Clavia Nord Stage 3



"Nord Stage 3" is a stage keyboard released in 2017 from Sweden manufacturer Clavia DMI AB. 3 models(73 keys, 76 keys, 88 keys) are lined up. I bought 76 key, "HP76(Hammer action Portable 76)".

Clavia is famous with their virtual analog synthesizer "Nord Lead" released in 1995. Now, Clavia's main product is stage keyboards. They have 2 stage keyboard products. One is relatively inexpensive "Nord Electro", another is expensive "Nord Stage". Nord Electro has non aftertouch keys, no pitchbend stick, no modulation wheel. With old Nord Electros, players could not layer piano and organ section. Players should choose one of them. Newer Nord Electros enabled players to layer sections including synth section. Nord Stage has aftertouch keyboard, pitch bend stick, and modulation wheel. The "panel A/B" function enables players to use two pianos, two synths, and two organs. Expensive Nord Stage has more functions. Too much sometimes. Many players may choose Nord Electro.

Nord Stage 3 has ORGAN、PIANO、SYNTH、EXTERN、EFFECT section. Individual control panels make me feel playing different type keyboard, it's nice. Piano section has 2GB wave memory for Nord Piano Library. Synth section has 480MB wave memory for Nord Sample Library. With Nord Sample Editor, we can convert WAV files to Nord Sample Library format.

I have 2 reasons to select Nord Stage. 1st is stage piano product with aftertouch is rare. 2nd is Nord Stage has synth section with rich functions compared with other stage pianos.

After I got Nord Stage 3 HP76, I feel much incompleteness. It is strange experience to play organ sound with one hammer action manual. Compared with real grand piano and Fender Rhodes, Nord Stage 3 is far from real. Because we do not have "real" synthesizer, Nord Stage 3's synth section cannot be a fake. However, the limited control panel makes the synth incomplete. Nord Stage 3's aftertouch has no effect unless key is pushed in quite tightly. It is not my favorite.

Although there are many complaints, I will use Nord Stage 3 HP76 in long period. The Nord Stage 3 piano has a unique taste, and I just end up recording it. It should also be noted that HP76 keyboard is easy to produce the soft sounds of the piano.



A:11 Royal Grand 3D

This is the first program of Nord Stage 3 factory presets. This sound was recorded from Yamaha grand piano "S6". I have played S6 at rental studio before. I felt the sound light and cheesy. However, Royal Grand 3D has modest heaviness and humidity. OK, even if they have same designs, all pianos has own characters. I also find much polyphony, long release, and low noise from Royal Grand 3D.

A:11 Royal Grand 3D with Pedal Noise

After I bought Nord Triple Pedal, I recorded 3 experiments. The 1st one is damper pedal experiment. Before I started playing, I stepped on the damper pedal. You should hear it when you turn the volume up. We can erase pedal noise with one button. The level can be adjusted by plus or minus 6dB, too. Pedal release noise is modest.

A:11 Royal Grand 3D with Sostenuto Pedal

I played "G-C-E" chord with left hand, stepped on the sostenuto pedal, releasing left hand, and play with right hand. The dampers on the keys that were played when the sostenuto pedal was pressed remains away from the strings, but notes played after releasing sostenuto pedal disappear quickly after key off.

A:11 Royal Grand 3D with Soft Pedal

In this recording, I stepped on soft pedal with my left leg, damper pedal with my right leg. The soft pedal is almost kept on, and the soft pedal is turned off only twice, one bar at a time in the middle part. You can see the difference in sound with and without the soft pedal, and I think the connection is fairly natural.


The following is basic tones created using only one synth section. This "Saw 01" is a lead sound that uses one sawtooth wave from classic waveforms. The vibrato that appears in about 4 seconds is due to aftertouch. The vibrato that appears in about 13 seconds is from pitch stick rocking. The filter is "LP M" that imitates Moog filter. I added some delay effect. I think Nord Stage 3 has a well-made virtual analog synth. Good balance between thickness and sharpness.


The waveform of the previous "Saw01" was changed to square wave, made into mono legato, a little portamento was applied, and vibrato was applied with a moduration wheel. I also adjusted the cutoff and resonance. Sufficient vibrato is applied with the modulation wheel, but it is weak with aftertouch. If Clavia enable the setting "Synth Vibrato Dly Amount" in the sound menu not only for delay vibrato but also for aftertouch, I am happy. Nord Stage 3 synths provide full-time portamento when mono, and fingered portamento when mono legato. The Yamaha DX7 was able to portamento even in poly, so I'm often disappointed with the synths I bought after that.


A tone that makes aftertouch vibrato with morphing function. I set the oscillator configuration to "1 Pitch" and morphed the "LFO" in the oscillator section with aftertouch to apply vibrato. It takes a little better, but not enough. With Yamaha's DX7, EX5, and MONTAGE, I can use aftertouch vibrato to create vibrations during pronunciation, but it's difficult with the Nord Stage (I have the original EX and 3).


I chose a classic sawtooth wave, set the configuration to "4 Detune", and added some detune. Unison was set to "1" to add a sense of stereo. There is no delay, but "ROOM 2" reverb is applied a little. You know the goodness of virtual analog. Nord Stage is a stage piano with the best synth.


A synth brass made from one sawtooth wave. I shaked the cutoff with MOD ENV. You can feel the goodness of virtual analog in this sound, too. Since the envelope generator has only 3 points, I can't adjust the sustain level well, which was frustrating. It is easier to use 4-points EG , but the panel area is limited. I added just a little reverb.


