The favorite red stage piano now featured beefed up features, streamlined interface – and three independent engines plus seamless transitions between sounds.

Nord has been regularly updating their line of instruments, and now the Nord Electro gets a 2018 revision. It’s one instrument that packs multiple vintage sounds – electro mechanical and acoustic instruments – plus a sample-based synth engine.

And what sets Nord apart from, say, those Japanese giants is that it’s a small, independent maker. They’ve got only thirty employees. I’ve been to their factory/office in Stockholm, where European wood becomes the end panels and the instruments are assembled by hand. Now, that’s not just to make an ethical stand – the result is instruments that are distinctively conservative and tailored closely to what players want.

So, the Electro 6 isn’t likely to steal thunder from other announcements this month in the industry. But it does have a bunch of stuff that will appeal to keyboardists. Here’s what’s new:

The big deal is, it’s 3-part multi-timbral. You can split and layer all three sections. You can make six split points and even optional split point crossfades. There’s an Organize mode and a new UI to put it all together.

So, there’s a fresh case for using dedicated hardware in place of a laptop and software for these functions, if the Electro 6 has the sounds you need.

Also improved:

Organ: Dual Organ mode, plus two new pipe organs.
Piano: new filters for softness, mid, or brilliance.
Sample synth: 512MB memory, doubled from Electro 5.
Expanded polyphony in both piano, sample synth.

If you’ve got a late model Electro, this is probably not reason to upgrade. But it could be a strong upgrade from a lower-end stage instrument.

Coming this spring; pricing TBA. (The Electro 5 has a street around US$3000.) You get different options depending on which keybed you want:

Nord Electro 6D 61 features a 61-note Semi Weighted Waterfall keybed (C-C) with Physical Drawbars
Nord Electro 6D 73 features a 73-note Semi Weighted Waterfall keybed (E-E) with Physical Drawbars
Nord Electro 6 HP features a 73-note Hammer Action Portable keybed (E-E) with LED Drawbars

  • R__W

    If they only got 30 employee in Sweden what does that mean when the keyboard got issues?

    Whereas I theoretically love my TE OP1, but when it breaks… it takes 3 months to fix, and thats if the dudes aren’t at NAMM or in China. The repair process involves multiple email with churlish Scandinavians, sending to Sweden to prove its broken, then sending to some dude in rural Georgia for the fix.

    As a keyboardist I lust after the Nords but my experience with boutique hardware reliability makes me wary of buying anything that costs 4 grand from 30 dudes in Sweden. The Rolands and Korgs may lack the hand finished soul but its easy to bring them back to Guitar Center if they don’t work out.

    I really want to buy a new board this year. Anyone got info and opinion about the reliability and support for Nord gear?

    • mr. wonderful

      well if you get the guitar center warranty when you purchase there will be allot less hassle won’t there?

      • Your customer experience with GC will only be as good as theirs with Clavia, i.e. when it takes Clavia months to receive, repair/replace, and return a faulty instrument, there is little, GC or any other retailer could do about.

    • Pop

      Clavia makes pretty robust hardware in my experience.
      And other than both being Swedish music tech companies, TE and Clavia are totally unrelated, so I wouldn’t judge one based on experience from the other..

    • My Nord two cents

      Speaking from the standpoint of a touring musician, I’d see less compelling reasons to purchase a Nord if one was not on the road.

      Having said that, they do sound amazing. Piano was less so, but it’s much better now than what it was.

      I’ve owned and used a Nord for countless tours. Have banged the hell out of it, and I have yet to see it go down on me. A lot of touring musicians that I know use em for the same reasons: IE: when you turn them on, they work.

      Maybe I am just lucky?

      I think they are crazy ugly though. I encased mine in an old oak box.

      • R__W

        good points. I actually rather like how it looks, I sort of wanted it to just have in my house to play away from the studio. but I suppose you’re right, it is a touring musician’s rig.

        • It just depends on your constraints. If it’s budgetary, then yes, you can find more variance and bang for buck with virtual gear.

          If money is not a huge constraint…

          As a piece of hardware, that could live in your home, and that does a few things really’s on the top of my list.

          On those terms, I’d recommend it! I have never once regretted purchasing one.

    • I think you’ll find the return policy and distribution for Clavia to be just about the same as Roland and Korg… lots of people on the road with these, and I’ve yet to hear any significant complaint about service or reliability.

  • Tony Scharf

    I remember when Clavia was interesting.

    • If this is about the modular — I had a frank discussion with their CEO and founder and there’s a really simple answer here: they couldn’t make money.

      It’s easy to armchair quarterback independent companies. But when it’s *your* independent company, you do what’s necessary to not lose your house. 😀

      (believe me – I know this bit from first-hand experience!)

      • Random Chance

        I would be extremely interested in the reasoning behind this. Using gut feeling I can see why developing and producing a new Nord Modular would not be a wise move economically, but a business surely does not base its decisions on gut feeling alone. Especially given how passionate many of their customers are about this line of products.

        • Well, I am quite sure they evaluated at some point that a niche product like the Nord Modular just did not sell enough units to justify the development, support and manufacturing of it.

          There is a distinct difference in efforts required for a great, but limited instrument like the Electro or Stage line – and a software heavy product like the Modular. And the market has shown in the past years, that stuff like the Modular is niche – not mainstream. See Arturia and their expansion of the ‘brute line, Roland doing teh Boutiques, where the form factor and the underlying technology is the same for everything, Korg with the ‘logue line etc.

      • Tony Scharf

        Oh, I am quite aware of their need to make money. This isn’t about the modular at all, really. It’s just that their entire product line has been a complete snooze for years now. Even the NL4 was a pretty tepid and safe instrument, and in many was was a step back from the 3. Their products represent a big zero where innovation is concerned. That’s a far cry from where they were back in their glory day. I can’t imagine buying another one of their products again, unless I *really* need a red combi-organ.

      • haitch

        People probably should let the modular go. This is what happens when you tie an instrument to software!

  • Andrea

    “The Electro 5 has a street around US$3000”: in which country? 1800€ in Europe for the 61-keys version.

  • More memory is always better. The 5 was already a quantum leap from previous generations, but doubling memory and increasing polyphony only means that you can play even more detailed (read: “realistic”) piano emulations and the like. What’s not to like about that?