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Nord Piano 88 - medium term report (and 2,000 up!)


Aidan

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I've been aware for a few days now that I was about to tip over the 2,000-post mark and into the Hall of Fame - my word, do I waste some time here but what a continuing joy it is!

 

Anyway, I thought I'd better do so with a post of at least some significance or potential usefulness so after a couple of months of ownership, here's a medium-term report on the Nord Piano 88.

 

The main reason for acquiring the Nord was definitely weight. I got tired of hauling 25kg pianos around and a wedding gig where I had to move performance locations three times - all up and down stairs - persuaded myself and my back that I needed something lighter.

 

In that respect, the Nord fits the bill perfectly. It's not the absolute lightest on the market but it's full compass, well built, has an internal PSU and can easily be tucked under one arm for moving.

 

The relatively compact dimensions have also been a boon in spaces where I would traditionally struggle. Last weekend, I did a wedding in a medieval hall and was expected to fit in the corner between two sofas. I managed it - just!

 

On to the sounds. The Nord APs have always divided opinion here, I know, but IMO the newer generation are of a much better quality than the original pianos which made my brief flirtation with a Stage 76 such an unhappy experience.

 

In particular, the original Steinway and Yamaha samples were rather gutless in the tenor range, an area I use a lot. The newer samples are far more even across the board, although the Studio 2 Grand C7 is a bit thin in the top end. Very lyrical and rich for new age-y stuff, though.

 

Live, I've been using mostly the Grand Lady D Steinway as it is easily the best balanced of the voices in mono mode. It cuts through nicely in ensemble playing, too.

 

In the studio, I've been tending more towards the Bosie Grand Imperial XL. This is probably the most "open" sounding of all the Nord samples and the bottom end is ferocious. However, the octave above middle C can sound a little boxy, and the whole sample becomes quite boxy indeed in mono.

 

For rock and blues in group situations, I've also been using the Petrof upright, which has an attractive honkiness about it which fits certain songs really well.

 

The excellence of the Nord Rhodes and Wurli sounds is pretty well documented, so I'll just say that the latest Sparkletop is great. The harpsichords are also excellent, and convincing enough to be used for classical continuo work.

 

The NP88's action is not cutting edge but is still perfectly acceptable for a stage piano with a good degree of control, and having also had a CP5 for a while now, I no longer miss grading. The action's connection to the sound is quite inspiring and this, combined with the high quality samples and hefty three-pedal unit, helps increase the illusion of a rather more organic instrument than many of its DP competitors.

 

So much for the positives...

 

Yes, there is that harpsichordy-effect on solo lines, at least for the performer sitting close to a monitor. I've learned to live with if not love it. I'm not sure if the "long release" feature on the Stage 2 alleviates this phenomenon but I'd like to investigate. I really hope Nord can/will add this feature to the current NP88.

 

I also wish there was one further, harder level of touch response, or that Nord at least could adjust the three levels they offer to accommodate that. Of the three main pianos, the best dynamic control is in the Yamaha, followed by the Bosie and finally the Steinway.

 

Finally, given that I play a lot of colour-themed weddings, it would suit me better if the NP88 was available in a more neutral hue but I know that's not going to happen!

 

As I mentioned in another thread here on stage pianos, making the right choice in this department is all about coming to the realisation that compromise in this area is inevitable, and having accepted that, deciding on your priorities. For me, right now, the NP88 is a very decent set of compromises.

 

Right then - 3,000 here we come...

Studio: Yamaha P515 | Yamaha Tyros 5 | Yamaha HX1 | Moog Sub 37

Road: Yamaha YC88 | Nord Electro 5D

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I've been aware for a few days now that I was about to tip over the 2,000-post mark and into the Hall of Fame - my word, do I waste some time here but what a continuing joy it is!

 

Congratulations Aidan. :thu:

 

I, along with many others, are delighted that you continue to post here.

 

Thanks for your contributions.

 

My best to you!

