With innovative new performance features such as advanced layering and synchronization possibilities, new filter types and on-board effects, the Nord Lead 4 is a synthesizer is a synth enthusiasts dream come true.
Nord Lead 4 is a 4-part multi-timbral synthesizer complete with a brand new 2-oscillator virtual analog sound engine with 2 x oversampling. In addition to the classic analog waveforms there’s a wavetable mode with unique new formant wavetables. Frequency Modulation and Hard/Soft sync options are available for mutilating your sound further and the True Voice Unison mode can stack up to four oscillators per voice for really thick, beefy leads and pads.
The intricate filter section boasts Low Pass (12/24dB), High Pass, and Band Pass filters and also stunning new simulations of two transistor and diode ladder filters capturing the squeaky, dirty character of the originals. A dedicated filter overdrive can distort your sound before it passes through the effect section.
The new Variation buttons let you override almost any parameter of the synthesizer, instantaneously. If you need to change the LFO speed, modulation routing and reverb amount all at once, in the middle of a sound, the Nord Lead 4 let's you do this with ease. With 7 assignable variations per program, the Nord Lead 4 gives you creative freedom to warp and improvise your sound on the fly, both rhythmically and sonically, and thanks to the internal master clock synchronization, it can be done in perfect sync to other layers or you can use an external MIDI Clock to sync to outboard gear.
To add a whole new world of definition to your sound, the Nord Lead 4 comes inclusive of some astonishing effects including, crush, drive, comb filter, talk, compressor and a collection of reverbs and delays
When used in conjunction with performance features such as velocity and modulation wheel morphing, you have the keys to create some truly amazing sounds. Thanks to the 4-part multi-timbral nature of the lead 4, you can build up your sounds and layer 4 on top of each other! You will be very hard pushed to find any other synth capable of producing the awe inspiring textures that come as standard with the Nord Lead 4 Performance Synthesizer. Simply amazing.
Manufacturer Nord Model Lead 4 Performance Synthesizer Colour Red Keyboard 49 Key, Velocity Sensitive Sounds ~ Unlimited Effects Drive / Modulation Control Crush Drive 2 different Talk effects Compressor and Comb Filter Selectable Delay or Reverb Connectivity 4 Line Level Audio Outputs - ¼", 6,35 mm jacks, unbalanced Stereo Headphone Output - ¼", 6,35 mm stereo jack Sustain Pedal - ¼", 6,35 mm jack Control Pedal - ¼", 6,35 mm TRS stereo jack USB connector with MIDI capabilities MIDI In & Out - 5 pin DIN connectors Included Accessories Power Cord Nord Sound Manager CDROM
The Nord Lead 4 is one of many Nord systems I proudly own in my studio environment. Without these instruments, life would be rather dull, when it comes to sound design work, song writing, music for advertising, etc, you need the best you can get. For me, this has to be Nord.
As a blind music producer / sound engineer / musician, Computers don't always go hand in hand with me, ok they do when it comes to writing reviews, etc but not in the studio sense, unless it's programming or backing up libraries, etc. other than that, I'm there with my synths and an old but beautiful Roland VS2480CD expanded.
Enough of all that, time for a review and yes I promised a review.
Gone are the days as I remember them well of heavy synthesizers in big flight cases driving me mad to keep tuning them up or having a keyboard tech on hand who knew my standards, those days are gone. In today's modern world, synthesizers are thinning out a bit, but slowly making a comeback. Virtual analogue machines are becoming more loved by guys like me and it's about time to.
The Nord Lead 4 is incredibly light, robust, very forgiving and demanding at the same time. just how it should be. When you first put your hands on the lead 4, you notice that the keys are nice and balanced, have a great response and a heavenly feel. you then become aware of just how many knobs and switches there are. At last, it's time to ditch touch screens and become more tactile at last. As soon as you switch on, 3 seconds later after it sets up tests and remembers the last patch you used or the start patch, you're ready to play and let's put it this way, You'll be playing because the sound is just so addictive. There are only a number of synths I put my whole heart and soul into that speak my language and let's put it this way, the Nord Lead 4 really hits every point on my list.
A compact synth like this really opens doors that most other synths can't even push with a cough but that's my opinion and I stick to that.
If you're looking for a synth that's powerful, moves you in many ways, lets you express yourself either in the studio or on stage, you'll be wanting this synth by your side.
Ever wanted a certain analogue or digital sound, well, with the Lead 4, you could design that. you have 4 layers that can be programmed independently and provide a real sonic palette. You have full control and performance controls that will blow people away.
For me, the Nord Lead 4 offers me tools I have come to rely on with much older real analogue machines but without the worries of returning or repairs. The Lead 4 is capable of producing the string sounds of a very popular string synth... the Eminent 310 and I can tell you, the effects section really does help when tweaking sounds. Driving distortions, reverbs, delays, etc opens up the sonic palette and makes sound design so addictive. I personally can't keep my hands off this machine, like the stage 2 and my other babies.
Like the Nord Stage 2 I reviewed earlier, The Nord Lead benefits from many sound designers through the nord website giving away free sound banks to expand the potential of the lead 4. With the Nord Sound manager software for mac and PC, you can backup, restore, organize and adapt your patches so that you can be comfortable in what you're doing. USB's a real must these days as MIDI cables alone can sometimes be a bit fiddly, plus the speed of data via USB is quicker and updating your system is just so much more reliable these days. USB isn't just for patch programming, it's so you can use it directly within a host DAW like logic, cubase, protools, etc. so you can really open doors.
Get your ears and hands on one of these divine beauties and I guarantee you, you'll want one. no questions asked lol.
Blind Sound designer / Music Producer & musician.
Note: The comments expressed are by me only and don't represent those of Nord Keyboards or Dawsons Music Ltd. that just keeps me and the chocolate biscuits safe.
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