Maybe you just got a defective one, haha Or you generally dont like its sound (we all have our favs/hates) Surprising though, because I bet 80% of the synth community would take Nord Lead 2x Keyboard over the Ultranova. I think Nord got worse overtime with there VAs, but the Lead 1 & 2x are great sounding synths, they are some of the only true VAs IMO.
Oh and no disrespect to Gaia, cause its a cool programmable synth, but Microkorg sounds better IMO. I hate putting synths in tiers thou, they are all useful and can be used to make great music.
I was desparately looking for a new, 4 octave synth-keyboard with knobs and this weight, so I didn't have a lot of alternatives.
I definitely didn't get it for its sound... but I needed to buy it to test it longer than just in the shops.
I will wait a bit before I sell it, I just wonder whats the hype about.
I don't consider the "turn FX off on other synths" as a valid point, because 1., any analog synth with no FX either sounds SO much better, and 2., I hate the fact that I *have* to add FX, so NL2x is worthless as an instrument on its own.
With FX added, does it sound *better* than all the other VAs between 500 and 1500? I doubt it!
I can totally second the remark about the salt, that's what I meant with that I found some sounds while tweaking that could be useful, but on its own, the NordLead doesn't sound impressive at all, whereas others do.
I think it's a good idea to hold on to it for a while. I've got a NL2x and it's not a razzle-dazzle instrument by any stretch... but IMO, it sounds great and I wouldn't be surprised if you grow to love it. It's a matter of taste though so maybe it's just not for you. For subtractive I generally prefer a true analog, but I kept hearing Nord Lead demos that I really liked. People say they don't like the filter... I find few digital filters have a nicer high resonance sound.
So when one hit my local Craig's list at a good price, I snagged it. I got a used NL2x Rack for $600. I really like it. It's just a very simple clear sound that seems to always sits nicely in a mix with not too much fuss. I found a Lexicon MPX-1 for $230 and the two together are an amazing combination. Again, nothing that'll instantly impress you, but unlike a lot of other synths, it just makes very usable sounds. The only think I might like to do with it is get an interesting distortion box for it. Maybe an OTO Biscuit or something.
Anyway, get to learn it really well before you sell it. It might grow on you.
It's not strictly VA because it has analog tube warming.
Are you sure about the tubes? I had a quick (lazy) look on Bowen's site, and didn't see anything.
Originally Posted by D_Davis
I'll never be an analog snob!
I actually prefer VAs.
And I like my ROMpler a lot, so I'm definitely the outcast here.
No snob here either. I don't prefer VAs, but see them as different, and useful. Certainly a lot of modern music has used VA sound. One of my favourite pieces is a cheap arse ROMpler, that sounds wonderfully strange when pushed to extremes.
Originally Posted by Karloff70
If you haven't tried it in a mix, you won't get it. Slips into a mix like hand into glove.
Yes. Can be cutting, have presence and clarity in a mix, without interfering with other parts. Really very nice that way. Huge, impressive solo sound isn't the only thing to look for in an instrument.
yeah, I will surely wait some months before I sell it.
There has to be something good in it... but maybe it's just really a matter of taste. I will find out!
my current gear... Top 3 Hardware Synths: Mopho Keyboard, Nord Electro 3, Waldorf Blofeld Keyboard Top 3 Software Synths: NI Komplete 8, GForce Minimonsta, Oddity Top 3 Studio stuff: AKAI APC 40, RME Fireface 400, ESI nEar 05 DAWs and FX: Studio One V2; Ableton Live 8; Softube Mix Bundle, Valhalla VintageVerb
The best about it is the knob per function, which neither your Ultranova, Waldorf or Mopho provide. It's the only synth you own where you can, for example, change filter and amp sustains at the same time. That's got to be worth something, right?
as I said, I did get the NordLead mainly because of that kind of interface.
So yes, it's a big value for me.
In the NordLead, I just find that basic sound that I don't find in any other synth.
The good things that I can see it doing at the moment are subtile pads, "needle" arps, also Solina kind of sounds are quite possible.
