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Nord Lead A1R vs. Virus Ti2
Old 17th March 2015
  #1
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Quantum7's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Nord Lead A1R vs. Virus Ti2....vs. Prophet 12?

I just bought a Nord A1R brand new for an incredible price of $1200 (will receive it Friday), but until I got that great price, I was very close to purchasing a Virus Ti2 for around $2100. I have never played either in person, but was able to hear them both via YouTube. On the videos they both sounded fantastic. I loved that the Virus had the VST integration, but other that, it was hard to justify the price difference, so I went with the Nord.

I'm curious to hear what others think regarding them both.

Last edited by Quantum7; 28th March 2015 at 05:46 AM..
Old 17th March 2015
  #2
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
I can't speak for the Virus but I love my A1. It's hard to make it sound bad.
Old 17th March 2015 | Show parent
  #3
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Spectral Climax's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by barryfell View Post
I can't speak for the Virus but I love my A1. It's hard to make it sound bad.
I agree. I never liked the Virus sound though.
Old 17th March 2015
  #4
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2toxic's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I wouldn't lose sleep over the virus ti vst
Old 17th March 2015
  #5
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Quantum7's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Ya, the Virus sound good in the videos, but the Nord sounded just as nice.....maybe even better, but it could just be the particular presets I heard. I wonder why the Virus is so expensive compared to many other synths. The list price for the Ti2 is $700 higher than the A1R, but I certainly didn't hear a $700 difference in sound, nor that big of a difference in the specs. The VST integration was the only thing I saw on the Virus that was intriguing, regarding the difference with the A1R.
Old 17th March 2015 | Show parent
  #6
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quantum7 View Post
I wonder why the Virus is so expensive compared to many other synths. The list price for the Ti2 is $700 higher than the A1R, but I certainly didn't hear a $700 difference in sound, nor that big of a difference in the specs. The VST integration was the only thing I saw on the Virus that was intriguing, regarding the difference with the A1R.
Virus TI has a much more advanced synthesis engine, but its glorious story ends there...I would follow the next simple rule if I had to choose: For easy programming and classic "analog and digital type" of sounds get the A1. For ultra complex patches that sound more digital and modern get a Virus. It's a nice programming tool, but it's not the king of VA synths anymore.
Old 17th March 2015
  #7
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Yeah this. If you want a VA, the Nord is an ideal choice. If you want a powerhouse synth that does much more than VA, and are not a afraid of complexity, get a Virus.
Old 17th March 2015
  #8
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donato's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I'd get the A1r over the Virus any day of the week. I got the P12 module and Analog Keys over either though (no regrets).
Old 17th March 2015
  #9
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
Yeah you can quit worrying to much about the VST integration of the Virus it works horrible half the time and is very frustrating. I thought the virus was cool at first but over time I'm starting to realize I don't really care for the sound that much. I've never hear the A1 but I will look at it since it seems to be getting some pretty good praise compared to the virus
Old 17th March 2015 | Show parent
  #10
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EDGEK8D's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quantum7 View Post
Ya, the Virus sound good in the videos, but the Nord sounded just as nice.....maybe even better, but it could just be the particular presets I heard. I wonder why the Virus is so expensive compared to many other synths. The list price for the Ti2 is $700 higher than the A1R, but I certainly didn't hear a $700 difference in sound, nor that big of a difference in the specs. The VST integration was the only thing I saw on the Virus that was intriguing, regarding the difference with the A1R.
The Nord does not have stereo input like the Virus allowing you to utilize it's digital FX, which are quite good, on any audio you'd like. Not saying that's worth the price increase, as I'm also considering an A1R, but already have a Virus B Desktop. TBH, I never use the Virus FX unless I'm using the Virus......but they are certainly a huge part of its sound. Still, people seem to like the A1 fx also.

