn't over-reach, basically they made a lovely sounding instrument and probably didn't care too much about it being technically correct on paper.

I'd give the An1x a 9/10 for sounding, acting, feeling like a analog, and the V-Synth maybe a 6/10 if you program it very well (otherwise it sounds like **** doing va duties; V-Synth is a real 'dig in' machine where as An1x is very easy to get great sounds all the time). :mrgreen:

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by madtheory » Thu Jul 24, 2014 4:19 pm

Thanks :)

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by guillermotin » Sat Jul 26, 2014 8:48 pm

This is to Pro5: Thank you very much for your posts in this topic. I've had a An1x for 4 years, and I agree 110% with your thoughts. I couldn't have said it better. Maybe you should re-post these in one of the topics centered on the An1x.

I've yet to play the Nord 4, but I've got plenty of experience with the Nord Lead 2x, and a bit of experience with the Nord Lead 3.

I used to have a group of synth students, so one day I brought my An1x to a head-to-head comparsion with the Nord 2x. We dug every parameter of the two synths, and tested basic tones and procedures like filter sweeps and so on. Though it was not a scientifically-controlled experiment, it was not lame either. We had a method and paid attention to several details to make the comparison viable. We were in a studio environment, used good quality cables, the monitoring was made on Genelecs, the sound interface was an RME Fireface, and so on. We would come up with a sound in the Nord, and then used the An1x to replicate it.

To sum up all nerdiness, we were able to mimic every single sound in the Nord with the An1x, but the opposite was not possible. The An1x could sonically reach the Nord, and could go well beyond it. The secret, as Pro5 pointed out, was in the less-common parameters the An1x had, namely the Edge and Feedback controls, the Unison and polyphony modes, and some of the built-in Fx like the Apex enhancer unit. The Nord had only one sound for a sawtooth wave, whereas the An1x had several. We even tested "supersaw" tone capability on both synths, by making a bread'n'butter "Jump" saw pad patch and maximizing it to the limit of each synth. On the Nord, you could turn on unison and copy the patch to fill up the four slots, spreading and detuning. On the An1x, despite the initial disadvantage of not having 4 slots like the Nord, we tuned up the feedback, detune, unison voices and spread controls. The result was that the An1x simply devoured the Nord Lead, and then asked for dessert. All students were unanimous: the An1x was the thing.

It's a shame that we didn't have the idea to record the whole thing. Maybe I'll replicate this whole experiment and record it properly for you guys.

So, why would I want a Nord? I believe it's more of a performance-oriented synth, it's noticeably better constructed and the interface is slightly more immediate. I would keep my beloved An1x in the studio throne, and take the Nord to withstand beer spills at the concert - were less people would notice the sonic difference between the two...

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by Music Maven » Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:07 pm

guillermotin wrote:To sum up all nerdiness, we were able to mimic every single sound in the Nord with the An1x, but the opposite was not possible. The An1x could sonically reach the Nord, and could go well beyond it.
That's where I beg to differ. The AN1x definitely sounds more convincingly analog than the Nord 2. However, nothing sounds like a Nord. No other synth has that snappiness, punchiness, and in-your-face aggressive tone (without resorting to saturation, feedback, etc.).

So if you want a truly unique synth (both in terms of sound and features,) get the Nord. If you want something that sounds more analog, maybe get an AN1x. But if authentic analog sound is what you are after, then just get a Prophet '08. It might not be the best sounding analog synth of all time, but it certainly sounds more analog than the AN1x (because the Prophet is actually an analog synth!)

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Re: Just played with a Nord Lead 4

Post by Pro5 » Mon Jul 28, 2014 11:13 am

Music Maven wrote:
guillermotin wrote:To sum up all nerdiness, we were able to mimic every single sound in the Nord with the An1x, but the opposite was not possible. The An1x could sonically reach the Nord, and could go well beyond it.
That's where I beg to differ. The AN1x definitely sounds more convincingly analog than the Nord 2. However, nothing sounds like a Nord. No other synth has that snappiness, punchiness, and in-your-face aggressive tone (without resorting to saturation, feedback, etc.).

So if you want a truly unique synth (both in terms of sound and features,) get the Nord. If you want something that sounds more analog, maybe get an AN1x. But if authentic analog sound is what you are after, then just get a Prophet '08. It might not be the best sounding analog synth of all time, but it certainly sounds more analog than the AN1x (because the Prophet is actually an analog synth!)

Check the price difference between the P08 and the AN1x sometime. Your advice holds no water to those who like to buy smart as well as for sound. :mrgreen: I would hope the P08 does sound 'more analog', there would be some weird stuff going on at DSI if it didn't.

One thing I wanted to add about the V-Synth Q vs An1x is also of course the V-synth has quite noticeable aliasing up high while the AN1x is one of the best digital synths I've ever heard at disguising aliasing.

However, the V-Synth is still overall the more 'powerful' and you can of course sample in real analog waveforms and do amazing (and analog sounding) things with them, albeit in a digital fashion (as they are not live waveforms as in the AN1x/Analogs; though mix in a little of the VA side on the other osc and...)

And thanks to the poster above who appreciated my info... :D

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