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#2931050 - 06/04/18 10:42 AM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: GregC]
AnotherScott Offline
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Registered: 10/19/09
Posts: 12322
Originally Posted By: GregC
I am interested in objective reasons why the money conscious, scrutinizing musician pays the premium for a Nord Stage.

1. Real-time control. No other board gives you 9 drawbars for organ AND a full set of 15+ VA synth controls. Plus all the controls for effects, EQ, etc. Everything available instantly and simultaneously.

2. Related to that, the ease of use that comes with dedicated, labeled, logically placed controls, as opposed to constant repurposing of generic knobs/sliders.

3. Sound quality. Few, if any other boards sound as good as it does both as a piano AND as a clonewheel.

4. Light travel weight. On the Compact, you get it all in a 22 lb box.

What competes on those grounds?

Originally Posted By: stoken6
But man I wish the ROMpler was more flexible. (A strings patch and a brass patch I could load into a Piano slot would go a long way for me).

The nice thing is you can easily integrate some good strings and brass patches by using its EXT function with an iPhone/iPad/iPod Touch or sound module. As opposed to how much worse it would be if it were a stronger rompler, but you wanted to improve its organ/synth/piano sounds with one of those devices.

Originally Posted By: Adan
First, hardware is expensive, and Nords tend to have more of it in the form of panel controls.

Second, it's probably more expensive to manufacture in Sweden than Japan.

Third, economies of scale, as there are fewer Electros than there are Roland 61-note boards that use common components.

Fourth, a lack of competition. If someone else made a board with the kind of hands on control that Nord offers, Nord would have to be more competitive.

Those are all possible explanations for why Nords are more expensive, but I think that's a bit different from the question the OP was really asking, which wasn't so much why they are expensive as why musicians are willing to pay so much for them!

But yes, the Vox Continental is one of the few boards that is conceptually competitive. Obviously much more limited (no splits, far fewer simultaneous controls and controllable synth parameters, no aftertouch or mod wheel, only 16 user presets, no way to load new samples into it, fewer organ and synth functions, poor MIDI functionality, lots of scrolling to select from more than a handful of sounds) but it does offer quality piano/organ/synth in a lightweight board wth lots of real-time control, and I assume has the edge over the Nord in rompler sounds.

Another conceptual competitor would be the Roland VR09/VR730. Still missing a lot of Nord Stage functionality (though again, probably stronger as a rompler). Synth editing requires an iPad app. Max two sounds at a time, and they have to share the same effects. No aftertouch or ability to load new samples, poor MIDI functionality, lots of scrolling to select from more than a handful of sounds.

I think there's also the question of the value of having it all in one keyboard. The combination of, say, a Korg SV1, Numa Organ 2 (or Mojo61, XK1C, whatever you like), and Studiologic Sledge would be pretty killer, arguably sonically beating the Nord in every way except acoustic piano, and with the same kind of hands-on control immediacy. But you end up in the same price range, and have a lot more gear to lug around, and have to do a lot of MIDI work if you want to start layering sounds from the different instruments, or change presets for multiple sounds at once. (And still light on the rompler side, btw.) Maybe replace the SV1 with a CP4 or something for better piano, trading off some of the real-time control of the SV1. Or maybe a Sledge over that VR09/VR730 or Vox Continental would be a nice way to go. But I guess in the end, every combination has its pros and cons, and nothing quite gives you what a Nord Stage does except a Nord Stage.
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#2931054 - 06/04/18 10:59 AM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: Delaware Dave]
DanL Offline
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Registered: 09/22/05
Posts: 4200
Loc: DE
Originally Posted By: Delaware Dave
Why is there such a disparity in pricing between the Stage and the Electro? There are alot of similarities in sound sets, keybeds, knobs, sliders, features, etc.. Why double the price difference? At one time (early electro and stage) there were far more differences than than there are today but the disparity in current pricing seems unjustified to me with the latest stage and the latest electro.


You can play 6 sounds at once with a Stage and only 3 with the Electro 6. The stage is like having 2 electros built into 1 board. Plus the synth section on the Stage is a fully functional VA, not just a sample player like on the Electro, but the Stage can use samples as well. Assignable outputs on the Stage vs a hard left right split on the Electro. Better midi capability on the Stage.
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#2931056 - 06/04/18 11:15 AM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: DanL]
Stokely Offline
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Registered: 12/15/12
Posts: 1837
Loc: Florida
I'm certainly debating getting a stage, but probably a stage 2 unless I can make a deal with the boss (see below).

