Clavia have announced the Nord Lead A1R, a desktop or rack-mountable version of the new Lead A1 analogue modelling synthesizer that we checked out at NAMM in January. Identical in feature set, the Lead A1 and A1R combine the company's analogue modelling engine, with a streamlined interface for fast programming.
A few new features have also been added to the Nord Lead A1 since we reported on it in January and these are also available in the A1R rackmount version. These are as follows.
The new ‘Like’ function is a unique feature that is invaluable during the patch-creation process. ‘Like’ up to 50 versions of a patch as you design it, scroll between them to choose your favourite to save to actual memory, or go back to an earlier version to edit in a different way.
The Lead A1 and A1R also include the Mutator function introduced in the Lead 4, which creates a variation of an existing patch by adjusting certain parameters by set rules, and a full 'Randomize' function to create an entirely new patch with all parameters randomised.
A newly-designed Unison Mode lets the Lead A1 challenge any vintage analogue instrument.
Naturally, all of the other features of the Lead A1 synth are carried over to the A1R, with the exception of the keyboard. A such, Clavia claim it is capable of reproducing the character and nuances of the vintage synths of your dreams with breathtaking accuracy. 24-voice polyphonic and four part multi-timbral, the Lead A1 and Lead A1R are flexible choices for either stage or studio, and are said to deliver a stunningly rich and versatile pallet of sounds.
The oscillator section is of interest here too. One of the main features of the new interface is the Oscillator section, where Oscillator configuration shortcuts allow patches to be created and edited far quicker than is usually possible for synthesis of this complexity. The new waveform engine generates 47 different waveforms from classic analog to digital harmonic and inharmonic waves. Using a single LFO and simplified Modulation Envelope with intuitive controls on the front panel, it should be quick to experiment with modulations, and retain a clear overview of the structure of the patch.
The on-board filters include Low Pass, High Pass and Band Pass, along with the newly modelled Ladder M and Ladder TB filters introduced in the Lead 4.
The A1's effects section also introduces two new vintage Chorus and Ensemble models. Delay, Reverb, Drive, Phaser and Flanger complete the effects line-up, all with independent settings for each of the four slots.
Nord's acclaimed Morph function via Velocity or the Mod Wheel (Mod Wheel Morph via MIDI cc on A1R) is also included, allowing multiple parameters to be morphed in real time.
Additional functions include an independent arpeggiator for each of the four slots, Master Clock sync of the LFO, delay and Arpeggiator, MIDI over USB, and four independent outputs. The Lead A1 and A1R are compatible with the Nord Sound Manager software patch librarian.
Like all Nord products, the Lead A1 and A1R are handmade in Sweden.
The Nord Lead has a UK RRP of £1249 and should be available in April, while the A1R will have an RRP of £1049 and will be out in June.