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Foghole 20th January 2014 01:02 PM

Nord Lead A1

Edit: better photo here:

Foghole 20th January 2014 01:07 PM

Sorry, the forum says I haven't posted enough times to be able to use images, so the image is in that Facebook page, latest post.

Nord Keyboards announce Nord Lead A1 analogue modelling synthesizer

Nord Keyboards are proud to announce the new Nord Lead A1 analogue modelling synthesizer. The Lead A1 combines the latest analogue modelling engine from the acclaimed Lead 4, with an innovative streamlined interface for fast-track programming.

The Lead 4 and now the Lead A1 are equipped with an all new analogue modeling sound engine, capable of reproducing the character and nuances of the vintage synths of your dreams with breathtaking accuracy. 24-voice polyphonic and four part multi-timbral, the Lead A1 is a flexible choice for either stage or studio, delivering a stunningly rich and versatile palette of sounds.

The Lead A1 introduces a new front-panel user interface designed to make programming quick and easy, while retaining hands on flexibility.

"We’ve been thinking about and honing this interface for a number of years in response to what we hear from many professional players regarding the ever-increasing time pressures in creating sounds for stage or studio. ” says Hans Nordelius, CEO and head designer.

One of the main features of the new interface is the Oscillator section, where Oscillator configuration shortcuts allow patches to be created and edited far quicker than is usually possible for synthesis of this complexity.

Using a single LFO and simplified Modulation Envelope with intuitive controls on the front panel, it is also very quick to experiment with modulations, always with a clear overview of the structure of the patch.

The on-board filters include Low Pass, High Pass and Band Pass, along with new stunningly accurate modelled Ladder M and Ladder TB filters introduced in the Lead 4. The Lead A1 features an independent effects processor for each of its four slots. Delay, high quality Reverb, plus a choice of Drive, Ring Modulation, Phaser, Flanger, Ensemble or Chorus are available per slot. The impressive new Ensemble and Chorus effects are analog models of specific classic synths, bringing vintage analogue warmth and feel.

Nord's acclaimed Morph function via Velocity or the Mod Wheel is also included, allowing multiple parameters to be morphed in real time and with exceptionally easy control.

Additional functions include an independent arpeggiator for each of the four slots, Master Clock sync of the LFO, delay and Arpeggiator, MIDI over USB, and four independent outputs. The Lead A1 also includes the Nord Sound Manager software patch librarian.

Like all Nord products, the Lead A1 is handmade in Sweden with meticulous attention to detail and quality control.

The Nord Lead A1 will be available in April 2014 with an estimated price of £1299 RRP inc VAT / $1799 MAP.

wendell r. 20th January 2014 01:10 PM

goldphinga 20th January 2014 01:27 PM

Interesting move from Nord. It's hardly any cheaper than the lead 4 but its much more stripped down...

monstermusiker 20th January 2014 01:36 PM

Scheiße! I was hoping for a Wave 2. I didn`t see this coming at all. But, it`ll probably be a good `board.

Music Maven 20th January 2014 01:39 PM

I wonder if you can access the full compliment of Nord Lead 4 parameters on the A1 via an editor? If not, that's kind of lame. I mean, the Nord 4, like all Nords, already has a pretty basic engine (though it sounds great and there are just enough parameters to make some really expressive sounds). But a cut down version of the Nord 4 seems almost too basic. Also, unless there are more parameters under the hood on the A1, it won't be patch compatible with the Nord 4. This seems like a dumb move on Clavia's part (after the company has spent time and money developing a great patch library for the Nord 4).

Music Maven 20th January 2014 01:43 PM

Why oh why didn't Clavia include the Chorus and Ensemble effects on the Nord 4? Those silly Swedes...

Yoozer 20th January 2014 01:57 PM

I think they could've chopped off an octave and nobody would've minded. In fact, with the condensed user interface, that might've been a better idea. Right now this has to be priced pretty competitively to compete, I think.

cl516 20th January 2014 01:57 PM

So, is it single osc + filter + LFO + amp env + mod env per program / part?

kslight 20th January 2014 02:00 PM

That sound?

My interest going down the toilet.

paugui 20th January 2014 02:18 PM

Weird move from Clavia...

Looking at the image, it doesn't seem such a cool synth to cost around 1500€...

Very simple (not even full ADSRs) and the oscillator control seems a bit weird (does it have 1 or 2 oscillators?).

