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Nord Stage 2 Owners- Still Inspired?
Old 18th June 2014
  #1
Lives for gear
 
Gringo Starr's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Nord Stage 2 Owners- Still Inspired?

The last few times I've gone to Guitar Center I ended up spending some time on the Stage 2. And every time I walk away really impressed. Every preset I stopped on inspired me to write something on the spot. Just noodling around sounded amazing.

But what a major price tag. I'm wondering how you guys still like it after having it in your hands for some time. Do you still find it inspiring? Does the sound quality hold up to your ears as time passes? And what don't you like about it?
Old 18th June 2014
  #2
Registered User
 
🎧 5 years
I got my wife the 88 key about 1 year ago. We have been very pleased with it. She has honestly yet to use it to its full capability, but first use was for a pop band, she was doing everything from e-piano to Bells to Synth Pads etc... We had to custom fill each of the four bands for the 92 song repertoire. The Nord handles it all extremely well. Maybe not the most efficient way to move thru samples, but certainly the sort of functional organic layout of the organ, piano, synth sections are intuitive and natural. We certainly got convincing and musical sounds from it. Thank God she quit that band, as we were driving all over the region, but she uses it as her main stage piano, and she likes the piano sound. I am not sure it is the very best grand piano, but we are satisfied thus far. We use a e-piano split with acoustic bass as she plays the bass line with her left hand for traditional latin rhythms and it needs to be a convincing bass sound. Some EQ and dynamics and it really sounds excellent. I do use a GK bass 2x10 for the added low end.

It is a well built unit and we have not had any issues thus far, she gigs about 3 times a week with it. I paired with 2 JBL PRX710s and the rig sounds great. As mentioned sometimes the bas rig, but just for that Latin group and for some organ situations.

I find the Nord Sound Manager easy to learn and intuitive to use.

I do wish it were lighter, I put it in a heavy duty SKB w wheels case and it ain't light, but should be protected well. It is heavy touch, so weight understood, but always nice on the back.

So far rock solid, great sounding, and really enjoyable to play. Prior we had a Motif XF and Kurzweil PC88x i think, EnsoniQ KS something, Korg SP250, Yamaha S90, and a Yamaha P120.

I was still considering getting her a CP40 but I am really liking the NORD piano at the moment. Wood keys of the CP is a plus, but while the Yamaha grand piano sound is excellent, the Nord has maybe a more realistic sound in some way. Our taste might change over time, but so far we could;t be happier with it.

I haven;t used it for recording at all yet, as we have a Yamaha piano and a cool Wurlitzer full console, and I haven't had a need for samples in tracking. We will soon I hope need some e-piano etc.....

Dislikes, not many yet, I do wish the Brass was a little more realistic, some the brass sections sound sort of like strings. Not much else yet, but I am sure some others have used it to a greater extent of its capacities, it is a powerful instrument.
Old 18th June 2014
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Gil missFlag's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I've been using The Stage 2 (and EX before that) for 5-6 years, it's still my main board at practically every gig and I'd never replace it. It's the best board ever made for live players IMO, which is why you see them EVERYWHERE nowadays.
Having said that, I probably wouldn't buy it if I wasn't gigging. I do use it in the studio but it functions mostly as a midi controller, a hammond and pad machine (it's easy to get good sounding pads with the fx section). I use the pianos and rhodes only for quick sketches. Synth bass sounds are quite weak (on Nords in general IMO) and leads a little too sweet and sterile for the kind of music I make. The synth isn't very deep.
Once again, best keyboard out there for live playing or jamming, less for serious studio work.
Old 18th June 2014
  #4
Lives for gear
 
Gringo Starr's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Thanks guys. Really appreciate the responses.

I would not be using this live. It would be a studio only situation. I feel kinda torn because the sounds in the Nord really pulled some good ideas out of me. And quickly. The same thing has happened every time I've sat down with one.

I have a hard time believing that any software is going to sound this good. Any suggestions on something else more suitable for a studio that really nails these sounds with the same quality?
Old 18th June 2014
  #5
Lives for gear
 
patrickdafunk's Avatar
 
🎧 5 years
I still record with the Stage 88 classic. Its a great instrument and the 2 will last a very long time. Piano sounds are great.

