It can be difficult to find a high-quality digital keyboard. You’ve probably heard about companies such as Yamaha, Roland, and Casio. You may not know a whole lot about another company called Nord. Here is a little bit about Nord and the best keyboards that they produce for today’s artists.
In a hurry? Here are our top picks..
One company you may not know a whole lot about when it comes to keyboards is Nord, which is a Swedish manufacturer of musical instruments. Founder Hans Nordelius started the company in 1983. The first product was a digital percussion plate. This product ended up being a huge success.
The first synthesizer they released was called the Nord lead. It had an intuitive user interface and a distinctive sound. In 1997 the Nord Modular was released, which was the first digital modular synthesizer. It was Innovative, as well as flexible. In 2005 the Nord Stage went on the market. It featured organ emulations, as well as fantastic electric, acoustic sounds, and effects. For the past several years, they have released numerous products. In 2013 they celebrated their 30th anniversary released keyboards such as the Nord Lead 4, Nord Pad, and Nord Drum 2. The company started as a small basement workshop but now produces exceptional keyboard instruments and other products for both beginners as well as advanced players. This guide will help you pick the best Nord instruments to meet your needs.
Are Nord Keyboards Good?
You will need to determine whether a Nord keyboard is the right choice for you. They are not the best option for complete beginners, but for those that have some experience or are professionals, they are an excellent option.
The keyboards are built mainly for the gigging musician. They are portable, lightweight, reliable, and they have plenty of features. They have amazing sound and are easy to set up as long as you have a good idea of what you are doing. They are handmade in Sweden, so you get an instrument that is of exceptional quality.
They have a lot of features, so they might seem complex to beginners. You can still learn how to play one as a beginner, but it might take you a little while to understand all the buttons and knobs that come with your Nord keyboard. Another nice aspect is that it is updatable. You can update samples and Nord libraries from their website on an ongoing basis. The sample editor software helps you create your own custom samples. When you purchase one of these instruments, it won’t be outdated as soon as you get at home. You can download updates and new features to keep your product fresh in the future. This will give you new tones to play on stage.
Before You Buy a Nord
The connections that your keyboard is capable of is going to be important. If you’re playing live, you want your system to connect to all of your other equipment seamlessly. You may want USB support or Bluetooth features if you have a lot of wireless equipment. Make sure that the piano has the connections that you need. Most systems will have a lot of connections, but in some cases, your piano may be missing a key connection that you need. You don’t want to buy something and then realize it doesn’t have that specific input or output that you want.
Type of Keyboard
Nord offers some specific systems. You will have to decide which one that you want. For example, The Electro series combines both piano and organ sounds. The Wave 2 Performance Synthesizer provides high-quality synth sounds for stage performances. The Stage Series gives you organ, piano, synth, and sampling capabilities in one product. It’s important to decide what you’re going to be using your keyboard for before you buy a Nord product. They are not an all-in-one system like some other manufacturers. Nord systems are designed for a specific role. This gives you the maximum flexibility and sound performance for the main role but you want your keyboard to perform.
The Best Nord Keyboards
1. Nord Electro 6D 61 Stage Piano – Best Organ and Piano Sounds
The Electro gives you an excellent organ and piano sounds. This is a 61 key 5-octave keyboard with semi-weighted keys. It is excellent for synth sounds and organ playing, as well as piano.
There are independent sound sections for synth, piano, and organ. You can use them simultaneously, as a split, or as a layer. You can assign sound engines that you can control with an external keyboard while you play others with the Nord Electro. The piano section gives you a wide range of pianos, including digital, electric, and acoustic sounds. These all come from the Nord Piano Library. This is updated on an ongoing basis with new sounds.
This keyboard has a program section so you can organize programs you frequently need. You get paste, copy, and move functions so you can arrange everything in the order you want. You can take pages and sort them as a song list. The Oregon section will recreate a lot of classic organ sounds. Including the 1960s transistor organs, Farfisa Compact, and Vox Continental. It also produces classic pipe organ tones such as the ones that you will find in a church.
The synth section provides high-quality sounds that come from the Nord Sample Library. Change the Dynamics of these sounds wit control knobs. The Nord sample editor software works with Macintosh and Windows computers to create your own samples. You also have a section of effects that you can add. These are all modeled after popular classic stompboxes.