There just doesn't seem to be much the Virus doesn't already do. Sampling maybe? VA/Wavetable/FM/Vocoder/FX/Formant/Graintable.......it's a lot. In the hands of a skilled programmer, it can sound incredible. Its really deep though, and not everyone wants to spend four hours making a crazy pad sound using as many features as possible that the synth offers. Some people just want to turn it on and for it to sound good quickly. That seems to be the Nord.
Old 17th March 2015
  #11
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EvilDragon's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
At least Virus supports bloody aftertouch...
Old 18th March 2015 | Show parent
  #12
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Quantum7's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
At least Virus supports bloody aftertouch...
No AT??? That sucks! I guess I can live with it, but in this day and age, anything over 1k should support AT. I know this probably sounds bad, but the main reason I am buying this is to fill an empty space on my desk. I'm going to have an empty space where the Focurite and the Dangerous D-box is in the photo. I just sold the D-box and I'm selling the Focusrite (I now have a Quartet on the desktop that replaced the Focusrite)


Last edited by Quantum7; 18th March 2015 at 12:11 AM..
Old 18th March 2015
  #13
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EDGEK8D's Avatar
I'm watching a demo vid of the A1.........does this thing only have one oscillator? One wave at a time? You choose a wave and can detune it, unison it, etc.....but it's one shape essentially at a time. No saw wave, with a pulse an octave up? No Saw with a Square sub-osc? What the frick? I'm wrong right?

It's like they came up with some cool ideas, that should have been on the NL4.....which then would have left the Virus behind. Marketing......damn.
Old 18th March 2015 | Show parent
  #14
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Fuseball's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by EDGEK8D View Post
I'm watching a demo vid of the A1.........does this thing only have one oscillator? One wave at a time? You choose a wave and can detune it, unison it, etc.....but it's one shape essentially at a time. No saw wave, with a pulse an octave up? No Saw with a Square sub-osc? What the frick? I'm wrong right?
There are second oscillator algorithms via the osc config dial. If I recall it has sine, triangle, saw and square at various intervals, including -1 octave for subs. I usually choose a waveshaping or second oscillator configuration and let the unison do my detuning.

Gotta say I have a lot more fun playing with the A1 than I do programming the Virus Snow. Unsurprisingly I prefer the reverbs and delays on the Virus but the A1's are still pretty good. My only real gripe with the A1 is that the vibrato LFO doesn't go slow enough for me. 4Hz is way too fast for BOC-style woozy pitch fluctuations.
Old 18th March 2015 | Show parent
  #15
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EDGEK8D's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuseball View Post
There are second oscillator algorithms via the osc config dial. If I recall it has sine, triangle, saw and square at various intervals, including -1 octave for subs. I usually choose a waveshaping or second oscillator configuration and let the unison do my detuning.

Gotta say I have a lot more fun playing with the A1 than I do programming the Virus Snow. Unsurprisingly I prefer the reverbs and delays on the Virus but the A1's are still pretty good. My only real gripe with the A1 is that the vibrato LFO doesn't go slow enough for me. 4Hz is way too fast for BOC-style woozy pitch fluctuations.
Hey, thanks for the clarification. It's a different configuration that's for sure.

4Hz is the slowest it will go? I suppose you can assign an LFO to pitch via MIDI CC. Appears the A1 was a lot of new features Nord was working on, and they seem to be a hit for a lot of folks. I'm wondering what is next. Compared to the Nord demos I've heard, I like the sound for the A1 the best.
Old 18th March 2015 | Show parent
  #16
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three86's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by EDGEK8D View Post
I'm watching a demo vid of the A1.........does this thing only have one oscillator? One wave at a time? You choose a wave and can detune it, unison it, etc.....but it's one shape essentially at a time. No saw wave, with a pulse an octave up? No Saw with a Square sub-osc? What the frick? I'm wrong right?
You have one osc with control of pitch, shape, sync, or noise OR one osc with frequency or amp modulation OR two osc with detune or another waveform mixed. Not sure if I am explaining that correct you can read the manual at Downloads for Nord Lead A1 | Nord Keyboards

However, you can have all of this TIMES FOUR. So essentially 1 to 8 oscillator or any combination not counting unison. And its easy to cut and paste between the four parts. If you want to start with one then cut and paste, change osc slightly or octave, then switch to multi focus to control them all at the same time. For example for a saw with square sub-osc you can set a saw on "A" and a square on "B" with the octave shifted down.