If you get inspiration from it and you connect with it I say go for it. You have other options like vst ivory or the scarbee electric piano libraries but it all comes down to what you like using the most. Personally I love the handson approach of the Stage. Its really fun to play and I am always forgetting I am 'working' which is a good thing!
Old 18th June 2014
  #6
Registered User
 
🎧 5 years
If you care about the grand piano sound of it imo its pretty bland. Yamaha does a much better job in my opinion.- Really expensive for what it does as with all clavia.
Old 18th June 2014
  #7
Lives for gear
 
Gil missFlag's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Just go with your gut then man. If it inspires you then go for it. Whatever gets the ideas flowing
I too find it a very inspiring board, even in the studio it's fun to just switch it on and jam on ideas. Everything's so immediate and intuitive, usually no more than one click of a button away.
As a sound source I don't think the pianos and internal samples (which are very small) can compete with huge sampled instruments ITB. Don't expect great string or orchestral sounds. The hammond on the other hand is physically modelled and fantastic to my ears.
The VA synth is simple yet sounds good for bread & butter sounds, I definitely use it on many productions. If you get creative with the fx section and layering you can coax some deeper sounds out of it as well, but I prefer my analogs for that.
Old 18th June 2014 | Show parent
  #8
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ionian's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gil missFlag ➑️
As a sound source I don't think the pianos and internal samples (which are very small) can compete with huge sampled instruments
I don't know...I've yet to hear a sampled piano that I've actually liked from all those multi-giga libraries.

I've bought a ton in Kontakt and some third party and I've yet to find any that I've liked over the Nord. The Nord ones are pretty exceptional.

I've also found the "Mono" button for the pianos on the Nord much more effective for having to record a mono piano track. Every multi-gigabite library I've used for Kontakt turns to phasey mush when converted to mono and the Nord keeps on chuggin' along.

The pianos on the Nord on it are pretty phenomenal.
Old 18th June 2014
  #9
Gear Maniac
 
DJKeys's Avatar
NS2

I bought the NS2 SW73 in 2012 and it was one of the single best musical instrument purchases I have ever made.

For most gigs, I can use it alone and cover all the bases, including synth driven 80s pop stuff. The synth section is only one oscillator (like the new A1) but has enough flexibility do program most types of sounds. It can play back user samples, and the EPs, Organs, and Acoustic pianos are all fine for live performance. A lot of users compare the acoustic piano samples to the multi-gigbyte multi velocity layers of software, but I have no desire to bring a computer to the gig.

It weighs 21 pounds, is built like a tank, easy to program (once you understand its unique architecture, easy to back up, and Clavia provides constant updates.

I use mine on every gig and in the studio as well. Great instrument.

-dj
Old 18th June 2014 | Show parent
  #10
Lives for gear
 
LiveFromKyoto's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gringo Starr ➑️
Thanks guys. Really appreciate the responses.

I would not be using this live. It would be a studio only situation. I feel kinda torn because the sounds in the Nord really pulled some good ideas out of me. And quickly. The same thing has happened every time I've sat down with one.

I have a hard time believing that any software is going to sound this good. Any suggestions on something else more suitable for a studio that really nails these sounds with the same quality?
You shouldn't be torn, if it's inspiring ideas then jump on it, that's the most important thing, not some fabled extra 3% of sound quality that only piano connoisseurs will hear. Your listeners won't turn away from your compositions just because you didn't drop 5 grand on a CP-1. I've had the same experience when playing the Stage 2 in shops, songs just seem to jump out of it. I would be all over it if I could justify the somewhat lavish expense.

A cheaper option is the Electro 3/4 HP series, they use the same keybed and samples (no synth section, but I'm sure you have better options in module form that you could just sit on top). I'm waiting for one of those to appear on the local Craigslist at a good price.
Old 18th June 2014
  #11
Here for the gear
 
🎧 15 years
I've been gigging with my Nord Stage 2 since 2012 and l love it.

