Clavia Nord Lead A1 – Analog Modeling Synth – reduced to the – minimal maximum

Clavia were the people who introduced the term „virtual analog“, now it’s time to change the claim but – what has changed? this time it isn’t just a synth that has the structure of a Prophet 5-kind of Poly Synth and it’s approach to be controlled by twisting knobs – no – this time it is more emulation and simulation of existing synths like Moogs and Rolands.

but they want it to be less than any Nord Lead ever made – but with FX this time – Clavia Nord Lead A1, A1R  as key and rack version.
lead a1 panel

nord a1


this 4 octave Nord Lead A1 is a lot like the classic ones but they add the filters from the Lead 4 (moog and tb=roland) filters – simplified. One LFO, simple routing and the OSC section with several kinds of synthesis techniques – on the lower one the way those 2 OSCs interact (sync, FM..) – with fx, simple envelopes. the Arper has it’s own clock – which is good – but there is no 2nd LFO anymore. this is not for synth nerds – right?

3 scenarios:

1) Nord Lead 2x will be dicontinued – the A1 will be replacing it as the low price end, the Nord Lead 4 being the top end – even though without aftertouch (which I don’t understand in a 1.7€k Synth)?

2) all 3 models will stay in the shops, the A1 sold unter or about the same price as the Lead 2x..?

-> so it’s about which one is the lead synth or replacement – to me the nl4 could be seens as the new Nl2 without aftertouch and drum mode but with fx and patch darwinism AND those analog modeling filters – found it very nice to use and very „hi-resolution“ sounding.

since the nl4 is new it’s not about replacing the nl4, so – maybe starting a new kind of series. but..? this A1 thing comes at 1600-1650€ – so this is not the low end (atm), so – this must be a new kind of category. but it has only the FX and some labeled filter types, everything else is reduced to .. the min.

3) imagine yourself.. but to me it only makes sense they want to drop the NL2x and replace it – lower the price and hope they are ok with one LFO (why?) – I don’t know. over 1k€ this will be the hardest job ever.
why don’t you just send us the G3 modular – take my money and ..

in short – I don’t understand the concept of an entry level synth at this price – this time it’s for those not reading this blog, right? is there anybody out there who found the NL2 too complex? ..
note – the comparision chart does not mention filter envelopes and more – feature wise this synth is not on top – it’s not even comparable to simple analog synths – I don’t believe that price tag!

but the positive aspects:

1) That red knob is multi-functional – the dial under the 2nd display gives access to more than one – it has shape, dual osc tuning and all that stuff.
2) the simplified user interface may help – after understanding it and things not in the NL4 will come – almost!!
3) the chorus and ensemble from the Logan String Synth sounds very beautiful
4) LED display changes colour to show it’s in performance mode
5) it sounds good and hi-resolution
6) it sort of changes and helps the entry level user to get an idea of a synth with a smaller amount of controls

an official said: no, this is a new kind of synths – it’s not gonna replace the NL2x or NL4 – and also may come in a rack version later (depends)..


Jedes Mal, wenn Clavia was ankündigt, dann hoffen wir auf einen G3, ein Modular mit Samples. Das ist schon seit Jahren so, es kam entweder ein neues Klavier. Der Nerd ist traurig.
so, dann kam der NL4, das wurde auch Zeit – ihm fehlt der Aftertouch und man muss sich entscheiden, ob man FM, Sync ODER Ringmod will – oder – nein – es gibt gar keine Ringmodulation. Dafür aber Effekte, den Drum Mode sollte man vergessen – was man beim NL3 aber mit einem geschickten FM-Modus abdeckte und etwas mehr Filter-Option. Im NL4 kann man zudem den wirklich hochauflösenden Sound absolut als Pluspunkt zählen und verkneift sich dann Aftertouch, obwohl die neuen alle teurer sind. Aber jetzt – jetzt ist alles weniger als beim NL4 und die Kosten 200€ weniger – Also – wenn man da wählen muss – dann NL4 oder NL2x – und zwar wegen Aftertouch und Drummode oder Hi-Res-Sound und Effekten. Nur an was denken wir bei den nächsten verdeckten Bildern? Sind die, die man mit dem A1 ansprechen will überhaupt empfänglich für Rückseiten-Fotos vor der Messe?

Alles vereinfachen, damit man nichts falsch machen kann.
„es ist nicht gefährlich – es ist ja für Kinder“-
Und wenn man was falsch macht, fallen alle Kühe um?

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