Clavia Nord Lead 3

Nord Lead 3 Image

Newly redesigned and vastly improved, Clavia gives us the Nord Lead 3. It is a 24-voice synthesizer (the NL2 is 16-voice) with many new features including many bigger knobs and controls. A new Unison mode is available that won't affect polyphony so that you can get some extremely thick and fat polyphonic sounds. A new and 'easier to use' user interface with endless rotary knobs and LED graphs offer total and immediate control.

The oscillator section has been completely redesigned. There are two separate oscillator groups, each providing you with six different waveforms, plus an additional built-in sync oscillator. A new type of synthesis akin to FM is also available called Sinus Modulation (SM). The Nord Lead 3 also features two high quality multi-mode filters with Low-, Band- and High-pass filtering. There's also Lowpass-Highpass and Lowpass-Lowpass filter modes and a Classic mode that emulates the characteristics of a classic analog filter. The Nord Lead 3 now offers up to 3 LFOs/Envelopes per voice plus Global Vibrato, syncable to MIDI clock.

Nord Lead 3 Image

The Nord Lead 3 also has four separate Morph groups. 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 way. There are four Morph groups available for each sound and you may assign up to 26 different parameters, distributed as you wish among the four Morph groups. The Morph groups are hardwired to one control source each: Velocity, Aftertouch, Modulation Wheel and Expression Pedal. And with the new Timbre function you can switch between two complete parameter setups in a sound.

Also on-board are 4 individual audio outputs. Each MIDI part can be routed to a separate output or to two for stereo. The Software within the Nord Lead 3 can easily be upgraded via MIDI for future enhancements and upgrades. The Nord Lead 3 makes a great synth better than ever! A Nord Rack 3 is planned for release later this year. The Nord Lead 3 has already been used by Jean-Michel Jarre, Stereolab, Adrian Belew, the Faint, Keane, and the Pet Shop Boys.

Lookup Clavia Nord Lead 3 Prices

The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings with more images, specs and information. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace. Our marketplace gets thousands of visits every week so make sure to check back often if you want to buy or sell a synth.

Related forum topics


Are you looking to buy or sell a Clavia Nord Lead 3? Post an ad in Gear For Sale or a request in Gear Wanted. For spare parts and repair services check out Gear Services & Other Goods. Our forums also has a Buyer’s Guide section where you can ask for advice on buying synthesizers.

46 Visitor comments
February 28, 2010 @ 1:40 am
I had both the NL3 and the 2X...the UI on the NL3 is the best on the planet, but to my ears the 2X just sounds more analog and less techno, which makes sense considering Clavia had a totally different team designing and writing patches for it. So I kept my 2X and sold the NL3...I just wish it had a better display. I don't think I will ever sell my NL2X
February 21, 2010 @ 12:33 am
I,ve owned lots of synths over a couple of years and the Nord 3 blows them all away,easiest by miles to tweak the presets,I can find nothing negative to say about this beast, had a Prophet 08,new and sent it back after 3 days.Get yourself a Nord 3 while you can,at around £800 they are a real bargain.
January 18, 2010 @ 11:48 am
Ryan Washburn - I disagree. I have had both, Ichose to keep the 2, though I would have kept both if not for financial issues.

Older synths sound better 99% of the time. The 3 is vastly 'improved' and much more programmable, but the original Lead still sounds the best side by side, sound for sound.
Ryan Washburn
January 6, 2010 @ 10:38 am
I own both the Nord Lead 2x and the Lead 3 and I find it very surprising that people think the 2 sounds "better". The Lead 2 has a more cutting sound, but no bottom end. The Lead 3 has the same signature Nord sound, but a little less cutting and a hell of a lot deeper: sounds strong in the entire frequency range, not just the top end. This synth can sound like many analog synths and do things no analog synth can do with mixing the VA with 4-operator FM synthesis. The Lead 3 is the only synth I know of that allows you to morph any and/or all parameters of a sound simulatenously by using the mod wheel. The arpeggiator is layerable as well (you can modulate an arpeggiated "sequence" by another arpeggiated sequence). And yes, the lighted encoders are also the best I've ever used (take notice Dave Smith!). This synth will become a classic. I definitely got lucky scoring mine for only $900.
August 10, 2009 @ 9:29 am
What really makes this synth is the control surface which is unparalleled in my experience - that, and the morphing feature. They should have called it the Nord Lead Morph!!

Between the two this is the easiest synth to program, bar none, and extremely rich in depth & features.

It's also extremely well thought out. Some lovely finishing touches: a great arpeggiator, and 4-layer keyboard maps where you can assign 1 sound to the lowest note and another to the highest note and another over the entire keyboard - instant bass+lead+pad.

Sure, the sound is a bit thin on the low end compared to true analog synths. But it's a really good virtual analog synth, route it through some effects and the FM sounds will sit perfectly above your true analogue bass & pads.

Oh, and the stone mod wheel and wooden pitch bend :o)

Highly recommended - puts the fun back into synth programming.
Post Comment!
VSE Rating


User Rating

Rated 3.81 (535 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - 24 voices
  • Oscillators - 2 oscillator groups each with Six waveforms: sine, saw, triangle, square (pulse with width modulation), noise, synced noise, dual sine; 2- and 4-op FM and differential FM; osc-sync; ring-modulation; variable unison.
  • LFO - 2 per voice, syncable to MIDI. Triangle, saw, square, smooth and stepped random, and triple-peak sine waveforms. Seperate vibrato effect.
  • Filter - 2 multi-mode filters (series or parallel). Lowpass, Bandpass, Highpass, LP-HP, LP-LP and Classic mode. 1-, 2-, or 4-pole.
  • VCA - ADSR envelopes for amplitude and filter; Amplifier Gain control
  • Keyboard - 49 keys with velocity and aftertouch and octave shift functionality
  • Memory - 1,024 patches, 256 performances
  • Control - MIDI IN/OUT/THRU (4-parts)
  • Date Produced - 2001
  • Resources & Credits
  • Images from

Errors or Corrections? Send them here.