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Clavia Nord Electro 3 73-Key Synthesizer

With revamped organ and piano sounds, and new compatibility with Nord's sample library, the Clavia Nord Electro 3 synthesizer is a major advancement. (14) Read 3 reviews for this product | Rate and review this product
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Product Description

With the introduction of the Nord Electro 3, the legacy of the original Electro and the know-how that have shaped some of the other Nord models have been combined. The Electro 3 features a new organ section, a new piano section, new effects and a new exciting feature that allows the Electro 3 to use any samples from the Nord Sample library. This is the performance keyboard that sets a new standard based on its impressive sound quality.

How do you improve on a classic performance keyboard like the original Electro? You could take it gently, or you just do what we did with the Electro 3; push it as far as you can, and then a bit further. The demands from a performing keyboard player haven't really changed all that much, good quality never goes out of style. We just want to offer you some of the best stuff we have, in a affordable and easy-to-use instrument. We hope that you will have as much fun owning and using the Electro 3, as we have had developing it.

The Nord Electro 3 is compatible with the new Nord Piano library. It takes full advantage of the Library's multitude of velocity layers, pedal-down samples and extremely high quality samples providing you with an unprecedented expressiveness. Any current or future piano that is available for the Stage family will also automatically be available to the Nord Electro 3.

Dig the Electro 3's organ and piano sounds in these videos from Nord:




Exquisite New Pianos

Right from the start, the Electro 3 is loaded with a great selection of pianos. There are three acoustic grands (two Yamaha* C7s and one Steinway* D) and two electric grands. Electric piano aficionados will love the tine-based types; a Mk I, a Suitcase Mk I, a Mk II and a Mk V all with their unique and distinctive personalities. A great Wurlitzer* A200 is of course present, as is the mighty Clavinet* D6. The Clavinet type also includes the Harpsichords. There is a French harpsichord in the factory sound bank, and more to come in the Nord Piano Library download area. Each and every one of these pianos can be replaced if you wish. There are plenty more to choose from in the Library area, including some XL versions of our grand pianos, with even more details like added velocity layers and pedal-down samples. And all those sounds are available for free.

Samples from the Nord Library

Not only loaded with great piano sounds, the Electro 3 also sports some great samples to add flavor to your sonic arsenal. You'll find some of the classic Mellotron sounds, a selection of strings, a celeste, a vibraphone and many others. And just as with the piano partition, all of the samples can be replaced if the factory selection does not suit your immediate needs.

You can add virtually any sound you want to the Nord Electro 3. Sounds that we offer for free are from the Mellotron Library or any other instrument from the expanding and extensive Nord Sample Library, which is the same format as the Nord Wave uses.

Nord Sample Editor

By using the free Nord Sample Editor, you can add any sound you want to the Electro 3. The Sample Editor can use audio files in the .wav format and is equipped with some great tools to assist you in getting the results you want. Mapping several samples across the keyboard or creating perfect loops has never been easier. You can even start assembling your own samples today in the computer, without having the Nord Electro 3 present - just download the Editor, the Electro 3 manual and fire away. The Nord Sample Editor is compatible with Windows XP and Vista, and Mac OSX.

Organ Section

The growling sound, and the soul of a B3 is hard to replicate faithfully in a digital instrument. We've spent years perfecting our digital models and the Electro 3 contains the best emulation so far.

The attention to minute details is stunning, the Electro 3 is even equipped with four selectable tonewheel modes, that stretches from a clean sound to battered unit with the most dramatic setting; vintage 3. This setting even produces a sound in the background of its own, even if you don't touch any keys.

It's All in the Details

Every function in a B3 has been considered and examined in great detail, to make the Electro 3 as true to the original sound as possible. There are key clicks derived from the original busbar behavior and the energy robbing that produces the gentle compression when you do that massive palm smear across the keyboard. To get the response right, we have included the option to trigger the organ sounds at the very top of a key's range, making it react just as fast as the original. And sometimes we couldn't resist adding functions that went a bit further, like the option to either include or exclude the 9th drawbar when Percussion was activated.