I haven't been a huge proponent of one keyboard at gigs--after my pc3 crapped out--but Nord seems very reliable, and for my "level" of gigs boy would it be nice to gig with one. No submixer needed. (I'd still have my singer's juno D as an emergency backup, I keep it backstage. Weighs like 15 pounds....)

My idea: We are moving and our acoustic upright was given away...so since Junior needs something to practice on, perhaps we can work something out *rubs hands together*. After all, while I have a Studiologic controller and software, no way an 11-year old could manage to set that up to practice. I am, of course, joking...he and all his friends have been installing minecraft mods and juggling java versions since they were wee. Missus might not know that smile

A huge attraction for me is the 73/76 note version. There is no way I need or want an 88-key board at gigs, our stages are small and I really don't do much splitting...one split at most.

I know the Nord Stage actions aren't probably the chosen one for serious pianists, but my kid ain't that serious smile And he'd probably love tinkering around with all the cool sounds. We'll see if this scheme flies.

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#2931059 - 06/04/18 11:18 AM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: Fusker]
GregC Offline
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Registered: 10/26/03
Posts: 5440
Loc: Discovery Bay, California
Originally Posted By: Fusker
Originally Posted By: Delaware Dave
Why is there such a disparity in pricing between the Stage and the Electro? There are alot of similarities in sound sets, keybeds, knobs, sliders, features, etc.. Why double the price difference? At one time (early electro and stage) there were far more differences than than there are today but the disparity in current pricing seems unjustified to me with the latest stage and the latest electro.


You know, you raise a solid point, I'm going to take a deeper dive on the Electro 6. Maybe this thread will save me $1,100, lol.


Thats a cool story if you determine smarter use of your hard earned money.

And I promise not to send you an invoice for my role in selling more Nord keyboards wink
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#2931061 - 06/04/18 11:21 AM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: Stokely]
Outkaster Offline
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Registered: 02/25/06
Posts: 6100
Loc: Rochester, NY
Funny I remember these discussions starting back on HC during 2001. It's grown into quite the brand loyalty, something I have never seen except with boards from Roland, Mojo and few others. I believe the best rigs I see are guys that use boards from more than one manufacturer. I think it can be dangerous to think in terms of one brand sometimes. I was real apprehensive about the Forte because I am a Yamaha guy but it's grown on me.
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#2931062 - 06/04/18 11:25 AM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: DanL]
jeffinpghpa Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 473
Loc: Charlotte, NC
I owned 3 Nords between 2007-2017: Stage Compact, Stage 2 76HA and Electro 5D 73.

Very reliable, never had a failure at a gig in 10 years, build quality is excellent, user interface is outstanding. They always sounded good, especially in the mix. Worth the money as an all in one keyboard for piano, EPs, organ and "some" synth as a bonus.

Sonic quality was always good relative to other instruments at the time (I sold a Roland VR-760 V-Combo to "go Nord" originally).

I think the Stage 2 HA-76 was a great instrument. My only knock on it was that the 500MB piano capacity wasn't enough.

Electro was worth it to take to jam sessions and rehearsals, but the lack of synth controls, pitch bend and aftertouch was a little underpowered for my use.

I used a CPHollis type of rig with the Stage 2 HA76 as my bottom board and the Stage Classic, then the Electro 5D 73 as my upper board and thought it was overall a great set of tools.

In 2017, I did a new rig and when I sold my Nords, I decided not to buy them anymore, especially considering Stage 3. Here were my reasons not to buy new Nords in 2017:

- The sonic quality of Nords are great, but I found some better sounding instruments. For my needs, the Kurzweil Forte 7 sounded better for pianos, EPs, clav and synth by noticeable difference. (Nord really needs to update their clav, wurlitzer and rhodes samples, compared side by side with Purgatory Creek or Weisersounds)
- The Hammond organ emulation and leslie sim of the Nord remains much better than Kurzweils in this category, but....
- I decided to buy a 2 manual clonewheel - Viscount Legend Live - which sounded better than my Nord Electro 5D by a big margin and a much better Hammond playing experience. I figure for gigs that focus on organ, I'll bring the Viscount Legend out.
- In my opinion, Nord made a critical design mistake in the 76 keybed between the Stage 2 and the Stage 2 EX. I really liked the HA-76 keybed, the Fatar TP/40. They abandoned that to cut weight and cost and replaced it with the TP/100, which was, in my opinion, a show stopper. Again, the advantage for better action in a 76 key stage piano was the TP/40 in the Kurzweil Forte 7.
- I used to expect to keep my Nords as a long term investment. I feel the same way about my Kurzweil Forte 7 and Viscount Legend Live. For the rest of my boards, I am buying more into the mid-priced category, such as:
- I now use a Roland FA-07 as my portable board for rehearsals and jam sessions. Very portable and easy to carry around and sounds fine for what I need it to do. It's cheaper. It's plastic. I don't expect to still be using it in 10 years either.
- I'm using software and iPads more and more. I have a nice Novation SLMKII controller with 49 keys that also makes a light and nice sounding 2nd tier board that's small.
- Lastly, I plan to add a 61 key synth, like a Studiologic Sledge 2.0 Black... that will leave me with 5 keyboards to pick from for any gig:

