Nord Lead A1R Synthesizer Module Introduced


Musikmesse 2014: Clavia has announced the Nord Lead A1R – a desktop or rack-mountable version of the Lead A1 analog-modeling synthesizer, introduced earlier this year at the Winter NAMM Show.

All of the features of the Lead A1 synth are carried over to the A1R, with the exception of the keyboard. The waveform engine generates 47 different waveforms from classic analog to digital harmonic and inharmonic waves. Filters include Low Pass, High Pass and Band Pass, along with the newly modeled Ladder M and Ladder TB filters.

The A1’s effects section offers vintage Chorus and Ensemble models. Delay, Reverb, Drive, Phaser and Flanger, with independent settings for each of the four slots. Nord’s Morph function, via Velocity or the Mod Wheel, is also included, allowing multiple parameters to be morphed in real time.

Other features include an independent arpeggiator for each of the four slots, Master Clock sync of the LFO, delay and Arpeggiator, MIDI over USB, and four independent outputs.

Several updates have been made to the Lead A1/A1R design since it was announced at NAMM:

  • ‘Like’ button – ‘Like’ up to 50 versions of a patch as you design it, scroll between them to choose your favorite to save to actual memory, or go back to an earlier version to edit in a different way.
  • Mutator – The Lead A1 and A1R also include the Mutator function introduced in the Lead 4, which creates a variation of an existing patch by adjusting certain parameters by set rules, and a full ‘Randomize’ function to create an entirely new patch with all parameters randomized.
  • Unison – A newly-designed Unison Mode lets the Lead A1 ‘challenge any vintage analogue instrument.’

Update, Mar 11, 2014: Here’s the short promotional video Nord has released:

Here are audio demos of the Nord Lead A1/A1R:

The Nord Lead is expected to be available in April, while the A1R is expected to be available in June. See the Nord site for details.

27 thoughts on “Nord Lead A1R Synthesizer Module Introduced

  1. As anyone knows, I am a vigorous proponent of modeling synthesizers and the technology, both as a designer and enthusiast. This however….this is not it. From the user interface to the implementation to the bright almost grating sound quality….this is not it. Clavia simply does not get it.

    1. I agree. Whilst I like what it’s doing overall, I’m really missing some ‘hugeness’ and ‘phatness’. But I’ll say this; it seems very versatile.

      1. In what sense it seems versatile to you? How can it be versatile without a proper modulation routing system, or without proper LFOs and a completely independent second oscillator? How can it be versatile with 3-stage envelopes? That thing is a Joke!

  2. Like button or whatever is stupido. But the synth itself and good sounds is a perfect follow up of the 2X.
    Easy way of mangling sounds with layers and a strong build device.

  3. How can you not like the fact that you can save several versions of a patch to be able to go back and edit them after your kuling before saving? My guess is that no one would complain if the function was just called something else than “like”.

    1. I agree. Joking on the “like” misses the point. I find it interesting to be able to preselect patch versions to review them before saving them in the main memory.

    2. Yeah, the feature is actually very useful, and while the name seems silly the synth will still be doing a good job long after people are saying ‘face-what?’ (I don’t think Facebook will be an important platform in 10 years, any more than AOL is today).

      I was not impressed with the keyboard because of the overly-simplistic interface but it actually makes more sense for a rack module. However I expect it will still be overpriced, knowing Clavia. To sell well it needs to be about $1199.

  4. To my ears, judging blindly by sound (even to the point I forgot I was hearing a demo!), it sounds fantastic. Something I would like to get. It’s even better considering you get a brand new nord with some cool features for less than probably $1,600 USD.

    My only gripe is the “like” button… they should’ve called it favorite!!

  5. It sounds great but 8 voices seems a little low for a multitimbral virtual analogue.

    I’ve got a Novation SuperNova rack and that’s quite old and that gives me 24 voices.

  6. I really don’t understand the problem people are having with the like feature? Use mutator to creat a new patch…then like, could have not made it more simple! I wish more synths had that feature.

  7. The osc section is like a “synthesis for dummies” macro oscillator, and it’s missing the second LFO from the 2x. Still, with the added FX and new filters… looks like a capable synth…

    Just out of curiosity; does anyone know if the A1 lets you use 2 oscs and noise simultaneously? Seems like with the new osc features, this may not be possible.

  8. I wish the price point was a bit lower for the feature set.
    It sounds great but with the way the current market is the Keyboard should have come in at 1k and the rack would have been a no brainer at $850 IMHO. I just wouldn’t be inclined to go over that price point for the rack when the synthesis engine has the compromises that it does.

    1. There’s no point in complaining about their prices unless you have some inside information about their R&D costs, manufacturing costs, marketing costs. The “current market” does not necessarily change these costs, so it’s just wishful thinking to dream up an arbitrary lower price. You can always wait and buy secondhand if you can’t play with the big boys.

  9. The review fails to mention the really really loud HUMMING noise from the internal mains transformer. On both the 4x and A1R it is beyond a joke. I thought my A1R was faulty but no the replacement was exactly the same and if you scan the forums you’ll find more compalints…with Nord replying with the excuse thats the mains unit ‘is built like a tank that’s why it hums like a vacuum cleaner!’. It really is horrendous.

    Great synth and Nord are one of the best but to release these 2 new offerings with this fault is a huge mistake. Lets face it, Nord ain’t cheap either so why should we put up with this problem. The current versions are useless at least for use in the studio environment.

    I’ll avoid Nord until they remedy this…hopefully in version2.

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