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The modern synthesizer was first developed in the 1960s, and went through quite a few generations before Clavia came onto the scene in 1995 with the first Nord Lead synthesizer. The Lead's "virtual analog" synth design made it a hit, and it didn't take long for it to become a favorite among musicians. They've only gotten better since, with Clavia making steady tweaks and improvements to the Nord series for each successive generation. One of the all-in-one Nord synthesizers is the Lead A1, which is very player-focused with a layout that gives you fine control over its features while managing to stay simple enough to use intuitively. It's fully loaded with a powerful oscillator section, modulation, filter and effects functionality and then some. You can also connect the A1 through USB to use with your favorite recording software. The revised Nord analog modeling engine on the Lead A1 supports 24-voice polyphony as well as four simultaneous, realistic synth parts. With the solid interface design, it's refreshingly fast to dive in and put that power to work to create the perfect sound even when you're on a tight deadline, live or in the studio.
The Nord Lead 4 rack module has a lot of features in common with the A1, but it's squarely aimed at the professional recording studio with a big audio equipment rack. It's very much a Nord synth, with the same 4-layer capability, and it fits seamlessly into your existing rack setup where you can control it with your favorite keyboard, sequencer or MIDI controller—even something exotic like a wind controller to get effects going beyond the keyboard.
For a more traditional electronic keyboard concept based on the synth platform, consider the Nord Electro 4D SW61. This instrument's 61-key manual is backed by a semi-weighted waterfall key action that's light enough for fast playing but still provides a good amount of feedback. The Electro 4D comes with five different piano voices, and you can also upload your own samples to make a custom voice from scratch. A strong suite of organ features rounds out the keyboard, including physical drawbars and the ability to split the keys for a virtual dual manuals or even tack on an additional keyboard controller for a physical pair. The Nord Electro 4D's tone wheel engine can emulate Farfisa Compact Deluxe and Vox Continental organ models, while its range of effects gives you even more tools to round out your sound.
Consider the Electro 4D if you're looking for a performance keyboard, the Lead 4 for a studio synth or the Lead A1 for a nice and portable all-around unit. No matter which one is right for you, you can always count on a Nord Synthesizer to sound great without making your job into a chore. They're as fun to play as they are versatile.