- 76 key Kurzweil piano with the TP/40 action that I like in a 76 key size.
- Dual manual dedicated clonewheel
- 76 key workstation/light/portable - FA-07
- 61 key synth with lots of knobs and controls
- 49 key controller to kick bass and leads

I usually ask myself which 2 boards would best get me through a gig in any combination.

Everything sounds pretty good and I think gives me more best of breed flexibility than a Nord Stage 3, but I would certainly enjoy playing a Nord Stage again if money were no object.
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#2931063 - 06/04/18 11:25 AM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: Stokely]
stoken6 Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 1791
Originally Posted By: Stokely
probably a stage 2
A 2? So secondhand? See if you can swing a 2EX - the IEC connector is more convenient, and the extra memory doesn't hurt.
Originally Posted By: Stokely
And he'd probably love tinkering around with all the cool sounds
My son was offered the choice of Trombone or "keyboard" at school. It turns out "keyboard" = auto-accompaniment/arrangers. He's a talented pianist, and will get absolutely zero out of this.

Instead, I told him "you know my red keyboard in the front room? And how you make it go <portamento FX> and <filter sweep FX> and <tempo-sync delay FX>? That's REAL keyboard".

Cheers, Mike.
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#2931066 - 06/04/18 11:29 AM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: GregC]
ElmerJFudd Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/30/14
Posts: 6170
Loc: USA, greater NY area
Could it simply be that since Nord designs and assembles in Sweden - costs are simply higher in factory and office space, as well as salaries for staff at all levels from managements to assembly line. I don't know what import to the US from Sweden adds to the cost. Maybe some of our MI industry friends here can tell us what the markup is on a Nord Stage 88 dealer cost vs. street/advertised price and is it beyond what they make on Yamaha, Roland, Kurz, Korg, etc. I'm suspicious because somehow Crumar/GSi has been able to meet much better price points and are similarly coming from the EU.
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#2931072 - 06/04/18 11:42 AM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: jeffinpghpa]
stoken6 Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 05/12/12
Posts: 1791
Originally Posted By: jeffinpghpa
76 key Kurzweil piano with the TP/40 action that I like in a 76 key size.


I got my Nord 6 years ago. If I was starting again now, I think I'd try the Forte7 with an unweighted controller.

To the original point of the OP, I've kept my Stage 2 for a few years so the high cost has certainly proved a better investment than (hypothetical example) a Roland VR09 that would have frustrated me with its lower-quality action, fragile external PSU and MIDI/FX limitations.

Cheers, Mike.
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AX48.PM351.FC7.VFP2
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#2931074 - 06/04/18 11:52 AM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: Adan]
kenheeter Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 03/02/11
Posts: 189
I've always thought I have gotten more than my money's worth with Nord Keyboards. I have owned many and currently have a Stage EX 76 and a Stage 2 SW73. I don't want to sell or upgrade either of them. We all make choices and sometimes money is the only factor but not for me when it comes to music. I want minimum impedance on stage and that's what the Nords give me. And I never think of it as 'getting the job done'.

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#2931078 - 06/04/18 12:09 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: kenheeter]
Adan Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 01/14/10
Posts: 2550
Loc: San Francisco
This is, like, the 47th discussion I've seen on this board of whether Nord keyboards are overpriced. Not that a repeat of these discussions isn't useful because, it's worthwhile reconsidering whether Nord is losing its advantage. Nords EP and organ emulations used to be part of every "top 5" discussion. Now only their APs enjoy that status. The pedestrian key beds used to be less of a liability but now there are more and better playing experiences to be found exposing this Nord weakness. Other manufacturers have made improvements in real time controls but imo this is where Nord still holds a trump card.

