MESSE13: New Nord Lead Performance Synthesizer

The Nord Lead 4 makes its debut      08/04/13
MESSE13: New Nord Lead Performance Synthesizer

Manufacturers Clavia say that, with innovative new performance features, advanced layering and synchronization possibilities, new filter types and on-board effects, the new Nord Lead 4, announced today,  is a synthesizer dream come true.

Nord Lead 4 is a 4-part multi-timbral synthesizer sporting a brand new 2-oscillator virtual analog sound engine with 2x 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.

Clavia says that the 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. A spokesperson told us, "Ever wanted to change LFO speed, Modulation routings and reverb amount - all at once, in the middle of a sound? With the Nord Lead 4 you can! With 7 assignable variations per program Nord Lead 4 gives you creative freedom to warp and improvise your sound live, both rhythmically and sonically and thanks to the Master Clock Synchronization, it can be done in perfect sync to other layers or an external MIDI Clock."

All 4 slots have dedicated effect sections with delay, reverb, tube amp simulated overdrive, a Talk effect modeled after a vocal tract and a sample rate reducing Crush effect.

The Nord Lead 4 is also available as a Tabletop/Rack version, the Nord Lead 4R.

Key features

  • 4-part multi-timbral with 4 separate outs.
  • 2-Oscillator Virtual Analog Subtractive synthesis, with Frequency Modulation, Hard and Soft Sync and True Voice Unison.
  • Morph and Variation performance controls.
  • Wavetable synthesis, including unique Formant Wavetables.
  • 12/24 dB Low-pass, High-pass, Band-pass filter section plus transistor and diode ladder filter simulations.
  • 2 LFO/Arpeggiator sections and Mod Env section with flexible routing possibilities.
  • LFO, Arpeggiator and Delay can be synchronized to the Master Clock (or external MIDI-Clock).
  • Crush, Talk and Distortion, Reverb, Delay effects (available per slot)
  • 2x oversampled sound engine.
  • 49­-key velocity sensitive keyboard (C-C) (Not Nord Lead 4R).

Pricing and Availability:

Nord Lead 4: Shipping May 2013, 1,849 EURO/ £1549
Nord Lead 4R: Shipping August 2013, 1,649 EURO/ £TBC

More information:


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9 Comments...  Post a comment    original story
S R Dhain    Said...

Nord synths are always brilliant, and this looks like it follows the original lineage, with a bit of 3 thrown in and much more besides. The only slight fly in the ointment, is the listed RRP, which with the current market scenario and competition, might not give it the sales it could get. If it were just a tad cheaper on the street, it'd be a more desirable proposition, in my humbles.

08-Apr-13 12:05 PM

loneraver    Said...

Wow! Nord!!! That price is a little steep? I figured that the only company that could still get away with charging that much for a VA was Access. I never got into the the Nord synths but I don't think I'll ever be able to with prices like that.

08-Apr-13 01:20 PM

Axial    Said...

The UI is really disappointing. It seems that Nord refuses to break away from the retro styling nonsense.

I almost do not even care what it sounds like.

08-Apr-13 01:27 PM

Benedict Johnson    Said...

MusickMesse announcements early? Gotta be Christmas!

Having recently grown to love the "Synth Section" of my new Nord Stage 2 (right before having grown to be frustrated by it's limitations) this looks fur-lipping brilliant

Can't say the demo track is turning me on, but I'm intrigued by everything else.

Are they real wavetables this time?! Variations 1-7?! TALK1? TALK2? TALK3? Master Clock Tap Tempo?! Fine Tune?! (just kidding)

I would love for Nick to review one, but we know that wont happen.

Oh Clavia, you'll give us the Nord Wave 2 eventually. Or something completely new and original? But hey, everything is "sequels" or "remakes" nowadays (luckily "prequels" are infeasible).

08-Apr-13 01:53 PM

dutnakke    Said...

Yet another Nord made to look like it's going to sound 'analog' - and then yet again has a harsh, ugly digital sound. I would love to get one - if it sounded warm, but hey, on to something else

08-Apr-13 05:04 PM

EveryoneWantstoKnow    Said...

This is nice but how does Jordan Rudess fell about this?

08-Apr-13 08:05 PM

lowjk    Said...

Why did Nord go back to Nord Lead 2 interface?

For that premium price, I would want a Nord Lead 3 interface.

08-Apr-13 11:11 PM

eXode    Said...

I'm a bit curious about polyphony. Haven't found a spec mentioning that so far.

09-Apr-13 03:11 AM

Hugo    Said...

I own the Nord lead 2x and I can clearly hear the difference with the new ladder filter (emulation?)and the drive feature among other things. A generally different character. I think it doesn't do justice to compare it to analogue synths when this is a performance keyboard that sounds glorious in its own right. A bit expensive for my budget though, especially considering the traditional, non-LED encoders UI.

11-Apr-13 02:34 AM

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