FM(Frequency Modulation) strings sample. I selected a classic sine wave, set the configuration to "13 FM2", and applying FM while keeping the modulator at the same frequency as the carrier ("0 semi" in terms of value). I used cutoff and resonance because I couldn't control the overtones well with FM alone. There are only two FM configurations. It's less than Clavia's previous models. I set unison to "3". When Unison is set to 3, it often shakes too much, but this sound was OK. Nord Stage EX has Unison knob(not button), I loved it.


Strings using PWM (Pulse Width Modulation). The PWM sways too much in the low keys, so I sometimes adjust it to be less on the top and modest on the bottom. But it seems that Nord Stage 3 can't do that.


The Nord Stage 3 synth oscillator has a waveform category called "SUPER". I made strings with the first "Super Wave Saw". Roland's SuperSaw in many models can be changee the amount of detune. But Nord Stage 3 allows choice between 1 and 2 only. Still, it sounds good without complaint.


The Oscillator section of Nord Stage 3 synth has a waveform category called "WAVE", which contains many waveforms including piano. Here, "Wave EPiano 1" was selected, the oscillator configuration was set to "12 FM 1", and FM modulation was applied. I set Unison to "2" to give it a stereo feel. You can apply FM even if it is not a classic waveform. It is amazing! The FM electric pianos in Nord's piano library are not good enough (it's better than nothing), so it seems better to add by the synth section.


The Oscillator panel of Nord Stage 3 synth section has a waveform category called "FORMANT". I tried using the first "Formant Wave Aaa". I set the oscillator configuration to "1 Pitch" and added a rise with MOD ENV. It seems that the envelope cannot be reversed, which is a bit disappointing. I wanted to apply a lot of vibrato, so I applied it with a modulation wheel.


Just Released

A song made during playing "E:11 Velvet EP Wheel" on Nord Stage 3. The Velvet Grand and EP8 Nefertiti are layered and can be balanced with the modulation wheel. I changed the EQ, compressor, and reverb a little. I also applied EQ and compression with dbx Quantum.

250 Years

Solo performance of the first preset "A: 11 Royal Grand 3D". However, I'm not sure if I haven't changed the tone at all from the initial state. I did MIDI recording to sequence software without metronome, success in one shot. At first, I thought it would be okay to have no reverb, but I added "Home Room" program of t.c.electronic Reverb 4000.

Furin (Japanese windchime)

A song made by playing the Nord Stage 3 preset "K: 54 Supersoft Vocals". In the summer, we hang some wind chimes on the windowsill (indoor side). The chimes make a "clinking" sound, but when the wind is strong, they keep making a loud noise. In such a case, we adjust the way to open the window less. The day I wrote this song, It rained a little in the morning, but it gradually recovered and the blue sky through the clouds was beautiful.

Plum Rain

I used "Royal Pad Pedal H". It is the sound of Soft Pad 1 overlaid on Royal Grand 3D and made it possible to adjust the volume of the pad with the 2nd expression pedal. Reverb was off. I did MIDI recording to Sonar. With metronome and no quantize. Later I raised the tempo a little. I played in same tempo when I returned from B to A, and later wrote the tempo with the mouse. The last ritardando was played ignoring the metronome. When recording with the MR-2000S turned, I stepped on the 2nd expression pedal a little and layered the pads at the middle of the song.

Randomly Modulated Notes

Even if it's polyphonic, it doesn't seem that an LFO is prepared for each voice, and the chords are similarly LFOed. That's interesting. I was playing the score, but I gradually increased the number of notes. While recording to a sequencer and playing it back, I messed with the Nord Stage 3 knobs. First applying an LFO modulation to the filter, and then applying it to the oscillator pitch in the middle. I also shake the pitch stick. At the end, I slowed down the tempo, stopped the LFO modulation, and ended up with a clean sound. I'm not sure if I really did that. The effects were a built-in ping-pong delay and a little reverb.

When I Was A Kid

The sound was created by imagining Joe Zawinul's electric piano in "Milky Way" that was released at the beginning of Weather Report's debut album "Weather Report". 2nd expression pedal changes the wow effect. I recorded without metronome. No MIDI editing. I put the MR-2000S recorder in the recording state, started the sequencer, and tweaked the late and amount of the phaser and the dry / wet of the reverb.

Cool Your Lusts

I initialized the program to initial piano. I played the first grand piano "Royal Grand 3D". I'm recording on a sequencer, but I'm playing it without a metronome. No MIDI editing. I added "Soft Hall" on t.c.electronic Reverb 4000, but it's not a lot.

Hall In Memory

Played "Royal Grand 3D" with "Large Hall" of Reverb 4000. I played it without a metronome, and it didn't work in one shot. So I started over from the middle and made corrections on the piano roll and event list. It's pathetic because I can't play something like this in one shot.

Children's Piano Practice Echoes In The City

I chose "Royal Pad PedalH" in Nord Stage 3 and turned off the pad with the 2nd expression pedal and played it only on the piano. "Royal Pad PedalH" is at the beginning of my own programs, so I use this when I don't care about any tone.

To Be A Princess

"Royal Grand 3D" solo. I cut some high frequencies a little. I added Eventide Eclipse "Reverb 8". Except ritardando at the end, I played with metronome and quantized with 8th note. I wrote tempo changes at the end of melody B for some pause.

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©Hideo Harada 2010-2020 updated on 2020/10/25 08:47:30