But the idea that Nord just floats on its former reputation doesn't ring true to me. What you see on KC is people listening to every video, playing everything they can get their hands on, and scrutinizing every detail. Currently I don't own anything made in Sweden, I don't owe the Swedes nothing!
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#2931079 - 06/04/18 12:12 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: kenheeter]
AnotherScott Offline
10k Club

Registered: 10/19/09
Posts: 12322
Originally Posted By: Adan
I for one don't really know if it costs more to manufacture or assemble in Sweden but it's certainly plausible that it is.

Oh, sure. A quick google tells me that Foxconn in China pays $2/hour, which is above average, pay in some areas can be as low as 50 cents an hour. Even unskilled labor in Sweden gets more in the $10-$15 range.

Originally Posted By: Adan
Originally Posted By: Jazz+
Maybe it's partly over compensation... I get the job done with a $750 PX-360. I make a lot of money (a full time income) performing. In the beginning I thought I needed fancy tools, but now I know it is down to musicianship and not the gear.

What if you needed a sawtooth wave with filter sweep? The world would be a less interesting place (for me) if everyone was playing jazz using a handful of patches.

Yup. Sure, I could play a gig with nothing but a Casio PX-360, especially if my repertoire didn't call for an extensive tone palette. But if you need to play pop hits like Uptown Funk, or meaty Hammond organ stuff, it's probably the wrong tool for the job. (To say nothing of the amenability of that action to organ playing techniques.)
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#2931085 - 06/04/18 12:22 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: jeffinpghpa]
GregC Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 10/26/03
Posts: 5440
Loc: Discovery Bay, California
Originally Posted By: jeffinpghpa
I
In 2017, I did a new rig and when I sold my Nords, I decided not to buy them anymore, especially considering Stage 3. Here were my reasons not to buy new Nords in 2017:

- The sonic quality of Nords are great, but I found some better sounding instruments. For my needs, the Kurzweil Forte 7 sounded better for pianos, EPs, clav and synth by noticeable difference. (Nord really needs to update their clav, wurlitzer and rhodes samples, compared side by side with Purgatory Creek or Weisersounds)
- The Hammond organ emulation and leslie sim of the Nord remains much better than Kurzweils in this category, but....
- I decided to buy a 2 manual clonewheel - Viscount Legend Live - which sounded better than my Nord Electro 5D by a big margin and a much better Hammond playing experience. I figure for gigs that focus on organ, I'll bring the Viscount Legend out.
- In my opinion, Nord made a critical design mistake in the 76 keybed between the Stage 2 and the Stage 2 EX. I really liked the HA-76 keybed, the Fatar TP/40. They abandoned that to cut weight and cost and replaced it with the TP/100, which was, in my opinion, a show stopper. Again, the advantage for better action in a 76 key stage piano was the TP/40 in the Kurzweil Forte 7.
- I used to expect to keep my Nords as a long term investment. I feel the same way about my Kurzweil Forte 7 and Viscount Legend Live. For the rest of my boards, I am buying more into the mid-priced category, such as:
- I now use a Roland FA-07 as my portable board for rehearsals and jam sessions. Very portable and easy to carry around and sounds fine for what I need it to do. It's cheaper. It's plastic. I don't expect to still be using it in 10 years either.
- I'm using software and iPads more and more. I have a nice Novation SLMKII controller with 49 keys that also makes a light and nice sounding 2nd tier board that's small.
- Lastly, I plan to add a 61 key synth, like a Studiologic Sledge 2.0 Black... that will leave me with 5 keyboards to pick from for any gig:

- 76 key Kurzweil piano with the TP/40 action that I like in a 76 key size.
- Dual manual dedicated clonewheel
- 76 key workstation/light/portable - FA-07
- 61 key synth with lots of knobs and controls
- 49 key controller to kick bass and leads

I usually ask myself which 2 boards would best get me through a gig in any combination.

Everything sounds pretty good and I think gives me more best of breed flexibility than a Nord Stage 3, but I would certainly enjoy playing a Nord Stage again if money were no object.


Its cool you presented your keyboard/rig history so clearly/succinctly.

When I read your post, and posts of others , I accept the enthusiasm for Nord sound
quality.

There is 1 other possible factor to toss into the discussion- ear fatigue or 'over familiarity, or simply " bored with the sound character ".

This is a possibility that might happen over time. For example, I got bored over ' that Roland sound' some 10 yrs ago . I sold all my Roland gear. No regrets.