Vox and Farfisa

The Farfisa* and Vox* models are just as impressive as the B3. The massive savage sound created by their 12-top oscillator frequency-divider designs is of course also a nosample zone in the Electro 3; you have the same behavior and unique response from our models as in the original instruments. The Farfisa Compact Deluxe, considered by many to be the mother of transistor organs, involves routing matrixes and complex filter combinations that offer a tailored sound with massive energy and high-end.

The Vox* Continental's brute design brings you a more hollow tone, but with a very intense character. Both these transistor organs have their own unique, irreplaceable personalities. Combine them with any of the Electro 3's speaker simulations, add some distortion, adjust the EQ and they will definitely get you through any organ gig with flying colors.

Organ Split

Using the Organ Split mode, you can play two different organ registrations in a dual manual fashion, one sound on either side of a user definable keyboard split point. Connect a second MIDI keyboard to the Electro 3, to use the organ split functionality, but in a true, dual manual setup.

Brand New Effects Section

The Nord Electro 3 is equipped with a great selection of high quality effects including a lush sounding reverb with five different algorithms. There is also a selection of tremolo, panning, wah-wah, phaser, flanger and chorus effects, and a ring modulator.

User can further sculpt their final sound by choosing from a selection of three amplifier simulations that can add any amount of grit and distortion from gentle to manic levels. A three-band EQ with sweepable mid-range and a compressor can be added to the final stage of the audio path.

Enhanced Rotary Speaker Emulator

The rotary speaker emulator originates from the award winning Nord C1 Combo Organ, with its acclaimed sound quality. This rotary speaker emulator incorporates the acoustic variations that occur when a physical speaker spreads the sound in a room, providing the full experience of when the air is moved around.

The Electro 3's rotary also features a brand new function in the addition of the Rotary Stop Mode. This allows users to switch between fast and stopped rotation and back again by using either the controls on the panel or with a foot pedal connected to the Rotor Pedal input. This is a crucial functionality that mimics the behavior of early one-speed original rotary speaker units.

Those of you who are picky about the rotary behaviors will be pleased to find several user adjustable settings like speed and acceleration times for both treble and bass rotors. These options, as well as all the other System, MIDI and Sound Menu functions are written on the right side of the panel, a great help for all those moments when the manual decided to stay at home.

Monitor Input

Just plug in your mp3 or CD player to the Electro 3 to be able to play along, rehearse or jam with previously recorded music without the need of an external mixer or sound system. The signal that is present at this input will be monitored through the Electro 3's headphone output.

Waterfall Keyboard

The Electro 3 comes in two different sizes. The 61 and the 73 have the same type of semi-weighted keyboard with the waterfall profile. This is a great set of keys to play organ and pianos with.

Easy-to-Use Manager

The Nord Sound Manager is an easy-to-use tool that allows you to load the Electro 3 with new pianos and samples, and to arrange and make backups of the memories. These operations are done by simple drag and drop operations or from toolbar- or menu activated actions in the application. This application is available for free to Electro owners, and is compatible with Windows XP, Windows Vista and Mac OSX.

Portable

Having a bunch of great pianos, a tower of effects and three vintage organs in your studio is fun, but the Electro 3 is also designed to allow you to easily bring all those great sounds to the gig.

The Nord Electro 3 is extremely lightweight and portable, yet sturdy enough to cope with the rigors of the touring life. With the optional gig bag, you can carry the massive power that this puppy contains in one hand; weighing in at merely 7,6 or 9,1 kg (15.3/18.2 lb).

Nord Piano Library

New instruments are being added on a regular basis to the Nord Piano Library.

These additions can be downloaded for free by Electro 3 users. More details about the library and additional sounds to download can be found in the Libraries Area.

XL Memory Capacity

The Nord Electro 3 has a flash memory for pianos and samples with a total size of 256 MB. 68 MB of the memory is reserved for the sample partition.
The program memory holds 128 programs.

