Why we like it
The Nord Lead 4 synth is loaded with features, including new filter types and onboard effects. We really like the True Unison feature that lets you stack oscillators. We're also big fans of the Lead 4's hard/soft sync, which give you more variety, and harmonics reminiscent of the old Prophet 5 sounds.
Nord's excellent build quality is tops. They're lightweight, but made of metal and wood instead of plastic. And their bright red housing might not have any impact on the sound, but it makes any setup look better.
More from Nord
The Nord Lead 4 is a subtractive synthesizer with 2 oscillators per voice. You get all the classic waveforms: Saw, Square, Sine, Triangle, Pulse and PWM. Plus, the Lead 4 includes all the features you need to create unlimited sounds:
- 2 oscillators per voice / 20 voice polyphony - Oscillator 1 section features a wide selection of wavetables including Formant Wavetables with resonant qualities that are independent of pitch. Oscillator 2 features a Noise generator with a dedicated filter cut-off and resonance.
- Frequency Modulator capabilities add spectral complexity and nastiness.
- True Voice Unison mode lets you stack up to four voices per note for really thick, wide leads and basses.
- 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.
- 2 LFO sections plus Modulation Envelope - A wide selection of LFO-shapes is available from sines and pulses to ramping saws perfect for creating wobbling basses or pulsing pads.
- Flexible syncing and routing options
- 12, 24 and 48 dB low-pass filters
- High-pass and Band-pass filters
- Transistor and diode ladder filter simulations - Capture the dirty, squeaky resonance of the originals Mini and TB-303. Combined with the new unison mode for fat, squelchy basses and leads.
- Crush - Lets you reduce the sound’s sample rate radically to give your bass line a subtle lo-fi touch or pulverize it into crackling, digital stardust.
- Drive - Make your lead sound a little “furry” or crank it up for a truly authentic overdrive
- Comb filter - Creates chorus-like effects when controlled from an LFO or static spectral changes
- Talk - Creates a voice-like talk-box effect, with two different simulations of a vocal tract.
- Compressor - Offers threshold adjustment and can also be modulated to obtain side-chain effects.
Effects can all be manipulated with the Morphs and Impulse Morph performance controls as well as with the LFO or the Modulation Envelope.
Reverb / Delay
- The Delay effect has 3 feedback levels, a Dry/Wet control and the Delay tempo can be synchronized to the Master Clock. The Delay features an optional analog mode that behaves like an old school delay when changing the delay tempo 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.
- 4-part multi-timbral
- Master Clock Sync of Arpeggiator, LFO and Delay
- Impulse Morph
- Velocity and Mod Wheel Morph
- USB MIDI - No driver is required for Mac OS X, a WHQL certified driver is available for Windows.
- Impulse Morph - lets you alter your sound instantaneously. 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, in perfect sync is a breeze!
- Mod Wheel and Velocity Morph - Classic Nord features that let you control any “knob-type” parameters with the modulation wheel, control pedal or velocity.
- Layering – Use four identical, powerful synthesizers at once
- Pitch Stick - Bend range from 0-48 notes up/down, can be set for each program
- Chord Memory - Play a memorized fifth or a chord with one finger
- Arpeggiator - With Up/Down and Random modes and four-octave range
- Pattern feature - Applies rhythmical figures to the Arpeggiator or the LFO's
- Mutator feature - Automatic program generator with adjustable style and strength
- Master Clock - Controls the global tempo, including LFO, Arpeggiator and Delay
- Nord Sound Manager application, available for Mac OSX and Windows