Nord Lead A1R Synthesizer Now Available


Clavia DMI AB has announced that the Nord Lead A1R, a desktop/rack-mountable version of the new Lead A1 analogue modeling synthesizer, is now shipping.

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.’

Here’s the short promotional video Nord has released:

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

The Nord Lead A1R has a street price of about US $1,500. See the Nord site for details.

18 thoughts on “Nord Lead A1R Synthesizer Now Available

    1. Not going to happen. Nords, like Moogs, keep their value because they’re built like tanks, for performing musicians.

  1. Agreed. Not enough power for the price. The addition of effects is a big step forward, but I think many of us were hoping for more lfos, envelopes, a third oscillator, a better unison (the nord lead 3’s unison had more features)…dual filters that can run parallel/serial… Actual sweepable wavetables, etc…

    The new Nord boards look disappointing.

  2. is their a place for hardware VA synths now? I would say yes but the price is steep, you can get soft synth for far less and they are not far behind. still the nord is a beauty, i would love to own one but its just not economical

    1. I would love to have a hardware poly synth to complement my growing collection of analog monosynths. Maybe one day I can afford something like a Prophet 12, but I’d be willing to get a (full) VA poly instead. Sure, I have plenty of polyphonic soft synths, but the good ones are _very_ taxing on CPU (e.g. U-NO-LX). A hardware VA wouldn’t have that problem; it should be able to do whatever you want, within its capabilities, without dropping audio due to limited (shared) resources.

  3. “you can get soft synth for far less and they are not far behind.”
    sure.. IF you want to use a computer, a soft synth and a controller. For anyone looking to perform without a computer, you’d be hard pressed to find any other polyphonic performance synth on the market with almost no menu diving.

  4. I’ve always liked the NORd lead, but I can’t get passed the ‘LIKE’ button. Just wish they would have picked an original term. Danmed social media obsessed culture.

  5. I love the sound, and that is the reason for me to buy a synth, but it seems too limited to me for the price, and the price difference to the 4 is too small.

    I’m getting the 4 surely someday, unless the Modular G3 arrives before I can break away from 1600€(in which case I will have to save another 1000.)

  6. All these new Nords still feel like giant leaps backwards when compared to the Lead 3, with its larger more detailed display and LED endless encoders that prevent parameter jumps and allow to see at an instant how a patch is programmed. I still can’t figure out why they ditched the Lead 3, or at least didn’t carry over these features to the Lead 4 and this newest one.

    1. The display and LED rings ate it due to expense (plus lack of bigger sales from that inclusion) and a conflict with Europe’s environmental rules concerning manufacturing materials, usually lead or a banned glue or two. The LED collars were great, but the loss of the display hurt my heart, heh. I can’t see using a slab synth that doesn’t have an alphanumeric display, minimum. The Nord panel is a bit cramped and really felt more friendly when patches were nameable. If I wanted to keep that big a jumble in my head, I’d buy a modular! 😛 I have nothing but praise for the rich sound of their synths; I just think their GUI’s feng shui needs some adjustment.

      1. I don’t buy the collared ring thing. Look at the Novation SL MKII series. They have the rings and think if they can do it for a 61 key keyboard that retails for less than 1/3 the price of the NL4 then I’m pretty sure Nord can whack it in a metal case with their synth engine for the extra grand on top.

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