Buying Guides / 10 May 2024

The Complete Nord Keyboards Guide 2024

If you’re remotely familiar with the world of synths and keyboards, Nord Keyboards is a name you’ve definitely heard of. Nord, a Swedish company known for its exceptional digital pianos, has been a music industry mainstay since 1983.

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With a strong commitment to quality, innovation, and performance, Nord Keyboards has long established themselves as a top choice for professional musicians and keyboardists worldwide. Want to learn more about Nord’s history and product range? You’re in the right place!

“Nord” Just Another Keyboard

Founded in 1983, Nord has a rich history of crafting high-end synthesisers, keyboards and stage pianos. The company’s ethos revolves around creating instruments that cater to the needs of technically-minded musicians – offering top-notch quality and innovative features not found in your conventional keys. 

Another hallmark of Nord is their sole focus on professional-grade models, making them a staple in many renowned stage and studios worldwide. This means every Nord product you put your hands on is of the highest quality – having been thoroughly tested by working musicians with hectic touring schedules and gigging sessions. 

Why Choose Nord Pianos?

There are several compelling reasons to choose Nord pianos for your musical endeavours. Firstly, Nord instruments are handmade in Sweden to an extremely high standard – reflecting the company’s commitment to quality and durability. Whether you’re an enthusiast or a professional, Nord keyboards are designed to withstand the rigours of live or studio performances while delivering exceptional sound quality.

Additionally, Nord’s focus on innovation is evident in their product range, which features cutting-edge technology and advanced features. The Nord Stage 4, for example, offers a range of effects, presets, and customisation options that cater to the modern demands of touring and studio work. The company’s emphasis on high-quality speaker systems and top-notch sound production makes Nord pianos a favourite among musicians seeking a high-quality portable studio experience.

The Nord Family

Nord’s product range includes a variety of digital pianos, keyboards, and synthesisers designed for different applications. Here’s a complete breakdown of each model that’s currently available in their roster:

Nord Grand 2 (Coming Soon – Available for Preorder)

Nord’s iconic 88-key powerhouse – the Nord Grand 2 – is back with enhanced features and expanded sonic capabilities. Setting a new standard for stage pianos, Nord has collaborated with Kawai to craft a next-gen keybed that optimises sensitivity and feel – delivering a nuanced and tactile playing experience akin to an acoustic grand piano. Here are some of the highlights you should know about: 

  • Premium Keybed: Developed in collaboration with Kawai, the Grand 2 further improves on the highly acclaimed keybed found on the original. Improvements were made to enhance the hammer-action and triple-sensor performance – providing the most authentic acoustic piano feel ever felt on a keyboard.
  • Switch Between Sounds: The Nord Grand 2 comes equipped with “Advanced Layering” capabilities for combining 2 Pianos and 2 Sample Synths with individual Split settings per Layer and optional crossfades.
  • Extensive Sound Collection: The Nord Grand 2 includes a wide range of Grands, Uprights, and Electric Pianos from the Nord Piano Library, enhanced with features like Dynamic Compression and Unison for expressive playing.
  • Realism and Expressiveness: The Nord Grand 2 features state-of-the-art sampling techniques to capture the nuances and character of its sampled instruments. Additionally, Nord’s Advanced String Resonance and Dynamic Pedal Noise deliver an authentic piano experience.

    *Layer refers to a feature in Nord Keyboards that allows users to seamlessly switch between two different sound setups at the touch of a button. This Layer Scene functionality is designed to enhance the flexibility and performance capabilities of the instrument, enabling musicians to transition between distinct sounds effortlessly during live performances.

Nord Stage 4 

The Nord Stage 4 is the latest addition to Nord’s Stage series – offering a powerful selection of keyboards designed to elevate live performances. With a new panel design featuring dedicated LED faders for each layer, this keyboard provides exceptional flexibility and overview when creating sounds. Here are some of the highlights you should know about:

  • Expert Emulation: The Nord Stage 4 introduces a new B-3 bass mode, Model 122 Vintage Rotary Speaker modelling, and an expanded collection of pianos, organs, and synths for authentic and nuanced sound emulation.
  • Tonal Sculpting: The redesigned panel design features physical drawbars and LED faders for each layer, offering real-time feedback and flexibility in sound creation. Dynamic compression, unison mode, and enhanced effects like reverb, delay, and modulation provide rich texturising options.
  • Versatile Sound Engines: Piano, organ, and synthesiser sound engines in the Nord Stage 4 provide a wide range of sonic possibilities for stage performances and studio productions.
  • Triple-Sensor Keybed: The Nord Stage 4 features a fully weighted keybed for a fast, smooth feel with lifelike sensitivity – allowing for unparalleled expression across all instruments.
  • Enhanced User Interface: Dual OLED displays for Program and Synth sections ensure clear navigation and operation, while seamless transitions between program changes eliminate interruptions in sound.

Nord Piano 5

The latest edition of Nord’s award-winning Piano series, the Nord Piano 5 delivers a superb studio and stage piano with across-the-board improvements. Boasting two powerful piano engines, dual independent sample synths, and twice the memory of its predecessor – the Nord Piano 5 is a formidable digital piano/synth that can excel in the most demanding live and recording scenarios. Here are some of the highlights you should know about: 

  • Independent Piano and Sample Synth Layers: The Piano and Sample Synth sections each feature two independent layers, allowing for a wide range of split and layered sound configurations with flexible effects routing.
  • Innovative Nord Technologies: The Piano 5 features Nord’s Virtual Hammer Action technology, Advanced String Resonance, and Dynamic Pedal Noise for an authentic and responsive piano playing experience.
  • Expansive Sound Library: The Piano 5 comes loaded with 9 Grand Pianos, 9 Uprights, 10 Electric Pianos, and more from the exclusive Nord Piano Library, all captured with Nord’s cutting-edge sampling technology.
  • Tru-Vibrato and Unison: Accurately models the unique vibrato characteristics of various instruments and creatively blends multiple sample voices for lush ensemble sounds.
  • Intuitive Sound Shaping: The Piano 5 has controls for attack, decay/release, and dynamic velocity response, as well as Soft and Bright filters for tonal adjustments.

