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Nord worth the price of admission?


simajanpa

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Dare I ask this question of you all, but do the Nord family of synths really warrant the high price tag?

I don't see to many of them ever for sale, so I gather current users love them, and won't part with them.

 

As I've mentioned in a previous post, I'm trying to get a 73-76 key, synth action board that covers those top three sounds.

Acoustic piano, Rhodes/Wurly, and Hammond organ.

 

At this point in my life, I only plinker at home alone, and jam

once or twice a month with friends. (Blues/Classic Rock)

 

I now have a Kronos 61 and a Yamaha XS rack, which I am going to keep....but I miss those extra keys.

 

At the moment I am thinking of a few different setups.

 

Numa+Korg M3m OR Korg M3-73+KeyB EXP module OR for the same price, a Nord Stage2 SW73.

 

I realize that the keybed of the Korg M3 is the same as my Kronos, which I find just Ok.

 

I play more piano than organ, but always on a synth keybed.

I'm not a pianist or a Jazz guy, just an old retired musician of 63, lusting for the sounds I used to get from the REAL instruments I played in bands in my much younger days.

 

I know I have to go out and touch these boards, but that's very difficult here in little Rhode Island, even most of the larger Boston stores don't carry these synths.

If money were no object, I guess I wouldn't be rambling on like this!

Anyway, with my reasonably high expectations, do you think the Nord could be my one and only?

 

Thanks

Paul

 

 

 

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From my personal experience of having owned numerous top line digitals (Promega 3, RD700GX, etc) and currently owning a Kronos 61, I just think Nord sounds work really well live and the controls are all there without overwhelming the user with menus and the like.

 

I think the Nord Stage 2 is getting a bit old and there will be an update soon.

 

It gets a bit tricky with the arrival of the Yamaha CP4. But the CP4 is nearly half the price of the Nord Stage and that really will hurt Nord I think.

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OP is asking about synth-like action though.

 

Why not a Nord Electro?

 

I had the 3, and thought the sounds were great, although I didn't get along with the keyboard action (I realize I may be in the minority).

 

It won't be a good controller (no pitch/mod), but for covering those sounds, it's ace.

 

Definitely something to try out.

I make software noises.
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My 73-key Stage 2 has definitely been worth the investment for me, but I've gigged the living hell out of it. I doubt I'd have been willing to pony up that much cash for a board that wasn't going to make money back for me, but of course your priorities may differ from mine.

 

I wasn't expecting the latest Nord organ (C2D and contemporaries) to be much different than the one in the Stage 2, but I was pleasantly surprised when I played it. The Leslie sim is a real step up, and the improved key click made more of a difference than I was expecting. Personally, if I were in the market today but not itching to get something ASAP, I'd wait till January to see what Nord comes out with at NAMM.

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I think of Nord products as more geared towards the live player. The big pluses of their boards, for which you pay dearly, are more useful in live situations. Not sure what's best for you, but since you're not gigging, you may not want to pay the premium for that.

 

The NS1 was out for 4-5 years before they updated, I would expect the same life cycle for the NS2.

Gigging: Crumar Mojo 61, Hammond SKPro

Home: Vintage Vibe 64

 

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The NS1 was out for 4-5 years before they updated, I would expect the same life cycle for the NS2.

 

The only thing that makes me doubt that is the fact that it's supposed to be their "flagship" board, yet it's the only board in their lineup that still has the previous-generation organ engine. That would be one thing if they were selling ROMpler workstations, but since the organ is one of the key selling points, I suspect they'll want to fix that situation sooner rather than later.

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One of my reasons for maybe getting the KeyB EXP was the fact that I can just take that to our jam area, which has a Korg Krome 73 for me to use there. And I only mentioned the Korg M3-73, because I probably will lose the Kronos 61 because of the key count. Yes and I love Korg stuff and I still need to have some of those sounds.

 

Paul

 

 

 

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I was lent a friend's NE2 for about 5 months a few years ago... he insisted I play it at a festival gig I did for his band. Yeah, it was nice to play and had good organ and EP sounds, but I didn't like the mushy key action very much and, to be honest, it wasn't really giving me much in the way of sound that I didn't already have in my digital piano, ROMplers, and Korg Z1 modeled organ sounds. It certainly didn't do acoustic piano sound well at all (and I always prefer 88 full weighted keys for that).

 

To sum up the experience, yeah, Nord is cool and all, but certainly nothing I would consider shelling out for.

