Nord Wave - Impressions

After putting a few things in the studio up for sale, I had both the space and the means to purchase a synth from the top of my short list, a flexible chameleon of timbres dressed in bright red! Finding a "scratch and dent" deal was a lifesaver as the high street price is the only real problem I have with this synth.

I'm no stranger to Clavia's Nord Lead series of instruments and except for the Nord Lead 3 (which I never really loved the sound of, despite its dream-come-true interface) they've all had a warm spot reserved in my heart for their unique nature. The Nord Leads are quirky, flexible, great-sounding VA synths with excellent and intuitive one-knob-per-function interfaces. The only real shortcoming to my mind has been the lack of aftertouch and the awful dual-numeral 7-segment LED display they sported instead of a proper LCD for patch naming and cataloging.

The Nord wave addresses these two peeves of mine by adding the aformentioned aftertouch as well as a nice little LCD for organizing patches by name as well as type. If these had been the only upgrades to the 2X I'd still probably be moderately interested in one for the studio but the Wave brings much more to the table! Fully integrated into the subtractive VA engine I've come to know and love is a nice 4 operator FM engine as well as 185 megabytes of user sample memory!

As an added bonus, Clavia has licensed the original Mellotron library (with their hissy, warbly, warts-and-all character) for use in the Wave as well as some very high-quality samples from some respected third parties so there's plenty of fodder for interesting sound design right out of the box. Integrating samples into a VA environment is a blast with all the cross-modulation and unusual filtering that can be done! Strange "hybrid" timbres practically push their way out of this little red beast all by themselves. The standard VA fare is still available and sounds as good as ever, maybe even better due to the addition of effects like an emulated tube overdrive, delay and reverb. There's even a swirly 3-setting chorus that made me smile and think of the old Juno 60's no-nonsense affair.

I've been reading a lot of weird fiction recently and was inspired to create this odd little tune using only the Nord Wave: wave_demo.
The above demo MP3 uses no outboard effects and there are numerous VA, FM, Mellotron, Sampled and Hybrid sounds used.

For more detailed info, I can think of no better source than Clavia's Nord Wave page.

For a proper review, check out Keyboard or Sound On Sound for feature-by-feature overviews.

What you give is what you get.

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