Nord Lead A1 49-Key Analog Modeling Synthesizer Review

9.4
Editor's scoreRead review

Adam’s Take – “An affordable synthesizer that can cover this much ground is hard to find.  Especially one that is easy to take on the road.”

$1,799.00

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Nord Lead A1 49-Key Analog Modeling Synthesizer Review
Nord Lead A1 49-Key Analog Modeling Synthesizer Review

$1,799.00

Description

Nord Lead A1 49-Key Analog Modeling Synthesizer

Cutting-edge Performance Synthesis

Nord has really done a phenomenal job with their Nord Lead A1 Analog Modeling Synthesizer.  The A1 Driver is found in the Nord Stage 3 which is excellent.  In this pure Analog Modeling Synthesizer, it capabilities soar.  In a live setting this synth is easy to use and so customizable that it’s unreal.  For studio use, the tones this analog synth has can take any recording to new heights.  In no time you can program this synthesizer to have a plethora of amazing sounds for any genre.  The intuitive interface also for quick access to patches and real time manipulations.  With a splittable keybed it is possible to do wicked key runs while sweeping the filter which is one of my favorite features about this synth.  It’s size makes it a great synth for touring but also a non cumbersome piece of equipment for any studio.

There is 26-voice polyphony and four synthesizer parts that can work simultaneously fixed with easy patches on the oscillator section with a pre programmed modulation matrix and ADR envelopes.  I really like how easily it is to navigate this device despite having lots of bells in whistles.  Somehow Nord didn’t let this get too complicated even with 47 different waveforms on the oscillator and the ability to go from classic analog to digital harmonic and inharmonic waves.

The filters are particularly nice on the Nord Lead A1 with the classic 12 and 24 dB Low Pass, High Pass and Band filters as well as the diode and ladder filters that the professional keyboardists and synth enthusiasts have come to love so much.  The Mod Envelope is decked out with a nice velocity setting and invert functions with two analog models of chorus and ensemble.  I think that was necessary for getting the classic analog feel which they really nailed on this model.

The leads on this synthesizer are just awesome.  There’s no way around it.  You can get as thick and screaming as you want or as low key and lush as you’d need.  I also think you get a ton of value out of the bass synth tones.  I’m used to using Moog synths for bass tones, but I must say its super impressive what Nord delivered with this synthesizer.  It includes The Morph feature which gives you control over parameters with the modulation wheel.  It also controlled by velocity of playing or a control pedal.  With the knob-type controls it’s easy to get carried away and lost in inspiration.  So far, I’ve been able to find almost every tone I’ve needed in the Nord Lead A1 Analog Modeling Synthesizer.

One feature that I love that is also available on other Nord products is the inclusion of the Master Clock, which controls the global tempo.  With this feature you can sync your self with the beat of your drummer perfectly with the tap tempo button and get you Arpeggiator, Delay and LFO perfectly synchronized.  You also have the ability to connect to an external clock through a MIDI and can sync the built in Master Clock with it.

Nord Lead A1 49 Key Analog Modeling Synthesizer Features:

  • Analog modeling engine stacked with 26-voice polyphony
  • Up to four simultaneous synthesizer parts at once
  • Awesome and easy to use front panel interface designed
  • Easy patch creation and use
  • Multi-configurable oscillator
  • 5-waveform LFO
  • 12/24 dB low pass filter
  • Multi mode 4 arpeggiators with 4-octave range
  • Fatar 49-key key bed 
  • “Like” function, Mutator function and extra-fat Unison mode

FAQ Frequently Asked Questions

Does it have a pitch bend wheel?
It’s actually a pitch bend stick on the Nord Lead A1 Synth.  It has a lot more detailed control than a traditional pitch bend wheel.
Is this a full analog machine?
It’s actually a digital machine that converts to analog

Adam’s Take

I like this synth.  It’s very diverse and is easy to use and leaves a ton of room for exploration.  I still would prefer a room full of vintage analog synths but most of us can’t afford to do that.  So having an affordable, compact synthesizer that can cover a ton of ground and provide syncing abilities and knob adjustments and a good amount of really high quality lead and bass tones…it’s a great instrument for the touring musician.

9.4
Sound
9.0
Price
9.6
Durability
9.2
+ Positives:
  • - Affordable
  • - Knob Control
  • - Easy Patch Use
  • - 4 Simultaneous synths at once
- Negatives:
  • - Not quite the same punch as some of the more expensive analog synths

Additional information

Specification: Nord Lead A1 49-Key Analog Modeling Synthesizer Review

Level

Intermediate, Professional

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