Kurzweil PC3, Yamaha MOX8, Alesis Ion, Kawai K3M
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I was lent a friend's NE2

 

The NE2 isn't in the same league as Nord's current offerings, especially for acoustic piano.

 

The KeyB Expander is a great-sounding option, to be sure. The problem, at the moment at least, is getting your hands on one. I've been trying for a while now.

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As someone who has used almost everything, I have to say that my Nord Stage 2 was DEF worth the investment. All the surface control gives you so much inspiration that, combined with its sounds, keeps you inventing new textures and keeps the fun level high.

 

Waiting til NAMM can be good in terms of whats in the pipeline, but understand that if you hear about it at NAMM, your ability to purchase will be May at best, and September more likely. Do you want to wait a year?

 

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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The Electro 4 73 Semi-weighted has dynamic velocity settings per program. This goes a long way toward making the keyboard more playable for piano and organ. I had a E3 73SW and moved to an E3 HP, and the velocity dynamics are a huge improvement. The HP action is not well suited for organ, but the SW keyboard had a decent feel that is, in some ways, more flexible and usable than the HP (to me anyway - not everyone agrees about that).

 

I tend to like the AP and EP samples in the Electro. Nord has a huge variety of piano samples to download, each of them with a unique personality. I've settled on the ones that I like (don't count out the upright samples). I find the raw Rhodes samples to all be very different, and each has little imperfections in them that are like playing the real thing. You are bound to find samples that speak to you. In addition, the E4 73 has additional piano memory to load the larger samples, which is a plus as well.

 

I'm also a hobbyist who rehearses weekly with a jazz big band and jams with friends. I personally think the Nord is well worth the money if you want an instrument that sounds great overall (again, not agreed to by all on this forum).

 

Another alternative is the Hammond SK1 73. I have not played one, but I'm personally not crazy about the piano samples I've heard on the Internet. The organ model is arguably better than the Nord. Definitely worth a look.

.

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Dare I ask this question of you all, but do the Nord family of synths really warrant the high price tag?

I don't see to many of them ever for sale, so I gather current users love them, and won't part with them.

 

As I've mentioned in a previous post, I'm trying to get a 73-76 key, synth action board that covers those top three sounds.

Acoustic piano, Rhodes/Wurly, and Hammond organ.

 

At this point in my life, I only plinker at home alone, and jam

once or twice a month with friends. (Blues/Classic Rock)

 

I now have a Kronos 61 and a Yamaha XS rack, which I am going to keep....but I miss those extra keys.

 

At the moment I am thinking of a few different setups.

 

Numa+Korg M3m OR Korg M3-73+KeyB EXP module OR for the same price, a Nord Stage2 SW73.

 

I realize that the keybed of the Korg M3 is the same as my Kronos, which I find just Ok.

 

I play more piano than organ, but always on a synth keybed.

I'm not a pianist or a Jazz guy, just an old retired musician of 63, lusting for the sounds I used to get from the REAL instruments I played in bands in my much younger days.

I know I have to go out and touch these boards, but that's very difficult here in little Rhode Island, even most of the larger Boston stores don't carry these synths.

If money were no object, I guess I wouldn't be rambling on like this!

Anyway, with my reasonably high expectations, do you think the Nord could be my one and only?

 

Thanks

Paul

 

(Bold highlights above are mine.)

 

Paul, what about the Nord Electro 4? I've got the Electro 3 HP model and, for my needs, it was worth it.

 

The build quality is excellent.

 

The sounds are some of the highest quality you'll find.

 

All sounds can be replaced by downloading new sounds from Nord's library... at no additional cost.

 

For playing live, the design is intuitive and easy to use. All the controls are laid out well.

 

As a pianist, I like the HP, Hammer Action Portable, model. However, if you want to stick with a synth action board, the electro 73 with Semi Weighted Waterfall keys may be a good option for you.

 

You are 63 years old. It may matter that the Nord Electro weighs 25 pounds or less.

 

I purchased mine from Sweetwater. I believe that if I had wanted to return it, they wouldn't have given me a hard time. Their policy is to return it within a reasonable time period (~30 days). You'll get a refund less the original shipping cost, if it was shipped for free.

 

You probably won't find a Nord in Rhode Island, so buying it from a retailer with a generous return policy is your best bet.

 

Good luck!

 

Tom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent." - Victor Hugo
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With no splits or layers, and no pitch & mod wheel, the NE4 is not on my radar. ...