 

Tom

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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Hey Aidan - I've always liked reading your reviews & musings, and most of all I appreciate your attitude. Looking at your sig and knowing where you've come from, gear-wise, I do believe you have it nailed.

 

Congrats on reaching HOF!

 

 

 

 

____________________________________
Rod

Here for the gear.

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Aidan, thanks for the report and congrats on the landmark. I recently passed 8,000. I was going to make a note of it, but I think it happened while I was out of town and not paying attention to that aspect of posting. Oh well, 10,000 here we come, and still Double Secret Banninated! :mad:;)

"I'm so crazy, I don't know this is impossible! Hoo hoo!" - Daffy Duck

 

"The good news is that once you start piano you never have to worry about getting laid again. More time to practice!" - MOI

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Congrats, Aidan ! Glad to see you've joined the HOF here.

 

Sounds to me like the NP88 is the best portable piano solution for your gigs. Like you I also had a short relationship with an original Stage 76. Having played the Stage 2, I'd say the Nord Pianos have come a long way in the past few years. Sounds like they're doing the job quite well for you.

For small, piano based gigs or band set ups with tight stages I'm finding that the FP-4 fits similarly for me; works out nicely under the Motif XS, when two 'boards are needed. For expressive piano playing, I'm finding it to often be more satisfying than the NX; go figure.

 

Again, congratulations on reaching the big 2000. I enjoy your insights, and sharing in the fun and education that this forum offers.

'Someday, we'll look back on these days and laugh; likely a maniacal laugh from our padded cells, but a laugh nonetheless' - Mr. Boffo.

 

We need a barfing cat emoticon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Aidan, I'm glad the Nord Piano is working out and congrats on the HoF status. Definitely a blast having you around here mayne. :thu::cool:

PD

 

"The greatest thing you'll ever learn, is just to love and be loved in return."--E. Ahbez "Nature Boy"

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A first ballot HOF'er, if ever there was . . .

 

I know, I always ride coattail on your Nord Piano posts, and here I am again. I traded mine in, but only because, having little or need for 88 keys, I plan to use the E3HP in it's place. But I agree with every word of your thoughtful and balanced mid-term review.

 

edit: one thing I'm already missing about the NP is that I perceived it to be very easy on the hands, because of the soft landing. The CP5 is not as kind. Though the CP5 is still better in this respect than a lot of DPs.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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Finally, given that I play a lot of colour-themed weddings, it would suit me better if the NP88 was available in a more neutral hue but I know that's not going to happen!

 

...and I would like to be taller. :rolleyes:

 

(Since we're jus' pissin' in the wind, I thought I'd chime in with that small request.) :D

 

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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...and I would like to be taller. :rolleyes:

Steven Wright joke : "I want to get a tattoo of myself over my entire body..... only 2 inches taller." :D

 

 

On a more serious note - congrats Aidan on reaching the HoF milestone :thu:.

 

Your posts are regularly interesting & informed (as is the NP review above).

 

Keep up the good work fella.

John.

 

some stuff on myspace

 

Nord: StageEX-88, Electro2-73, Hammond: XK-1, Yamaha: XS7

Korg: M3-73 EXpanded, M50-88, X50, Roland: Juno D, Kurzweil: K2000vp.

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If I didn't know any better, from the quality and thoughtfulness of your posts, I would have guessed that you already were HOF status! Great having you around here, Aidan. Congrats!

"We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing."

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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It's all good, dammit! :laugh:

 

Sometimes just a li'l emoticon is all it takes to get the point across.

 

And other times I have to go back and edit half the words from my posts.

 

If one of you would be so kind to buy me a scotch, I'll forgive your insolence. :)

 

(Yeah... I'm moving up.) :cool:

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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If one of you would be so kind to buy me a scotch, I'll forgive your insolence. :)

 

I've got one here waiting for you. Come down and get it.

 

Thank you kind sir.

 

Expect a knock on your door...

 

Ummmm, it may not be this evening. :)

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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