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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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
January 29, 2012 @ 8:56 pm
Right of the bat, I REALLY wanted to like this, had severe GAS over it for months, drooling over its fancy LED dials, the direct UI.. I cannot believe what a disappointment this synth is, even with its VERY basic architecture it fails to exite even performing the simplest of synth sounds and tasks, its sound is like the epitome of characterlessness, cold, clinical, measured, and about as interesting as a measuring glass. Being a Nord 1 owner/user, I was stunned how much presence and character that had gone amiss over the years.. Imo it was for the best Clavia let this one die, but why the G2!?
October 6, 2011 @ 11:47 pm
@aaron check your routing and make sure monitoring is off unless it has to be
September 7, 2011 @ 5:53 pm
Just got a NordRack 3 and am coming from a Virus TI. The virus integrated midi into a VST-like program, making recording with a DAW like ableton live Super easy!! Does anybody know the best way to do this with the Nord Rack 3? I Tried sending midi notes to the Rack 3 from my computer, the routing the Rack 3 to my interface and back to a separate audio track in ableton but that creates a nasty feedback (because the rack is plugged in MIDI as well as to the interface).. Any suggestions?? Im fairly new to the synth game. Thanks!
August 22, 2011 @ 9:20 am
Really nice sounding mashine, but it's library full of dozens of lame patches. Deleted almost everything. Can't say it's worth the prize, very crappy keyboard, worse then in Virus models, feels like a midi keyboard. Over 1k Euro I could get much more usable gear. Now the only thing left to me is to buy a delay-reverd processor, tired using software effects. No midi sync, out of sync with the track tempo, amazing. If it will bother me much, unfortunatelly I will say goodbuy, though waited too long for it's arrival.
August 7, 2011 @ 8:38 pm
Another fine Clavia synth. It doesn't has as much presence or rawness of its' sound like the Nord Lead 2/X but it's still a fine synth. The rotary encoders were brilliant but they are a bit costly and time consuming to repair/replace now. Check them out on used units and do a little research on its' repair if your considering buying a used one.
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
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