The Nord Electro has you covered whether you want to play the organ, piano, or synthesizer style sounds. It is an exceptional keyboard capable of producing a wide range of tones. Its main focus is on organ sounds, but it is also a great choice for synthesizer and piano playing.
2. Nord Stage 3 88-Key Digital Piano – Best for Piano Sounds
If you are mainly a piano player what you want the versatility of other instrument sounds, have a look at the Nord Stage 3, which an 88-key digital piano. It’s best at creating authentic sounds, and numerous features that make it an outstanding product.
This keyboard features OLED displays to change settings on the fly while on stage. It’s easy to change your sound or programs with these screens. You get great memory with 2GB available. It has excellent piano filters and 120 voice polyphony.
Use each of the sound generating sections together or on their own. Use two organs, two pianos, and two synthesizers plus various defects at the same time if you prefer. This gives you a lot of flexibility in your playing. If you have a pedal, the system allows you to change your programs, so it is easy to get two different tones while you still have your hands on your keyboard. The keyboard itself is a fully weighted hammer action style keyboard. It will feel just like a regular piano to you, which will make it easier for you to play.
The piano experience on the Nord 3 is exceptional. Create the sounds of electric pianos, acoustics, grand pianos, digital instruments, and other pianos. Everything comes from the Nord Library. All of these sounds are picked for their unique characteristics. These sounds are as authentic as possible and expressive, so they sound like the real thing.
The organ section uses the Nord C2D organ, which is award-winning. It creates B3 tonewheel simulation as well as the sound of other vintage organs. The synthesizer section allows you to create different tones. The effects section adds an effect such as reverb, delay, and compressor. if You have other MIDI-controlled gear. integrate it with the Nord stage 3 using the External section of the instrument.
Stage 3 has everything you need as a professional piano player. It will give you both synthesizer as well as organ and piano. You have a wide range of tones to choose from. For intermediate players or professionals looking for an exceptional stage performing keyboard, The Stage 3 has what you require.
3. Nord Lead A1 49-Key – Best Analog Modelling Synthesizer
For those looking for a high-quality synthesizer, you might want to consider the Nord Lead A1. This is a 49 key analog modeling synthesizer that has a ton of great features.
This device has an analog modeling engine and 26-voice polyphony. There are four simultaneous synthesizer parts. The front panel interface is simple, yet it is sophisticated. It is easy for you to create patches. It has a low pass filter, 5-waveform LFO, and a multi-configurable oscillator. You get 49 keys that are responsive so you can create excellent sounds.
The synthesizer has a velocity morph, which is a classic Nord feature. This helps you control the knob parameters with a control pedal or modulation wheel. You can adjust the sample rate and arpeggiator range with the modulation wheel.
There is the Master Clock feature, which controls the global tempo. You can synchronize the delay, arpeggiator, and LFO to the Master Clock. The Tap Tempo button to globally changes the tempo. You can sync with your drummer and play intricate rhythms by using this feature.
The Arpeggiator feature has four separate arpeggiators. There are random modes, and up and down features as well as a 4-octave range. All of this can be synced to the Master Clock. The splits and layers section allow you to have four identical synthesizers at your disposal. This can help you create a wide range of layers.
The oscillator section of the sympathizer gives you two oscillators per voice. You get classic reform such as square, saw, triangle, sign, and pulse. There is a unique type of wave called format wavetables which helps you create distinct sounds.
There is a like button for patch creation. You may create a patch, but it’s not yet complete. You can like what you have done and save this to a temporary location as you continue to edit. You can then go back if you make a mistake and call up an older version. You have the ability to like up to 50 different variations. You can scroll between variations and then go back to the one that you like the most. When you are ready, save your favorite patches into the memory of the A1.
It is clear that the Nord A1 is an exceptional synthesizer that will do everything that you want and has a wide range of sounds for you to work with.
4. Nord Piano 4 88 Stage Piano – Best Piano
If you need an authentic piano tone, you can go with the 4th generation Nord piano called the Nord Piano 4. It has excellent sound for those that want to create authentic piano tones.
