Clavia Nord Electro 3 61
Clavia Nord Electro 3 61

Nord Electro 3 61, Digital Piano from Clavia in the Nord Electro 3 series.

songboy 12/06/2011

Clavia Nord Electro 3 61 : songboy's user review

« Probably the best portable instrument for the traveling musician. »

  • Like
  • Tweet
  • Submit
  • Email
This keyboard has the traditional "Synth" style keys (not hammered or waterfall). Funny enough, this was the one thing I really did not like about this guy. It has several reproductions of vintage keyboard instruments including Rhodes, Whurlizter, Clavinet, B3, harpsichord, Acoustic pianos and a Sample section that lets you add samples from a huge library provided free by Clavia. These include other everything from keys to pads to leads to synthesizer souns etc..... It also offers some pretty sweet effects including phaser, chorus, flanger, trmelo, wah effects (including Auto), pan effects, amp simulation and even some rather full sounding Reverbs. Still no Delay though which is kind of a bummer. The Electro 3 has a host of knobs and switches to control these effects and instrument/sample selector but it does not have a Pitch or Modulation wheel. On one hand, this makes sense as the unit is designed to emulate real keyboard instruments that would not have such things, but on the other hand, it does offer use of samples, some of which are synth based, so you could argue it is needed as well. The unit is designed to connect to the computer through its usb port and swap out internally stored sound sets for new ones. This is the beauty of Nord for they continue to make and post new samples quite often and they are all fantastic. The Electro 3 unlike my Electro 2 Rack can access the new Piano Libraries as well, which are vastly better than the early ones. This unit offers Full polyphony.


The sounds are easily switched via the instrument selector button and the effects are the same each having their own knob (2 effects slots, 1 amp sim, 1 reverb). The organ section takes up about half of the overall Interface, and is very easy to use. Not only do you have control over individual tone bars, but you get visual feedback via the light "faders." This allows you to cycle through all the possible tone bars on the organ and have presets that are quickly and easily recalled and manipulated. I never read the manual as the only time I got to check this board out was at a music store.


The samples in this board are very very realistic. Far better than most of the "high end" console digital pianos I've played. All the instrument samples sound even better than the Electro 2 series (which is hard to believe) and the Acoustic Piano's improvement is amazing. Piano Library 5 offers up some sweet upgrades to what I considered the weakest link in Nord's armor. The organ now has more realistic bleed through across tone bars/keys. The rhodes is darker and warmer which are the two characteristics I love about my Mark 1. I didn't notice any vast improvement on the whurly and the clavinet but in all honesty, they already were amazing. The sample section is cool, but I already have so many good synths to do that already that I think I would hardly use it. Each of the instrument samples stay true to the expressiveness that you would get on the real thing. The piano, again, was quite an improvement offering much more subtle control allowing you to go from intense to feather soft. The effects are quite nice which is to be expected from nord. The reverbs are on par with my TC Helicon Voiceworks which was nice. The amp simulations are awesome for recording. I can't say I like them live, but that could be partly due to my PA. I prefer to just run a buss channel to my Fender Twin so I can switch the audio from the PA to the Twin when I want that sound. The sounds are equally all amazing, it really just depends on what instrument you feel like playing. I can't say that I hate any sound that comes out of this keyboard.


What I like most about this board is it offers amazing sound quality in such a light little package. I decided to get the Electro 2 Rack for now and save up for the Nord Piano as the keys on the Electro 3 are still not good enough for me. They work as an organ and synth keyboard really well, but I need weighted keys on my Piano patches, and that's what I want the most. If I had the disposable cash though, I would definitely buy one of these for all those occasions that you wish you had something small to bring to a practice or writing session instead of dragging huge 88 key keyboards around. I was playing on a floor model that was going for $1400. It is a lot of money to spend, and in all honesty, I would save up and get the Nord Piano 88. Although, if you absolutely need an organ setup (Nord Piano does not have this) then this might be the better option. In the end, $1400 was too much for me right now. The new sample library makes this board one of the best sounding digital instruments I have ever heard. The body is also built out of wood and metal. The buttons and knobs and such are plastic but feel really solid, even on this floor model that has probably been played by a thousands. I have been using the Electro 2 since shortly after playing this and I find that unit stands up pretty close to this guy (except Acoustic Piano patches) so it will do for now.