Synth Site: Clavia: Nord Lead III: User reviews Add review
Average rating: 4.9 out of 5
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Tim a professional user from UK writes:
This synth is alive! I can`t describe how cool this devil sonds, you have to check it out! A new classic and it´s RED

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Sunday-Aug-12-2001 at 15:20
Rune a hobbyist user from Sweden writes:
Love the sound this red beast make! it is so easy to tweak your own sounds on it! thanks Clavia. By the way check out the new OS 1.06 on the Claviasite!.

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Wednesday-Aug-08-2001 at 16:47
schism a professional user writes:
I got my Nord Lead 3. This thing completely spanks the Nord Lead 2, but to the guy who said it was better than the Andromeda, I don't agree. It does have its own sound which is different than the Andromeda yet still very nice. And the filters are more acidic :) But the Andromeda is a lot deeper, mmore flexible and hits harder.

The NL3's filters and the distortion are TONS better than the NL2. The synth is more agressive but can still be soft and do great pads. Contrary to what some people said earlier, it still has that general Nord sound but the 3 is a lot more flexible with the ability to be thicker.

The best thing that this synth has going for it is the *interface*. The knobs feel great and almost everything is on the front panel LCD. Whenver you pull up a patch that you saved, the LEDS light up the knob position, and when you tweak them, the response is *very* smooth.

The Nord Lead 2 could not do deep bass IMO. Thanks to the FM and filter response improvements on this synth, the NL3 can. The filters just sound better and you have a lot more filter modes. The dual filters is a "trick" though. The synth is still thin and raspy for the most part, compared to the "better" analogues, but perfect for fitting in a mix overtop! I used to think the Virus B had the best filter of the VAs but now I think the NL3 does!

For people that make goa/psytrance, this is *the* synth. Easily to layer many sounds over each other and an interface to do it fast. Its too bad this synth only has 4 outputs and 4 part multi, for all that wasted polyphony. Chord mode and hold keys are nice, I wish Andromeda had a hold key (that's about all its missing really :)

For the non-patch tweakers, the presets are a lot better and harder than the 2 IMO, and you definitely get a lot more space for your patch creations :) In the presets you'll find all kinds of sounds, most of them raspy though, plucked, bass and acid sounds (!) and even those famous Infected Mushroom scat patches that they use from this synth so much (there are 3-4 varations) and of course the cutting GMS sounds.

This synth gets a 4.5 from me. It is expensive for a VA, and only the most perfect of synths get a 5. It does sound great but I hope the programmers are getting a lot of money because other than the rotary encoders this synth is built just a tad shoddy. It feels fine and stury, but its small and you can see the circuit boards through the pitch stick opening and the keyboard edges just like on the NL2 keyboard.

I love the interface on this synth, the main reason I got it. I was also getting something to replace my Jupiters since I'm moving to Europe in a little over a month and I had pigeonholed sounds that I liked on those synths so much. I thought the Jup6 was best at sweeps, bass, leads and drones which this stuff nails. The Jup8 on the other hand I mainly used for pads. Between the Andromeda and this synth, the lushness is covered.

One thing that does suck is that you have to dig into a menu to change the arpeggiator mode, arp key sync, vibrato amount freq etc. Its no big deal, just one button press and then scroll to the parameter button, but you'd think as popular as arps are these days that the mode would be on the front panel. Another thing that is puzzling to me is in the octave shift section for the keyboard; instead of a single LED to show which octave is selected, all the octaves are lit up except the current LED. That's fine, its not confusing, but it goes against the design of the pitchbend right next to it and other sections of the synth. I guess these types of LEDS aren't that expensive though and Clavia wanted the synth to be bright :)

All in all, the NL3 is a great sounding synth that costs a lot of money and positively continues the Nord Lead product line. There are some flaws, but not many. Its worth buying if you can afford it and prefer Roland type sounds.

NOTE: In a few days I'll post where to get this synth for only $1679 (compared to most places which want a lot more for one). I have to exchange mine first, because it has a big scratch on the front panel and I'm not paying this much money for a synth to arrive scratched!

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Aug-02-2001 at 19:13
squiggy a part-time user from San Francisco, USA writes:
I just recieved my Lead 3 this afternoon. Went through the factory patches and nearly had a stroke! This thing is increadible! It is so close to a Moog it's scary. I literally had to turn on my Minimoog and Memorymoog to do an A/B comparison. Although it doesn't sound precisely the same, don't be suprised if Clavia nails it on the next edition. That's right, you read it here.

The only issue I encountered in version 1.04 was a high frequency scratchy noise as you turn knobs and the wheel. In some sounds this can be bothersome. Hopefully Clavia will have this resolved in the next upgrade.

The new FM capabilities are very interesting. Although it could never compare to my Yamaha FS1R, the NL3 offers instant gratification by turning knobs on a simple lay-out. The resulting sounds can be very dramatic and much warmer than a DX7. But you won't get the same digital breathiness.

Instant classic!!!!! It seems that no matter which direction you go with this synth you always get intersesting sounds - sometimes startling! It will take me a long, long time to outgrow this bad boy. If I ever do.

I just sold my Juno 106 and Matrix 1000 last weekend. With my NL3 I have no regrets. Niether will you.

Rating: 4 out of 5 posted Thursday-Jul-19-2001 at 03:00
chuckie a hobbyist user from yoo ess ay writes:
this synth has some real strong raw POWER. and all you sissy girls complaining about how it hurts your ears, you just cant handle it. go get a casiotone electric toy piano =P its nice and compact but still packs one hell of a punch and complexity in sound. i'm not so sure about the non voice stealing unison thing being really that, i think its just a chorus unit in disguise-but who cares really? =) certainly not as many mod routings as a matrix-12 but it does have a soul much like the matrix-12 does. just remember that it will never be a matrix-12 (i own an xpander) but the two machines have in common sonic power. the new knob and led setup on it makes it absolute bliss to program on, and the adsrs even got time markers on em and the LFOs display lfo frequency and period exactly on the lcd screen-i know for sure that will come in handy in the future. all in all a machine that is good for every sound and has features to boot.. if you get one hardware synth GET THIS ONE. oh and maybe a nord modular to complement it ;]

Rating: 5 out of 5 posted Monday-Jul-16-2001 at 16:41
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