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User Review

Nord Lead 2 - Reviews Clavia Nord Lead 2

It has the bright red Nord body, 49 keys, and only weighs in at around 11 pounds. I already own a Nord Stage 88C (which I think is probably the finest stage piano on the market) and a Yamaha W7 (for fun with MIDI). I've been playing keyboards for 17 years now, and playing bass for around 10. I'm currently working on a new album with my band Shutterdown after a tour with my previous band. I've also been a professional classical and theatrical accompanist for 9 years. Also note that this is not the Nord Lead 2X, but the ORIGINAL Nord Lead 2.

This one is on indefinite borrow from a friend since he just bought a new Access Virus, which I'm sure he'll be reviewing on here at some point. So I paid nothing to fill my double stand with red Nords.

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I will sing the praises of the pitch bend and modulation wheel setup Nord has going on until the day I die, most likely. Nobody else has anything so comfortable, and certainly one that allows you to use both at the same time while hitting buttons as well. I like how well laid-out everything is and I appreciate the way Nord makes it very easy to start using subtractive synthesis. Everything you need is covered in some form or other here, from LFO's, to dual osciallators, filters, etc. Even a fine-tune pitch adjustment knob. I was also surprised that you could split the keyboard. For a synthesizer, that's usually considered a non-essential feature, but one that I enjoy and make use of nonetheless. I'm also very much impressed by the sound of it, and I'd readily ask anyone to do a blind test with a Dave Smith or even a real analog board, perhaps something by Bob Moog, just to see which one was thought to be the better-sounding keyboard. While the Nord Lead can't ALWAYS compete with analog boards like the Moog, it still makes a pretty impressive effort with it's virtual analog system. I have very little complain about. The board also has plenty of outputs, including 4 1/4' assignable outputs, MIDI In/Out, a PCMCIA slot for storage, and slots for control and sustain pedals as well as headphones.

I WOULD, however, like to say that the Nord Lead 2X has improved upon the Nord Lead 2's filters a good deal by upping the ante to a 24-bit/96kHz converter for much higher quality digital audio. The Nord Lead 2's filters are starting to feel a little older with some newer, higher-quality technology coming out lately, but they still hold their own quite nicely. I would also appreciate either a third oscillator or the ability to control the amplifier and filter settings for each oscillator individually. I have every knob and dial I could ever ask for otherwise, but I'd like to be able to divide the amp and filter sections to be dedicated to each oscillator.

Don't drop it. Don't bump it around. It's a very expensive synthesizer, so take care of it as such. That said, it's managed to come out fine through a few scrapes and a fall, so I'm going to rate it A-OK for now. Just take care of it and it'll take care of you, like I say with all the instruments I've owned.

It's getting a little bit older, but it's still a very formidable and great sounding synthesizer. The Nord Lead 2X is an even better version of this as well, but it still doesn't have individual amp/filter channels like Roland's GAIA does, although the Roland doesn't come anywhere near this board when it comes to tone. In that department, it's only matched by Dave Smith, Access, or other very high end keyboards. It's truly worth every penny of the $1,500 asking price.

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