Combining one of the worlds best analogue engines from the acclaimed Nord Lead 4 with an streamlined interface for improved and fast programming, the Nord Lead A1 analogue modelling synthesizer will deliver stunning sounds with innovative flexibility.
The Nord Lead A1 introduces a new front panel designed to make your programming and playing experience as simple as possible without loosing any functionality. 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, whilst maintaining a clear overview of the structure of the patch. 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, ideal for live performances.
Nord have included a new 'Like' function to use during patch creation. Akin to creating notes in pencil, this function allows you to save temporary snapshots of your sounds as you edit to refer back to.
Should you feel adventurous, the Lead A1 has a mutation feature that will randomise certain elements of the sound or a full randomise feature to create a whole new sound. Finally, a 'unison' mode will beef up your sound delivering a fat sound that will rival any analog synth.
Underneath the Nord Lead A1's simple interface lurks complex components to deliver the sound that only a Nord product can achieve. On-board filters include Low Pass, High Pass and Band Pass, along with new extremely accurate modeled ladder M and ladder TB filters introduced in the Lead 4. The Lead A1 features an independent effects processor. 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 classic vintage analogue warmth and feel.
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 analogue modeling synthesizer has been made with meticulous attention and you can guarantee life-long, stunning performance from this remarkable synthesizer.
Manufacturer Nord Model A1 Dimensions(WxHxD) 802 x 92 x 260 mm Weight 4.85 kg (10.7lbs) Colour Red Keyboard 49 Key, Velocity Sensitive Sound Source 96 kHz, 32 bit floating point processing Effects Reverb Drive Ring Modulation Phaser Flanger Ensemble Chorus Polyphony 24 Voice Included Accessories Power Cord
If you've read my reviews for the Nord Stage 2 and Nord Lead 4, you'll realise I'm a musician with a passion for serious equipment and equipment that meets my needs the way I want it.
This time, it's a review on the Lead A1. Now, I bet you're wondering why I'm writing these reviews. Well, I may as well let the cat out of the bag, I'm a serious keyboard user and sound designer / programmer / session keyboards guy, so the tools of my work keep me going and also yes I'm the proud owner of a Nord stage 2 88, lead 4, lead A1, lead 2x and nord Drum 2, though I'm fighting the urge to get the older machines. I know, it's torture but fun at the same time.
OK now to some serious business.
The Nord Lead A1... What's it all about? Well....
The Lead A1 is similar in build to the lead 4 but offers some differences which make both the lead 4 and A1 perfect companions. Why? OOH now you're asking... The Lead A1 offers :Like" functions so that you can go through a series of patch modifications and recall each one before you "Write" the one you like best. this to me is a real help at the moment and well worth using a lot of. besides this, there's more to the oscillator section than meets the eye and I think, once you get your hands on it, you'll understand just why. Where most normal synths carry average parameters, the A1 adds wavetable and vowel elements so that you can produce some really interesting sounds. like the lead 4, the A1 uses 4 parts which can be layered or split in 2. The DSP that's offered is mind blowing and the hands on control is just like the Lead 4, a real joy.
The A1 and 4 models both offer USB for patch handling and USB MIDI, so you can throw the midi leads into other uses like midi foot pedals, slaving, etc. that's where the fun really begins for me anyway. Oops the cat's out of the bag... lol.
There's a slight design difference between the two in dimensions and this is because the Lead 4 has the wooden cheeks and the A1 doesn't. Though the A1 in my opinion should have them too, hey it's nice to have a bit of tactile identity.
When you start playing, the attention to detail in sound programming is a real joy and pleasure. there's all sorts like the lead 4 to blow your mind but here's where things get UBER interesting! put the Lead 4 and the A1 side by side, or in my case, the lead 4 on lower tier and A1 on the next tier of my stands, you'll notice that the patch libraries are different in many many exciting ways and this is enough to really open doors. It did me, so I reckon it will for you as well.
I love the way that Nord thinks of how it's customers want their rigs to work, after all they are big investments in musicians lives. With me, I'm just mad about these machines and trust me, get your hands on the A1, play with it. don't just look at it, get your hands on it, play with those silky, balanced keys, the stone effect mod wheel, the wooden joystick pitch stick and those many dials and buttons and see what real synths are becoming. At last, the doors have been kicked clean off with the introduction of the Lead 4 and Lead A1.
Just to let you know, if you've got keyboards coming out of your ears, they also come in rack versions (Lead 4R and Lead A1R)
So, what are you waiting for. Get stuck in.
Blind music Producer / sound designer / musician
Note: the opinions expressed are mine and mine alone and don't represent that of Nord Keyboards or Dawsons Music Ltd. this just safeguards the mug of tea and biscuits from being kidnapped by a representative lol.
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