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Nord Modular Questions
Old 26th February 2020
  #1
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Nord Modular Questions

I was wondering what the point of the Nord Modular hardware is.

I downloaded this demo of the software from Nord, and it already produces sound:
https://www.nordkeyboards.com/downlo...ord-modular-g2

The hardware is 1500-2000 dollars.

The software is very intuitive and fast and cool, but I am confused what the hardware actually seriously adds. Anyone mind explaining what you're paying 1500 for, besides a MIDI interface?

What exactly is the hardware doing that the G2 demo above doesn't do? How does it actually change the quality of the synthesizer sound output?
Old 26th February 2020
  #2
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Serotoninja's Avatar
Q: What exactly is the hardware doing that the G2 demo above doesn't do?

A: 4 physical inputs, 4 physical outputs, 4 slots, interslot processing (1/2 and 3/4 busses), some awesome modules unlocked, polyphony, MIDI IO
Old 26th February 2020
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serotoninja View Post
Q: What exactly is the hardware doing that the G2 demo above doesn't do?

A: 4 physical inputs, 4 physical outputs, 4 slots, interslot processing (1/2 and 3/4 busses), some awesome modules unlocked
so the synth engine is identical and doesn't add anything substantial in terms of the actual sound?
Old 26th February 2020
  #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mxbf View Post
so the synth engine is identical and doesn't add anything substantial in terms of the actual sound?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Serotoninja View Post
some awesome modules unlocked
if you're talking about ephemeral 'quality of sound', it depends on your computer's soundcard and output settings. Nord is mostly running at 96k 24bit, can't say for sure what DACs it uses, probably same as the rest of Nord keyboards up until 2007.
Old 26th February 2020
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mxbf View Post
I was wondering what the point of the Nord Modular hardware is.
That you can take those sounds on a stage without a PC and actually, like...play them?
Old 26th February 2020
  #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider76 View Post
That you can take those sounds on a stage without a PC and actually, like...play them?
>paying 1000 for a midi controller with a modular VSTI built in

I'm really confused. I genuinely thought these had a "sound" that people liked.

I'm actually convinced you guys don't know what you're talking about or understand my question.



EDIT: sorry, not trying to be a jerk, I am skeptical of your answers because you're implying that it's just a VST with a midi controller and that there is no actual addition to the synth engine. that makes no sense!



That doesn't look like a MIDI controller, nor something you would take on stage. And it costs 1300 dollars.
Old 26th February 2020
  #7
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@ mxbf

what do you actually would like to know? for differences G2 Demo vs G2 hardware see my previous posts. for differences G2 vs generic 'modular VSTI' - you can do it yourself, but mind the limitations of the Demo software. Let me tell you though - you won't find G2 equivalent in software, only alternatives.

and FYI G2 Engine pictured above can be programmed to be awesomest MIDI processor.
Old 26th February 2020
  #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mxbf View Post
a midi controller with a modular VSTI built in
This is exactly the definition of every digital synth ever produced

The difference in the Nord Modular is that you can access the sound engine and modify it to taste. You can basically create your own hardware synth, and then disconnect it from the PC and take it onstage, and use it as any other factory-built synth.

It's like the difference between a Nokia 3310, which had all functions pre-programmed at the factory and nothing could be changed, and a smartphone where you can install or delete all the apps you want.


Anyway it's something targeted mainly at live use, like all Clavia products (and it's 20 years old). If you stay in the studio and have no gigging needs, any modern virtual synth will be just as powerful, and probably more.
Old 26th February 2020
  #9
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Um, 1998 was a different time. Computers were not what they are now. It is still code in a box, there is nothing inherently magical about it, other than the “idea” that you design your own synth/processor/etc, per patch, per layer...it can really do a lot.

The G2 software demo you refer to didn't come out until later as a way to demonstrate the G2 capabilities to someone that wanted to buy the G2. The software demo is not fully what the hardware is capable of...no layers, limited polyphony, missing modules if I recall.

tldr; if you’re not into it then you’re not into it.
Old 26th February 2020
  #10
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Wasn't the sound quality reduced in some way?
I remember the software sounding very 'crunchy' (kindof bit reduction-like) and that was compared to the G1.
Old 26th February 2020
  #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spider76 View Post
Anyway it's something targeted mainly at live use, like all Clavia products (and it's 20 years old). If you stay in the studio and have no gigging needs, any modern virtual synth will be just as powerful, and probably more.
Totally disagree.
There are very little VST's that are this powerfull. Sound quality-wise, yes, modern plugins can sound better, but the sheer bulk of functionality and the accessible UI make this a super synth platform, both for live and studio.

You statement that 'any modern virtual synth will be just as powerful' makes me think you've never touched a G2 or maybe just scratched the surface.
Old 26th February 2020
  #12
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I feel devestated. I was so excited to get one of these some day because of the "sound" people said it had, like how Virus has a sound. Now I see I can just use the demo on my computer and it will sound exactly the same as buying the unit.

