I purchased a new Nord Modular (NM) about 6 months ago, and have spent at least 10-20 hours a week since then learning to really use this machine. The manual is clearly laid out, and with a decent amount of time, especially falling asleep with it on your bed, the learning curve of designing and learning modular synthesis can quickly (6 months) be overcome. Before I purchased the NM I was a complete neophyte to modular synthesis, and while at this point I am no maven, I do believe I have a review to share. To begin with, the NM has a learning curve. This should not scare people away, because there are tons of people online who are willing to offer help, and the mailing list is a great resource to have questions answered by some of the most brilliant programmers in the world. The layout is beautiful, and while the knobs are small in size, they are nicely rubber padded and extremely firm. This thing is built like a tank, and really looks great in a rack. I have not expanded mine, and as of right now do not use it multitimbrally, so I will not comment upon the functionality of those features, but DSP gets eaten quite quickly. This is not to say that great patches can not be made using just the standard DSP, its just to say that when you are working on a sound and loving how many modules you have going and you look up to see 6% remaining, things can get hairy. I do not mind the software based edditing, simply because with a machine like this, there is no other way to edit or create. There is not a fixed architecture, and thats what makes this the most ideal possible purchase. Now to sound. This is the tricky aspect of the Nord. It has the Nord sound. Love it or hate it, this thing will always sound like a Nord. Personally I like the sound, and find that in a mix it sits perfect. Furthermore, I find that the overall sound is only limited to what you want. If you want a moog, you can make something similar to a moog in the NM, but only a Moog will sound exactly like a Moog. This might seem elementry to some people, but I thought when I purchased the Nord that it would be the end all of synths, and obviously this is not true (just wanted to let you know what your getting into). While the NM can perfectly recreate all Nord Lead sounds, which are available at http://www.clavia.se I do still use an original Nord Rack along with the Modular. I like the Nord sound, and enjoy having the additional polyphony and great user interface of the Nord alongside the Modular. Ultimately, don't believe all the hype about these synths, and there is a lot. It is what it is, and it is not what it is not. It is a great synth that can be used in any composition, that has a great user interface, great build quality and great sound quality. It is not a Moog, a Virus, or an Oberheim, but it can sound similar to them. I would replace it if it was stolen, and would consider it the most ideal and passionate synth I own.
This is the only synth I own that I would honestly say can get a 5/5 rating. Please people judge a synth for what it is, not what it is not...