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OT: Just tried a Nord Stage 2 EX 88!!


miden

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Now I understand why folks rave about this board. I got to try one for the first time when in Wollongong on Tuesday.

 

Brilliant! Now I just need to find $4.5k hahaha!

There is no luck - luck is simply the confluence of circumstance and co-incidence...

 

Time is the final arbiter for all things

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Definitely on-topic...and join the club. However, it may not be unreasonable to expect the appearance of a Stage 3 within the next year. Should subsequently lower the price of the 2. Either outcome could be good news for you.

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

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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I bought a Stage 2 compact EX last year and adore it.

 

I'm sure it is not as versatile or powerful as a Kronos, but the interface and the Sound Manager and Sample Editor software are so intuitive and easy to use that it takes no time to dial in the sound you want with absolutely no menu diving.

 

To anyone wondering why Red is so expensive, I would strongly urge you to sit down and spend some time with one soon.

Nord Stage 2 Compact, Yamaha MODX8

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If you could play the Stage 2EX via an AvantGrand for the piano section and an XK5 for the organ section, and a Jupiter-80 for the synth section - now we're talking! But if you owned them, you might not be as hot for a Stage 2EX. And then there's the pesky need to travel. If one must sacrifice somewhere for mobility and sound engines - I guess it has to be on the action. The age old conundrum for the gigging do-it-all keyboard player.

 

Don't forget to sit down at the Forte

8 - $4.0k

7 - $3.5k

SE - $3.0k

Just to be sure it's the red you really want. ;)

Yamaha CP88, Casio PX-560

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My perfect NS3 will abolish fixed split points, incorporate the NE's "drawbars," and allow for variable pitch-bend intervals.

 

Fixed split points undermine the value-prop of an all-in-one board with weighted keys (since you want to determine for yourself how much of your board you'll use for the "main" sound of piano or vintage EP); those goofy organ-buttons water down the benefit of having the organ on-board; and the fixed pitch-stick made by the adorable old Swedish man, lessens the value of the synth. Since the whole idea of the board is that it's organ plus piano plus synth, that's three significant strikes, one in each area.

 

FWIW, I love the action on my NS. I know some people are not as hip on it. I'm all the way down with it.

 

Two years ago at NAMM, late on a Sunday, the Nord rep told me that a NS3 was in development, don't get him wrong, but that Nord was in no rush to release a new Stage model because they were still selling the hell out of the NS2. (This may have been pre-EX, I can't remember.)

 

Years ago I vowed not to upgrade my NS Classic until a "3" was released. As time has gone by, this has seemed like a dumber and dumber decision. But you never know...maybe this year they'll make me look smart?

 

 

Now out! "Mind the Gap," a 24-song album of new material.
www.joshweinstein.com

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I love my Stage 88 EX. I only wish for one change... non-fixed splits. Other than than, it's ideal for my needs in an all-in-one. Versatile, light, and intuitave. It felt like an old friend in minutes. Barely touched the manual.
I would like to apologize to anyone I have not yet offended. Please be patient and I will get to you shortly.
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I've sat down with the Nord Stage 2 EX 88 three times at GC. I just can't get into it. The Roland KCs don't help a lot.

 

I might like a compact better as a slave/clone & more machine. The MIDI control features and ability to run your show from this Nord 88 seems pretty dog gone weak. About the best idea I can figure is to leave an entire bank of presets empty and arrange your programs in set order there ..... then every time you make a set list change do the copy process again and get it to where it needs to be. At least my Yamaha has Master Mode.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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Two years ago at NAMM, late on a Sunday, the Nord rep told me that a NS3 was in development, don't get him wrong, but that Nord was in no rush to release a new Stage model...

This is consistent with what I heard from the Nord dude last January at NAMM, but then I recall him saying "probably in 2017." I also seem to recall him saying that there really are not many ways the Stage 2 could be improved. I like your suggestions MOI, and would also recommend that they upgrade those (single-layer) "rompler" sounds (e.g., strings, brass) to the level of the piano/organ. :deadhorse:

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

- George Bernard Shaw

 

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....I like your suggestions MOI, and would also recommend that they upgrade those (single-layer) "rompler" sounds (e.g., strings, brass) to the level of the piano/organ. :deadhorse:

 

A great idea and I agree, but remember the vast library of Nord samples (excluding pianos) consists only of single, not multi-samples. Nord would have to redo most or all of the sample library to achieve this. Not to mention the easy part, software changes.

