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.

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46 Visitor comments
March 25, 2011 @ 6:44 pm
This single handed rekindled my love for synths. Like other people have stated, the interface is very intuitive, it has tons of storage for patches, and it's really easy to dive right into (and get lost). Alot of people talk about how pretty it is... Mine is a bi-polar crimson devil - evil, disturbed creature with a lust for making patches that remind me of Numb's Blood Meridian, or Language Of Silence. And when shes not screeching and ripping eardrums out, the added SM (*cough* FM *cough*) can make it sounds pretty as well. The 2ndary filter is an added bonus for sounding wavetableish.
February 1, 2011 @ 11:27 am
This is by far my favorite synth ever. The interface is the best I have ever experienced! Hardware or software. There is no fiddling with the knob to get it to the original position, everything is quickly accessible. I find that I can create new sounds very fast. The sound is not as analog... but there is a whole other world of sound to explore and the Nord Lead 3 is by far the best ticket there.
Lex Wily
January 24, 2011 @ 3:22 pm
I've had this for years and now that I have a better grasp of programming this module (ironically after learning how to program soft synths) I feel like I have a new module. Very malleable sounds! Twisting those knobs in real time makes can make digital phrases sound more human.
January 6, 2011 @ 3:10 am
what surprised me most is that with horny analogue sounds this one is worse off than nord lead 2. in spite all the filter types, complex architecture etc, if you want a real piercing bassline, fat PWM or lifting sequenced timbre — choose nord 2x.

what's nord-3 good for? fm, in the first place. it gives you lot of wonderful electro pianos and even FM-style basses. thanks to doubled filter, you can now do pad sounds like a rompler, but samples-free.
December 5, 2010 @ 8:44 pm
I bought one 3 years ago, and it really takes patience to get the most out of this synth. Once you spend some time with it, learn to layer the patches you can truly come up with some rich sounds. I'd never sell mine, and like most things out there you get out of it what you put into it. An absolute joy to program, every function is at your finger tips, you just can't find that on too many synths these days.
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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
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