But also the fact that the arp can't really be clocked (it restarts with every clock signal, but the tempo can't be clocked) is a fact where I can't see this as my "go-to" synth.
So, will see if I find use in it as a "spice" to the mix.
Just, I can't see this doing what I needed it for, as the one-and-only synth for band use. But then, so many use it.
i love mine, fantastic for all kinds of sounds.. it has an analog quality to it that no other VA or plug-in touches imo (except diva maybe). it's a true classic from the 90's.. the only thing that can bugger me is the old school led display, making patch searching a PITA.. and speaking of the arp clock, can it really not be midi synced??! (i've tried but never managed although i think i remember the manual saying it was possible)
So far, I have only been noodling with the NordLead.
Well, I saved some patches after each other, plus some "init" patches, to go from there, as I think that's more helpful than random stepping through the presets and just tweak here and there without any plan.
"The function synchronizes LFO1's start to the incoming MIDI Clock so that the LFO starts over at certain intervals. [...] Please note that this only makes the LFO restart at the specified note value. In between those restarts, the LFO runs at the rate set with the RATE knob. Therefore, to "hard sync" the LFO to the tempo of the song when triangle or sawtooth waves are used, set the LFO rate as close to the tempo in the sequencer as possible. On the other hand, unusual Rate values can lead to interesting rhythmic effects."
OK this is for LFO 1, but on page 69 for LFO2/Arp it says:
"This works exactly as the Special 1 function, only it operates on LFO 2 and the Arpeggio instead. Please note that the explanation about the relation between the LFO rate and the restart via MIDI Clock also applies to the Arpeggio."
hmmm.. in that case i must admit that's a major flaw
On paper, it is. In practice, though, it's surprisingly easy to lock the LFO/arp rate to exactly the clock tempo. Or, at the very least, to be able to get it so close that I use it all the time and have no complaints.
The other VA I have is an Ion, which does allow precise explicit LFO tempo locking, and the results are no worse with the Lead than with the Ion.
Also, being able to speed up or slow down the LFO/arp rate relative to clock allows for some really interesting syncopations which are actually a major positive feature of that synth. A large part of its "signature" sound, at least the way I use it, comes from working that way.
hmmm never really thought of it that way.. still i would be very happy if i at least had the option of syncing the arp to the clock, on fast rates (1/32,1/64th) i don't find it that easy to manually match the arp especially if playing long measures... i understand this synth is basically a replica from 1995, but this is a small enhancement they could have made for the 2X (typical clavia slouchiness if you ask me)
Well, even though I'm a staunch plugin user, there's always room in a studio for a knobby 'see where your hands and ears take you' type of synth. Much as I love softies, I tend to favour the big library type of stuff [Omnisphere, Kontakt, Trilian, Nexus] and for any type of more general subtractive nothing beats a hands on experience. IMHO, plugins and DAWS have a real advantage over hardware when it comes to daisychaining and experimenting with FX in an almost modular fashion, no continual rewiring and instant recall of the last good setting.
The NL2X is a perfect do-it-all subtractive with the added bonus of MIDI control, polyphony, reliability and a lovely player's controlset in the case of the keyboard version. Sonically, it's a workhorse but it's no slouch, especially when you pair it with those aforementioned mad chains of plugin effects.
I got the first version rack used. Then, it did not do what I wanted it to do and I bought some analog gear that did what I needed it too. But, I have saved it and plan to use it on next release, I have grown to like it's short attack blippiness, something like tonal hihats and the like. It is a cool synth, but all of those VAs were kind of claiming to be analog, and they don't do that.
Later releases I think I will use it again. I had to come around to what it does well.
I think the Nords are popular, because they are rather easy to edit. Let´s not forget, that most synth players are musicians first and synth programmers second (or not really at all). And even many good programmers occasionally like a synth, that allows them to program a sound from scratch while the guitarist is retuning his guitar.
It also does a couple of nice things in terms of sound: The modulations are fast and thanks to 96kHz sampling rate aliasing is less of a problem than on some other early days VAs.
