Clavia Nord Lead 4
Clavia Nord Lead 4

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

alcools 03/17/2014

Clavia Nord Lead 4 : alcools's user review

« Well designed, efficient and sounds! »

  • Like
  • Tweet
  • Submit
  • Email
There are already two reviews that I plussois overall, so I'll rather like giving my experience with this new Nord Lead.

On the characteristics, I put 7/10 because as often with North, simplicity is preferred to opportunities, which has good and bad sides of course.

Polyphony of 20 tracks seemed adequate on paper, but sometimes it lacks the final few channels using two sounds (or more) at the same time, if the active unison modes.

The effects are rather interesting but as said by others, a good chorus was not denial. Less metallic reverb too ...

I have also enjoyed being able to adjust the height of the first oscillator, but hey, I'm with ...

An incredible impasse anyway: No aftertouch! , I do not understand because even without talking about price, it's really a practical tool, and for me, something that brings a synth a real instrument (like when you touched a guitar string). Carnal pleasure and less so.


Like any North, nothing to say, everything is at hand, visible, and less than not knowing the synthesis, almost all without reading the manual (the latter used to understand the specifics of the original synth such as Morph or manipulation to edit all 4 slot synchronously).

A small reserve still on fairly regular use of the Shift key that requires 2 hands to remove the keyboard for some operations. I often say to the north, but it can block the Shift (Caps lock) would be useful to solve this problem ...


The sounds are of course what you do but I must admit that this new Lead has a wider range than its predecessors. Already, various filters are more numerous than before, provide very interesting and varied colors, and for those who love the Moog filters, the copy made by the NL4 is quite convincing (this is not a Moog fooger but frankly, bravo anyway).

Bass are also much more in the spotlight on this 4th Nord Lead. In fact, we can finally make that low balls! In North (well, Clavia), there was only the G2 which allowed before sending in this register. Good, NL4 is not yet at my Tetra for big bass that spot, but it's not bad.

Otherwise, you can do everything with a can (sounds sharp, sweet, pads, leads, fx ...) as we do not try to do too complex sounds, because that is where the limitations of NL4 may interfere . Unlike a DSI Prophet 12 as I had just before the NL4, there is no real modulation matrix. Can modulate some thanks to some modulators stuff (read the doc or just the panel to understand, knowing that everything is sérégraphié front). It's not like a P12 which assigns a score of modulations and anything to anything, which can itself controlling anything! With NL4 was 2 LFO (or an arpeggiator and LFO) + an envelope modulator point. Well, not too serious, I have a Nord Modular G2X installed below so I console on when the need arises, but out of the P12, it's a bit frustrating sometimes.


I use it for 5 months now and I must say I really like this synth, after a rather negative priori period. I left the P12 which I liked a lot, but my back was struggling with her weight (I know, there's worse, but I have back problems for a long time). P12 had so intuitive and engaging interface, as well as enormous opportunities, I had trouble accepting that little red in my set, which had to seduce me that its weight and filters I had a lot appreciated by trying.

After 2 months, I think I had really passed. It is very versatile, and it really sounds. Sounds are well mix (quite recurrent in the North), and it has an amazing potato. It can be really sharp, surgical, or bludgeoned. To the extent, however (like big slick very thick), it is not the best, but G2 is here for. 7 Morph allow for surprising effects of passing in a millisecond of a nice sound to a roar unleashed. And its low weight allows it to take in my bed before going to sleep (yes, it's very sensual us) and vacation easily.

A very good synth then, and that can be a very good choice for those who want a machine that can almost do while staying in the area sounds too complex, intuitive, and easy to carry.

For my part, compared to my other machines (G2 and Tetra), it gives me the spontaneity of live modulation (at improv) that does not always allow the G2, and even less with the Tetra rarres orders façade. It also gives me the potato, sounds that may well fail or decide.