That was then. Recently, I saw the value of the FA07 and realized the Roland approach has a valid place in my Songs' sound requirements.

I know I am drifting from my opening post. But is it possible to be attracted to other good looking women after several years while your current g/f is very attractive.

Excuse the metaphor wink
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#2931086 - 06/04/18 12:25 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: kenheeter]
OB Dave Online   content
Platinum Member

Registered: 04/25/09
Posts: 1122
Loc: San Diego CA, US
Originally Posted By: burningbusch
Does the country of manufacture really matter?


Yes. A million times yes. There's a reason that everybody manufactures in China, and it's not for the scenery or the pork siu mai.

First of all, nobody does component level assembly by hand anymore, with perhaps a few point-to-point wired boutique tube amps excepted. Surface mount circuit boards are all mass-assembled by machinery, but somebody has to set up the machines, the machines require electricity, and so on, and all of that is much cheaper to do in China. The cost of labor in China is 1/10 to 1/20 what it is in the US or Sweden. Somebody has to load the parts into the machine, load the PCBs in, take the finished ones out, inspect and test, put them into enclosures, deal with rework, and on and on.

Electricity, transport, all of that is much cheaper too. It's so much cheaper in fact that it makes sense to assume all the risks of building over there, and then having your finished goods sitting in a container ship for a month or two awaiting delivery.

So I don't know where Nord has their PCBs manufactured, but the final assembly, inspection, packing, and shipping is all done in Sweden.

As for whether Nord keyboards are "worth" the cost, that's a value judgement that everybody makes on their own. Was my Bosch drill really worth a hundred bucks? I had my doubts when I ordered it, but damn, that is one nice drill. Hard to explain, but coming off a cheapie Ryobi drill, the Bosch feels better balanced, more compact, and I'm not the sort to get excited about power tools.

Like others, I've owned two Nords and found them to be exceptionally well-built and they've never failed me. Nord was still releasing new library sounds for the Electro almost decade after I bought it, and when I sold it, it retained its value very well.

My NS2 seemed expensive as hell when I bought it, but I've amortized that cost many several hundreds of gigs since I bought it, and fully expect it to serve me well for several hundred more, and still have resale value left at any point along the timeline. And they're still releasing new sounds for it.

I just wish they'd improve the tonewheel voice, but that's another thread.

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#2931090 - 06/04/18 12:37 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: OB Dave]
jeffinpghpa Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 473
Loc: Charlotte, NC
I get the point Greg. Nords ARE a good value for an all in one as long as your synth requirements are secondary to organs and pianos.

I think Nord organs still sound great.

I don't think the rhodes, wurlitzer and clav are particularly strong, whereas 10 years ago they were a reason to buy. Now I think the rhodes/wurlitzer/clav are a reason not to buy, but I would say neutral.

I think I have said this, but the action of the TP/100 makes the HP products less desirable.
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#2931092 - 06/04/18 12:39 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: jeffinpghpa]
AnotherScott Offline
10k Club

Registered: 10/19/09
Posts: 12322
Originally Posted By: DanL
Originally Posted By: Delaware Dave
Why is there such a disparity in pricing between the Stage and the Electro? There are alot of similarities in sound sets, keybeds, knobs, sliders, features, etc.. Why double the price difference? At one time (early electro and stage) there were far more differences than than there are today but the disparity in current pricing seems unjustified to me with the latest stage and the latest electro.


You can play 6 sounds at once with a Stage and only 3 with the Electro 6. The stage is like having 2 electros built into 1 board. Plus the synth section on the Stage is a fully functional VA, not just a sample player like on the Electro, but the Stage can use samples as well. Assignable outputs on the Stage vs a hard left right split on the Electro. Better midi capability on the Stage.

...plus multiple split points, aftertouch, more effects controls, morphs, pitch stick, mod wheel. Or to put it the way you did, it's kind of like having 2 Electros plus a Nord Lead A1, plus some other stuff. It's not quite eveything in those three boards, but functionally, it's close, plus it has aftertouch, MIDI integration, etc.

Originally Posted By: jeffinpghpa
I now use a Roland FA-07 as my portable board for rehearsals and jam sessions. Very portable and easy to carry around and sounds fine for what I need it to do.

I ended up with a DS61 to fill that role. Even smaller/lighter, and particularly adept at managing two-way splits on the fly, which is nice when it's your only board (the easily accessible independent octave shifts for each sound helps stretch the functionality of its mere 61 keys). But the FA-07 is a nice board, too. I had one briefly and decided that, except for its lighter weight, I preferred my Artis7 (something you have covered in your Forte 7), and when super-light is the ticket, the DS61 filled the bill just fine.

