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Nord Stage Quick Review


R_dup1

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Nord Stage Review

 

Wow, just got my Nord Stage and it is awesome. It feels great, nice solid keyboard, though certainly not like a graded weighted hammer board (more like something in between the real piano feel and the synth action boards), but perfect for what it is and for organ playing.

 

Sounds great -pianos, rhodes, vox, organs. Piano 1 is to die for. Very, very well done. To me it sounds much better than the Roland or Kurzweil pianos that I've seen some reviews and pre-reviews compare it to. I think it's one of the best piano sounds going.

 

Love the normal and dirty Rhodes sounds, but for me the clav sounds leave quite a bit to be desired, at least as programmed. I think with tweaking they can get to where I want them to be, but that may just be me. I'm a big fan of clav so I'm a little picky.

 

The synth engine is sweet and overall it just sounds awesome, though I won't be selling the Nord Lead 3 any time soon. User interface wise it would have been nice to have a keypad to pic sounds instead of having to scroll through, but holding down scrolls super fast so that's nice.

 

The FM is a little weak in the presets and the things that are supposed to sound tubular don't sound nearly as FM'y as a DX7 or SY99 or FS1R, but I haven't delved into it deeply enough past the presets to say for sure.

 

The minis, saws and strings and pads are very nice, though in the patches, there is a lot of duplication. I would like to have a rougher, more raw saw sound instead of the very clean and digital feel of the synth sounds, but maybe with some playing and tweaking and adding overdrive that can be fixed.

 

The sound quality is killer, albeit very digital, though and I love the user interface, but then I'm an electro and Nord Lead series fan, so that makes sense.

 

The really wonderful thing is it's so light compared to the other 88's that with this around I can't even imagine schlepping around a Yammie P-2xx or huge workstation board for live play. This will get a ton of use for me both live and in the studio.

 

I just unpacked it this evening and played for a couple of hours, so no major in depth comments yet, but I think it's definitely a winner! :-)

 

I'm looking forward to diving in deeper, but I recommend this one. The only thing I really have to complain about is why they didn't just include the #*^! legs with it. Why charge all that money and then sell the legs separately?

 

Cheers!

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Thanks! Please, give us more impressions as you play it.

I know that many here (myself included) are awaiting them anxiously.

Korg PA3X Pro 76 and Kronos 61, Roland G-70, Integra 7 and BK7-m, Casio PX-5S, Fender Stratocaster with Fralin pickups, Fender Stratocaster with Kinman pickups, 1965 Gibson SG Standard
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Nord Stage piano playing the Purgatory Creek Piano Shootout MIDI:

 

http://www.marsy-music.de/music/Yamaha%20C7.mp3

http://www.marsy-music.de/music/Steinway.mp3

 

You can also compare the above Nord Stage pianos demos with other digital pianos that play the same midi file at Busch's Piano Shootout:

 

http://www.purgatorycreek.com

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." 

Harry teaches jazz piano online using Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, or Google Meet.

 

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R,

 

You mentioned that you don't like the clavs, and also mentioned that you are a former Electro user. Are the clavs different? IMHO the clavs on the Electro are stellar, it would be a pity if they were changed for the worse.

 

What is it that you don't like about them?

I'm just saying', everyone that confuses correlation with causation eventually ends up dead.
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The STAGE sounds pretty good on the MP3s and I've been intrigued by this keyboard ever since it was announced. My main issue is that it duplicates a lot of the Electro functionality, which is to me a bit of an insult to Electro users like myself (primarily the duplication of the Hammond section).

 

I don't plan to part with my Electro and don't relish paying for functionality (hardware and software) that I don't really need in the STAGE. I do like the form factor of the STAGE. I've heard from several sources that the action feels great. The Rhodes and Clavs should be outstanding, as well as the organs (though I don't really need to play organ on the STAGE). The synth seems to be kind of a vanilla, middle of the road kind of deal. I would have ordered one by now if they had included something more powerful like the Lead 2x or Lead 3.

 

I think there is a niche for another version of the STAGE that has the piano section with a stronger synth and no organ, at a somewhat lower price. This would help sell more Electros to be dedicated Hammond clones.

 

Regards,

Eric

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the clavs are the same as the electro (as far as I can tell). The rhodes has been improved and the organ as well. I believe the electro is aimed more for organ players while the stage is aimed for piano players who may need some orgran occasionally.

 

 

 

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Piano players need piano and Rhodes, not the whole kitchen sink: synth and organ. Paint it black and cut the price and they will sell.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." 

Harry teaches jazz piano online using Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, or Google Meet.

 

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Originally posted by Jazz+:

Piano players need piano and Rhodes, not the whole kitchen sink: synth and organ. Paint it black and cut the price and they will sell.

Like what you said, but put simple controls on the front panel and a FLAT top so that you can add another keyboard on top if so inclined (also fine for sheet music). With the legs, you don't need to bring along a stand.

