With the first Nord Lead back in 1995, Clavia introduced the Virtual Analog concept: analog synthesis emulated in real-time by digital signal processors, coupled with a fast and immediate one-knob-for-each-function user interface. With the Nord Lead 3 Clavia takes Virtual Analog to a higher level and introduces the Advanced Subtractive Performance Synthesizer. ‘Advanced Subtractive’ because of the extremely flexible sound engine, featuring a combination of traditional shapable waveforms and a very intuitive 2 or 4 operator FM engine. All this can be routed through the high quality multi filter for further shaping. ‘Performance Synthesizer’ because of its unsurpassed user interface and play control functions such as: keyboard hold, parallel polyphonic glide in legato mode, single-key triggering of whole chords and even clusters of slightly detuned voices for super-unison effects. You also get four separate Morph groups per sound, instantly controllable from the keyboard and the left panel section. Nord Lead 3 also sports the unique and sensitive Pitch Stick for expressive pitch bend control. All these functions are packed in a compact and roadworthy metal chassis that weighs less than 6.3 kg!
The extensive OSCILLATOR SECTION
of the Nord Lead 3 has much to offer. There are two separate oscillator groups, each providing you with six shapable waveforms, plus an additional sync oscillator. The extra sync oscillators make it possible to create two separately synced waveforms per voice. In other words, no need to sacrifice one audio oscillator just to sync another. Clavia also introduces Dual Sine FM – a very hands-on form of FM. In Dual Sine FM mode the oscillator generates two sine waves that can be used to form a 2-operator FM engine. If you like, you can use both oscillators in Dual Sine FM mode to create 4-operator frequency modulation. Don’t let the word ”operator” scare you off. With the Nord Lead 3 it’s extremely easy to create great FM sounds – you don’t really have to know anything about FM to come up with good results! A nice feature is the Sound Init function. By pressing the Sound Init or FM Init button, the synthesizer resets to a default sound making it really easy to create new sounds. The Oscillator section also offers great modulation possibilities: Amplitude- and Ringmodulation, Distortion, FM, DFM, Filter FM and the new Distortion Modulation.
Nord Lead 3 features the new and innovative adjustable STEREO UNISON without reduction of polyphony! Imagine the power of 5 simultaneous detuned voices per note, in stereo, and still having full polyphony! A dream for pad lovers. And for fat monophonic basses, use the Stack function and stack up to 24 x 5 virtual voices and launch in a single keystroke! Overkill? Yes, of course, but FAT should be F-A-T, right?
FLEXIBLE MULTI FILTERS
The filters of the Nord Lead 3’s predecessors are praised for their musical values and in Nord Lead 3 we added even more flexibility and real time control. The Filter section of the Nord Lead 3 has two separate modes, Single Filter Mode and Multi Filter Mode. You can select between various filter types, including LP, HP, BP, Notch, Triple Peak and Triple Notch. The Classic Lowpass filter, which emulates a classic analog lowpass filter, has a more narrow resonance peak and also features resonance compression when swept over the fundamental frequency. In Multi Filter mode two or more filters are combined into real killer multi-filters. For example, the Triple Peak and Triple Notch filters can be used for phaser and flanger type of effects.
The Nord Lead 3 comes with a separate Master Clock/MIDI-synchable Arpeggiator per Slot. Instead of using a bunch of preset patterns each Arpeggiator also features a Sub Arpeggiator and a Mask function. These functions make it possible to generate advanced and dynamic arpeggio patterns in a very easy way. In Performance mode, you can have up to four arpeggios working together in sync (with different time signatures, if you like). Great for multi-timbral textures!
The Nord Lead 3 offers one Modulation Envelope and two LFOs per voice plus Global Vibrato. The Global Vibrato acts equally on all voices in the sound. Great for the final touch! If you like, you can use the LFOs as Envelope generators in Single Cycle mode. You can also use the Modulation Envelope as an LFO in Repeat Mode. The LFOs can be hard-synced to the internal Master Clock or to MIDI Clock. Imagine the combination possibilities with hard-synced LFOs and the Arpeggiator!
The Nord Lead 3 features Polyphonic Legato. This means you are able to play overlapping chords without retriggering the Envelopes!
The Nord Lead 3 has extensive possibilities for Glide (Portamento). For example, you can use Polyphonic Glide in Polyphonic Legato mode for parallel glide between whole chords!
Press the Hold button to keep notes sustaining until you play new notes. This is especially useful together with the Arpeggiator or with Polyphonic Legato with Polyphonic Glide.
FULL VISUAL OVERVIEW
A very important thing for creativity is to always have total control of the parameter settings. The solution is to use high-resolution rotary encoders combined with circular LED graphs for each knob. The LED graphs around the knobs guarantee that you always have total overview of your sound. As soon as you select a new sound, the correct values of all parameters are shown instantly by the LED graphs and you can adjust the knobs from their current positions without glitches. In addition, the exact parameter value is shown in the backlit LCD as you turn a knob. No more ’trial and error’ editing!
4 MORPH GROUPS PER SOUND
The Morph function lets you continuously control defined ranges of up to 26 parameters in a sound, using only a single control source. This lets you produce radical changes to a sound in a very fast and easy manner. There are four separate Morph groups available per sound and you may assign up to 26 parameters to each of the four Morph groups. The Morph sources are: Keyboard Velocity, Keyboard Range, Aftertouch/Control Pedal and Mod Wheel. You can also control the Morphs via MIDI! When you control Morph groups, the values of every assigned parameter are shown in real-time by the corresponding LED graphs. Did we mention full visual overview?
Play a chord and activate the Chord Memory function. Now you can play the chord by only pressing single keys. Great for octave or ”fifths” lead lines, for example. Add a little Glide as icing on the cake!
The Stack function is a variation of the Chord Memory function. It lets you stack up to 24 notes to be played from single keys. If you like, you can stack the same note several times and detune the voices for extremely F-A-T sounds. Add some stereo Unison and take cover!