I think if you generally start with a sound in your head or somewhere you hear that you are trying to re-create it you might have issues with the A1 or eventually get used to it. But, if you just want to go with the flow exploring it is the perfect machine even more than the Lead 4. It is setup for that with the "like" button that bookmarks your adventure without derailing it as well as the random and mutate features.
Old 18th March 2015 | Show parent
  #17
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three86's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by EDGEK8D View Post
Hey, thanks for the clarification. It's a different configuration that's for sure.

4Hz is the slowest it will go? I suppose you can assign an LFO to pitch via MIDI CC. Appears the A1 was a lot of new features Nord was working on, and they seem to be a hit for a lot of folks. I'm wondering what is next. Compared to the Nord demos I've heard, I like the sound for the A1 the best.
my lfo set at the slowest speed takes 30 seconds for a cycle. you can also sync lfo to master clock but the lowest that will go is 30bpm internal or from external so still 30 seconds max per cycle.
Old 18th March 2015
  #18
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three86's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Actually I was wrong with external clock I can get it to 48seconds for a cycle at 20bpm. it just doesn't display that the master clock is lower than 30 but it is.
Old 18th March 2015
  #19
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🎧 5 years
Virus TI2 is way better than the nord.
Old 18th March 2015 | Show parent
  #20
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdjazz View Post
Virus TI2 is way better than the nord.
Why is that? What are you comparing? Do you own them both?
Old 18th March 2015 | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by EDGEK8D View Post
I'm watching a demo vid of the A1.........does this thing only have one oscillator? One wave at a time? You choose a wave and can detune it, unison it, etc.....but it's one shape essentially at a time. No saw wave, with a pulse an octave up? No Saw with a Square sub-osc? What the frick? I'm wrong right?

It's like they came up with some cool ideas, that should have been on the NL4.....which then would have left the Virus behind. Marketing......damn.
Here's a breakdown of the choices. There are a total of 1,745 oscillator configuration choices per voice x 4 voices = 6,980 possible combinations

There are 47 waveforms:

4 analog
7 extended analog
3 fixed pulse
9 drawbar organs
5 bells and tines
8 digital
4 electric piano
7 formants

And 8 oscillator configurations:

single oscillator:
1) single oscillator pitch modulated
2) single oscillator waveshape modulated
3) sync
4) mixed with white noise

A further 4 mixed dual oscillator configurations:

5) detune- an analog oscillator, extended analog oscillator, or a fixed pulse oscillator (total of 14 oscillator choices) combined with a copy of itself, then detuned
or use any of the remaining 33 oscillators (drawbar organs, bells and tines, digital, electric piano, formants) and combine/detune with a sine wave fundamental
6) partial mode- combine any 1 of the 47 oscillators with a harmonically relevant sine, triangle, saw, or square oscillator (9 choices per oscillator, so 1,692 possible combinations
7) frequency modulation
8) amplitude modulation

I would love a powerhouse Nord rack that took the engine of the A1, combined it with the flexibility of the NL4 and had both sets of fx. But then I couldn't afford it.
Old 18th March 2015 | Show parent
  #22
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Quantum7's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by mdjazz View Post
Virus TI2 is way better than the nord.
Please explain in detail why.
Old 18th March 2015
  #23
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DeeperNET's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I have a Virus TI2 desktop, a Virus Snow, and a Nord Rack 2. They are all fine instruments and have their benefits but the Virus is just a more well rounded instrument in my opinion. I've never liked the pads and strings the Nord produces and typically reach for it to create leads and fx. Navigating the multi timbal functions is always a pain, too. I obviously like it enough to own it and keep it but if I had to pick there would be no question about it. The Virus is just too vast synthesis wise, 16 parts that are easy to access, vst control with automation (it works for me and I have two running via usb), sample accurate, the fx rock and are per part, etc.. I could go on and on but I wont.
Old 18th March 2015 | Show parent
  #24
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by ljefe View Post

I would love a powerhouse Nord rack that took the engine of the A1, combined it with the flexibility of the NL4 and had both sets of fx. But then I couldn't afford it.
I think you may have just described the Nord Lead 5

?
Old 18th March 2015 | Show parent
  #25
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barryfell's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeeperNET View Post
I have a Virus TI2 desktop, a Virus Snow, and a Nord Rack 2. They are all fine instruments and have their benefits but the Virus is just a more well rounded instrument in my opinion. I've never liked the pads and strings the Nord produces and typically reach for it to create leads and fx. Navigating the multi timbal functions is always a pain, too. I obviously like it enough to own it and keep it but if I had to pick there would be no question about it. The Virus is just too vast synthesis wise, 16 parts that are easy to access, vst control with automation (it works for me and I have two running via usb), sample accurate, the fx rock and are per part, etc.. I could go on and on but I wont.
The 2 is a different beast from the A1 though. The A1 is great for pads and strings. It's FX are largely geared towards lush patches like those.