 

Busch.

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Originally posted by burningbusch:

Originally posted by Jazz+:

Piano players need piano and Rhodes, not the whole kitchen sink: synth and organ. Paint it black and cut the price and they will sell.

Like what you said, but put simple controls on the front panel and a FLAT top so that you can add another keyboard on top if so inclined (also fine for sheet music). With the legs, you don't need to bring along a stand.

 

Busch.

They already have that. It's just not made by Clavia. Why should Clavia do something that Yamaha and Roland are already doing? If you want a piano and rhodes sound with space to put another keyboard, get a P250. It even has a music rack. If you don't want to lug a keyboard around like that, get the Casio, everyone says they are amazing. If you have to have a place to put another keyboard, don't complain when it weighs more than 25lbs or you have to carry a stand that weighs 10lbs more because it has 2 tiers. As far as legs go, it would take a 10 minute trip to the hardware store to fabricate detachable legs for any keyboard.

Live: Korg Kronos 2 88, Nord Electro 5d Nord Lead A1

Toys: Roland FA08, Novation Ultranova, Moog LP, Roland SP-404SX, Roland JX10,Emu MK6

www.bksband.com

www.echoesrocks.com

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Originally posted by DanL:

Originally posted by burningbusch:

Originally posted by Jazz+:

Piano players need piano and Rhodes, not the whole kitchen sink: synth and organ. Paint it black and cut the price and they will sell.

Like what you said, but put simple controls on the front panel and a FLAT top so that you can add another keyboard on top if so inclined (also fine for sheet music). With the legs, you don't need to bring along a stand.

 

Busch.

They already have that. It's just not made by Clavia. Why should Clavia do something that Yamaha and Roland are already doing? If you want a piano and rhodes sound with space to put another keyboard, get a P250. It even has a music rack. If you don't want to lug a keyboard around like that, get the Casio, everyone says they are amazing. If you have to have a place to put another keyboard, don't complain when it weighs more than 25lbs or you have to carry a stand that weighs 10lbs more because it has 2 tiers. As far as legs go, it would take a 10 minute trip to the hardware store to fabricate detachable legs for any keyboard.
This is the type of set up I'm talking about. This is one part of my set up for high profile gigs. The clav and Mini sit on top of a rack which houses submixer and rack synths. You can quickly move from one keyboard to another. The P250 is about the only thing out there with flat top. Problem is, in a hard shell case, it weighs more than my Rhodes Mark V. I'll take the Mark, put an XK-3 on top. Even the XK-3 has a flat top and you could probably put another small synth on top of it.

 

All modern portable stands SUCK. You can't do three tiers. There is this huge spacing between tiers designed so that you can get to the controls on top of all modern synths.

 

THE OLD WAY WAS BETTER.

 

http://www.midnitewalk.com/images/moog-clav2.jpg

 

This is a thing of beauty. The clav and Moog play and sound just like they should. Anyone care to put the Nord Stage clav and synth section up aganst it?

 

Busch.

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Originally posted by burningbusch:

Originally posted by DanL:

Originally posted by burningbusch:

quote:

Originally posted by Jazz+:

Piano players need piano and Rhodes, not the whole kitchen sink: synth and organ. Paint it black and cut the price and they will sell.
Like what you said, but put simple controls on the front panel and a FLAT top so that you can add another keyboard on top if so inclined (also fine for sheet music). With the legs, you don't need to bring along a stand.

 

Busch.
They already have that. It's just not made by Clavia. Why should Clavia do something that Yamaha and Roland are already doing? If you want a piano and rhodes sound with space to put another keyboard, get a P250. It even has a music rack. If you don't want to lug a keyboard around like that, get the Casio, everyone says they are amazing. If you have to have a place to put another keyboard, don't complain when it weighs more than 25lbs or you have to carry a stand that weighs 10lbs more because it has 2 tiers. As far as legs go, it would take a 10 minute trip to the hardware store to fabricate detachable legs for any keyboard.
This is the type of set up I'm talking about. This is one part of my set up for high profile gigs. The clav and Mini sit on top of a rack which houses submixer and rack synths. You can quickly move from one keyboard to another. The P250 is about the only thing out there with flat top. Problem is, in a hard shell case, it weighs more than my Rhodes Mark V. I'll take the Mark, put an XK-3 on top. Even the XK-3 has a flat top and you could probably put another small synth on top of it.

 

All modern portable stands SUCK. You can't do three tiers. There is this huge spacing between tiers designed so that you can get to the controls on top of all modern synths.

 

THE OLD WAY WAS BETTER.

 

http://www.midnitewalk.com/images/moog-clav2.jpg

 

This is a thing of beauty. The clav and Moog play and sound just like they should. Anyone care to put the Nord Stage clav and synth section up aganst it?

 

Busch.

Preach on brother, preach on!