Originally Posted By: jeffinpghpa
49 key controller to kick bass and leads

pet peeve... the only way to "kick" bass is with foot pedals ;-)
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#2931094 - 06/04/18 12:42 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: AnotherScott]
jeffinpghpa Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 05/22/07
Posts: 473
Loc: Charlotte, NC
pet peeve... the only way to "kick" bass is with foot pedals ;-)

Noted, AnotherScott. 2 minutes in the penalty box for that one! :-)
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#2931100 - 06/04/18 12:58 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: OB Dave]
burningbusch Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 10/22/00
Posts: 7946
Loc: Ghost Planet
Originally Posted By: OB Dave
Originally Posted By: burningbusch
Does the country of manufacture really matter?


Yes. A million times yes. There's a reason that everybody manufactures in China, and it's not for the scenery or the pork siu mai.

First of all, nobody does component level assembly by hand anymore, with perhaps a few point-to-point wired boutique tube amps excepted. Surface mount circuit boards are all mass-assembled by machinery, but somebody has to set up the machines, the machines require electricity, and so on, and all of that is much cheaper to do in China. The cost of labor in China is 1/10 to 1/20 what it is in the US or Sweden. Somebody has to load the parts into the machine, load the PCBs in, take the finished ones out, inspect and test, put them into enclosures, deal with rework, and on and on.

Electricity, transport, all of that is much cheaper too. It's so much cheaper in fact that it makes sense to assume all the risks of building over there, and then having your finished goods sitting in a container ship for a month or two awaiting delivery.

So I don't know where Nord has their PCBs manufactured, but the final assembly, inspection, packing, and shipping is all done in Sweden.


I think everyone gets the fact that it's much cheaper to manufacture in Asia vs. Europe/USA. I'm referring to the notion that there's this direct link between country of manufacture and quality. Again, I come back to Apple. Do you think the iPad/iPhone would have a higher build quality if they were made in Sweden? If so, what would be the difference? Seems to me, design and quality control standards are the main ingredients. BTW, where was that Bosch drill of yours actually manufactured? Malaysia?

I've owned enough European cars in my life (including a new S-Class) to know I have zero interest in them. Just my personal experience in terms of reliability vs. Japanese models.

Busch.

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#2931105 - 06/04/18 01:17 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: jeffinpghpa]
AnotherScott Offline
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Registered: 10/19/09
Posts: 12322
To the 4 key points I listed above that make a Nord worth paying for (and in a sense, something with no competition), I'll add expressivity of playing. That's kind of related to all the real-time controls, that you can grab so many things to tweak the sound as you play, but also the aftertouch, the pitch stick (which is my favorite pitch bender), the multiple pedals (i.e. a dedicated organ swell, with another pedal I can easily use for anything I want). So getting back to some ways it can still beat out the otherwise generally more capable Kronos, you can't put two foot pedals on a Kronos, and I don't care for the joystick. (Glad it has aftertouch, though!)

I really like the Kronos, but I consider it the best "call up a preset and play it" board... which of course, is exactly all that many players need. Live, I never touch anything but the keys and the Set List slots. Easy, sounds great. But no tweaking. Even off-line at home, I don't care to tweak much. The interface is cumbersome, the screen is finicky, and I don't set up sliders or knobs to do things because I'll never remember what they do anyway. I don't even set up the pedal to do tricks, because even that is so cumbersome compared to a Nord morph. And as an aside, there should be a law against black buttons on a black background. For anything past patch selection and just playing the keys, Nord's ergonomics are way above Kronos. If I need to create a sound from scratch, it's Nord over Kronos every time. I can do in a few minutes what could take me a whole lot more time on the Kronos, and it's more fun to do, because I feel like I'm working on an instrument, not a computer.
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#2931108 - 06/04/18 01:43 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: AnotherScott]
stillearning Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 06/27/13
Posts: 399
Originally Posted By: AnotherScott
... I'll add expressivity of playing. That's kind of related to all the real-time controls, that you can grab so many things to tweak the sound as you play, but also the aftertouch, the pitch stick (which is my favorite pitch bender), the multiple pedals...

I feel like I'm working on an instrument, not a computer.


My sentiments exactly.

My Stage is the first keyboard Iíve had in years that I just connect with. If something happened to it, Iíd get another.