Pros:
- Fantastic keybed - the most realistic one I've played outside an actual piano.
- Solid piano/electric piano/B3 sounds. I get unsolicited, positive comments from players and audience members about the sound after every show.
- Extremely flexible splits and routing. Want to have the internal B3 in your left hand, internal electric piano in the middle register and use the top register to control an external synth via midi? You can set that up and map it to a shortcut in about 2 minutes. If you can think of it, the Nord can most likely handle it.

Cons:
- Synth section is anemic - I almost never use it. If you want robust synth capabilities, you're better off picking up Blofeld desktop synth module or something similar to supplement.
- It's a bit heavy.


If you're a mostly live player, the Nord Stage 2 is perfect. If you're looking for a midi controller and piano machine for the studio, you can save yourself quite a bit of dough and get the Nord Piano, which has the same keybed but no B3 and synth engine and a few other bells & whistles.
Old 18th June 2014
  #12
Registered User
 
1 Review written
🎧 10 years
I want to buy it as soon as my budget allows, it's a live player's heaven. I'll pair it up with a NL2X for synths.
Old 18th June 2014
  #13
Gear Maniac
 
DeckardTrinity's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
I've had my Stage 2 88 for a couple years now, solely in my home studio. I would say that I agree about the synth section - I hardly ever use it. I wish Clavia would create an 88 key version that contained only the Piano, Organ, and fx sections - that would probably cut the price quite a bit.
Old 18th June 2014 | Show parent
  #14
Gear Maniac
 
DJKeys's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DeckardTrinity ➑️
I've had my Stage 2 88 for a couple years now, solely in my home studio. I would say that I agree about the synth section - I hardly ever use it. I wish Clavia would create an 88 key version that contained only the Piano, Organ, and fx sections - that would probably cut the price quite a bit.
The synth section definitely does not look too appealing if you just listen to the factory presets. However, it is actually pretty powerful if you get into programming it. Here is a list of some of the Patches done with the synth section of the NS 2:

Nord User Forum - View forum - Nord Stage 2 Programs (*.ns2p/*.ns2pb files)

and

http://www.norduserforum.com/nord_st...08b3dff3904fed


-dj
Old 11th August 2014
  #15
Registered User
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Sold all my gear when I moved across country, and the first piece I repurchased was the Stage 2 88.

I think I've owned every major keyboard ever (Steinway B, B3, Minimoog, Rhodes Mark I and II, Voyager, Clavinet, Andromeda, Motif, M1, etc) but as far as the one desert island keyboard, I like this the best.

I like the action (It's lighter than an acoustic piano, heavier than an organ or synth, but somehow, it just feels good), and it makes me want to practice and play. It just feels great to me.

I guess it doesn't sound as good as Vintage D, Scarbee, and Omnisphere, but there's more to it than just that... the playability, I just haven't found any midi or USB connection that gives me that immediacy and control over dynamics.

Plus, the ease of setting it up for live gigs, the fact that it's lightweight considering how good it feels, some nifty functions like the morph, the basic, but useful, synth section, etc.

The fx are nice as well, and very easy to grab on stage.... I especially like the amp simulator, which really helps you sculpt tones quickly from room to room.

I'm sure the Stage 4 will have what this kybd lacks, i.e, more sample memory and more polyphony (the ability to do 2 synths on the same slot via a split on the kybd would be awesome) but overall, it's great.

I hate, in a way, that Nord stuff costs so much (I splurged and bought the triple pedal and the legs, which are expensive but really add to the overall enjoyment) - However, if you are a working keyboardist, showing up w. the Stage 2 makes everyone, the soundman, the cats in the band, even the "oooh, it's red" girls in the audience take notice, and that's a plus as well .

I plan on getting the Virus TI Polar next... along w. my Stage 2 and the MPC Renaissance, it's a pretty powerful and interesting looking rig...
Old 11th August 2014
  #16
Registered User
 
🎧 5 years
I tried the Stage 2 at GC yesterday. It was clear to me why this digital piano is so expensive. Both the keybed and the sound are among the best I have ever played. Previously I owned an RD-700NX a couple years ago. The Nord is better in many ways, especially the keybed.

If you can afford it, then get the Stage 2. One way you know an instrument is right for you is when you find it so inspiring that you write music as soon as you begin playing it. You've had that experience. All that is left to do is visit the cash register area.
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