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Nord Lead A1 Analog Modeling Synthesizer Keyboard

Make (and mangle) fat sounds on this powerhouse virtual-analog synthesizer! The Nord Lead A1 gives you 4 simultaneous parts and generous 26-voice polyphony. Rate and review this product
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Nord Lead A1 Keyboard
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Nord Lead A1 Synthesizer Keyboard

The Nord Lead A1 analog modeling synthesizer is a stunning-sounding synth with a simplified yet hugely powerful front panel interface. Producing stand-out sounds for live or for the studio, the Lead A1 is ideal for all musical genres. Thanks to its carefully thought-out user interface, the Lead A1 encourages experimentation, allows for far speedier programming than would otherwise be possible, and ultimately delivers sensational sonic results.

The Lead for Speed

Producing stand-out sounds for live or for the studio, the Lead A1 is ideal for all musical genres. Thanks to its carefully thought-out user interface, the Lead A1 encourages experimentation, allows for far speedier programming than would otherwise be possible, and ultimately delivers sensational sonic results.

Nord's best-ever analog modeling combined with Nord's most intuitive interface

At the heart of the Lead A1 is its new analog modeling engine. Taking virtual analog synthesis to the next level, this modeling recreates a total analog signal path with uncanny realism, and is capable of immense sonic variety. With 26-voice polyphony and four simultaneous synthesizer parts, the Lead A1 is a true synthesizer powerhouse that goes far beyond the current trend for limited capability analog reissues.

Fundamental to the design of the Lead A1 is a simple yet sophisticated front panel interface. The design is in fact the result of requests from professional players -- even the most experienced programmers -- who need to create the perfect sound as quickly as possible for today's live or studio time demands. The Lead A1 allows easy patch creation and experimentation thanks to a new and unique oscillator section, pre-programmed modulation matrix, and simplified ADR envelopes. Dive in and create incredible patches far quicker than would normally be possible with a synthesizer of such power.

Oscillator Section

The Lead A1's new Oscillator section generates 47 different waveforms from classic analog to digital harmonic and inharmonic waves, whilst unique Oscillator Configuration Shortcuts make programming more immediate than ever. Start with a single Oscillator waveform select an Oscillator Configuration Shortcut -- Pitch, Etude, Shape, Sync, Sub Mix, FM, AM or Noise -- and use the Adjust knob to adjust the settings of the configuration.
The end result is high speed programming without the need for the usual complexity of routing and patching, and with the opportunity for ready experimentation. A fast track to stunning sound design for both advanced and less experienced programmers.

Filter Section

The Lead A1's filter section features classic 12 and 24 dB Low Pass, a High Pass and a Band Pass filter, together with stunning emulations of the diode and ladder filters from the legendary Mini and the TB-303 synthesizers as used in the Lead 4. The Lead A1's modeling of these filters capture the true character and response of the originals, allowing supremely flexible and precise sound design. The filters are super-smooth with a warm analog character.

LFO & Modulation Section

The Lead A1 features an LFO with a choice of waveforms and a three-stage ADR/ASR Modulation Envelope. The LFO rate can be sync'd to the Lead A1's master clock. The Mod Envelope has its own velocity setting and also includes an invert function. Thanks to the intuitive design of the front panel it is very easy to see what modulations have been applied and to design incredible sounding patches.

Effect Section

The Lead A1's effects section features two stunning brand new analog models of an Ensemble and Chorus, modeled on specific vintage synths and adding classic warmth and analog feel. Alongside these, choose from great-sounding Ring Modulation, Phaser, Flanger, or Drive per slot, and in addition a separate Delay and Reverb for each slot.

Mod Wheel and Velocity Morph

A classic Nord feature, the Morph function via Mod Wheel, Velocity or pedal, allows you to control multiple parameters of the Lead A1 simultaneously. Morph is exceptionally easy to set-up and use - just hold the Morph button and adjust any desired knob.

Like Button

Unique to the Nord Lead A1 is the new 'Like' function, a simple and brilliant practical feature to use during patch creation. When programming a patch it's often not clear if it's yet perfect. Now with the Lead A1 you can simply 'Like' what you've done into a temporary location and continue editing. You can "Like" up to 50 variations, with the ability to scroll between them to compare your favorites or go back to a specific Liked version to edit in a different way. When you're ready, save your favorite patch or patches to the Lead A1's memory.

Mutator Function

A popular feature of the Lead 4, the Mutator function allows variations of a patch to be created by adjusting one, some, or all elements of a patch by set percentages. There's also a wild Randomize mode to create an entirely new patch with all parameters randomized.

Unison

A newly designed "Fat-As-Fat-Can-Be" Unison Mode lets the Lead A1 challenge any vintage analog instrument.

Arpeggiator Section

The Lead A1 features four separate Arpeggiators with Up/Down and Random modes and a 4-octave range. Any or all can be sync'd to the Lead A1's master clock.

Master Clock

The Master Clock function of the Lead A1 allows the LFO, Arpeggiator and Delay to be synchronized, either internally or slaved to external MIDI clock. A Tap Tempo button allows you to easily tap to the tempo of a drummer or to playback tracks.