My heart has broken.
Old 26th February 2020
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mxbf View Post
I'm really confused. I genuinely thought these had a "sound" that people liked.
For its time it had nice filters. Can cut through the mix well. Otherwise it's basics are rather plain. Most of the 'sound' comes from the patching.

Quote:
I'm actually convinced you guys don't know what you're talking about or understand my question.
I agree. (EDIT: Well, at least Spider76 seems to be talking out of his nether regions )

Quote:
That doesn't look like a MIDI controller, nor something you would take on stage. And it costs 1300 dollars.
There are two versions. What you show is the 'engine' version. This one is more like a module with the software for patching and midi for playing.
There is also a proper 'knobbed' version which adds an extensive interface.

Last edited by monomer; 26th February 2020 at 04:06 PM..
Old 26th February 2020
  #14
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Serotoninja's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post
I agree.
you made me sad :(
Old 26th February 2020
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Serotoninja View Post
you made me sad :(
Ow, sowwyyy..,
Old 26th February 2020
  #16
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mxbf's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post

There are two versions. What you show is the 'engine' version. This one is more like a module with the software for patching and midi for playing.
There is also a proper 'knobbed' version which adds an extensive interface.
I know that.

I still haven't really received a satisfactory answer as to why anyone would buy the 1300 Rack version without knobs if it doesn't offer anything beyond some "midi processing" and DSP.

1300 is a lot of money for that.
Old 26th February 2020
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mxbf View Post
I know that.

I still haven't really received a satisfactory answer as to why anyone would buy the 1300 Rack version without knobs if it doesn't offer anything beyond some "midi processing" and DSP.

1300 is a lot of money for that.

You probably wouldn’t. The G2 engine is kind of annoying, TOO stripped back IMHO. If it had a couple rudimentary controls it would have been okay. why I sold it and got another G1 instead. I sold my engine for about that though.


The best value is the G1 rack or keyboard.
Old 26th February 2020
  #18
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don't even worry/think about it. sounds like you don't need it. at the time they were mind-blowing (still are in some ways), but there's so many other options now.

i do think the G2 demo software sounds a bit less nice than the hardware, but it gets the point across. even the hardware is "just an early VA" sound (and many preferred the grittier sound of the original models). the sound of just patching together the stock modules in the traditional ways was never too exciting, just "ok" (modern analog emulation VSTs blow it out of the water). i was never really impressed with the "sound" of it (as far as analog emulation) until using one of Tim Kleinert's "Juno" patches, which was a huge messy patch using all sorts of tricks to bring life into the sound. i don't think he did that until around 2009, long into the life of the synth.

many of the more interesting patches in general are just a huge mess of modules and hard to makes sense of or modify. it sorely lacked any sort of macro or "packing" ability to make your own "custom" modules/devices (though you could copy/paste from one patch to another). always a page full of modules patched up in the most brilliant ways, but hard to grasp without some next level smarts. the things that some guys could make it do were just unreal, and far beyond the scope of what even Clavia/Nord themselves probably envisioned for it.


i'll post back with more thoughts on it, the real strength of the G2 overall was how flexible it was for audio and MIDI routing. it really is like a "swiss army knife" of synths, and nothing has ever come close to it in that regard.
Old 26th February 2020
  #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mxbf View Post
I know that.

I still haven't really received a satisfactory answer as to why anyone would buy the 1300 Rack version without knobs if it doesn't offer anything beyond some "midi processing" and DSP.

1300 is a lot of money for that.
There are two revisions of the Nord Modular.

The XP version is based on the G2.

The G1, released well before,
sounds very different and more like Nord Wave 3...it has a different “sound”.

The other thing I’ll add is, yes...the money goes into the control surface, the knobs, the metal. That’s why people pay the difference.

It turns out, that most synthesizer players are not actually very good at programming synthesizers. The UI is very important to them, because they can’t remember lots of things at once, they like to hunt and peck, twist knobs here and there. There’s also the sexiness of real hardware, of course.
Old 26th February 2020
  #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mxbf View Post
I know that.

I still haven't really received a satisfactory answer as to why anyone would buy the 1300 Rack version without knobs if it doesn't offer anything beyond some "midi processing" and DSP.

1300 is a lot of money for that.
Look at it as a unique audio generating and processing platform.
You can play the engine like any other synth module. You can assign midi controls to every parameter you see in the editor so it's fully controllable from an external controller.
It's designed for a situation where you use the software to do the programming and use some other (master) keyboard or midi sequencer to input notes and control data.

The benefit is that you get the full G2 engine but you don't get another keyboard/controller to clutter your work space. You can tuck it away in a rack and forget about the box.