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My Nord Stage wish list:

 

1. Less push-back on the 73 action.

 

2. The ability to "lock" a slot so its sounds don't change when you pick a new preset (only the unlocked slot would change). Then you wouldn't have to use up so many presets for using the same "bottom" piano sound with a whole bunch of different "top" sounds when you're triggering the piano from an attached 88. (Related to this, it could also be cool to have each slot capable of independently responding to its own MIDI Program Change commands.)

 

3. Yes, the ability to override the default split points to be anything you wanted. (The split point lights could flash to indicate that the split was "approximately" rather than exactly at that spot.)

 

4. The ability to use velocity to switch from a Slot A sound to a Slot B sound.

 

5. You should be able to tell which leslie speed you have set by looking at the LED.

 

6. A screen big enough to show the names of the 5 patches currently assigned to the 5 Program buttons.

 

7. Pitch stick moved closer to the left edge, so you could grab the chassis and manipulate the stick with your thumb as one other approach.

 

8. The control panel moved all the way to the left, so there would be larger contiguous free space on the right for things like an iPad or some other module.

 

9. Like so many people, I was thinking drawbars, but actually might prefer those Akai-style touch panels. I understand, a purist will still want something they can grab, but really, the NS is a multi-function board more than one for purists, and I think this could be a worthwhile trade-off. A touch panel would give you the same ability to pull "bars" in and out at whatever rate you want (something not really do-able with drawbuttons), while maintaining the drawbutton advantage of always displaying the current setting, which I think is beneficial. Otherwise you have an immediate built-in extra confusion when you switch slot focus (or preset), since regular drawbars would remain in the "other" slot's (or previous preset's) positions.

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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So no one from the Red Army really wants any sort of set list management?

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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My NE5D has a set list manager.

 

My NS doesn't, but it's moot: the Sound Manager is essentially a set list manager. It takes a 10th of a second to move or copy a patch, and it's on computer screen, which my eyes like better. So no, I really don't miss it.

Now out! "Mind the Gap," a 24-song album of new material.
www.joshweinstein.com

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So no one from the Red Army really wants any sort of set list management?

It has set list management (see video below), though now that you mention it, it would be nice to have two rows of program select buttons, i.e. 10 buttons instead of 5. At least. ;-)

 

About the best idea I can figure is to leave an entire bank of presets empty and arrange your programs in set order there

Yup, that's what they show in the video. What's wrong with that?

 

At least my Yamaha has Master Mode.

I don't think it's worlds different, in terms of set list management. Master Mode is nicer in that it has 128 slots and 16 buttons, vs. the 100 slots and 5 buttons when you dedicate a Nord bank to that function. But the actual process is pretty similar, if you use the John Melas librarian tool on the Yamaha. (I would not want to regularly re-order the slots without the benefit of these computer programs that make it so much easier and faster... and I don't think the typical Nord buyer is looking for them to add someting that requires a bunch of menu diving.)

 

If you don't want to use the computer, you can add set list capability through an app like Set List Maker (iPhone, iPad, Android). Or if you're pairing the Nord with something like your Yamaha and you're comfortable with that, you can also use that to control both boards for set management, so there are other solutions. Though I think Nord buyers may often be the type of players who more often grab the sounds they need on the fly rather than working from set lists known in advance that require lots of customized sounds anyway, since that's kind of the basic appeal of the board. In that respect, it's sort of a more capable VR-09 or SV-1, compared to something like a Kronos which takes the other philosophy.

 

 

[video:youtube]

 

 

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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It just seems like a waste of resources to eat up a whole bank of presets to stage sounds when you could program something as simple as assigning a short integer(8 bit) array to point to your sound locations. Which would let you put 128 sounds in a sequential queue which is all Yamaha did.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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It just seems like a waste of resources to eat up a whole bank of presets to stage sounds when you could program something as simple as assigning a short integer(8 bit) array to point to your sound locations. Which would let you put 128 sounds in a sequential queue which all Yamaha did.

Okay, I'll grant you that, from a programmer's perspective, the Yamaha approach is more efficient. But from a player's perspective, the end result is essentially identical. The advantage to the Nord approach is conceptual simplicity, which is always what Nord aims for (and usually achieves, more or less). Yamaha's multiple modes confuse many people. With Nord, there's no separate mode for this, and no new operations to learn.