I'm surprised that you feel that you need those features, especially the wheels, given the genres and instruments you like to play. Admittedly at times it would be nice to be able to split organ & piano together. I'm happy with my NE4SW73.

"I'm well acquainted with the touch of a velvet hand..."
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For me the extra price was worth it. I went from workstations to the Nord Stage Classic, which immediately took me to a new place. For me it's not only the sounds and finger-to-sound connection that I like, it's also the relationship to technology- I can get the sound I like with very little fussing (no need to audition 1000s of sounds), and most controls are on the front panel, not in some menu.

 

You might want to reconsider the weighted action. The advantage to a weighted action is you get more feedback/resistance, which gives you more control/expression. Also, the Stage is on the medium weight for weighted action, so it's not that heavy at all.

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I have had easily 30 keyboards in my 45 years of playing/gigging. My Nord C2 is hands down, my favorite axe of all time . I put a Korg micro station on the 2nd tier, & for gigging it gives me more than enough, except for the graded hammer action for piano, If i could afford it, i would add a Nord 3hp to set to the right of this set up, or at least a Yamaha p30 .
robert w nuckels
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I'm trying to get a 73-76 key, synth action board that covers those top three sounds.

Acoustic piano, Rhodes/Wurly, and Hammond organ.

For a self-contained 73-76 synth action board with those three sounds, you've got the Nord Stage 2, The Nord Electro 4, Hammond SK1, Roland VR-700, Kurzweil PC3LE7/PC3K7.

 

As noted earlier, the Electro has no splits/layers.

 

The Electro and Hammond both lack pitch/mod controls... they aren't generally needed for piano/EP/organ, but you want them, so that eliminates them. Of the three that are left, I'd say:

 

Nord: Best piano sound, best organ sound, best travel weight. I find the action passable for organ (though too much push-back for my taste) and poor for piano (you need to press so hard to overcome the push-back that you can't play gently). Also, of these 73+ key boards, it's the only one without a low E, which will really be a limitation if you play LH bass.

 

Kurzweil: Best EPs, most flexible board overall, but an action I don't like for anything.

 

Roland: Best action for both organ and piano, the only one with real drawbars stock. The only one of the three without aftertouch... which you don't need for your primary sounds, but since you wanted the pitch/mod controls, I figured it was worth mentioning.

 

So in a nutshell... Nord for sound quality and portability, Kurz for total capability, Roland for action/ergonomics. Just for the joy of playing, if I only needed those three sounds and could deal with the travel weight, I'd probably lean toward the Roland. I find its piano and organ "good enough" for most purposes. (I don't remember if I ever actually heard its EPs.)

 

Now, once you add the possibility of a keyboard plus a module, of course you open up more options. (An iPad could be an auxiliary sounds source, too.) Which does point to the fact that you can always find way to upgrade the sounds. But you can't do anything about the feel of the action (or the travel weight), so maybe you want to focus on making sure you're happy with that on the board itself.

 

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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As someone who has used almost everything, I have to say that my Nord Stage 2 was DEF worth the investment. All the surface control gives you so much inspiration that, combined with its sounds, keeps you inventing new textures and keeps the fun level high.

 

Waiting til NAMM can be good in terms of whats in the pipeline, but understand that if you hear about it at NAMM, your ability to purchase will be May at best, and September more likely. Do you want to wait a year?

 

I'm not in a great hurry, but can't wait quite that long.

 

Paul

 

 

 

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Dare I ask this question of you all, but do the Nord family of synths really warrant the high price tag?

I don't see to many of them ever for sale, so I gather current users love them, and won't part with them.

 

As I've mentioned in a previous post, I'm trying to get a 73-76 key, synth action board that covers those top three sounds.

Acoustic piano, Rhodes/Wurly, and Hammond organ.

 

At this point in my life, I only plinker at home alone, and jam

once or twice a month with friends. (Blues/Classic Rock)

 

I now have a Kronos 61 and a Yamaha XS rack, which I am going to keep....but I miss those extra keys.

 

At the moment I am thinking of a few different setups.

 

Numa+Korg M3m OR Korg M3-73+KeyB EXP module OR for the same price, a Nord Stage2 SW73.

 

I realize that the keybed of the Korg M3 is the same as my Kronos, which I find just Ok.

 

I play more piano than organ, but always on a synth keybed.

