For as long as I can remember, Nord keyboards have been the industry standard when it comes to professional keyboards. This being said, Nord keyboards are specifically targeted towards professionals.
If you’re someone new to playing the piano, there are some great alternatives that are much cheaper.
So, are Nord keyboards over-rated? My quick thoughts on this are, no they are not over-rated. Are they very expensive? Yes.
While we get into the specifics of Nord keyboards, later on, my initial thoughts are that they are great for those who can afford them and for those who gig frequently.
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Nord Keyboard Overview
The company, Clavia, started creating keyboards back in 1983 under the supervision of Hans Nordelius and Mikael Carlsson.
In 1995, they rebranded to the name Nord and they have kept this branding ever since. The Swedish company hit the mainstream when they launched the Nord Lead in 1995. Sound On Sound called this keyboard, “a magic piece of electronics.”
Since then, Nord propelled itself towards the top when it came to high-end keyboards and they’ve been there ever since.
So, why are Nord keyboards so expensive? Simply put, Nord keyboards are extremely high-quality.
From incredible sounds to great-key-action, to durability, to ultimate control when playing live, Nord brings it on every level.
I still remember the first time that I got to play on a Nord. It was Nord Stage and the piano/electric piano sounds blew me away.
When you play a Nord, you will notice that stacking sounds and navigating is all set up so that it can be done quickly and effectively live.
You can quickly add and remove effects by hitting a button or turning a knob.
Those who play Nord’s are extremely passionate about their keyboards. I’m writing this section, not because I think Nord keyboards are bad, but just to give those who might not know a little insight.
This being said, if I have to pick on Nord’s it would be because of the price. With the growing demand for MIDI controllers, I wonder if the price tag will hold up over the years.
There will always be hardware enthusiasts who are not fans of VSTs, or MIDI controllers, it’s hard to deny some of the things you can do with MIDI controllers.
Nord keyboards, generally speaking, lack speakers. The reason for this is that they make a lot of stage pianos, which are known for not having speakers as you will be running them through the house PA or an amplifier.
For those who are serious musicians, you likely have an amplifier and also probably already know that stage pianos typically won’t have speakers.
Nord Keyboard Reviews
Let’s take a look at some Nord’s most popular keyboards and get into our thoughts on them below!
Nord Stage 3
The Nord Stage 3 is one of the most sought-after stage pianos currently available. For those who gig frequently and prefer the hardware route, this is extremely tough to beat.
I had the opportunity to play on one of these for about 2 weeks straight while rehearsing for some acoustic gigs.
I’ve noticed that a lot of studios that we would travel to would have one of these on hand.
So, what makes the Nord Stage 3 so popular?
Well, the keys are very responsive leading way to something that feels quite similar to an acoustic piano.
On top of this, the one thing I go back to with Nord’s is the sounds of the electric pianos and the organs.
The layout may look a little intimidating at first, but after a couple of days of playing the Nord Stage 3, I became comfortable navigating around.
You will find over 13 onboard effects with the Stage 3 including the following:
- Ring Modulator
- Auto Pan
- Speaker Simulations
Lightweight, Yet Durable
The Stage 3 doesn’t just shine in the sounds department. The durability is impressive with all Nord keyboards as they are practically built for the road.
While they are durable, they’re not terribly heavy. The Stage 3 weighs just 41 lbs, which is not very much considering the quality of it.
The Stage 3 is great for those who need a wide variety of sounds on the tip of the hat.
On top of this, as far as stock sounds go on keyboards, I would argue that the stock sounds of the Stage 3 are some of the best when it comes to organs, pianos, and electric pianos.
Nord Piano 4 Stage
The Nord Piano 4 is an impressive creation. While it’s similar to other Nord keyboards, it really is targeted at those gigging frequently.
With the Nord Piano 4, we see a slightly different keybed than that of the Stage 3 keyboard. The 4 uses triple sensor keys with virtual hammer action.
As far as presets go, you will find over 400 presets with 16 different banks. For those who are all about the 3 pedal units in traditional pianos, you will be happy to to know that this includes the 3-pedal unit.
The layout is presented in a sleek and clean manner like all Nord’s. Everything is laid out so that you can quickly access what you need by a simple click of a button or turn of a knob.
The two main places I always find myself tweaking sounds is with the delay and reverb knobs. I love reverb on my pianos and I love some delay on my electric pianos.
Overall, The Nord Piano 4 is a solid keyboard that is built for those looking to gig frequently. This is the type of instrument that you will get and likely keep for the rest of your life.
Nord Electro 6D
The Nord Electro 6D has 73 velocity-sensitive waterfall keys. It is commonly used by organ enthusiasts and it is also featured in our best electric organs article.
Should be confused about “waterfall keys,” what this means is that they are rounded at the edges, rather than sharp. This is so you don’t slice your fingers while doing glissandos or palm smearing.
The drawbars on the Electro 6D compete with or outdo any of the other electric organ-type keyboards that I’ve played on. You have some real expression while at the same time, you don’t feel like you’re going to break them.
The Electro 6D makes for a great gigging keyboard once again, as it weighs in at just 20 lbs.
There’s a wide variety of sounds with the Electro 6D and when you equip the sounds with a lightweight and quality build, you get a fantastic product.
This is a keyboard, that when you lift it up, doesn’t feel like it’s 20 lbs. A lot of times you will find keyboards will feel like they were built poorly and are cheap, and isn’t the case with the Electro 6D.
I would recommend this to those with studios. This is the type of keyboard that can be used for so many different types of records ranging from music such as The Killers to Eminem or other hip hop artists.
Nord keyboards have been around since the 1980s and I personally don’t see them going anywhere.
Even if music heads down the MIDI controller road, Nord’s will always have a home for hardware enthusiasts.