Clavia Nord Lead 4
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Clavia Nord Lead 4

Nord Lead 4, Analog Modeling Synth from Clavia in the Nord Lead series.

pico 08/16/2013

Clavia Nord Lead 4 : pico's user review

« Almost flawless! »
5

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Modeling synthesizer with two oscillators per voice: analog+FM, Hard & Soft Sync, 4-part multi-timbral with effects, arpeggiator, LFO. Everything can be synced to the internal clock or to an external one via usb or midi.

Light 49-key keyboard without aftertouch.

396 programs + 99 Performances.

For more information and specific details visit NORD's website directly.

UTILIZATION

I haven't had the need to open the user's manual after one week of use. It is well designed and, except fro the Mutator mode (an automatic program generator that I haven't tested), I have perfectly mastered this synthesizer, which is a great tool to create one's own sound palette without the need to be an expert on synthesis.

I like particularly the Performance mode, a real blessing live thanks to its Impulse Morph mode that assigns seven modulations directly to three buttons that are easily accessible right next to the wheel and pitch. Very practical to manage with the left hand.

The feel is very nice and firm, even if I personally find the key return is not fast enough, which demands some practice if you want play a bit more technically and fast. I think an aftertouch would have been useful, given the modulation possibilities. In my view, the keyboard is the synth's only weak point. Nevertheless, we can connect a modulation pedal to which we can assign the volume or the wheel. This allows us to keep both hands on the keyboard while modulating the sound and, anyway, aftertouch is rather random and hard to master in practice. But it wouldn't have hurt to have it and be able to disable it as well, like on the minibrut. So, to cut it short: for the price I would've liked to have aftertouch too.

I love its build quality and lightness. It's compact while still remaining ergonomically impressive.

I noticed that the buttons are more flexible in their movements than before, while remaining firmly on their axis! I think their movement is very well adapted for fast playing with a synth, which is great.


The multi-timbral mode can be easily split in two parts, A&B on the left side and C&D on the right, the split point is obviously adjustable.

SOUNDS

Simply put, its sound is the best and most versatile that I have heard in terms of synthesizers. It sounds deep and very similar to an analog synth (which I know a bit about) with a modern touch and flexibility for modelling, I love it!

The nord lead 4 covers all domains without any particular weakness: deep lows, a sharp lead synth, pads and FX, everything is possible, and the sound is always pleasant to the ears, even when taking it to the extreme. It also has a round and warm side to it, a bit like an analog synth, but also a cold one with its FM mode and Sync, in addition to the modulations that are very easy to set up, it's child's play and a real pleasure to play with, you can simply concentrate on your creative side and technique.

OVERALL OPINION

For me, apart from the lack of aftertouch and the keyboard keys' sluggish return, it's almost flawless. It's simply the best nord lead ever.

The price is hefty but it really is enough for everything that has to do with synthesis, thanks to its richness of modulations and the great versatility of its oscillators and filters that cover almost all eras and genres. The quality of the modeling brings it very close to an analog synth, especially given the quality of its filters, which are perfect, in my opinion.

Live or in the studio, it can perform very well in both situations.

In short, if you have the money, go for it. You won't regret it.