Multi-timbral use couldn't be much easier either, and multi-focus which gives meta control over multiple layers at once is just brilliant.
Old 18th March 2015
  #26
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DeeperNET's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I realize it's a different instrument but it's still a similar approach. Glad to hear the A1 is a bit more flexible!
Old 18th March 2015 | Show parent
  #27
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donato's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by barryfell View Post
The 2 is a different beast from the A1 though. The A1 is great for pads and strings. It's FX are largely geared towards lush patches like those.

Multi-timbral use couldn't be much easier either, and multi-focus which gives meta control over multiple layers at once is just brilliant.
I don't have one, but from the demos the A1 seems to nail the vintage string machine sound better than anything else out there at the moment (including the Waldorf).
Old 18th March 2015 | Show parent
  #28
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zerocrossing's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilDragon View Post
At least Virus supports bloody aftertouch...
True that. It was a big reason I went Snow instead of A1 or 4... among other things.

The Virus really kills when it comes to the amount of different (and good) waveforms it has. Oh, and they're wavetables. Nord blows it here. Also, when it comes to quality of effects and number of effects, it's no contest. Virus wins.

Here's where Virus loses. I like the sound of the Nord's filters, especially the A1. Lots of character and personality. Good job there. The Virus's filters are quite versatile but you will have to work a bit to make them sound juicy.

Interface. When you look at the wonderful knobbiness of the Virus, you have to keep in mind that half the functionality (or more) is hidden under menus. So, if you're looking for a simple 1:1 interface/function deal, the Virus is out. If you're looking for a synth that's deep as hell, the Nord pales in comparison. Personally I didn't need the giant polyphony of a full TI and I could care less about a physical interface, so the Snow was perfect.
Old 18th March 2015
  #29
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Quantum7's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Good reading here. Can anyone give me a link to a good demo of Virus? The one's I saw on YouTube didn't really impress me at all. Since I'm getting the A1R brand new for $1220, I will at least have no problem selling it for not too much of a loss if I ever wanted to go up to a Virus Ti2 one day.
Old 18th March 2015
  #30
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Blackbelt Jones's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Lot of apples and oranges going on here. They are digital synths with lots of knobs, but they serve different purposes (and would happily compliment each other).

I have owned three Nords (1, 3, A1) and two Virus (B, TI2) since the mid 90s. I currently have an A1.

The Nord A1 is a purpose built synth - you want a really good VA with a fast workflow and excellent FX (and yes they are excellent - the bread and butter mods, delays and verbs are certainly on the same playing field as the Virus), then the A1 is for you.

You want a digital workstation (sans sequencer) with depth and sound design potential then the TI2 is for you.

The both sound good, but for what I wanted - analog emulation - the A1 is just flat out better. Maybe the best VA being produced (though it has some competition). It is almost impossible to make it sound bad... something that comes up in literally every thread on the A1. I will add that this simplicity of purposed makes it dead nuts easy to use. Zero menu diving, 100% creation.

The TI2 does good VA, but its not in the same league (nor should it be) of the A1. The TI2 does much, much more. Too much for its interface to be honest. You will be menu diving, manual diving or going to the VST to do certain things. Not a big deal for some, but that's not how I like to work personally. So even though the Polar was a thing of beauty, when it came down to it I was basically using it as a VA and nothing else... it was not being tapped to its potential so it went.

So the question you need to ask yourself is what do you want out of the synth? A VA powerhitter with a what you see is what you get interface or an digital all-arounder that can do almost anything but requires a little digging to get there? Answer that question and you know which synth go get...
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