Nord Lead 4 Performance Synthesizer
A groundbreaking classic, reborn
When the first Nord Lead was released in 1995, it started the virtual analog revolution, offering a very distinctive sound combined with the tweakability otherwise reserved for vintage analog synthesizers. Nord Lead 4 takes what made the Nord Lead a success and adds a whole bunch of innovative new features justifying the name 'performance synthesizer.'
- 2-oscillator subtractive synthesis, with powerful frequency modulation, hard and soft sync and true unison
- Wavetable synthesis, including unique formant wavetables
- 12/24 dB low pass, high pass, band pass filter section plus stunning simulations of classic 18 dB and 24 dB transistor ladder filters
- 2 LFO sections and modulation envelope section with flexible routing possibilities
- LFO, arpeggiator and delay can be synchronized to master clock (or external MIDI clock)
- Drum mode
- Morph and Variation performance controls
- Crush, talk, distortion, reverb, delay
- 4 slots = 4-part multi-timbral, 4 separate outs
- 2x oversampled sound engine
- USB MIDI
Nord Lead 4 is a subtractive synthesizer with 2 oscillators per voice. All the classic waveforms are present: saw, square, sine, triangle, pulse and PWM. Nord Lead 4 also features frequency modulation (FM) controls for adding spectral complexity and, occasionally, nastiness.
The true unison mode lets you stack up to four voices on top of each other per note (including the complete signal path of the Nord Lead 4) for really thick, wide leads and basses.
Hard and soft sync
Hard sync generates an irregularly-shaped waveform, resulting in a harsh, dirty effect rich with harmonics, first made famous by the Prophet 5. Soft sync is a bit smoother, but by no means subtle.
Nord Lead 4's Oscillator 1 section features a wide selection of wavetables, including a unique type called formant wavetables with resonant qualities that are independent of pitch. Frequency modulating the formant wavetables can produce some truly magical results with distinctive acoustic qualities.
Nord Lead 4 features two very flexible LFO-sections per slot. A wide selection of LFO shapes is available, from sines and pulses to ramping saws perfect for creating wobbling basses or pulsing pads. Each LFO can easily be synchronized to the master clock and assigned a desired time division. The LFO can be re-triggered manually with a Variation button or a key. The LFO destinations even include the option to modulate the effects section.
Nord Lead 4 offers a very capable modulation envelope section with an expanded choice of modulation destinations. The modulation envelope can also be triggered manually with a Variation button!
The filter section of Nord Lead 4 features classic 12/24 dB low pass, a high pass and a band pass filter from the original Nord Lead with a dedicated ADSR filter envelope and selectable filter tracking.
Ladder filter emulation
The filter section also features two stunning emulations of the transistor ladder filters from a certain legendary Mini and the 303. The emulations capture the dirty, squeaky resonance of the originals and combined with the new unison mode you'll have plenty of opportunities for making fat, squelchy basses and leads.
A new overdrive that operates separately per voice can distort the waveform before it passes through the effects sections.
Drum mode lets you use the Nord Lead 4 synthesizer engine for creating synthetic drum and percussion sounds. 8 unique drum sounds can be created and saved as a drum kit.
The Variation buttons are extremely powerful and let you alter your sound instantaneously, brilliant for creating spontaneous, synchronized rhythmic and tonal mayhem. Doubling the LFO rate, changing the oscillator from saw to square, enabling glide, cranking up the resonance and muting the reverb — all at once — for 2 seconds in the middle of your lead solo is now as easy as 1-2-3. Doing wobbly bass lines and complex choppy pads live and in perfect sync is a breeze! Variations is a simple yet universal concept that offers almost limitless flexibility.
Assigning a Variation is simple: just hold down a Variation button and turn the desired knob(s) to the desired new value! Nearly every parameter can be controlled with a Variation and LED lights indicate which parameters have been altered. By pressing different combinations of the 3 Variation buttons up to 7 Variations are available.
Morph is a classic Nord feature that lets you control any 'knob-type' parameters with the modulation wheel, control pedal or velocity. The possibilities are endless, like changing arpeggiator range or adjusting the sample rate reduction with the modulation wheel.
