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NP3 programming - Why 4 banks of 50?


Boatguy

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I'm new to Nord and just began playing an NP3 which I like very much so far; but for one thing. The programming is intuitive, easy and accessible, but the organization is mind boggling. Four banks of 50 programs map to 5 buttons by using only the x1-x5 program numbers? Huh? And then the "shortcut" is that I can scroll through the "1's" by holding down the "1" key with one hand, and spinning the knob with the other. Two hands to scroll through similar programs, assuming I've spread them out into the Bank:x1 program locations?

 

It seems like the obvious way to organize the programs would be 5 banks of 40 programs each. I could put all similar programs into each bank (e.g., Grands, Uprights, EPs, Synths, Other), each bank would map to a button and if I selected button "1", then spinning the Program knob would cycle through all the programs in Bank 1 (fine - call it "A" instead of "1").

 

Is there some historical Nord reason for mapping 4 banks of 50 to 5 buttons by only using program numbers x1-x5? It's extraordinarily convoluted.

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Well looking at the line, 5, 50, 100 seem to be a popular storage values. Although - 99 Programs on the Lead 4 and 2X is interesting.

 

Nord Stage

4 Banks x 20 Pages x 5 Programs (400 locations)

 

Nord Electro

Program Mode (8 banks x 50 programs), Live Mode and Set List Mode

 

Nord Piano 2

2 Banks x 24 Pages x 5 programs (240 locations)

 

Nord Lead A1

8 x 50 Programs, 2 x 50 Performances

 

Nord Lead 4

4 x 99 Programs, 2 x 50 Performances

 

Nord Lead 2X

4 x 99 Programs, 100 Performances

 

Congrats on the NP3. You're one of the early adopters here on KC. Just a few others guys have it. How does the new action compare to the HA and HP models we've seen from them before?

Yamaha CP88, Casio PX-560

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Thanks! It plays very nicely.

 

My issue issn't the number of programs, certainly 200 is enough, it's the way they're organized. On the Stage/Electro/Lead do the programs map to buttons they way they do on the Piano?

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On the Stage 2 there is a Live Mode - you can keep your patches/programs/states for recall to sequential buttons. Then there is what we are talking about here which is storing a patch in the User area of a Bank, in this case D.

 

[video:youtube]

 

Here is "store" and "store as" functionality on the NP2.

 

Store

The red Store button is used when you want to store the settings that you have made, in Programs.

1 Press the Store button once and the Store LED will start to ash.

The display will ask you for a location where to store your new program - the rst option is at the original location.

2 Select the desired location with the Up/Down and the Program 1-5 buttons. Skip this step if you want to overwrite the original.

When you select a new location, the name of the program cur- rently in the destination will be displayed and the settings will also become active on the Nord Piano 2. This allows you to verify that you will not overwrite something important.

3 Press Store again to confirm your intentions and to store the cur- rent settings to the selected location.

If you change your mind, press any button except the Up/Down or the Program buttons on the Nord Piano 2 panel to abort the store procedure.

 

Store As...

Use the Store As feature when you want to store a program with another name.

1 Press Shift + Store.

The display will show Set Name and the current name of the

program on the lower row.

2 Use the Up/Down buttons to select the position, press and hold Shift and use the Up/Down buttons to select the character.

The display can show 11 characters of a program name.

3 Confirm your intentions by pressing Store once more. This procedure may be aborted by pressing the Shift button.

Yamaha CP88, Casio PX-560

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Yes, the layout looks similar and the Store/Store As is the same. Five buttons and a Live mode.

 

On the Stage, it looks like you have Bank/Page/Program (1-5). So I assume each Program 1-5 maps to the 5 buttons? And then I see dedicated Bank/Page buttons. If you flip to the next page, then I assume that page's five programs map to the 1-5 buttons? That makes sense.

 

The NP3 has no dedicated Bank/Page buttons, just a dial to scroll through 200 programs. Though if you hold down a 1-5 button, you'll only scroll through 40, the ones that all end in "1", like 01, 11, 21, 31, etc. Sort of de facto pages, without the structure and convenience of pages.

 

So it looks like the NP3 is not the victim of some historical Nord program organizational system as much as it's just missing dedicated Bank buttons, and is missing the entire concept of pages as a subdivision of Banks.

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I'm new to Nord and just began playing an NP3 which I like very much so far; but for one thing. The programming is intuitive, easy and accessible, but the organization is mind boggling. Four banks of 50 programs map to 5 buttons by using only the x1-x5 program numbers? Huh? And then the "shortcut" is that I can scroll through the "1's" by holding down the "1" key with one hand, and spinning the knob with the other. Two hands to scroll through similar programs, assuming I've spread them out into the Bank:x1 program locations?

 

It seems like the obvious way to organize the programs would be 5 banks of 40 programs each. I could put all similar programs into each bank (e.g., Grands, Uprights, EPs, Synths, Other), each bank would map to a button and if I selected button "1", then spinning the Program knob would cycle through all the programs in Bank 1 (fine - call it "A" instead of "1").

 

Is there some historical Nord reason for mapping 4 banks of 50 to 5 buttons by only using program numbers x1-x5? It's extraordinarily convoluted.

 

If I understand what you are saying, it's that Nord's factory programs are set so that Bank 1:Program 1 is one kind of acoustic piano, then the next acoustic piano program is not until Bank 2:Program 1, correct? Bank 1:Program 2 is then some kind of EP, and the next one is 2:2, and so on.

