I stopped counting how many times I would see and still see Nord keyboards during live or televised performances. They just pop up everywhere and are quite easy to spot due to the iconic red color. Besides the stellar sounds, what makes Nord so popular among professional players? Simple; simplicity! Very little menu diving, a 1 for 1 knob/switch setup (with very few exceptions) and a large comfortable layout that is easy to manipulate. Want more? How about they weigh under 50lbs with some models down to 20lbs.
The Grand however looks a bit heavier and bit more cumbersome (especially when getting a case) due to its raised angled controls and subsequent thicker body. I hope the size is indicative of a robust keybed that needed more space for its badassness.
With that said, let’s take a quick look at this beast.
Like I said before, Nord makes some of the best stuff on the market and it’s hard to make big changes or improvements when introducing new models if your main bag is simple layouts and top notch sounds. However, the new Grand offers some features that should get any pianist/keyboardist excited. First of is the “Ivory Touch” Kawaii keyboard which includes triple velocity sensors. Here is the official statement:
The well balanced and responsive triple sensor keybed features an advanced mechanism providing extraordinary control both when playing percussively as well as pianissimo with fluent repetitions and retriggering without lifting the key completely. The addition of an Ivory Touch surface gives the keybed an optimal feel and authenticity.
The smooth transitions between patches. With it’s large 120 count polyphony, it’s fairly unlikely you will experience much voice stealing which also accommodates the seamless transitions between patches.
The “Grand” is the first unit so far to offer 2gb of room for its growing and relatively small sized samples. There are some fair gripes directed toward Nord, one of them being sample memory size. However, they do apply a proprietary compression that makes a 200mb piano sound better than a sample pack 50 times its size.
Despite the simple layout and the copious amounts of knobs and switches for editing, some aspects must still be accessed through a menu (i.e. preset naming, MIDI settings, etc…) For this, Nord has included a beautifully crisp OLED screen that makes the little bit of menu diving a pleasure.
There hasn’t been any word on price but I’m guessing it will fall between $3,500 and $4,500 for the base model. Throw in the new Nord monitoring system and you’ll be making a big dent in the bank account. However, when you depend on superb sound and lightweight portability for you day to day work, then the price probably won’t scare you off.
Personally, one day this beauty will be mine!
- 88-note Kawai Hammer Action with advanced triple sensors
- Ivory touch keys
- Seamless Transitions when changing programs
- Layer and Split with Split Point crossfades
- OLED display for excellent overview
- Support for Nord Piano Monitor
- 2 GB memory for Nord Piano Library
- 120 Voice Polyphony
- Dedicated Piano Filters for Acoustic and Electric Pianos
- 3 Dynamic Curves
- Dynamic Pedal Noise with Nord Triple Pedal (included)
- Advanced String Resonance
- Soft Release
- 512 MB Memory for Nord Sample Library 3.0
- Dedicated Sample Synth section with Attack, Decay/Release and dynamic controls
- High quality stereo effects modelled after classic stomp boxes
- Reverb with three modes – Room, Stage and Hall