The Nord Lead is a series of virtual analog subtractive synthesizers, manufactured by Clavia.
Released in 1994, the original Nord Lead was the digital synthesizer that made the term virtual analog synthesis popular. The now widely accepted term "virtual analog", was first coined by Clavia with the release of the Nord Lead. This synthesizer was distinctive for its red coloration, knob-laden surface and unique pitch-stick and modulation wheel. After the Nord Lead, several updates followed suit; such as the Nord Lead 2, Nord Lead 3, Nord Lead 4 and Nord Lead A1.
Nord Lead is the first digital synthesizer to use "Virtual Analog Synthesis". Clavia has analyzed analog synthesizer design in detail and implemented the research in a digital model. Nord Lead employs matemathical simulations of the electronical signal generated by analog oscillators, instead of using waveform tables. This makes it possible, for example, to sweep the pitch smoothly over a very wide range and allow for true pulse width modulation.
Morph: One or more continuous (knob-type) parameters can be controlled by keyboard velocity and/or the Modulation Wheel/Control Pedal.
Impulse Morphs: Both continuous (knobs) and switch parameters can have alternate value settings activated by Impulse Morph buttons. 7 unique Impulse Morphs possible by pressing a combination of the 3 buttons.
Master Clock: The LFO rates, Arpeggio rate and Delay time can be synchronized to an internal or external (via MIDI) clock, with selectable rhythmic divisions.
Mutator: Automatic program generator with adjustable style and strength.
49-key octave velocity sensitive keyboard (keyboard version only) with octave shift buttons, +/-2 octaves.
3 momentary Impulse Morph Buttons, 7 combinations.
Keyboard Split with 2 slots for the upper and lower sections.
Modulation Wheel (keyboard version only).
Pitch Stick with no dead zone at zero crossing (keyboard version only).
Programmable Pitch bend range, up to +/- 4 octaves
Separate up/down bend range: -12 or -24 semitones, + 2 semitones
1 pedal input for sustain.
1 pedal input for expression pedal.
3 character LED display, 29 knobs and 20+ buttons for program and performance editing.
OSC 1 generating sine, triangle, sawtooth, fixed and modulateable pulse waveforms and 128 wavetables.
OSC 2 generating triangle, sawtooth or fixed and modulateable pulse waveforms or noise.
OSC MOD section with Hard- and Soft sync plus 3 different Frequency Modulations of OSC 1 from OSC 2.
Multi-mode filter with 12 dB (2-pole) low pass, 24 dB (4-pole) and 48 dB (6 pole) low pass, band pass, high pass, Ladder M and Ladder 303 characteristics.
Cut off, Resonance, envelope amount, envelope amount controlled by velocity.
Filter keyboard tracking can be set to off, 1/3, 2/3 or 1/1.
Adjustable Filter Distortion.
LFO 1 generates a square, triangle or any of 4 different types of saw- and inverted sawtooth waveforms. LFO 1 can be routed to Filter Frequency, Osc Mod, Osc Mix, Osc 2 Pitch, Amplitude and FX section. The modulation amount can be set as positive or negative/inverted. The LFO 1 rate can be synchronized to the Master Clock.
The LFO 1 section is used to control the rate, range and directions for the arpeggiator. Arpeggiator: Range: 1 - 4 octave. Modes: up, down, up/down, random, Poly. The Arpeggio rate can be synchronized to the Master Clock.
LFO 2 generates a square, a regular and inverted sawtooth, LF filtered noise and random staircase waveforms. LFO 2 can be routed to Filter Frequency, Osc Mod, Osc 1 and/or Osc 2 Pitch, Pan and Pulse width. The modulation amount can be set as positive or negative/inverted. The LFO 2 rate can be synchronized to the Master Clock.
Modulation Envelope (Attack, Decay/Release) for Osc Mix, Osc Mod, Osc 1 and/or 2 Pitch, FX section and LFO 2 amount. The modulation amount can be set as positive or negative/inverted. The Modulation Envelope can be manually triggered by the Impulse Morph buttons.
Patterns: the cyclic waveforms of the LFOs can be replaced by a pattern behavior. There are 128 different patterns, grouped in 6 different styles.
ADSR envelope, velocity control on/off, gain control.
Voice modes: Poly, Legato with portamento, Mono, True Unison 1, 2 & 3.
Four program slots for layering possibilities.
FX section with continuous Drive/Modulation control. Crush, Drive, 2 different Talk effects, Compressor and Comb Filter.
Selectable Delay or Reverb. Delay times at up to 1400 ms can be manually set or synchronized to the Master Clock. Reverb has three algorithms, Room, Stage and Hall with adjustable brightness.
Programs (single sounds): 4 x 99 locations
Performances (multi sounds): 99 locations
4 outputs. Each slot can be assigned to its own output.
High resolution low noise 24 bit DACs.
All control knobs and switches send and receive control change messages.
System exclusive bulk dumps. One program or all programs.
Master Clock will sync to incoming MIDI clock.
4 Line Level Audio Outputs - ¼", 6,35 mm jacks, unbalanced
Stereo Headphone Output - ¼", 6,35 mm stereo jack
Sustain Pedal - ¼", 6,35 mm jack. Use a momentary pedal, like e.g., Roland DP-2, DP-6, Yamaha FC-4, FC-5, Fatar VFP1-25 etc.
Control Pedal - ¼", 6,35 mm TRS stereo jack. Use a Yamaha FC-7, Roland EV-7, Roland EV-5, Korg EXP2 or Korg XVP10.
USB connector with MIDI capabilities
MIDI In & Out - 5 pin DIN connectors
The Gear Rack