Having 4 identical, equally powerful synthesizers at once at your disposal opens breathtaking layering possibilities, both rhythmically and sonically. Split mode gives you two 2 slots on each side of the split. A flexible hold functionality lets you latch and hold slots independently in the background while playing something else on top.
The unique pitch stick can be used for bending notes as well as creating subtle vibrato effects, much like a guitarist or violinist, as there is no 'dead zone' in the middle position. The bend range can range from zero to 48 notes up/down and can be unique to each program.
The handy chord memory function memorizes combination of notes so you can play a fifth or a chord with one finger, brilliant for leads and quirky themes.
Nord Lead 4 includes a classic arpeggiator with up/down and random modes and a 4-octave range. The arpeggiator can be synced to the LFO and delay using the master clock. Poly mode pulses all the notes you're holding as a chord instead of cycling through the individual notes, great for choppy chord stabs when combined with the new patterns and Variation buttons. The arpeggiator can be re-triggered both by the keyboard and using the Variation buttons, and with 4 slots you can have 4 arpeggios running at once!
The patterns feature contains a selection of simple rhythmic figures that can be assigned to the arpeggiator.
At the heart of Nord Lead 4 is the master clock controlling the global tempo. The LFO, arpeggiator and delay can be all be synchronized to the master clock. The tempo is easily changed globally with a tap tempo button so you can tap in to the beat of your drummer and play intricate rhythmically interlocked parts in perfect sync. The master clock can also be slaved to an external MIDI clock.
Each of the 4 slots has its own dedicated effects section: FX and Delay/Reverb. In the FX section is where you'll find the drive, crush and talk effects. Crush, talk and drive can all be manipulated with Morphs and Variation controls as well as with the LFO or the modulation envelope.
Two types of overdrive modeled after vintage tube amps are available. Make your lead sound a little 'furry' or crank it up for a truly authentic overdrive that distorts increasingly the more signal you shove through it.
The crush effect lets you reduce the sound's sample rate radically. Give your bass line a subtle lo-fi touch or pulverize it into crackling, digital star dust.
The talk effect creates a voice-like talk box effect, with three different simulations of a vocal tract.
The delay effect has 3 feedback levels, a dry/wet control and can be synchronized to the master clock. The delay has an optional analog mode that behaves like an old school delay when changing the delay rate on the fly. A great-sounding reverb effect is available when not using the delay, with dry/wet controls, 3 reverb types and a brightness control for rolling off the treble when desired.
With USB MIDI, 29+ rotary knobs and 20+ buttons that all send CC data, Nord Lead 4 can also serve as a brilliant master keyboard for controlling soft synths.
The 49 velocity sensitive synth keys are very responsive and great for quick leads, basses and percussive sounds.
|Included from Manufacturer||Power Cable|
|Number of Keys||49|
|Key Action||Synth with Velocity|
|Programs/Presets||2-Oscillator Virtual Analog Subtractive synthesis with Frequency Modulation, Hard and Soft Sync and True Voice Unison
Wavetable synthesis, including unique Formant Wavetables
|Voices of Polyphony||20|
|Oscillators per Voice||2|
|Effects||Crush, Talk and Distortion, Reverb, Delay effects (available per slot)|
|Audio File Playback||No|
|MIDI||In, Out, USB|
|USB Port (to Host)||MIDI, System Updates, File Transfer, Editor/Librarian/Patch Manager|
|Audio Outputs||(4) 1/4" Line - Out 1, 2, 3, 4
(1) 1/4" Headphone
|Control Connections||(1) Control Pedal
(1) Sustain Pedal
|Onboard Controllers||Modulation Wheel
Pitch Stick (with no dead zone at zero crossing)
|Product Weight||11.7 lbs|
|Unique Features||4-part multi-timbral with 4 separate outs|
Morph and Variation performance controls
12/24 dB Low-pass, High-pass, Band-pass filters section plus transistor and diode ladder filter simulations
2 LFO/Arpeggiator sections and Mod Env section
Nord USA Limited Warranty
This product has been manufactured by Nord and is warranted free from defects in materials or workmanship for the period of one year from the date of purchase by the original owner.