Nord Grand

The original model of the highly-acclaimed Grand series, the Nord Grand embodies the Swedish company’s commitment to excellence and exceptional sound quality. Boasting Kawai’s Responsive Hammer keybed with Ivory Touch and innovative triple sensors – the Nord Grand delivers a dynamic playing experience akin to an acoustic grand piano. Here are some of the highlights you should know about: 

  • Piano Section: The Nord Grand offers a diverse collection of 10 Grands, nine Uprights, 10 Enhanced Electric Pianos, and more from the Nord Piano Library – meticulously sampled for authentic sound reproduction.
  • Customisable Playability: The Nord Grand features 3 Dynamic Curves for varying playing styles, Soft Release for smoother transitions, and Nord’s Triple Pedal with Dynamic Pedal Noise for enhanced expression.
  • Sound Realism: Cutting-edge sampling techniques capture the nuances and character of each instrument in the Nord Piano Library, ensuring a lifelike and immersive playing experience.
  • Sound Replacement: Easily replace sounds via the Nord Sound Manager, with the Piano Library continuously updated with new premium sounds for added versatility.
  • Studio-Grade Effects: The Nord Grand’s Effect section offers a range of studio-grade stereo effects modelled after vintage stompboxes – including Reverb, Delay, EQ, and more for enhancing and shaping your sound.

Nord Wave 2

The Nord Wave 2 stands as Nord’s most versatile performance synthesiser yet – offering a powerful 4-part synth engine that integrates virtual analogue, samples, FM, and wavetable synthesis in a sleek and gig-friendly design. With keys featuring aftertouch, robust 48-voice polyphony, and a fast, layer-focused interface – the Nord Wave 2 provides a universe of sonic opportunities for serious synthesists. Here are some of the highlights you should know about: 

  • Layering Capabilities: The Nord Wave 2 functions as four independent synthesisers in one unit, allowing for versatile layering of classic waveforms and samples with dedicated OLED displays for clear sound shaping.
  • Oscillator Versatility: Each of the four layers features an Oscillator section with modes like Analog, Wavetable, FM, and Samples, offering a wide range of sonic possibilities with additional control over shape, sync, and detune.
  • Diverse Oscillator Categories: The Nord Wave 2’s Oscillator categories include Virtual Analog, Samples, Wavetable, and FM, providing a comprehensive range of waveforms and samples for sound creation.
  • Polyphonic Arpeggiator and Gate: The Wave 2 features a versatile arpeggiator with editable patterns and a Gate mode for rhythmic pattern chopping, offering creative rhythmic possibilities for performance and sound design.
  • Real-time Control: The Nord Wave 2 offers hands-on controls, including aftertouch, for intuitive sound manipulation and performance expression –  with Morphing and Impulse Morph features for dynamic parameter changes.
  • Sample Editing: The Nord Sample Editor 3 for Mac and Windows allows for easy creation and mapping of custom sample instruments – enhancing the Nord Wave 2’s sonic capabilities and customisation options.

Nord Lead A1

The Nord Lead A1 is an innovative analogue modelling synthesiser that delivers a powerful and versatile sound palette for both stage and studio. Featuring a 49-key Fatar keybed, 24-note polyphony, and a 4-part multitimbral architecture, the Lead A1 empowers musicians to quickly create and deploy an impressive array of sounds across musical genres. With its intuitive interface, unique oscillator configurations, and high-quality effects, the Nord Lead A1 encourages experimentation and inspires creativity.

  • Versatile Sound Palette: The Nord Lead A1 offers a wide range of classic analogue and digital waveforms, along with features like Unison mode, Extra Fat Unison, and a 5-waveform LFO, allowing for the creation of fat leads, lush pads, and punchy basses.
  • Speedy Patch Creation: The Bord Lead A1’s streamlined interface, with its “Like” list and Mutator function, enables rapid sound design and deployment, making it an ideal choice for live performance and studio work.
  • Analog Modeling Excellence: Nord’s expertise in analogue modelling synthesis shines through in the Lead A1, delivering the warmth and character of classic analogue synths with the reliability and flexibility of a modern digital instrument.
  • Unique Oscillator Configurations: The Nord Lead A1 features a novel oscillator block with eight different configurations, including Pitch, Detune, Shape, Sync, AM, Noise, Sub Mix, and FM, providing a wealth of tonal possibilities.
  • Comprehensive Filtering: The Nord Lead A1 offers 12dB and 24dB lowpass filters, as well as highpass and bandpass filters with transistor and diode ladder filter simulations for authentic analogue-style sound shaping.
  • Powerful Modulation: The Nord Lead A1 includes a dedicated modulation envelope, an LFO with five waveforms, and the ability to use the LFO as an additional modulation envelope for dynamic sound manipulation.

Nord’s keyboards are undoubtedly a top choice for musicians looking for professional-grade instruments that combine quality, innovation, and performance. With a rich history, a commitment to excellence, and a diverse product range, Nord keyboards are the keys you need to get the best out of your playing experience.

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On the lookout for other music gear? No sweat, our Swee Lee stores are locked and loaded with an assortment of musical instruments. Simply head on to our Swee Lee web store and search around.

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