Mellotron Library

A great addition to the electromechanical bliss in the Electro 3 is the ability to use the fabulous Mellotron Library. These samples will be available for free in the download area, and getting them into a 3 is achieved with a simple drag and drop operation using the Nord Sound Manager.

Tailored Effects

It doesn't matter if you are in for a discreet pan or chorus, or want to get real nasty with the amp and speaker simulations or the ring modulator; you are going to love the smoking effects in the Electro 3. Ever had the idea to put a 9 foot Concert Grand in a very small room and process it with a wah-pedal, through a rotary speaker at full distortion? Now you can.

Power Supply: Power Cord (Included)

zZounds is an authorized dealer of Clavia Nord products.
Organ Section
- Organ section from the acclaimed Nord C1 Combo Organ.
- Three classic organ models: B3, Vox Continental, and Farfisa with full polyphony.
- 9 digitally controlled drawbars.
- Two complete organ registrations for every program.
- The drawbars of Electro 3 are represented by up/down buttons and LED bar graphs instead of the ordinary mechanical drawbars. This gives you a big advantage: when you change programs, the correct drawbar settings are shown immediately by the LEDs.
- 17 user configurable organ presets for each organ model.
- Percussion with 2nd, 3rd, normal/soft, fast/slow for the B3 model.
- User adjustable percussion levels, percussion decays and keyclick level.
- Vibrato / Chorus Control with separate functionality for each model (the classic C1, C2, C3, V1, V2, V3 options for the B3, Vibrato for the Farfisa).
- 4 Tonewheel modes: select the level of "vintage" you wish to have in your B3 sound.
- MIDI Split: The Nord Electro 3 is designed to support an extra MIDI keyboard when the Organ Split mode is activated. This makes it possible to use the Nord Electro 3 as a dual manual (Lower/Upper) organ with different drawbar settings for each manual.

Piano and Sample Library Section
- 5 selectable types of pianos - Grand, Upright, EPiano, Wurl & Clav/Harpsichord. Each type can contain several different models.
- 185 MB of the flash memory is allocated to the piano types.
- Each and every piano in the Electro 3 is replacable by the user. New models can be uploaded to the Electro 3 using the Electro 3 Manager application.
- Sample Library type can contain up to 50 samples from the Nord Sample Library.
- 68 MB of the flash memory is allocated to samples.
- Stereo pianos and samples can be played back in mono.
- 40-60 Voices polyphony.

Effects Section
- Effect 1 - pan, tremolo, auto-wah, pedal-wah and ringmodulator.
- Three selectable depths for the pan and tremolo, rate controlled with the Effect 1 Rate knob.
- Control pedal assigned to pedah-wah and ring modulator depth.
- Effect 2 - phaser, flanger and chorus.
- Three selectable depths, rate controlled with the Effect 2 Rate knob.
- Comp/Amp - three amp/speaker simulations, compressor and rotary speaker.
- Drive/Compression amount controlled with the Drive knob.
- Rotary speed controls - Slow, Fast and Stopped.
- User adjustable rotary treble and bass rotor speeds and acceleration rates.
- Reverb with five algorithms - Room, Stage Soft, Stage, Hall, Hall Soft.
- Dry/Wet control.
- Three band EQ, with sweepable mid. +/- 15 dB gain/attenuation.

Global Features
- 128 program memories.
- Keyboard: 61-key (5 octaves) or 73-key (6 octaves). Velocity sensitive semi-weighted "waterfall" (square front) keyboard.

Connections
- 2 Audio outputs
- 1 Monitor input
- 1 Headphone output
- 1 Control pedal input
- 1 Sustain pedal input
- 1 Rotary Speaker speed switch pedal input
- MIDI In, MIDI Out
- USB interface for fast and easy download of new sounds and operating system updates.