Maybe it's just not for you, but for a lot of setups this is a cool bit of kit. I've seen people racking up multiple of these. Try doing that with the keyboard version and you'd run out of studio space very quickly.
Old 26th February 2020
  #21
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-Polyphony
- dx router
- inter buss conennctions
-native 96 khz
-awesome interface

I only have a nord mod.classic , one of the last pieces I will ever part with
Old 26th February 2020
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbuonacc View Post
always a page full of modules patched up in the most brilliant ways, but hard to grasp without some next level smarts.
Ooh, it's WAY worse than that.
I look back at my own patches and go 'WTF was i thinking?'

I think it has to do with a sort of zen state you can get wile patching it.
When you're in the flow you have everything in your mind and just go 'this goes here and this goes there and let's put a little of this in that' and before you know it you've got a big bowl of spaghetti. And honestly, at some point it all made sense!
Old 26th February 2020
  #23
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Work nicely with G2 Engine
Attached Thumbnails
Nord Modular Questions-x-touch-mini_p0b3m_left_l.png   Nord Modular Questions-evolution-session-uc-17-midi-usb_360_4558b684fbae6f9f9d1e003337937485.jpg  
Old 26th February 2020
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xanderbeanz View Post
...the money goes into the control surface, the knobs, the metal. That’s why people pay the difference.
while it was about half the price originally, these days the Engine ($1000+) is just a few hundred dollars cheaper then the G2 keys ($1500+).

Quote:
It turns out, that most synthesizer players are not actually very good at programming synthesizers. ...
even the ones that can program wouldn't have come up with a lot of the stuff that the "NM wizards" did. genius next level patching.
Old 26th February 2020
  #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mxbf View Post
I feel devestated. I was so excited to get one of these some day because of the "sound" people said it had, like how Virus has a sound. Now I see I can just use the demo on my computer and it will sound exactly the same as buying the unit.

My heart has broken.
I have G2 Engine and no software DEMO doesn't sound the same even at 96KHz sound rendering mode.
Old 26th February 2020
  #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post
Totally disagree.
There are very little VST's that are this powerfull. Sound quality-wise, yes, modern plugins can sound better, but the sheer bulk of functionality and the accessible UI make this a super synth platform, both for live and studio.

You statement that 'any modern virtual synth will be just as powerful' makes me think you've never touched a G2 or maybe just scratched the surface.
You're right, I've never used the G1 or G2, I'm referring to specs and user comments.
I didn't say anything about the sound, I was just referring to the flexibility of the instrument as a completely user-configurable hardware synth, which is something I believe is completely unique even to this day.
Definitely a little more than the "overpriced MIDI controller" the OP was indicating.
Old 26th February 2020
  #27
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Synth Buddha's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by monomer View Post
You statement that 'any modern virtual synth will be just as powerful' makes me think you've never touched a G2 or maybe just scratched the surface.
Someone on Gearslutz' Electronic Music Instruments section offering their advice on something they have zero experience with? No way!
Old 26th February 2020
  #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by artech909 View Post
I have G2 Engine and no software DEMO doesn't sound the same even at 96KHz sound rendering mode.
i'd happily take proof of that
Old 26th February 2020
  #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbuonacc View Post
.....
even the ones that can program wouldn't have come up with a lot of the stuff that the "NM wizards" did. genius next level patching.
For me, that was part of the problem I had with the G2. I'd say "I like this patch I made, but it sounds a bit 'buzzy'."
And then someone would respond "Oh - you can get around that, but you have to do this"....and then link to a 100 page dissertation or something.

The concept was great, and being able to 'build' a synth in software, and then load it into a hardware keyboard with a lot of nice features was pretty cool.
But I found it always took too much researching to compensate for its basic character.
Old 26th February 2020
  #30
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I'm probably going to pick up the Micro Modular or G1 with Keys. I've been fetishizing this synth ever since I heard Mouse on Mars hype it. Been wanting it for a long time and now I actually have some money.

Personally I listened to some demos of the Micro Modular and to my ears, it sounded like more than a VST. I can't prove it but it sounded a lot more like Virus in that it sounds like a really high quality hardware VA.

And for me, that's what I'd want to pay for. I'm willing to pay for a good VA but it has to sound better than a VST.

After using VCV/Reaktor/MAXMSP the modular editor is kind of limited but it's still very intuitive and in some ways almost more useful. I actually really like that it isn't as packed with endless options forcing you to use what you're given.

I think I'm going to eventually get the G1 if I can find it at a healthy price point. I think it would be a great addition to my setup.

I love Reaktor, MAX, Bitwig Grid, Falcon, VCV. I have so much stuff.

It's just that to me I do think the G1/MicroModular hardware provides additional sound quality and soul, and I think the more focused set of modules makes it more powerful in some ways.

Also
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