Splits and Layers

Having four identical, equally powerful synthesizers at once opens breathtaking layering possibilities. The Split-mode gives you two 2 slots on each side of the split. A flexible Hold functionality lets you latch and hold slots independently in the background while playing something else on top.

Multi Focus Mode

New in the Lead A1 is the Multi-Focus Mode that allows editing and control of all four slots simultaneously. Save this mode as part of a Performance and you have live realtime control over all four slots of the Lead A1.

Four Outputs

The Lead A1 features four independent audio outputs with the ability to route each slot to a different output. Plus control of Pan via the front panel knob is a welcome new addition in the Lead A1.

Sound Manager

The Lead A1 includes the Nord Sound Manager software for OS X and Windows. Sound Manager is a dedicated librarian app which allows easy reorganizing, back-up an transfer of programs.

MIDI Control

The Lead A1 features the convenience of MIDI over USB for use with a sequencer or with the included Sound Manager software. All of the Lead A1's knobs transmit MIDI Control data.

The Hardware

Like all Nord instruments, the Lead A1 and Lead A1R are handmade in Nord's Stockholm factory with incredible attention to detail and quality control.
The keyboard version features a Fatar(R) 49-key keybed with a super-fast response. Aside from the keys, mod wheel and pitch stick, the rack/desktop version features a 100% identical feature set, in a design suitable for stage or studio.

Features:

- 26 voices, 4 part multitimbral.
- 3 part effects section (FX, delay and reverb) for each part
- 49-key octave velocity sensitive keyboard (keyboard version only) with octave shift buttons, +/-2 octaves.
- Keyboard Split with 2 slots for the upper and lower sections.
- Modulation Wheel
- Pitch Stick with no dead zone at zero crossing
- 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.

zZounds is an authorized dealer of Clavia Nord products.
USER INTERFACE: 3 LED displays, 23 knobs, 3 encoders and 20+ buttons for program and performance editing.

OSCILLATOR SECTION
- Oscillator models of multiple waveforms (traditional analog, extended analog, pulse waveforms, real-time algorithmical waveforms with additive-, FM- and formant- synthesis)
- OSC config knob 11 categories (Pitch, Shape, Osc Sync, Noise Mix, Osc 2 Detune, Sine Mix, Tri Mix, Saw Mix, Square Mix, Freq Modulation, Amp Modulation)

FILTER SECTION:
- Multi-mode filter with 12 dB (2-pole) low pass, 24 dB (4-pole) low pass and band pass, high pass, Ladder M and Ladder TB characteristics.
- Cut off, Resonance, envelope amount, envelope amount controlled by velocity.
- ADR/ASR envelope.
- Filter keyboard tracking can be set to off, 1/3, 2/3 or full.
- Adjustable Filter Distortion.

MODULATION SECTION:
- LFO generates a triangle, square, sawtooth, inverted sawtooth or sample and hold waveforms. LFO can be routed to Filter Frequency and Osc mod. The LFO rate can be synchronized to the Master Clock.
- LFO can be switched to polyphonic Env mode with four different characteristics and sample and hold is manually triggered by keyboard (polyphonic S/H).
- Arpeggiator: Range: 1 - 4 octave. Modes: up, down, up/down and random. The Arpeggio rate can be synchronized to the Master Clock.
- ADR/ASR envelope, velocity control on/off, inverse envelope on/off.

AMPLIFIER SECTION:
- ADR/ASR envelope, velocity control on/off, gain control.
- Individual Pan-control per program

PERFORMANCE SECTION:
- Voice modes: Poly, Legato with portamento, Mono, True Unison 1, 2 & 3.
- Four program slots for layering possibilities and multitimbrality.

EFFECTS:
- FX section with Flanger, Phaser, Ring Modulation, Chorus, Ensemble and Drive.
- Delay section with tap tempo, four stages of feedback, stereo ping-pong, dry/wet mix. The Delay speed can be synchronized to the Master Clock.
- Reverb section with five algorithms (Room, Stage 1, Stage 2, Hall 1, Hall 2).

MEMORY:
- Programs (single sounds): 8 x 50 (400) locations
- Performances (multi sounds): 4 x 50 (200) locations

AUDIO OUT:
- 4 outputs. Each slot can be assigned to its own output.
- Headphones output.
- High resolution low noise 24 bit DACs.

MIDI FEATURES:
- 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.
- Soft Thru

CONNECTION:
- 4 Line Level Audio Outputs - 1/4", 6.35 mm jacks, unbalanced
- Stereo Headphone Output - 1/4", 6.35 mm stereo jack
- Sustain Pedal - 1/4", 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 - 1/4", 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

- INCLUDED ACCESSORIES: User Manual, Power Cord with IEC C14 connector,
- DIMENSIONS: 864 x 94 x 272 mm (34.0 x 3.7 x 10.7")
- WEIGHT: 4.85 kg (10.7 lbs)
Weight, Dimensions, and Manufacturer Part Numbers
Shipping Weight: 17 lbs
Shipping Dimensions: 36 x 15 x 7 in
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): NORD A-1
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