Disappointing... :(

payt 20th January 2014 02:40 PM

hmm well i dunno.. might be a fun little synth, if it was like half the price. Of course we don't know exactly what it can do, but to me it looks like a one osc affair. Then again.. the label says: Óscillators', which is of course plural. It looks like there will be the regular analog oscs as well as wavetables (waveform A1 is indicated on the display). Maybe you can summon a bunch of oscillators and detune them? But than what?

clusterchord 20th January 2014 02:41 PM

id say stupid move from Clavia. wonder who's gonna buy this... its so under-featured and stripped down from a system that already wasnt anything earth shattering fresh (NL4). and agreed, they could have chopped of an octave, to go along with a stripping-down philosophy

i find their justification for lack of features laughable - so, if you are in a hurry, a professional under studio/stage pressure, you "need" a simplified dumbed-down synth. wow. we have all been doing it wrong. i mean, how simple do you need... if you cant make a sound quickly on a thing like NL4 or any NL,... you should be in food preparation business, not a synthesist.

whats happening to these guys, i like the NL4 sound a lot (even tho its terribly overpriced), but Nord Drums 1 and 2 and now this A1... total dissapointment.

networkacid 20th January 2014 02:44 PM


nectarios 20th January 2014 02:49 PM

I'll pass...I have A Nord Lead 1. It rocks.

scottdavidson 20th January 2014 02:52 PM


but Nord Drums 1 and 2
have you actually used one of these? , they're excellent drum synths.

but this a1 looks like a disaster waiting to happen, someone here said it might be a fun little synth, im sorry but for that kind of cash id want more than a little fun...for the same cash you could have an ambika along with a decent controller keyboard and an eventide pedal thrown in, which I think would smoke this thing to death.

I don't really understand who this is meant to appeal to in terms of demographic, £1300 is waaay too much for "a bit of fun", and it doesn't look well featured enough to appeal to serious synth players willing to spend that kind of cash.

3 months from now they'll be on sale for £500 im quite sure.

Sofine 20th January 2014 02:55 PM

Very surprised. Kinda stuck between two stools - too expensive and cut down too much. I agree with Yoozer, it would make more sense to increase the gap between them and cut off an octave (or two) and make it even more portable!

asynchro_nous 20th January 2014 02:56 PM


wendell r. 20th January 2014 03:00 PM

From Clavia's point of view, they clearly believe there's a market for this synth. Looking to the future though, I think they and Access are going to have to start at least considering analog filters at some point, especially when considering what Waldorf is up to.

asynchro_nous 20th January 2014 03:00 PM

Apparently Sweden leads the world in efficiency of recycling.


scottdavidson 20th January 2014 03:03 PM


Apparently Sweden leads the world in efficiency of recycling.

ha..thats exactly what I thought when I saw the picture, it looks like they loads of leftover bits from a production run of nl4 and just went for it.

Gil missFlag 20th January 2014 03:09 PM

Sounds like basically the synth section of the Stage 2, with a few effects thrown in. Come on.

gentleclockdivid 20th January 2014 03:17 PM

No dedicated filter envelope ?
Ahh I see now ..and ADR mod.envelope ..woww real genius :facepalm:
Verry dissapointed about this .
Shelling out a few hundreds more and you have a nord lead 4 !
They just don't get it that a lot of people WANT a mod g3 and not a slimmed down repackaged lead .

Low Life 20th January 2014 03:19 PM

They've got a bunch of demos on Soundcloud:

shadowfac 20th January 2014 03:40 PM

The specs on the Nord website suggest two oscillators, in different configurations (dual, sync, RM, AM). My guess is that the "Osc Ctrl" knob in red controls one or more parameters depending on the configuration. The most common parameter will probably be the detuning between both oscs. Although apparently, one cannot select independent waveforms for each osc.

I can actually see who this product is targeted for. The NL4 seems great, but it's already much more complex than the "classic" NL1 and NL2 architectures, and much more expensive. Some people who want a Nord Lead for its simplicity might be turned off by the complexity and/or the price. A cheaper, simplified version, for those who are not that much into sound design, seems like a good idea. But I would have expected the price to be much more accessible, in order to compete with the King Korg and Blofeld Keyboard.

It would be very interesting if Nord released a software editor that opens up the synth engine on the A1. After all, they do have experience with software editors.

Sofine 20th January 2014 03:41 PM


Originally Posted by Low Life (Post 9773397)
They've got a bunch of demos on Soundcloud:

Despite what I wrote a few posts back, the A1 sounds very, very nice

jobedom 20th January 2014 03:46 PM

Come on, guys. It's a perfect example of an old technique called anchoring. Nord is trying to boost NL4 sales with this thing.

soundxplorer 20th January 2014 03:51 PM

Wait, what was so confusing about the NL4 interface that required simplification? It's all knobs.
Seems like a strange move since there's only about a 20% difference in the price.

APHELEON 20th January 2014 04:03 PM

This synth sounds very delicious and saucy and will easily steak it's place in history...

FubarSnafu 20th January 2014 04:18 PM


Originally Posted by wendell r. (Post 9773362)
From Clavia's point of view, they clearly think there's a market for this synth. Looking to the future though, I think they and Access are going to have to start at least considering analog filters at some point, especially when considering what Waldorf is up to.

None of the digital hardware companies even seem to be willing to compete with things like Diva and Monark in hardware form.

Also, anyone who thinks plugins are too expensive should wonder why companies like Clavia, Access and Novation have so little interest in that market (V-Station came out 10 years ago, in case you think that's a bad example).