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Nord Stage 3 as synthesiser vs. competition?

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Nord Stage 3 as synthesiser vs. competition?

Postby mitya33 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:36 am

Hi all

I'm currently trying to choose between the Montage 8, Korg Kronos and Nord Stage 3.

I'm a pianist primarily but want to get into making electronic music too.

It's clear the Montage/Kronos can make just about every sound under the sun, as that's their speciality, but from what I understand the Stage 3 has much more emphasis on pianos and organs, with a "to some extent" synthesiser thrown in as well.

My question is, if I went for the Stage 3, how much would I be losing in the synth side of things vs. what I'd have got with the Kronos or Montage?

I've read the Sound on Sound reviews of all of these, but it's hard for me to understand as I'm very new to this and so much of the terminology is lost on me. If anyone can give me an idea in layman's terms that would be great!

Thanks so much in advance.
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Re: Nord Stage 3 as synthesiser vs. competition?

Postby Dave B » Sun Sep 09, 2018 1:33 pm

My question is, if I went for the Stage 3, how much would I be losing in the synth side of things vs. what I'd have got with the Kronos or Montage?

Lots. But it depends on what you want to do with it. If you want to completely build up a track in the machine, then the Nord isn't great as it doesn't have a sequencer and I'm not sure how multi-timbral it is (how many parts can be played simultaneously). But if you are going to drive it from a DAW, then things get a bit messier. The Nord has a sample playback engine and an A1 derived synth engine. The former is handy. The latter is a brilliant 'quick n dirty' synth rather than a huge Rolls Royce of a synth - more like a mini cooper. It will get you to where you want to go, and with a degree of style, but it's not a great, all-purpose wonder synth. It's designed to do about 80% of what we usually do and do it quickly and simply. Some here don't like that level of 'help' so it's a very marmite approach.

Going the Kronos/Montage route would mean that you have a one-stop shop for the entire backing track and only need to worry about adding real instruments / vocals.
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Re: Nord Stage 3 as synthesiser vs. competition?

Postby mitya33 » Sun Sep 09, 2018 5:55 pm

Thank you.

I believe the Stage 3 is two-part multi-timbrality.

I had a go on it today and it sure is nice. The synth seemed great but I'm a total noob in this area hence my question.

My head says Kronos, since it seems to be all things to all men. I just don't like the physical look of it, wood panels notwithstanding. I suppose I could reverse the question and ask what I'd be losing re: piano quality if I took the Kronos over the Stage, given the Stage is all about the pianos (and organs.)
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Re: Nord Stage 3 as synthesiser vs. competition?

Postby Spevy » Sun Sep 09, 2018 6:17 pm

The short answer is there is a lot more in the Kronos and Montage. More choice of onboard waveforms, more effects, more simultaneous sounds and more control over how a sound changes over time.

Kronos has multiple synth engines and its strength is its versatility and choice. The Montage AWM2 synth engine is very deep with a lot of control over the behavior of a sound. Both the Korg and Yamaha offer in depth FM synthesis which appears to be lacking in the Nord. (I am a Kronos owner and am going by the Nord specs.)

With all that functionality comes complexity. There is something to be said for getting started with the simpler (but not simplistic) synth capability of the Nord. There is likely tremendous mileage to be had out of the Nord Stage 3's synth, particularly with sample playback. You can decide in the future to expand to a more complex synth such as the Nord Lead 3, Korg Prologue or the Sequential (formerly Dave Smith) Prophet X.
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Re: Nord Stage 3 as synthesiser vs. competition?

Postby mitya33 » Tue Sep 11, 2018 10:39 am

Thanks, Spevy. That may be the most producent and sensible approach.

If I did start with the Stage, and added a drum machine or synth later, can I control them from the Stage? I've seen mentions of one machine controlling others (is this what they call Midi Thru?) so perhaps this is standard functionality for equipment in this field, but just wanted to check.

So if I was performing on the Stage, I could trigger drums from a separate unit, that sort of thing.

Thanks.
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