Included Accessories
- User Manual
- Power cord
- Nord DVD-ROM

Dimensions
- Nord Electro 3 Sixtyone: 900 mm (35.4"), 100 mm (3.9"), 300 mm (11.8")
- Nord Electro 3 Seventythree: 1120 mm (44.1"), 100 mm (3.9"), 300 mm (11.8")

WEIGHT
- Nord Electro 3 Sixtyone: 7.65 kg (15.3 lbs)
- Nord Electro 3 Seventythree: 9.1 kg (18.2 lbs)

Power Supply: Power Cord (Included)
zZounds Expert Review
When I first started gigging regularly, I felt compelled to be able to deliver the "right sound" for any situation. As such, my keyboard rig was a total beast. I would tote a Rhodes electric piano, a Hammond organ with Leslie, and a Clavinet, along with a Fender Twin tube amp and a mountain of effects pedals. Add in all the stands, the bench, foot pedals, and a suitcase full of cabling, and the van was already riding low before any of my bandmates began to load up.

I still gig often, but I've long since ditched the van in favor of a mid-size sedan. Even if I could cram all that gear in the new ride, my back just isn't up to that kind of punishment anymore. At the same time, I'm not interested in compromising on the sound quality. Fortunately, technology has advanced enough to offer the same spectrum of tones in a much more compact format. Clavia Nord's Electro 3 is one of a few pro-level performers out there, and it's the one I ultimately chose. The sound is close enough to each of my original pieces that I have no qualms about live performance, and love that I can set it up in about five minutes. Compared to the half hour or so I used to spend setting everything up, it's a piece of cake. The Electro 3 comes in both 61-key and 73-key versions, but the difference in price is negligible, so you may as well spring for the additional octave.

Hands On
The Electro 3's waterfall keybed will feel very familiar to organists, and the semi-weighted action is a happy medium suited to an all-around stage board. The resistance is slightly stiffer than my Hammond, but not enough to get in the way of my technique. And it's a little softer than the action on my Rhodes, but still feels enough like an electric piano as to not be a distraction. If I were mainly concerned about the real feel of an acoustic piano, I probably wouldn't opt for this Nord board, but for organs and EPs. it's fantastic.

The control layout is pretty easy to navigate, with four sections covering the main functionality. Most everything is readily accessible directly from the front panel, but some of the more obscure settings are stored in a menu system. Even these are spelled out on the front panel, so there's not much hunting to find what you need. The menu display is an old-school numeric LED readout. I guess I've been spoiled by the fancy LCD screens on other boards as I missed not seeing the program names when calling up a patch, but it's a minor point.

Organ Grinder
The Organ section of the control layout offers an intuitive graphical representation of the common organ controls. Organ sounds are not sampled, but instead use the same physical modeling algorithms found on Nord's C1 combo organ. Available models include the Hammond B3, Farfisa, and Vox Continental organs, each with their own unique characteristics.
The B3 model, for example, simulates the leakage across the tonewheel commonly found on vintage pieces. Four levels of this character are available, from the squeaky clean sound of a brand new B3 to any of three increasingly grungy options. Virtual drawbars, percussion and keyclick volume, Leslie rotor speed (independent for bass and treble), and vibrato/chorus effects add to the realism. You can even split the keyboard or slave a second MIDI keyboard to the Electro 3 for a dual manual setup. All of the organ sounds were very authentic to my ears, and represented one of the highlights of this keyboard for me. That said, the drawbar simulator took some getting used to. A series of LEDs with up/down buttons are used to manipulate the drawbar position in real time, but the response wasn't quite as immediate as the real thing. Given the streamlined design, there's not much room for drawbars onboard, and the button/LED system is an acceptable tradeoff.

Can I Get Some Action, In The Piano Section
The Electro 3's sample-based pianos are nice, with a good variety of available tones. Acoustic piano patches include Steinway Model D and Yamaha C7 grand, plus an upright piano and another Yamaha CP80 electric grand. The tone on these emulations is passable, but as mentioned earlier, if an authentic acoustic experience is your desire you will probably want to look elsewhere. The electric piano patches are great, though, with plenty to choose from.

You get four versions of the classic Fender Rhodes, including two Mark I's (Suitcase and Stage), a Mark II stage, and a Mark IV stage. All of these sound great, each with enough individual character to justify their inclusion as separate patches. The Wurlitzer 200A also sounded very nice (especially in the lower register), and I found myself wishing for additional variants as with the Rhodes.