In terms of sound: For "old" VA sound I´m more on the Virus side of the fence. There is quite a bit of new stuff that is sounds more powerful: The sonic core/creamware stuff, the Solaris or the Accelerator, even the PC3 (with a bit of loving programming) sound more pleasing (to me).
I´ve always felt that the Nord was more organic sounding than most 1st & 2nd generation VA´s .. the novation and rolands sound too plastic, (though I´ve got some respect for the An1x sound),on the nord the sound just moves a bit, even with no modulation,.. my lead 2 even sent light cc messages when everything was stopped.. also the sound is tight/compressed in way.. even though there are bigger sounding VA´s and do certain things better the Nord is IMO the most versatile of them all, even some better than some 3rd generation VA´s like Gaia & venom but thouse where both fails .. 3 generation Va´s generally sound way better: Kurzwail Va-1, Accelerator, Creamware ect.. Overall the Nord holds its own ..
Some have given Nord Lead/Rack 2X a good pounding here so i'll try to even the board
Nord Lead/Rack got very bright OSC's and i really like that, it gives more bite when modulating the Cut of Freq. I've been doing sound design for more than 30 years and i got most the VA's in my arsenal, Supernova II, Ion, An1x, Virus Ti, PC3, Radias, Accelerator, Nord Wave, Blofeld and for some odd reason Nord Lead/Rack is always the first one i turn to when making a sound.
I dont find anything thin about Nord Lead/Rack. In Fact i find that Nord Lead/Rack is the one that brings me closest to my old Analog gear. Admitted, it's not a VA for Modern sounds, for that i would use Virus, Supernova or Radias.
The VA's with the best FXs are Virus Ti, PC3 and An1x, whereas PC3 FX's beats just about anything i heard in a Software/Hardware synth. Since the FX is modular in PC3 you can create the most awesome weirdness or shimmer if you like. However PC3 fails on the normal VA side not being able to modulate other stuff than the AMP envelope.
Now if you compare Nord Lead/Rack VA to real analog gear like Leipzig S and Moog, then i get what you mean by thin, but in the World of VAs i dont find Nord Lead/Rack thin.
It's a strange beast, my nord rack 2, that is. It's certainly not my favourite synth when I hear it dry, just playing it. But for some reason when it sits in a mix it does this perfectly. I have other synths I prefer dry over the NL but they won't mix so easily.
I hear this a lot, and I have to wonder what kinds of music these people are making, and how they mix. I know that mixing is an art as much as performing is, but I've never really had any trouble getting any mix to work with any synth with a little twiddling.
I think part of the NLead allure is the brightness factor, and with so much music these days being performed and engineered by people with hearing loss - take any metal song or obnoxious stuff like Prodigy, I can see why most synths sound dull in comparison.
But the Nords are too bright. I find them to be thin as well. Now you can juice up a patch with layering or effects, but I don't like it when a synth needs help in that way. It should have a solid, satisfying sound to start with. And who on earth programs sounds "in a mix"? Tweaking, sure, we all do that, but for programming, we take our instruments in quiet isolation and see what they can do that makes us happy. And to me, the Nords are the most digital sounding keyboards out there, though mostly because it seems like the treble has a built in +5-6 db built in, and that bugs me. Now, for some contrast.
With Roland, everything since the JP-8000 has sounded lacking in the filters, as if the engineers cut back on the filter math in order to maximize something else in the food chain. The new Jupiters are a different matter, and I hear similar things about the V Synth, and I know what the analog purists will say but I don't care. The JP-8K itself is about my least favorite VA, but I recognized that it does have some Jupiter-8-ish quality to it, so that may be why - I favor the JP-8 less compared to a Prophet, Moog or Oberheim.
On the PC3, the only filters I like are the Moog modeled one. The others remind me of the Gaia. The effects are wonderful, of course, because you're essentially getting much of a KSP8 unit in it, which sold for a couple grand. But I really rather prefer the synth engine in the original K2000 in many ways.
As for all other VAs, or even romplers like the KORGs and Motifs, they generally sound pretty decent on their own, even without the slathering of effects and EQ. All of course in my humble, humble, humble opinion.