This new version has expanded voice polyphony. There are a triple sensor keypad and virtual hammer action technology. This gives you an excellent authentic piano experience while you are using your keyboard. The system has dedicated buttons and knobs for all of the essential functions. During a live performance situation, this makes changing tones simple when you do not have a lot of time.
There are two different sound sections. These can be split or layered over the keyboard, and each of these sections will have different effects. You can assign a sustained or a volume pedal to them if you prefer. You can have seven split points, and these are indicated with LED lights. You also have a split point crossfade functionality. This will give you a smooth transition between the two split zones. Use the organized mode feature to copy, paste, and move programs to the preferred order that you want. You can organize pages as a song list. The numeric pad mode gives you access to your programs just by entering a program number.
The piano section of the keyboard has a broad range of different pianos. You can choose from digital, electric, and acoustic sounds that come from the Nord Piano Library. You also have a scent samples section and the ability to tweak high-quality effects that are modeled after stomp boxes. You can assign these effects to the synth section or the piano.
Nord Piano 4 has everything that the piano player needs to sound great. This system is not as complex as some other pianos and synthesizers, so you will find it easier to navigate.
5. Nord 61-Key Wave 2 – Best Performance Synthesizer
If you are in the market for a performance synthesizer, the Nord Wave 2 has all that you need. It has a ton of great features for today’s artists.
This four-part synthesizer combines samples, analog synthesis, wavetables, with an intuitive interface, and 48 voice polyphony. The controls are hands-on and high-performance. You’ll be able to create a wide range of outstanding tones with the synthesizer. It is easy to tweak on the fly and has advanced layering. It comes with the Nord Sample Library with 1GB gigabyte of memory. It has OLED displays for the oscillator and program sections. It features 61 keys, so it is capable of covering almost any style of music.
Use the oscillator sections and OLED displays to help you shape your sound. It’s easy to tweak the performance features with these settings. Use the program layers section, which has faders to control the volume of your layers. The group feature allows you to group up to four layers and process these with an envelope, filter, LFO, arpeggiator, and effects. You can build patches that are multi-layered and complex and edit these as one sound. The Nord Sample Library includes sounds for brass, strings, choirs, guitars, and percussion. The filter section gives you access to six different filter types to further enhance your sounds. Nord Wave 2 is an excellent performance synthesizer that will help you create exceptional high-quality sounds.
6. Nord Grand 88 – Best Grand Piano System
Nord makes exceptional keyboard systems. They make the Nord grand piano which has a lot of features for today’s musician.
This 88-key keyboard feels like a regular acoustic piano. You have the smooth touch that you would expect from a regular acoustic grand. You have buttons and knobs dedicated to all of the essential functions that you need during a lot of performance. You can create splits and layers, add effects, or transpose the instrument at any time.
There is a wide range of electric, upright, grand, and digital pianos that come with the systems and included in the piano library. You will find a wide range of strings, since, brass, choirs, and other sounds at your disposal. Take the effect section and tweak stereo effects which are modeled from various stompboxes. You can assign all these facts to the synth section or the piano.
Use a CD or MP3 player and connect to the back of the keyboard and play along with all of your songs. You can also hook it up to a sound system or an external mixer or any other piece of equipment that you were using on stage. For those that want an exceptional acoustic guitar and piano feel, then you should pick up the Nord Grand. It will make you sound like a pro during any performance.
Nord makes amazing keyboard and piano products. What you buy will all depend upon your individual need. These systems have specific roles. It’s best to determine what you want your keyboard for before you make your purchase. For example, if you never play synthesizers, then you probably don’t want that type of product. Nord makes it easy to pick something that is going to be the most beneficial to what you play most often.
Straight piano players might want to pick up the Piano 4 or Nord Stage 3. Use these products to create a wide range of different piano tones. They can also do synth sounds as well as organ sounds which makes it the most versatile. If you are a straight organ player, the Nord Electro 6D would be more beneficial. Those that play the synth more often should check out the Nord Lead A1 or Wave 2. Pick the Nord that is best for the type of music you play whether it is piano, organ, or synth.
No matter what you were doing in terms of your music, you will find a Nord system that sounds great and helps you create the music that you want to play.