All four Clavinet variants were particularly funky, and I liked that the EQ controls for each patch changed to simulate the tone switches on the real deal. Tweaking these settings along with the autowah effect really brought the Clavs to life.

Room For Expansion
The Electro 3 saves some room (64 MB, to be exact) in its sample memory to load in additional sounds. You can use the (Mac/PC compatible) Sample Editor software included with this keyboard to build and tweak your own sample-based instruments, and the Nord Sound Manager to store and organize your sounds. Or, you can simply go to Clavia's website and add in some of their free sound libraries. I went for the Chamberlin and Mellotron tones, though there are a ton of other organ, synth, vocal, and orchestral sounds to choose from.

If you're not familiar with the Chamberlin and Mellotron, think of them as the precursor to the modern sampler. Pressing each key triggers a dedicated analog tape playback matching the corresponding pitch. Changing voices basically involves triggering a different set of analog tapes. As you can imagine, these tapes will stretch and wear over time, leading to tonal inconsistencies across the keyboard. The Clavia/Nord version has none of these inconsistencies, just the clean, authentic tone of a Chamberlin or Mellotron calibrated to perfection.

Some of the Mellotron samples are looped to provide a consistent tone for as long as you hold down the key, but this isn't how the original worked. If you hold down the key on a real Mellotron, the sound will stop after you get to the end of the tape (7-9 seconds or so). Thanks to the Sample Editor application, I was able to ditch the loops and replace them with long-playing one-shots, just like the real deal. I've had the good fortune to play a real Mellotron, and can say the sounds I loaded into the Electro 3 gave me the same vibe as the original without all the headaches associated with that old-school technology.

Effectionately Yours
The Electro 3's effects section is expansive, allowing a certain level of customization for any patch you call up. The gain knob lets you match volumes across patches, and the 3-band EQ has a parametric mid-range control. Effect 1 offers a selection of Pan, Trem, and Auto/Pedal Wah effects with an adjustable rate, and Effect 2 has Flangers, Phasers, and Chorus (also rate-adjustable). A speaker simulator models a few common amp setups (Fender Twin, Roland Jazz Chorus), with a Drive/Compression control to add grit. A dedicated Reverb control offers five different types of ambience, with a Wet/Dry blend knob. Each of these sections (except for the gain) has a dedicated on/off switch. For the most part, you only get to select one choice per section and use the single control to tweak it. It's a bit limiting if you're used to having multi-faceted control over every effects parameter, but the lack of options does simplify your life up on stage. You can always use the included software to pre-tweak your patches to taste.