I'm not a pianist or a Jazz guy, just an old retired musician of 63, lusting for the sounds I used to get from the REAL instruments I played in bands in my much younger days.

I know I have to go out and touch these boards, but that's very difficult here in little Rhode Island, even most of the larger Boston stores don't carry these synths.

If money were no object, I guess I wouldn't be rambling on like this!

Anyway, with my reasonably high expectations, do you think the Nord could be my one and only?

 

Thanks

Paul

 

(Bold highlights above are mine.)

 

Paul, what about the Nord Electro 4? I've got the Electro 3 HP model and, for my needs, it was worth it.

 

The build quality is excellent.

 

The sounds are some of the highest quality you'll find.

 

All sounds can be replaced by downloading new sounds from Nord's library... at no additional cost.

 

For playing live, the design is intuitive and easy to use. All the controls are laid out well.

 

As a pianist, I like the HP, Hammer Action Portable, model. However, if you want to stick with a synth action board, the electro 73 with Semi Weighted Waterfall keys may be a good option for you.

 

You are 63 years old. It may matter that the Nord Electro weighs 25 pounds or less.

 

I purchased mine from Sweetwater. I believe that if I had wanted to return it, they wouldn't have given me a hard time. Their policy is to return it within a reasonable time period (~30 days). You'll get a refund less the original shipping cost, if it was shipped for free.

 

You probably won't find a Nord in Rhode Island, so buying it from a retailer with a generous return policy is your best bet.

 

Good luck!

 

Tom

 

Tom: With no splits or layers, and no pitch & mod wheel, the NE4 is not on my radar. But I do like the price point a lot better!

 

Paul

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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With no splits or layers, and no pitch & mod wheel, the NE4 is not on my radar. ...

I'm surprised that you feel that you need those features, especially the wheels, given the genres and instruments you like to play. Admittedly at times it would be nice to be able to split organ & piano together. I'm happy with my NE4SW73.

 

Well I would push a fair amount of other sounds with whatever I would be using, remember I have the ES rack and may get a M3m also. So I do want that control sometime. It will be stretch for me to use something other than the Korg's joystick, since that is what I have been using now for years. I took the Hammond SK1-73 off the table because of the lack of a pitch & mod device. And considered the Numa organ because it had them.

 

Paul

 

 

 

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For me the extra price was worth it. I went from workstations to the Nord Stage Classic, which immediately took me to a new place. For me it's not only the sounds and finger-to-sound connection that I like, it's also the relationship to technology- I can get the sound I like with very little fussing (no need to audition 1000s of sounds), and most controls are on the front panel, not in some menu.

 

You might want to reconsider the weighted action. The advantage to a weighted action is you get more feedback/resistance, which gives you more control/expression. Also, the Stage is on the medium weight for weighted action, so it's not that heavy at all.

 

If I could only find one to try within 100 miles of my house I most certainly would at least give it a fair shake.

 

Paul

 

 

 

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I'm trying to get a 73-76 key, synth action board that covers those top three sounds.

Acoustic piano, Rhodes/Wurly, and Hammond organ.

For a self-contained 73-76 synth action board with those three sounds, you've got the Nord Stage 2, The Nord Electro 4, Hammond SK1, Roland VR-700, Kurzweil PC3LE7/PC3K7.

 

As noted earlier, the Electro has no splits/layers.

 

The Electro and Hammond both lack pitch/mod controls... they aren't generally needed for piano/EP/organ, but you want them, so that eliminates them. Of the three that are left, I'd say:

 

Nord: Best piano sound, best organ sound, best travel weight. I find the action passable for organ (though too much push-back for my taste) and poor for piano (you need to press so hard to overcome the push-back that you can't play gently). Also, of these 73+ key boards, it's the only one without a low E, which will really be a limitation if you play LH bass.

 

Kurzweil: Best EPs, most flexible board overall, but an action I don't like for anything.

 

Roland: Best action for both organ and piano, the only one with real drawbars stock. The only one of the three without aftertouch... which you don't need for your primary sounds, but since you wanted the pitch/mod controls, I figured it was worth mentioning.

 

So in a nutshell... Nord for sound quality and portability, Kurz for total capability, Roland for action/ergonomics. Just for the joy of playing, if I only needed those three sounds and could deal with the travel weight, I'd probably lean toward the Roland. I find its piano and organ "good enough" for most purposes. (I don't remember if I ever actually heard its EPs.)

