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nord wave in 2019...
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> General Gear  
Author nord wave in 2019...
Since last year I was more and more into S+S synthes, which I had almost forgotten since the 90s.

I expected Dave Smith to release a Pro-X, but there was no luck, and now I saw a Nord Wave for $1300, a synthesizer that has a reputation for being cold and sterile as hell (a cold hell, that's it) but the feature set and (equally important) the UI, is very interesting!

What do you think? Is the sound as cold as the legend says?
Sold mine last year to buy a guitar and miss it sometimes. It’s a little dated in its limitations, but always came up with nice unique sounds. Like the NL3 it’s unashamedly digital, but I love the sound both of them are capable of. Using cold or warm to describe sound can be objective. People will also complain that you can only layer 2 sounds, but that was plenty for me. Those Don Solaris samples are great and the Mellotron stuff sounded pretty good.
if you're feeding it samples it's as cold as you make it. I like the sound of it, the effects, and that the LED readout is in words for patch names, not just numbers like on the NL4. Other than my Yamaha reface synths, the nord wave and NL4 are the only digital synths I own.

Re cold sound; I'm finishing an album that was mainly made with the NL4 (with only variations on one patch) and an EP2 Echoplex and I've been told the synth sounds very old in a good way. The echoplex is a great machine but it's not a miracle worker.
Had one, and have a Prophet X. While there are lots of differences, I think the Prophet X is sounds better and is more inspiring to use. I'd never choose to get a Wave now.
Jason Brock
I'm still using a Nord Wave as my only poly. I have a small setup, just that and two analog monos. The virtual analog side sounds just like the Nord 1 and 2 in my opinion, so anyone saying the Wave is "cold" would have to think the same about the earlier Nords as well. Plus it has built-in chorus which is very Juno-like.

For samples, I've mostly loaded things in from the Nord Sample Library which is great. I've created a few of my own samples with mixed results. It's a hit or miss process, sometimes what you imagine would sound cool just doesn't, while something simpler turns out to be great.

My favorite feature is the "Skip Sample Attack" button. Every sample set you load in lets you assign an alternate start point within the waveform, and you switch to that start point using that button. This made me think a little differently about samples and I've gotten some cool results with it.

For example, back when ROMplers first appeared, memory was in short supply so most of the sample would be the attack portion of the wave, and the sustain would be looped to save space. That's the recipe for a cheesy ROMpler sound. The opposite of that is actually a pretty cool effect. Skip the attack portion - the breathy start of a flute sample for instance - but then have a much longer looped sustain section that is evolving and interesting. So you wind up with an cool flute-ish synth sound without the cheesy attack portion.
nord wave is really powerful. One of my favourite features is phase modulation. Never understood why this synth is under-rated.
Jason Brock
cavidim wrote:
Never understood why this synth is under-rated.

The Wave ommitted a few things that are easy to fault, such as: no arp or sequencer, no splits, and only 2-part multitimbral. I can understand why those things might be a deal breaker for some. I would also add that a lot of the presets don't sound that great.

Using samples as oscillators can be a tricky science. When loading your own samples it's very easy to make it sound cheesy in a bad way, like the worst of the 80s ROMplers. It takes some practice and effort to find things that work well. I would guess I create a "keeper" sample set maybe 1 out of every 10 attempts at rolling my own, so that could also be discouraging for some people. However, when I do stumble across something that sounds good, it's really worth it. If was forced to replace the Wave it would have to be with another synth that can load samples (Prophet X?) so I could try to recreate some patches that have become indispensable.

The Nord Sample Editor software is excellent too, though it took me a while to really learn how to use it. Once I discovered the "View Trim" checkbox in the lower left corner, that helped a lot. It lets you see a closeup of a loop point, and displays both waveforms pre and post that loop point to get a very accurate picture of how the waves overlap within a crossfade.

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