 

If that's what you are saying, it's just Nord's style of organizing their programs, and they've been doing that for as long as I can remember. I've been through four Electros (2, 3-73, 3HP and 4D) and a Stage 2EX. I refer to it as a "vertical" program organization instead of a "horizontal" organization.

 

I think Casio uses a similar approach with the PX-5S.

 

The way to fix this is to use the Nord Sound Manager. Either first make a full backup or download the factory image from Nord's website to have a fallback. Then, put the Sound Manager into Organize and Dual Pane modes. You can then freely reorganize the programs in whatever way makes the most sense to you. Be aware that you have to have at least one open program slot as sort of a parking space while you move programs around, and the best bet is to just delete the program you like the least unless there are already empty program slots on the NP3.

 

Sound Manager is also great because it allows you to substitute samples. If you don't like a particular piano sample and want to replace it with one from the library, you can substitute, which will reassign the programs from the original sample to the new one. You can also relink programs to samples. It's great stuff.

 

I just purchased a Stage 2EX. Bank D is a copy of Bank A, so I completely wiped out Bank A and repopulated and reorganized to suit my use.

 

Congratulations on your NP3 purchase!

 

.

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If I understand what you are saying, it's that Nord's factory programs are set so that Bank 1:Program 1 is one kind of acoustic piano, then the next acoustic piano program is not until Bank 2:Program 1, correct? Bank 1:Program 2 is then some kind of EP, and the next one is 2:2, and so on.

 

If that's what you are saying, it's just Nord's style of organizing their programs, and they've been doing that for as long as I can remember. I've been through four Electros (2, 3-73, 3HP and 4D) and a Stage 2EX. I refer to it as a "vertical" program organization instead of a "horizontal" organization.

 

First, thank you for the thoughtful reply.

 

Your description of the program organization scheme is close, but not quite how they did it with the NP3.

 

In the factory arrangement, the first grand piano is A:01, then the next is A:11, then A:21... The first upright is A:02, then A:12, A:22, etc. The last digit of the program number maps it to one of the 5 buttons, so programs x6-x0 are never used in any Bank.

 

More frustrating is the physical access to those programs. Turning the Program knob scrolls sequentially through all 200 programs, from A:01 to D:95; obviously slow and painful. Holding down the "1" button with one hand, while turning the Program knob with the other hand scrolls through all the programs that end in "1", so A:01, A:11, A:21... D:91.

 

The Bank's are of no use as an organizing scheme because there is no way to get to a specific Bank without first going through all the preceding Banks. Holding down a button means you only see every fifth program, but you still have to scroll through all the preceding banks. Bank letter is essentially just a hundreds digit on the front of the program number (i.e., A:01 = 001 ... D:95 = 395), and then all the xx6-xx0 programs mysteriously don't exist.

 

Given 5 buttons, it seems to me they should have had 5 banks of 40 programs (i.e., A:01 - A:40) with each bank mapped to a button. Then you could punch a button as a bank selector and spin the Program knob to scroll through all the programs in that bank. So for example all grand pianos could be Bank A, A:01-A:40. Requiring two hands to accomplish the same function is just bad user interface from a company that prides itself on having the most accessible system (i.e., no menu diving).

 

And of course the buttons could still be used in Live mode for direct access to a specific program.

 

The NP3 has the worst of both worlds with programs organized somewhat like you say is done on other Nord's, but without dedicated Bank or Page selection buttons that are on the NP2 and Stage. And Sound Manager is oriented to Banks, when for the NP3 is should be oriented to the last digit of the program number since that is how the NP3 provides access to the programs.

 

The sounds and the keybed feel are very good, and access to the effects is excellent. But the program organization and selection is awful.

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How does the new action compare to the HA and HP models we've seen from them before?

My first Nord so I can't compare, other than what I felt in the store and was clearly heavier than the Stage EX2 and closer to an upright. It feels better than my previous Roland and Yamaha boards (both fairly old). But I think they are confused when they call it a Grand Weighted action, and then in the following sentence say that it's calibrated to ensure even response across all keys; you can't have it both ways. Grand's have heavier action in the lower octaves than in the higher octaves, there isn't even response across all keys.

 

But don't misunderstand, I think they did the right thing because when the keyboard is split I want even response. I just don't understand how/why they would try to claim both at once.

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I'm assuming the NP3 has the TP-40W - same as we see in the Studio-Logic Numa Concert (minus the "ivory touch" which Nord thought they were going to use, but then opted against).

 

http://www.studiologic-music.com/products/numa_concert/p4.png

 

In which case - it has a 3 contact "high resolution" velocity metering system. When Nord says they do extensive testing what they mean is that they use software to calibrate and compensate for any inconsistencies in the way each key performs, so that you do in fact have consistent velocity range key to key - not that one behaves noticeably different from another.

 

[video:youtube]

 

However, the TP-40W is graded. Meaning, it does have less mechanical resistance or weight toward the top compared to at the bottom of the keyboard. Honestly, it's very subtle - nothing like what you would feel on a concert grand, but they made an effort. On an acoustic piano this change is gradual, on most digital actions this change is more abrupt - weighting being different every X amount of keys. Some digital actions are balanced, meaning there is no difference in resistance or weight across the entire keyboard.

Yamaha CP88, Casio PX-560

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