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The Nord Lead 4 is a subtractive synthesizer with 2 oscillators per voice. All the classic waveforms are present, Saw, Square, Sine, Triangle, Pulse and PWM.
The Nord Lead 4's Oscillator 1 section features a wide selection of wavetables including a unique type called Formant Wavetables with resonant qualities that are independent of pitch. Frequency Modulating the Formant Wavetables can produce some truly magic results with distinctive acoustic qualities.
Oscillator 2 features a Noise generator with a dedicated filter cut-off and resonance.
The true Voice Unison mode lets you stack up to four voices on top of each other per note (including the complete signal path of the Nord Lead 4) for really thick, wide leads and basses.
Hard Sync generates an irregularly shaped waveform resulting in a harsh, dirty effect rich with harmonics, first made famous by the Prophet 5. Soft Sync is a bit smoother, but by no means subtle.
The Nord Lead 4 also features Frequency Modulator capabilities for adding spectral complexity and occasionally, nastiness.
LFO and Modulation section
Each LFO can easily be synchronized to the Master Clock and assigned a desired time division. The LFO can be re-triggered manually with an Impulse Morph button or a key. The LFO destinations include a unique option to modulate the FX section.
Nord Lead 4 offers a very capable Modulation Envelope section with an expanded choice of modulation destinations. The Modulation Envelope can also be triggered manually with an Impulse Morph button!
Two great new additions are the stunning emulations of the diode and transistor ladder filters from the legendary Mini and the TB-303 synthesizers. The emulations capture the dirty, squeaky resonance of the originals and combined with the new unison mode you’ll have plenty of opportunities for making fat, squelchy basses and leads.
The Filter Drive operates separately per voice, distorting the waveform before it passes through the effects sections.
The Impulse buttons are extremely powerful and let you alter your sound instantaneously – brilliant for creating spontaneous, synchronized rhythmic and tonal mayhem. Doubling the LFO rate, changing the oscillator from Saw to Square, enabling Glide, cranking up the resonance and muting the Reverb - all at once - for 2 seconds in the middle of your lead solo is now as easy as 1-2-3. Doing wobbly bass lines and complex choppy pads live, in perfect sync is a breeze! Impulse Morphs are a simple, yet universal concept that offers almost limitless flexibility.
Assigning an Impulse Morph is simple – just hold down an Impulse Morph button and turn the desired knob(s) to the desired new value! Nearly every parameter can be controlled with an Impulse Morph and LED-lights indicate which parameters have been altered. By pressing different combinations of the 3 Impulse Morph buttons up to 7 unique combinations are available, per slot.
The Morph is a classic Nord feature that lets you control any “knob-type” parameters with the modulation wheel, control pedal or velocity. The possibilities are endless – like changing arpeggiator range or adjusting the sample rate reducting Crush effect with the modulation wheel.
Each of Nord Lead 4's four slots has its own dedicated effects section: FX and Delay/Reverb.
The overdrive is modelled after a vintage tube amp. Make your lead sound a little “furry” or crank it up for a truly authentic overdrive that distorts increasingly the more signal you shove through it.
The Talk effect creates a voice-like talk-box effect, with two different simulations of a vocal tract.
The compressor effect offers Threshold adjustment and can also be modulated to obtain side-chain effects and more.
The Crush effect lets you reduce the sound’s sample rate radically. Give your bass line a subtle lo-fi touch or pulverize it into crackling, digital star dust.
The Comb filter effect can create chorus-like effects when controlled from an LFO or static spectral changes in your sound.
The Crush, Talk, Comb filter, Compressor and Drive effects can all be manipulated with the Morphs and Impulse Morph performance controls as well as with the LFO or the Modulation Envelope.
The Delay effect has 3 feedback levels, a Dry/Wet control and the Delay tempo can be synchronized to the Master Clock. The Delay features an optional analog mode that behaves like an old school delay when changing the delay tempo on the fly...
A great sounding Reverb effect is available when not using the Delay, with dry/wet controls, 3 reverb types and a brightness control for rolling off the treble when desired.
Having 4 identical, equally powerful synthesizers at once at your disposal opens breathtaking layering possibilities, both rhythmically and sonically. The Split-mode gives you two 2 slots on each side of the split. A flexible Hold functionality lets you latch and hold slots independently in the background while playing something else on top.
The unique Pitch Stick can be used for bending notes as well as creating subtle vibrato effects, much like a guitarist or violinist as there is no dead zone in the middle position. The bend range can range from zero to 48 notes up/down and can be unique to each program. It's even possible to have separate bend ranges up and down: -12 or -24 semitones or + 2 semitone.
The handy Chord Memory function memorizes combination of notes so you can play a fifth or a chord with one finger, brilliant for leads and quirky themes.
The Nord Lead 4 includes a classic Arpeggiator with Up/Down and Random modes and a 4-octave range. The Arpeggiator can be synced to the LFO and Delay using the Master Clock. A new Poly mode pulses all the notes you’re holding as a chord instead of cycling through the individual notes, great for choppy chord stabs when combined with the new Patterns and Impulse Morph buttons. Having four slots means you can have 4 Arpeggios running at the same time!
The Pattern feature applies rhythmical figures to the Arpeggiator or the LFO's. A wide selection of patterns are available, ranging from basic building blocks to more complex groove oriented figures.
The Nord Lead 4 Mutator feature is a Automatic program generator with adjustable style and strength.
At the heart of the Nord Lead 4 is the Master Clock controlling the global tempo. The LFO, Arpeggiator and Delay can all be synchronized to the Master Clock. The tempo is easily changed globally with a Tap-tempo button so you can tap in to the beat of your drummer and play intricate rhythmically interlocked parts in perfect sync. The Master Clock can also be slaved to an external MIDI clock.
The Nord Sound Manager application, available for Mac OSX and Windows, makes organizing, backing up and transferring programs to your Nord Lead 4 a breeze.
Control Pedal support has been improved and now supports the following pedals: Fatar, Yamaha FC7, Roland EV-7, Roland EV-5, Korg EXP2 and Korg XVP10.