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A small but worldly known company located in Sweden. It was founded in 1983. Hans Nordelius and Mikael Carlsson were the founder and his business partner respectively. The idea of electric musical instrument creation brought them together – two young aspiring engineers got down to work in a common basement. That’s how their first electronic drum machine Digital Percussion Plate 1 appeared. Innovative drum pad which had no competitors made the instrument commercially successful.

Nord instruments are manually assembled and are scrupulously executed. The company cooperates only with the best suppliers in Sweden. Such a serious approach helps the company stay afloat and keep close attention of the target audience providing super quality to the clients. The most important brand’s goal is to be careful with sound creation technologies, practicality and novation. Clavia takes the upper price segment within mid range limits – many instruments reach a $2000 price tag and the leading models will cost you $4000-5000 but anyway all of them are made with the same approach in the mind of developers: all the instruments have similar design and electronic components. So basically – the same invariable quality. Unlike famous Japanese corporations Clavia isn’t obsessed with conquering the whole music world filling all the niches of musical instruments market – the company stands firm where it is today and enjoys a certain number of ever-loyal fans.

Nord Lead series – the first virtual analog synthesizers of the brand – came out in 1995. The design basics of it would become standard for all the future Clavia instruments making its recognizable color another Clavia’s trademark. The series featured metallic panels of a specific red shade, a 4-octave keyboard with aftertouch, dark violet control panel. The principles of physical modeling were used in order to recreate authentic analog synthesizer sound. The series included a lot of generations and modifications: Nord Lead, Nord Lead 2, Nord Lead 2X, Nord Lead 2X Anniversary Edition (limited jubilee edition with key color reversed), Nord Lead 3, Nord Lead 4 and Nord Lead A1. Nord Wave synthesizers and Nord Modular series had similar components Nord Lead did but were discontinued.

All the Nord Lead instruments offer the same design. Nord Lead synth featured DSP (Digital Signal Processor) and was the first device to incorporate virtual analog architecture. It had 4 voices (supported an expansion card up to 12 voices, the card would carry 8 voices and extra patch memory), envelope generator ADSR, analog filter emulation as well as wide range of modulation possibilities. All this allowed the keyboard to give the richest analog sound. There were so many knobs to control and adjust sound parameters that it helped musicians to find out how this interface works for them. Such an approach was called “one function per button” and it seemed to be a blessing for live performers.

The second generation of the series Nord Lead 2 featured polyphony increase up to 16 voices, big number of user and factory presets including multi programs and drums, 2 oscillators and 2 LFOs with the sync ability. Nord Lead 2X is a model which combined Lead 2 architecture with some technical peculiarities of Lead 3 and offered a 20-voice polyphony. The model has a Clavia’s traditional Pitch Stick control tool to adjust the pitch. The synthesizer also included a jack for an expansion module PCMCIA (Personal Computer Memory Card International Association), two jacks for pedals.

Nord Lead 3 features a 24-voice polyphony and uses new frequency modulation kind - Sinus Modulation (SM), arpeggiator, incorporates multimode filters. Like its predecessors Lead 3 can update the software via MIDI. The instrument got an LCD with backlight, endless rotary LED knobs, headphones and pedals jack, MIDI jacks. Nord Lead 3 also features a completely new sound far from that the fans got used to; it was never forgiven by those who considered Lead 1 and Lead 2 the company’s classics. Moreover this model which sported truly outstanding specs had a biting price tag, plus there were some technical issues so Clavia was forced to discontinue the production of Lead 3 in 2007 eventually. Lead 2X was produced until 2008 as an Anniversary Edition special series unit.
Together with Lead 2X and Lead 3 Nord Modular was launched: Modular G2, Modular G2X. Basically it was a software synthesizer encased with a keyboard and controllers.

After Lead 2X and Lead 3 the engineers from Sweden presented Nord Wave – quite an amusing synthesizer with a multifunctional sound engine which comprises a virtual analog component, 3-operator FM, wavetables as well as a sample player. It was produced from 2008 to 2013 and then replaced by Lead 4 which shined with all the Lead series traditional features and offered quick sound settings and control during live performances thanks to displaying 7 parameters at a time.

Nord Lead A1 was announced in 2014. The synthesizer was based on fundamental specs of Lead 4 though it included some variations. The brand skillfully solved the possible confusion – no, Lead A1 is not a stripped-down version of Lead 4, it’s still a top Clavia instrument: both offer different prices and aimed at different target audience. Lead A1 is $500 cheaper, offers simple ADR/ASR envelope generators instead of ADSR, fewer LFO and FM possibilities and have no PWM for the main oscillator. But at the same time Lead A1 features amplitude modulation (AM) which is missing in Lead 4 and excels in polyphony – 26 vs 20. You can learn about the details if you click on our page about most remarkable analog modeling creatures.

Lead synthesizers were released as desktop or rackmount modular synths: Rack 2, Rack 2X, Rack 3, Lead 4R, Lead A1R. Sound modules offer the same specification the full-fledged synthesizers do, the only thing they lack is a keyboard (well, they lack an expression pedal input and pitch/mod stick).

In 2001 Electro series came out – the models emulated electro-mechanical pianosю The panels of the synth are implemented in a Clavia’s traditional red shade. These instruments were to imitate electric organs and electric pianos. Nord Electro 2, rackmount module - Electro 2 Rack Nord Electro 3, Nord Electro 3 HP, Nord Electro 4D, Nord Electro 4 HP, Nord Electro 5 HP, Nord Electro 5D were launched. As always the instruments featured two versions with a different key number (61 and 73 notes). The keyboard split into zones was possible together with individual settings for each. Besides, there are editable patches, USB interface, MIDI in/out, a display for easy setting, headphones and pedal jacks, two pedal switches. The series synthesizers were released as Hammond B3 electric organ emulators with uploaded Rhodes Stage 73, Wurlitzer electric piano and Hohner Clavinet samples.

Nord Piano series came out presenting practical compact stage musical instruments. They offered a unique Nord Triple Pedal to imitate the real acoustic piano pedal and featured Advanced String Resonance technology which allowed generating weak subtle string sound. The instrument also featured Virtual Hammer Action technology which allowed imitating acoustic grand piano real hammer action. All the uploaded samples in Piano models can be replaced by other uploaded samples; you may also create your own instruments.

Nord Stage series was released in 2005 and included several generations of synthesizers featuring various synthesis types, analog modeling and wavetables: Nord Stage EX (extended memory), Nord Stage 2 (improved sampling functions and 500 Mb of memory), Nord Stage 2 EX (with memory up to 1 Gb). The instruments comprise 3 sections: organ, piano and synth. The instruments in each section can be triggered individually or simultaneously. Stage model comprises 5 reverb algorithms, 5 oscillators as well as versions with different number of keys.

Nord musical instruments had a long story of success. Surprisingly it began in a small workroom turned into the workshop by two collaborating engineers. Today Clavia Nord keep on catching the eye of any piano player at international music shows and fairs. Those musicians who once tried Clavia will never forget this splendid intensive sound.