 

I remember when I had that exact set-up and both units were NEW!

Peace

 

 

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Originally posted by burningbusch:

Anyone care to put the Nord Stage clav and synth section up aganst it?

Sure! Especially when it comes time to tear down. :P

 

The Stage has arrived, and it is good. I've only had time to play with it a little bit, but this is the board I've wanted for years. More later.

A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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kevank,

 

Intersting review. When do you use mono piano? Do you dislike stereo piano live even with a stereo PA? I can understand that. What sound system are you using?

 

Thanks

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." 

Harry teaches jazz piano online using Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, or Google Meet.

 

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I find stereo to be impractical at best in live situations, and catastrophic at worst. (Well, maybe not quite catastrophic ;) )

 

The first problem is with stereo pianos in a stereo PA - there is not a piano in the world that is that large that it encompasses an entire stage designed for a band. At best, a piano's sound emanates from about a 9ft long area. In the grand scheme of things, and in a band context, that is a point on the stage, not the entire stage. The problem is then escalated in terms of the audience's perspective. If I as an audience member am sitting anywhere out of the sweet spot, I'm missing a whole lot of the stereo image, and adding to that are the issues of phase cancellation that are going to be a greater problem in a stereo situation.

 

The second problem is in a situation where you are running your keys stereo, but going into a mono PA. What's the point? The phase issues that were going to happen with a stereo PA are now amplified by the fact that your stereo signal is being mixed down to mono. Hollow lifeless piano anyone?

 

I run mono on gigs exclusively. Beyond the issues with stereo amplification, I feel it gives me a few different advantages over stereo. In situations where there is not a PA, running mono gives me a clearly defined place on the soundstage. My position on stage is easily identifiable. In situations where there is a PA, it gives me a greater confidence that MY sound is what's going out to the audience, not a phase cancelled mess, and it gives the soundman less to mix, balance, and otherwise generally screw up, in other words it makes his life easier. This advantage is further enhanced by sending the soundman only one line, even when I'm using 2 boards. My amp is a JBL EON G2, which has two 1/4" line ins, and a direct XLR out. Again, now I can run 2 boards and mix myself, giving the soundman one less thing to worry about, or screw up (screw up is of course a statement that is not meant to reflect on all soundmen, just some of them). I also find that the soundman in general is very appreciative of having less to worry about. The EON is also perfect for situations where there is a PA because I can place it to one side of me (the side facing away from the rest of the band), tilt it back, and aim it right at my head (cabinet pointing away from the audience) so that I have personal monitoring that I hear how I like it, and by having my cabinet face away from the audience, I again give the soundman one less thing to worry about - he doesn't have to worry about my stage volume blowing out half of the crowd so that he can't put any of me in the mains for the other half of the crowd.

 

Let's face it, stereo is a very crude approximation of reality. The human ear is so much more powerful than that. We can locate sounds with extreme precision in 3 dimensional space, but stereo is only 2 dimensional. While it may seem counterintuitive, mono sources on stage are much more like real life than stereo - instruments and musicians occupy defined places on the stage, and complex instruments like the piano or a drum kit occupy a complex space. Stereo may 'widen' the image, but only for listeners at clearly defined locations. In our 4 dimensional reality, there are not only spatial issues that come into effect, but time issues - the sound from a low A on a piano that is struck at the same time as a high C is struck will not arrive at your ears simultaneously. Stereo does not account for that, and in fact can confuse that further by giving you multiple sources for the same sound arriving at both ears at vastly different times. While mono does not account for that either, it also does not confuse the issue to the same degree that stereo does by giving you a single point of reference in space.

 

Now I must also say that these opinions do not necessarily carry over to the recording process. Stereo recording is designed, ideally, for listeners to occupy the sweet spot in the field. With proper stereo recording techniques (spaced omnis [15" apart] separated by a Jecklin disk), the time dimension can indeed be captured, thus giving 2 dimensional recordings one more dimension, but that's a whole other discussion.

A ROMpler is just a polyphonic turntable.
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For me, this is the essential point in your post:

If I am not in the sweet spot... "I'm missing a whole lot of the stereo image, and adding to that are the issues of phase cancellation that are going to be a greater problem in a stereo situation. "

 

However, I think mono is also a problem. A piano coming from a single speaker tends to beam its sound out much like the way a trumpet projects its sound. And most cabinets use a horn which shoots the sound out even more abruptly. A 9' piano spreads its sound out in a smoother and wider field. Stereo can help simulate a spread.

Perhaps two mono cabinets is the answer for spreading the sound.

 

Anyways, I have given up on digital piano sound live and exclusivly play the vintage Rhodes sound.

Harry Likas was the Technical Editor of Mark Levine's "The Jazz Theory Book" and also helped develop "The Jazz Piano Book." 

Harry teaches jazz piano online using Facebook Messenger, FaceTime, or Google Meet.

 

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