Edited by stillearning (06/04/18 01:51 PM)
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#2931113 - 06/04/18 01:58 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: stillearning]
Nadroj Offline
Platinum Member

Registered: 08/19/13
Posts: 1092
Loc: Edinburgh, Scotland
To further add to the many similar answers here, my Electro is probably the most limited board I've owned in terms of pure functionality, but it's without a doubt my favourite one. If I could only keep one, it would be the Electro. I look forward to playing it. I can imagine the greater functionality of the Stage would make it even more fun.
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#2931114 - 06/04/18 02:01 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: stillearning]
harmonizer Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 08/11/06
Posts: 739
Loc: NJ, USA
As an owner of an Electro 3, which is pretty old gear, I have been very pleased with Nord publishing new acoustic piano and EP sounds that still work with my very old gear. While I only have room for the "Large" size version of the AP sounds along with the Nefertiti EP sound, Nord did not have to accomodate the Electro 3 at all - but they did.

Now I will poke a little fun at Nord here - the Electro has to be the most expensive piece of keyboard gear that still lacks a pitch bend control.

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#2931119 - 06/04/18 02:22 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: harmonizer]
SteveO42 Offline
Member

Registered: 02/07/18
Posts: 20
As an old timer, I liken Nord to Kurzweil. Back in the dark ages most of us were wondering why Kurzweil was so darn expensive compared to some of the other brands. Oberhiem being one clear exception to the rule. Jump forward a few years, ok a few decades, and Kurzweil has always maintained and retained it's value. At least until the "vintage / boutique" market started grossly inflating prices.

Nord is the same thing IMHO. I've played many Nords and I agree the sounds are standard stock bread and butter but just seem to sound nice and sit very well in a mix especially live. Casio is very similar in that regard.
Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think Nord tweaks the stock Fatar keybed to their own specifications.

I recently went with an RD-2000 because for me it was a better choice action wise and a lot cheaper. I'm not actively gigging at the moment though so this is for the studio.

Just my 2 cents.

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#2931120 - 06/04/18 02:24 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: AnotherScott]
ElmerJFudd Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 11/30/14
Posts: 6170
Loc: USA, greater NY area
The Kurzweils rank very high on ďcall up a preset and play itĒ as well.
I wish theyíd do a Forte in a 7x and or 61 key synth action.
Until then - the Artis 7 is an excellent value. As is the SP6.
And this is another reason why forking out for a Nord is tricky.
There are other options for less that very well may check the boxes youíre after.
So you have to take them for a ride to see if you can justify what we call the Red Tax, or the Overhead of going Red.

- side note, as a reality of musicing for a living I donít drive a Porsche either. Thatís not to say I wouldnít nab an 80s BMW M3 and fix it up someday in my elder years. Eh, but who am I kidding, Iíd take the cash and do a Dave Ferris and get the Steinway.

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#2931123 - 06/04/18 02:46 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: Adan]
Pianolando Offline
Member

Registered: 05/25/14
Posts: 19
I have owned and frequently gigged with many of the top models of the big manufacturers for the last 20 years, from the incredibly big Korg Triton Pro X, K2500 (owned just for a month), Yamaha S90ES (used and loved for years), Kronos (used a few years and kinda liked), now Yamaha Montage 8 (amazing but enormous) but also a few Nord Electros and both Stage 1 and 2. Many of these boards have their use, but what keeps me returning to my Nords for probably more gigs than the others combined are:

1. Great sounding pianos, Rhodes, Wurlys that cuts through the live mix better than any of the others. Also they don't collapse in mono.

2. A full clonewheel with instant access to drawbars (even if they are LED on my Stage 2). Not best in class, but still a galaxy above and beyond what's in Kronos and Montage. None of the competitors have this. If it wasn't for the weighted action I could easily do a full organ gig on it.

3. A real VA, with "knob per function". Filter instantly accecable, how is it even possible that the other big ones don't have that? Any parameter can be routed to expression pedal or mod wheel in an instant as well as combining many parameters to one controller. Nord has had this probably 10 years before Yamahas "revolutionizing" super knob.

4. Instant access to FX, just as if I had a pedal board. On/off but also insta-tweak. Nerdy attention to detail, for instance they have two phasers, Phase 90 and Small stone, so you convincingly can fake both Donald Fagan or Richard Tee with the Rhodes samples. This is as far from diving in the Kronos/Montage menus as you can come and makes playing live much more fun as everything is accessible at all times.

