Photo by Rainer Knobloch.

Who woulda thunk it? Early 2007 has brought one big synth announcement after another. We’ve got some official details of the Nord Wave synth from Clavia, and this new keyboard looks like it may please long-time Nord fans and newcomers alike.

Clavia has released “Musikmesse preview information”, so specs may change. But here’s a basic look at what they’re promising:

  1. Sampled waveforms: Oscillators can now use full waveforms (not single wavetables, Clavia hastens to add), while still routing through fully-analog circuitry.
  2. Oscillator models: Virtual analog, FM, wavetable, sample-playback can be applied in combination (which I hear is all the rage these days). And you can load in custom waveforms, as well, via fully user-definable memory areas (so you can delete samples you hate). Clavia even promises it’ll offer additional, free waves on their website. An included software sample editor lets you tweak samples.
  3. Morphing: Morph “almost any parameter” via mod wheel, expression, velocity, or pitch, with assignable “morph scenarios” and morph “timelines.”
  4. Filters: 24db analog-modeled resonant filters, low-, high-, band-pass filters with envelope and velocity control, combinations of filter types, and formant filters.
  5. Effects: EQ, delay with tap tempo, tube-style amp with overdrive, reverb.
  6. Pitch stick: Clavia’s signature wooden pitch stick allows precise bend and vibrato.

Photo by Rainer Knobloch.

So this means hardware makers no longer feel the pressure of software synths, right? Wrong. Clavia goes out of their way to tout hardware-specific features in the Messe preview brochure. They single out a number of points:

  1. Onboard hardware controls for everything with no need for paging through menus (that’s good, and a lesson that could be learned by a lot of hardware synth makers).
  2. No load times, because there’s no hard drive. (They have a point.)
  3. “Ultra-low latency.” (Well, it darned well better have ultra-low latency. I don’t recall a whole lot of latency from any of my hardware synths. And I’ve had quite impressive latency from my software synths, as well. But I digress.)

Software defensiveness aside, the synth sounds like it may be terrific. To anyone who said this was a dull Messe trade show, all I can think is that you really aren’t fond of keyboards.

Pricing / Availability: Unknown / Soon-ish.

Nord Wave Coverage Elsewhere

Matrixsynth has some of the other details on the keyboard, via Harmony Central’s forums:

  1. Resynthesized waveforms; no look-up tables, meaning no aliasing across the pitch range.
  2. Onboard USB for controller use, transferring waveforms
  3. 2 MB sample memory (so, not much, in other words — any upgrade possibilities there? Why not flash expansion?)
  4. Pots, not endless rotaries, because users want to know “when they reached the bottom.”

For video coverage, see Sonic State.

And don’t miss the imaginary Behringer rip-off April Fool’s on Vintage Synth Explorer, via Matrixsynth.

I’d be afraid to even joke about that.