There are actually three different Nord Stage 2 options. This Nord Stage 2 review will take a look at the differences between the different models and make recommendations based on those differences.
The three types of Nord Stage 2 electric pianos differ by the number of key hammer action that they offer and a few other things like the types of accessories that can be paired with the model.
The Nord Stage 2 HA88 offers 88 key hammer action. The Nord Stage 2 SW73 offers 73 key hammer action.
The Nord Stage 2 HA76 is just about identical to the HA88 except for the types of accessories that are available and the number of key hammer actions, not surprisingly the HA76 offers 76 key hammer actions.
While each is a great option it really depends on the level of playing expertise when you are making the choice and your budget.
The Nord Stage 2 H88 is about 1/3 more expensive than the Nord Stage 2 SW 73 and the Nord Stage 2 HA76 is about right in the middle cost wise of the HA 88 and the SW 73.
You do have a wide variety of price points to choose from which is really a nice opportunity.
Who Is Nord?
Everyone wants to know who they are doing business with. If you are a musician you undoubtedly have heard of Nord which was founded in 1983 when Hans Nordelius created the Digital Percussion Plate 1.
This percussion plate was not like any percussion plate that was on the market at the time. It was the first plate that you could play using sample sound.
The Digital Percussion Plate 1 or as it more commonly became known as the DPP1 found an instant following.
This percussion plate used real drum heads and hoops to give it a unique drum sound. The DPP1 still has quite the following and many percussionists still rave about the triggering system.
Nord is a true success story. This company began in the basement of Hans Nordelius and has grown by leaps and bounds.
That first digital percussion plate has evolved into world renowned business that musicians flock to for their equipment.
Clavia released its first synthesize in 1995 and named it, the Nord Lead. The Nord Lead offered a different take on synthesis emulation that combined a distinct sound with an easy to use interface which made it an instant hit with engineers, DJ’s and musicians.
In 1996 Magnus Kjellander came to Clavia and brought a fresh look at how software could be designed and used.
By 1997 the Nord Modular was ready for release as the first digital synthesizer. It was considered the height of innovation and design.
The Nord Electro was introduced in 2001. It offered amazing emulations of all the classic electric-mechanical instruments.
It also offered a great deal of portability that is not typically found with the original instruments.
In 2005 the Nord Stage hit the market. The Nord Stage managed to combine a slew of emulations and effects like piano and organ it also offered a synthesizer that was built right in.
The Nord C1 Combo Organ also was revealed in 2005. The Nord Lead really shook things up with its ability to use an audio file of any type as an oscillator source for the virtual environment.
The Nord Stage 2 was introduced in 2011. It offers an increase in memory over the Nord Stage and a full range of other upgraded features. The Nord Stage 2 has set the standard for all Stage pianos.
What Does Nord Stage 2 Models Have to Offer?
Each of the three models offer:
Each of the three models offer identical features when it comes to the sound.
Three sound generating areas, Organ, Synthesizer and Piano. They can all be used at the same time you can also use 2 sounds from each section to combine them into one program which gives you a huge amount of flexibility.
The Organ section offers a third generation B3 organ model that is a duplicate of the critically acclaimed Nord C2 organ. A great amount of detail has gone into the Nord Stage 2 organ section.
Many people feel that this “organ” section is one of the best emulations of the B3 they have ever experienced.
A lot of research and development went into creating the circuitry that could easily mimic the sound of not only the B3 but other famous vintage organs.
The Synth section is really outstanding on the Nord Stage 2. A new synthesizer was designed especially for the Stage 2.
It was crafted from the basic DNA of the Nord Wave making it a very capable conveyor of simple analog synthesis but it does not end there.
It is compatible with the Nord Sample Library it has 3 operator FM synth and Wavetable synthesis as well. Being compatible to the Nord Sample Library in and of itself is a huge step up because this tremendous and free library was exclusive for a long time to Nord Electro 3 and Nord Wave users.
The Stage 2’s powerful new synthesizer engine was built from the DNA of the Nord Wave. It offers pulse wave, dual saw and hard sync modulation.
You have access to thirty-two different frequencies for modulation. The Wavetable offers sixty-two wave forms and samples.
The Piano section is well thought out and captures the unique nuances that you typically struggle to find.
With all three of the Nord Stage 2 models you get a Long Release function that allows you to play legato.
The Nord Stage 2 piano section allows you to really capture the sound that you are hoping for.
The Nord site offers this feature list regarding the Nord Stage 2 features:
- State-of-the art sample-based Acoustic Pianos
- Advanced Vintage Electric Pianos
- Advanced String Resonance (Gen 2)
- Long Piano Release
- Dynamic Pedal Noise via optional Nord Triple Pedal
- Nord Piano Library compatible
- Powerful Classic analog, FM and Wavetable synthesis
- Sample Playback
- Nord Sample Library compatible
- Master Clock
- B3 tone wheel organ modeling
- Faithful simulations of classic Vox and Farfisa organs
- Advanced rotary speaker model with slow, fast and stop modes
- Draw buttons with LED bar graphs for easy overview of active drawbar settings.
- Comprehensive Effects section
- Single-function control knobs and instant visibility of current settings
- External section allowing the Nord Stage 2 to serve as a master keyboard
- Expanded Live Mode with 5 locations
- USB-MIDI. No driver required for Mac OS X. WHQL certified driver available for Windows.
There are not a lot of differences between the three models other than the keyboard functions.
All three offer all of the features and all three have the ability to be paired with accessories however the type of accessories that the Stage 2 can be paired is where there is a noticeable difference in the models.
The HA88 is the top of the line and offers all of the bells and whistles but at an additional cost.
Is the Cost Difference Worth It?
Hands down if you are a professional you want the HA88 because it does have all the bells and whistles and you will get tons of use out of it. You will be creating compositions you never even considered with the HA88.
If you have it in your budget to go higher end than you should go for it, but if you do not you can easily get exactly what you need out the other two models although the you will have to sacrifice some of the accessories.
The Nord Stage 2 has a stage presence that is very unexpected. It looks great and it performs even better. The keys are nicely weighted giving them a completely natural feel. The cabinet is really showy and the interface is extremely intuitive and easy to use.
Before each Nord Stage 2 leaves the workshop it is fine-tuned so that it arrives ready to play right from the factory. Nord has put an obsessive amount of thought and craftsmanship into the Nord Stage 2.
People that have purchased the various models of the Nord Stage 2 all have the same comments about the sound. They all find the sound to be outstanding.
While some users have mentioned that there is a learning curve to using the Nord Stage 2 most have found it relatively simple to get used to.
There are no real complaints when it comes to the Nord Stage 2. Every person that has purchased one has found them to be more than they even expected them to do.
They are geared toward the professional and they do require some dedication to the learning process but once you get past the learning curve you will be able to easily use the Nord Stage 2 for a full range of compositions.
Overall the Nord Stage 2 comes highly recommended for all 3 models. They are well-thought out instruments that are highly developed and innovative. You cannot go wrong with a Nord!