5. EXTREMELY reliable. I had three Kronos, first two broke down on live TV shows. Third one I sold quick as I felt I couldn't trust it completely. Have played in rain with the Nords and even if my Stage 2 is extremely worn it still hasn't failed me even once.

6. An ever expanding library with free sounds from Clavia. I just recently updated the Rhodes and Wurly samples. The old ones were very good, the new ones best in class imo, it feels like a new instrument again.

7. Great indie and retro sounds, pump organs, Mellotron etc.

8. Better uprights than any of the others. Actually there are 12 different ones, from saloon to indie to slick and most of them beats out the competition.

9. More intuitive than any of the others and not by a small margin which makes it a true live musicians instrument. Extremely fast to program. AnotherScott said it best: It feels like a real instrument. Imho none of the others do.

10. Weighted 76 key action, makes it extremely portable. Why doesn't the others have this?

This is starting to sound like a love poem to Nord, but the thread actually got me thinking why I have used them so much. There are definitly huge downsides as well, the biggest ones in my book are that you only can use 2 synth sounds at the same time and that the sample section only has one velocity layer. Then there are other irratating things, as fixed pitch bend range and other stuff.

For me cost is a very small issue if I am going to use the instrument for hundreds of shows. The Nord Stage 2 has payed for itself so many times over it's really a non issue, but of course I didn't know that when i bought it.

I feel that none of the other synth manufacturers really understand what a live muscician really needs or wants. I don't think their engineers have ever done a gig in their life, but maybe they just have really different needs from me. As always, YMMV.


Edited by Pianolando (06/04/18 02:48 PM)

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#2931126 - 06/04/18 03:01 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: Adan]
MojoGuyPan Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 07/30/08
Posts: 418
Loc: Mainland Florida
Split the difference and play your brand of jazz on the Prophet X. A happy Adan is a happy life.

There is a certain type of person that buys a Nord. I don't want to get into it here but you know the type. Nord knows how many marks are out their and simply caters to their fetishes in order to take them. They're using Fatar just like everybody else yet their prices are stratospheric. You don't even need to read between the lines here. It is standing right in front of you staring you in the face. Think about it, the very much more capable and much more nicely appointed Kronos 73 is priced at $3400.

That's all I'll say. That's all that needs to be said.

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#2931132 - 06/04/18 03:39 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: MojoGuyPan]
BuckW Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 06/20/17
Posts: 276
If you value or need a ROMpler more than a good Hammond sound the Nord might not make any sense.

If you value or need a good Hammond sound the Nord covers maybe as many as 3 bases within the form factor of one instrument.

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#2931142 - 06/04/18 04:41 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: MojoGuyPan]
AnotherScott Offline
10k Club

Registered: 10/19/09
Posts: 12322
Originally Posted By: MojoGuyPan
There is a certain type of person that buys a Nord. I don't want to get into it here but you know the type. Nord knows how many marks are out their and simply caters to their fetishes in order to take them. They're using Fatar just like everybody else yet their prices are stratospheric. You don't even need to read between the lines here. It is standing right in front of you staring you in the face. Think about it, the very much more capable and much more nicely appointed Kronos 73 is priced at $3400.

That's all I'll say. That's all that needs to be said.

I'm not sure, but I think this is from someone who found sufficient value in a $2300 Crumar Seven with a Fatar action and a tiny fraction of the capabilities of a Nord Stage.

I'm lucky enough to have a Nord Stage 3 and a Kronos. Two great boards, but the Nord is the one I get more satisfaction from.

Throw an iPad (or if you want to get fancy, maybe a Surface Pro) onto the Nord, and you can add most Kronos advantages to the Nord. There's no way to add the Nord ergonomic/operational advantages to the Kronos.
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#2931144 - 06/04/18 04:52 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: AnotherScott]
Daniel71 Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 08/27/11
Posts: 115
Loc: Rimouski Canada
Canít go wrong with a stage, thatís why I have two 88 :-)
Stage 3 and 2 ex.

Regards

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#2931145 - 06/04/18 04:56 PM Re: Nord Stage Keyboards; The $3400 to $4500 decision [Re: Daniel71]
cphollis Offline
MP Hall of Fame Member

Registered: 10/05/13
Posts: 2453
Loc: Massachussets, Florida
Yeah, well, I have way too many these days. Two NP2s. Two NE4Ds. A NS3 Compact. And a Nord Stage 2 76 that's sort of sold as soon as the guy can pay me.

No regrets. But am beefing up with other brands these days. No gigging joy so far, but hopeful?
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