Bottom line, the Nord Electro 3 is a fantastic all-around keyboard, especially for its variety of electric piano and organ tones. I really like the versatility the 64 MB sample RAM offers, and the (free!) Mellotron and Chamberlin sounds combined with the factory settings will cover pretty much all of my needs. Its streamlined design is great for carrying out to gigs, and the hands-on control layout is (mostly) quick and easy to use. As I said, I do kind of miss not having a display screen showing the current patch name, and the drawbar simulator isn't quite the same as physical drawbars, but these are quibbles compared to all the benefits that come with the Electro 3.
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Customer Reviews
4 out of 5 (14 ratings) Rate and Review This Product
"Great board."
Sound: I am currently playing this through a Roland KC-550. In general, I think the sound is excellent, particularly the B3 and rotary simulator. The real "unsung" hero of this board are the Rhodes an Wurlitzer samples - I know they are appreciated by those who do, but they don't get mentioned often enough in these reviews - they are both great. I have two criticisms of the sounds: (a)from the effects rack, the overdrive is not particularly subtle - it seems like it goes from clean to dirty a little too quick - there should be some more shades of gray in there. (b)I remain a little unhappy with the natural piano sounds. In fairness to the equipment, I grew up playing a really great Steinway baby grand, so I am probably a little harsh on the digital simulations out there. but in comparison to how good of a job they did with the organ and electric pianos, the acoustic pianos sound a little - thin? watery? spacey? - to me. Other than those two things - the sounds seem excellent. (Hence the 9 rating) Feature: Let me split the keyboard, dammit. For two thousand dollars plus, more than one sound at a time and more memory is NOT too much to ask. Even with another board plugged in to split the keyboard, the best they can do is upper and lower register on the organ - not a Rhodes/Hammond split, which is what I really need sometimes. Also, a mod wheel would be good. Delay in the effects patch - hopefully with a tap function. And yes, I know all of these are available on the stage - but for the amount they are charging for this board, this is really not too much to ask. Ease of Use: While it is very easy to use the buttons, it seems to me that with the addition of just a few more controls, they could have made this much easier. What if, for example, you are on sound 2 in the patch bay and you need to get to sound 17 quickly? Pressing a button 15 times quickly is not efficient feature navigation. It is not difficult, however, so I am not complaining too much. And truthfully, I have mine set up so that I can get to the 7 or 8 presets that I use very quickly - within a button or two. Quality: Light AND sturdy. I have not been able to say that about many pieces of musical/electronic equipment I have owned, ever. Value: Definitely stacks up well compared to the other Clonewheel organs available. Add on the world class Rhodes, Wurly, and Clav patches, and extremely serviceable piano samples - this is one of the best musical expenses I have ever incurred. Manufacturer Support: I have not had to deal with support for this product. The Wow Factor: That red is just fantastic. Overall: I am thinking about a stage ex compact for the delay and the ability to split the board for sound - not sure if I am thinking to augment or replace the electro. But I love the board for what it is and am looking forward to playing nords for a long time to come.
Style of Music: Rock/Jam Band
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"The Nord Electro 73....Finest Keyboard in the World!"
Sound: Superb in every respect.....the Hammond B3 is worth the price of admission standing alone....unbelievably good Leslie sound.....excellent electric and acoustic pianos. Quite the best keyboard I have ever owned, altho I use a midi A30 by roland as controller for other sounds Feature: One may move from sound to sound quickly enough for stage use, but changes in those sounds take some time....I rarely do, because the factory presets are amazing. Ease of Use: Very intuitive, very easy to make EQ changes, reverb and effects on board are simple. Deep changes take more time. Quality: Seems to be absolutely bulletproof. The degree of finish is outstanding, and I anticipate no problems....if need be, the warranty center is close at hand. Value: I would like to whine and cry about how expensive it was, but it doesn't matter......it costs a lot less than a Hammond B3, and sounds better........ten pounds works better than a quarter ton, too. yes, I lugged a hammond model A around for years.....with Leslie. Manufacturer Support: Best imaginable, since I haven't needed them a bit. The Wow Factor: Lust is a good word for how I feel about this keyboard. Had to have it...now that I have it, I like it even better! I look forward to it every time our band plays out.....it rocks! Overall: I do not anticipate, or could even imagine, a finer, more useful piece of equipment. Nord might actually replace some of the sounds, perhaps some of the acoustic pianos might have more overtones....but when that happens, i shall just download them, free, from my computer....yet another fine feature from Nord.
Style of Music: Country and Rock, Party Music, in Bar Bands
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Why fight traffic and pushy salesmen when we'll bring your gear straight to your home, free of charge?

zZounds free shipping is really free!
No hidden charges or hassles on returns.
Fast, reliable delivery
We have warehouses on both coasts, so most shipments arrive in 3 days or less.
We don't collect sales tax. Bonus!
Only NJ residents pay tax during checkout.
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A guarantee so solid, you never have to worry about price when shopping at zZounds

We'll beat any price
Simply click the Seen it for less? link next to the gear you want or call us at 800-zZounds (800-996-8637)
Got a coupon from another site?
Use it with us - we'll beat those prices, too!
Find a better price after buying from us?
No problem. We'll refund you the difference for 45 days, so you'll never regret buying from zZounds.

You'll still get the trustworthy service you've come to expect from zZounds, without paying more for your gear!