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 Forum index » Instruments and Equipment » Nord Lead and Nord Wave synths
Dancing with the red lady again!
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Wout Blommers

Joined: Sep 07, 2003
Posts: 4527
Location: The Hague - The Netherlands
Audio files: 123
G2 patch files: 12

PostPosted: Sat Jun 16, 2007 9:03 am    Post subject: Dancing with the red lady again!
Subject description: Fun with the NordLead
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The thread is started to try to get exchanges of Programs by other NordLead and NordLead2(X) users.
First of all there is already a large amount of Programs on the net at

Some time ago there was a thread about emulating the NordLead(2) on the G2(X). There is always someone in need of the super synth which emulates all other synths, so the thougths of recreating the NL in another Clavia synth isn’t that far away…

I started to do some investigations to the values of the parameters in both synths to help the writers of the NM(Classic) to G2 tool making a NordLead converter. It looks nice to be able to use the NL sounds in the G2, while it also enables adding extra modules, like LFO’s and Envelopes and the ability to do alternative routing of the signals.

After a while I realized having a NordLead2 in my set up implies I’m not in need of an emulation at all! Adding extra modules was done by me a long time already using Jan Punter’s (Blue Hell) wonderful tool ’MidiMod’ http://www.iaf.nl/Users/BlueHell/html/software/software-midimod.htm , although lately I’m using the MidiOut possibilities of the G2X, which also provide the extra Wheels, a better keyboard and the Mutator. So I finished the investigations and concentrated myself on some findings I did, e.g. ‘Where the heck does one need a LFO rate of over 140 Hz?’ It’s in audible range…

A NordLead isn’t a G2

The most important difference between the NordLeads and the Modulars is their interface, with exception of the ‘late’ NordLead3.

The Modulars are synths which are being programmed in the a way like ‘knowing how to do it’. The sound designer knows how every module acts and how it acts in configuration with other modules. I know, it's a generalisation...

The Leads are synths which rely much more on the intuition of the sound designer. The interface is clear and open and when operating the synth the designer is able to ‘feel’ what every knob does. I think that’s a reason Clavia uses almost the same interface for the Nord Wave.

I can imagine that’s why the NordLead3 wasn’t that success it had potentional in itself… Some features aren’t clear in the interface, like FM and the WaveShaping and although it was made mostly as an intuitional synth, so not in favor of the ‘know-how’ designers, the ‘double functions’ of most knobs scared away ‘it feels good’ tweakers.

Like a student of Rob Hordijk once said when asked why she was tweaking that particular knob: “It just sounds much better!”

A way of working

An important thing to me is to be able to use my computer hard disk as an archive to my NordLead Programs without the use of a sequencer and SySex files and much better, without the use of the PCMIA cards…

I make use of a tool special designed to the NordLead and the NordLead2, Nord Generator. It’s written by Lars Borndahl and is download able at http://www.mdstud.chalmers.se/~md5lb/nordlead/ and http://nm-archives.electro-music.com/020_NordLead2/023_Miscellaneous/NordGenerator_Editor/

The tool has some bugs, but it also makes it possible to see the settings of the knobs, so one can study the the Program much more easily. Touching a knob with the curser shows the value in red figures in the lower left corner. Another advantage of this tool is it ables when connected to a computer one can upload sounds on the fly without stopping some global settings, like the ‘Hold’ function. This can’t be done by ProgramChance.

The tool doesn’t work in Performance mode.

It works rather strange when using the Morph button, which sets all not morphed knobs in the 12 o’clock position and the morphed parameters will be set in the value of the maximum morph (the values are positive or negative, which has to be added or abstract of the starting value). These values are only useful when rebuilding a Program, e.g. to start with the maximum morphed sound… (if you ever wanted to do this Wink

The most annoying thing of NordGen is it’s building banks and larger ones then 99 Programs. Every dumped Program will be added to this bank and saved to the hard disk, to which this tool is designed in the first place, so a complete bank is saved. When uploading only the first Program will be placed into the synths buffer, so saved on the synth is no problem at all. Just when working trying to find the right sound to be used in a song or something, after a while uploading Programs into NordGen it will contain complete banks placed on complete banks, which are added to other complete banks, when the user is only seems to be working with a couple of Programs… (A Program is 139 bytes large, where I found Programs as large as 80Mb!!! on my hard disk)
There is a work-around to avoid this all, although it is all about knowing what is going on. First I copy and paste NordGen into the folder I intend to work. I open the tool and it shows a complete ‘zero’ Program. In fact it is a normal Program, all 139 bytes, although all parameters are zero. After dumping the Program from the synth all parameter will change and the number of patches will be set to 2. The I go to File > Explode Bank and in the folder there will be two Programs added: ‘nord0.ngf’ and ‘nord1.ngf’. ‘nord0’ is the starting ‘zero’ file, which can be deleted at once. ‘nord1’ has to be renamed immediately, because ‘exploding’ a new set will replace it by the new ‘nord1’ and the original file will be lost… I also rename the suffix into *.syx, which is more common and it will prevent mixing up the files, because *.ngf files indicate ‘not-reworked’ ones. If you’ll find a better work around or even a better tool, let me know!

Most of published here is the result of some fun playing during the last month Smile

Dancing with the red lady again!

I think this is what most people like to hear out of their synth... ;)

 Filename:  2278Mutator02.syx
 Filesize:  139 Bytes
 Downloaded:  320 Time(s)

Audio example

 Filename:  2278Mutator02-a.mp3
 Filesize:  84.21 KB
 Downloaded:  851 Time(s)

Audio example

 Filename:  2278Mutator02-b.mp3
 Filesize:  70.74 KB
 Downloaded:  831 Time(s)

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