 

Or to put it differently, even your description--"something as simple as assigning a short integer(8 bit) array to point to your sound locations" would make many people eyes glaze over. ;-) And once you've implemented that, well, now you need an interface to manage those locations, and a performance selection mechanism, and within the interface, the user needs a conceptual understanding of the distinction between, say, deleting a pointer and deleting the actual program. And to what actual user benefit? And if someone really wants this kind of system, as I said, they can just plug in their phone or tablet. I don't see this as a real functional limitation of the Nord.

 

 

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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Master mode is no treat either because you can't insert into the Yamaha array. If I setup a new show in Master Mode I always put sound #1 at slot 40. You can swap performances between positions easy enough but inserting a performance is pain because you have move everything after or everything before depending if the new song is closer to the front or the end.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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Having a stage 2 means there is no set list function really.

I briefly tried using it without some form of patch selection

but you just end up scrolling through and hope your in the right spot.

In the heat of a gig it just doesn't work.

And typically your getting a set list while your setting up so

having a computer handy to re arrange stuff is

not handy.

 

I've moved all set listing to the Forte which it handles easily.

You've got 10 big buttons all right there front and center with 10 pages of 10.

All my setups are alpha listed and there's room for what is it? 3000?

The Stage is a wonderful complement to the Forte in every way

and gets me a backup right there just in case.

The ease of use with samples is unmatched. All those effects are right there.

The sample library is a variety of just everything and there aren't any duds that I've found. The Mellotron/Chamberlein libraries are really just spot on.

It surprises me all the time how good it is.

 

The price of admission is admittedly steep.

The keybeds are their Achilles but their is no good answer there.

You really do need a weighted piano and a synth keybed to do it all right.

I've gotten around the split and wheels problem with the Forte.

The last thing that really bugs me is the vibrato being so fixed.

 

In the end you would be doing yourself a disservice not checking one out.

I just wish more Fortes were out there to try.

It's an amazing bit of kit for a gigger.

I could go on about it for quite awhile.

 

John

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Nord does have to be careful though... as they attempt to add features and functionality from user feedback (things perhaps one might expect on a board in this price range) they'll find themselves with an OLED display, getting into multiple states, tempted to assign multiple functions to this or that knob and using the screen to provide feedback so you know what the heck you're tweaking, then tempted to add something physical... then you're in the same trap as everyone else. Stage 4 will have a touch screen and setlist designer just a menu away. ;)

Yamaha CP88, Casio PX-560

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Master mode is no treat either because you can't insert into the Yamaha array. If I setup a new show in Master Mode I always put sound #1 at slot 40. You can swap performances between positions easy enough but inserting a performance is pain because you have move everything after or everything before depending if the new song is closer to the front or the end.
m

 

What I do for this is skip slots. Give yourself a leave.

I'll do 2 in a row, skip 1, 2 more in a row, skip 1, etc.

 

I did this with my master setup list leaving a bunch of holes so I don't have to move things around as we I songs.

John

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Master mode is no treat either because you can't insert into the Yamaha array.

Right, Master Mode has its complications. Have you looked into the Melas librarian? It should take out most of the pain. But yes, we're back to the old knock on Yamaha... great sounds, great functionality, but "simple" things are often complicated. Yamaha is kind of the Microsoft who wants to give you the tools to do anything you want, Nord is kind of the Apple who does not give you that freedom, but tries to make it as easy as possible to do 90% of what you want.

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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Having a stage 2 means there is no set list function really.

...

typically your getting a set list while your setting up so

having a computer handy to re arrange stuff is

not handy.

Yeah, if you have complicated patch arrangement needs and you get the set list on site, well, the Nord is not designed for that, that's Kronos territory (or, as you said, maybe Forte). That said, you don't need the computer... a phone or tablet on site with something like Set List Manager could do the trick for the Nord too. I guess the way I look at it is, if you like the hands-on operation of the Nord but need set list management, you can add that with an app. Whereas if you like the set list management of the Kronos but wish it had the hands-on operation of the Nord, well, you kinda "can't get there from here." (That said, of course the Kronos can also do lots of other stuff that is out of the Nord's realm.)

 

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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I like my Stage and appreciate the user-friendly approach...but I don't think I would buy a Stage as my bottom tier now with Kronos on top. It was a different decision when I had a MOX on top (because of poor Yamaha organs.) With the Kronos I would probably lean towards a CP4 on the bottom.