 

Now, once you add the possibility of a keyboard plus a module, of course you open up more options. (An iPad could be an auxiliary sounds source, too.) Which does point to the fact that you can always find way to upgrade the sounds. But you can't do anything about the feel of the action (or the travel weight), so maybe you want to focus on making sure you're happy with that on the board itself.

 

Thanks AS: The bottom line here is that I need to find and listen, touch and feel these boards before I pull any trigger.

 

I had two Roland VR-760s, and absolutely hated the way it DID NOT respond to my playing. All I can say is it fought back when playing it. Other people who tried it felt the same as I did about it. Don't know if the VR-700 is any different in that regard. And I also had the VK8m and that organ is good but not great and I'd like to find great at this point.

 

Did I hear someone say ROAD TRIP!

 

Paul

 

 

 

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VR-700 feels much better to me than the 760. The VR-09 feels better for organ than the 760. Not sure about piano, I think the 760 is marginally better but I didnt play much piano the time I tried one.

 

Ive driven 100 miles north and 135 miles west to try pianos on the last year. It was a great investment for me.

Hammond: L111, M100, M3, BC, CV, Franken CV, A100, D152, C3, B3

Leslie: 710, 760, 51C, 147, 145, 122, 22H, 31H

Yamaha: CP4, DGX-620, DX7II-FD-E!, PF85, DX9

Roland: VR-09, RD-800

 

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Thanks AS: The bottom line here is that I need to find and listen, touch and feel these boards before I pull any trigger.

 

I had two Roland VR-760s, and absolutely hated the way it DID NOT respond to my playing. All I can say is it fought back when playing it. Other people who tried it felt the same as I did about it.

 

And this illustrates the subjectivity of keyboard actions. I had a VR-760 for years and absolutely loved the action. In fact it was my all-time favorite for a combination synth/organ keyboard (fast waterfall keys and pressure sensitivity). I know I wasn't alone in liking it because I remember many people complaining about the VR-700 in comparison when it came out.

 

But I never played piano/epiano on it because I always had a weighted keyboard on the bottom. I can see how it wouldn't work well for that (for some of the same reasons it worked well for organ.) I had an Electro3 for a while and it had a little more resistance in the action, and was consequently a little better for piano and a little worse for organ.

 

 

Nord Stage 3 88, Korg Kronos 2 61, Moog Sub 37, Yamaha U1 Upright, Casio CT-S1, Spacestation V.3, QSC K10.2

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I also had the VK8m and that organ is good but not great and I'd like to find great at this point.

I wouldn't let Roland's less than state-of-the-art organ put you off the VR700. You can put a Ventilator or Burn on it to greatly improve it.

 

I took the Hammond SK1-73 off the table because of the lack of a pitch & mod device. And considered the Numa organ because it had them.

I like the Numa, but one limitation that is not immediately obvious about it is that it is really designed to work in two modes... as 61-key organ and a 73-key MIDI controller. There is a third mode that ostensibly lets you combine the two, but it has some pretty significant limitations... like you only have access to 61 keys in that mode, and you can't use the mod wheel for your MIDI controlled sound without changing your leslie speed. It's nice that the mode is there at all, for the occasional time it may come in useful, but I think that for all intents and purposes, you should really think of it as either an organ OR a MIDI controller at any given time, and generally don't think about splitting or layering its internal organ sound with any external sound, it just isn't very well designed for that. Just a head's-up...

Maybe this is the best place for a shameless plug! Our now not-so-new new video at https://youtu.be/3ZRC3b4p4EI is a 40 minute adaptation of T. S. Eliot's "Prufrock" - check it out! And hopefully I'll have something new here this year. ;-)

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VR-700 feels much better to me than the 760. The VR-09 feels better for organ than the 760. Not sure about piano, I think the 760 is marginally better but I didnt play much piano the time I tried one.

 

Ive driven 100 miles north and 135 miles west to try pianos on the last year. It was a great investment for me.

 

Oh it was fine for organ, you just couldn't get it to "connect"

with most other sounds. I did like the in between feel of the keybed, not the player to sound connection. Perhaps I'm not stating my case fully. I want whatever keybed I'm playing to respond to my playing and connect me with the instrument.

You know it's not only about the tone but how a board talks back to you while playing it. I realize that a weighted action will be nicer for piano sounds but I am not used to that action and am willing to give it up for good synth action. I have never owned a board with weighted action out of the dozens I've had through the years.

 

Paul

 

 

 

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