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
October 23, 2012 @ 3:36 pm
gammathough, if I remember correctly they had difficulties of sourcing continuous rotary encoders that were of the right quality, price AND compliant with the RoHS directive on hazardous waste. The rotary encoders in the produced NL3, again if I remember correctly, needs to be soldered with leaded solder. RoHS dictates lead free (e.g. necessary with compliance to sell to european market) so that was it basically. I guess some feedback that the sound engine in NL1 and NL2 sounded better also were taken into account (although I like the one in NL3!).
October 2, 2012 @ 11:40 am
Anyone could tell me why NL3 is not available in sale? Weird. Only NL2...
Carlos Shaw
September 13, 2012 @ 1:53 am
Here some presets and my personal patches.
February 17, 2012 @ 12:48 pm
This is really an amazing sounding synth, its very deep. most of the factory patches are a disappointment but trust me once you start programming your own its INCREDIBLE. I mainly use this for creating dreampop and ambient soundscapes and textures, and its perfect.
Theres also a lot more to this instrument than ambience, gliding lead sounds and pads also sound great on this. and the drum patches it has sound really cool especially the 'junkster' drum patch is really cool
February 16, 2012 @ 4:26 pm
Can't say that this synth could be described as having a "VERY basic architecture" when it comes down to it. Here's a few things that it can do:

- audio range modulation of the filter
- FM
- formant and series filtering

The oscillator section alone is pretty intimidating, really.

I've had mine for about a year and it is quite reminiscent of the hands-on-ness of the JX-3P + programmer that I had back in the early '90s. Everything's pretty intuitive and not much interface space goes to waste. I like my Virus for its integration with my DAW but the Nord is still much more immediate.
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  • 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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