 

But I'll still play back-seat product manager for the Nord Stage 3:

 

Things they should definitely fix:

=================================

 

- Arbitrary split points...keep the existing scheme with push button access, but let you override the split points in a menu. This could even be done for the existing Nord Stages.

 

- Pitch bend range

 

- Panning of voices (without silly workarounds)

 

- Drawbars, but with some visual indication of current settings when a patch (in LED's or on graphics screen)

 

If they want to compete in the "all in one/master controller" niche, then I think they need to also do:

===================================

 

- Some sort Set list mode as discussed above.

 

- Multi-sample support (could still support the existing single layer library) in the synth engine and encourage third party development. Many people's requirements wouldn't allow the Stage as a "single keyboard" solution simply because the ROMpler capabilities of the synth engine are not competitive with Yamaha/Korg/Roland/Kurzweil.

 

 

I don't think the second category above are hot items for a large subset of Nord users that primarily use bread and butter sounds. But now that the Electro has splits, it may be eating part of that market.

I feel like if they are going to sell it in the $4-5K range for another 5 years, I think they will have to do something significant in those areas.

 

Yamaha CK88, Arturia Keylab 61 MkII, Moog Sub 37, Yamaha U1 Upright, Casio CT-S500, Mac Logic/Mainstage, iPad Camelot, Spacestation V.3, QSC K10.2, JBL EON One Compact

www.stickmanor.com

There's a thin white line between fear and fury - Stickman

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FYI, for very fast patch changes mid-song, I sometimes find it easier to set up the related patches in the same slot on adjacent "pages," rather than in adjacent programs--for example, in 3:1 and 4:1, rather than 3:1 and 3:2. In the heat of the moment, I sometimes find it easier to slap that page-up or page-down button, than to hit the right program button or turn the dial accurately. Plus my NS can sometimes hang up on a program change, but never does on a page change. (And I am too lazy to set up a pedal just for voice-up/down; one too many items for me.)

Now out! "Mind the Gap," a 24-song album of new material.
www.joshweinstein.com

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Master mode is no treat either because you can't insert into the Yamaha array.

Right, Master Mode has its complications. Have you looked into the Melas librarian? It should take out most of the pain. But yes, we're back to the old knock on Yamaha... great sounds, great functionality, but "simple" things are often complicated. Yamaha is kind of the Microsoft who wants to give you the tools to do anything you want, Nord is kind of the Apple who does not give you that freedom, but tries to make it as easy as possible to do 90% of what you want.

The Melas software is great. But I admit I didn't hook a computer to the Yamaha much. When I used the Yamaha rig a lot it pretty much stayed in the band trailer. 80% of my setup work was done at gigs before the downbeat. A big reason I setup 3 hours before the show. Once in a while I would take the laptop to the rehearsal place.

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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As always it depends on your needs.

 

As CEB points out, this probably isn't the keyboard for you if you have a repertoire of 100 songs with a random set being called just before downbeat.

 

Compared to the workstations I've used, though, there is no comparison in terms of the 'one knob/button, one function' interface for dialing in the sound you need quickly.

Nord Stage 2 Compact, Yamaha MODX8

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Loved my Stage 2 88. Sold it a year ago...kinda missing it, but the reasons I sold it would still exist.

 

I have never gotten along with the Kronos thing, but I'm interested to see what their Kronos LE is about.

 

I've apparently got my GAS under control. I'm more interested in a JP50 than anything else, but NAMM is just weeks away!

Hitting "Play" does NOT constitute live performance. -Me.
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I don't find the Kronos to be particularly joyful to play. The sounds out of the box were meh. I made they sound great.... except the pianos. They are just OK. But it was the only tool I saw that would provide the resources and on board control I needed.

 

I have a monthly private house gig hosted by a guy that watches too much Live at Daryl's house and for that I bring a S90XS. The RH3 is sort of meh. The whole thing if it wasn't for the 9 engines and Setlist mode would be meh.

 

I get a woody every once in a while for the Nord Piano. Does it have the same action as the Stage 2 EX ?

 

"It doesn't have to be difficult to be cool" - Mitch Towne

 

"A great musician can bring tears to your eyes!!!

So can a auto Mechanic." - Stokes Hunt

 

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