This is a complete, master keyboard that has some of the best piano and organ tones in the business, now loaded with synth tones, clavinets and harpsichords. This is a staple instrument for professional musicians.
Ultra-light 88-key Stage Piano
In the world of a professional touring musician, the Nord Stage 3 Digital Stage Piano is one of the most popular and best keyboards whether it’s in the backline of every venue or in the rig of almost every keyboardist, it seems to be at every show I play. This also ranks as one of the top and best digital pianos.
The keyboard is lightweight and easy to tour with and it is stacked with all the essential tones you would need for just about any performance. A lot of players that use this tend to get it for it’s great piano and organ tones (it even has the Nord C2D Organ Engine which is from one of the best Portable Organs on the market) and surround it with analog synths. What makes the Stage 3 even better is that it also has the Nord Lead A1 Synth Engine which includes sample playback. That’s a great perk if you want one board that can do it all. Not to mention, having 88 notes is awesome and the fully weighted hammer action is sweet.
The Nord Stage 3 is the 5th generation of the Stage Series keyboard and clearly Nord set out to make this one of their flagship keyboards (which is why I see it everywhere). It is really geared towards professional musicians in that it’s built for performing. You can tell Nord really wanted the synth tones to be taken seriously as they even included hands on effects that are more like what you’d find on an analog synth then in other models of the board. The OLED displays are very easy to use and read, even on a dark stage which helps in making smooth transition in programs and sounds which is super important for well orchestrated live performances.
The Nord Stage 3 is loaded with the Nord Piano Library that includes 120 voice polyphony, piano filters and 2G of memory. There are beautiful harpsichord tones and gritty clavinets and so much more. It also has the C2D Organ with simulations of the B3 Tonewheel with vintage Transistor Organs and the popular C2D Principal Pipe Organs. The vintage 122 Rotary Speaker simulation can be added to two organ tones at a time that can be used at the same time. And what really sets this board apart from it’s predecessors is it’s Nord Lead A1 Synth Engine. What really cool is that the rotary simulation is available for the synth and piano tones as well. That’s something that is very cool and useful for any musician.
The way Nord configured the synth engine allows for expressions you’d typically only see on an analog synth. The controls are easy to use which is great for musicians of all levels and include filter effects, extended morphable parameters, compressions and reverbs and a pretty sweet delay effect with full oscillator function easily accessible through the OLED display. The best thing about the Smart Oscillator Configurations is that they are easy to use and don’t take much from a programming standpoint. They gave us both single and dual oscillator setups which includes Pitch and Shape modes as well as Sync, Bell, Detune, Waveform, Ring Nod, FM and Noise Mix modes. On a board that is largely know for it’s Piano and Organ tones, the synths are very solid.
Since Nord added two independent instrument slots to the Stage 3, you can really build some nice layers with dual slots since you can use them at the same time. Being able to use Piano, Organ and Synthesizer sound at the same time is an awesome feature. With 2 separate slots, you can have 2 synths, 2 pianos and 2 organs including effect all at the same time.This will allow you to create combos of pianos, organs, synthesizers and effects which will open up a lot of room for creativity. Pair that with the built in layer patches and the advanced string resonance and dynamic pedal noise that they included in the Nord Stage 3 and you really will be blown away with how expressive and real these digital sounds have been made to sound.
Advanced Split Point Function
For the professional musician that wants to organize their sounds and even get into setting up split points for live performances, the Nord Stage 3 includes 3 Split Zone with crossfade options and a Split Point Editor Mode for assigning sound sources for each split zone. You can even use a foot pedal to trigger splits so that you can keep your fingers playing and have a seamless experience.
In todays world of music having a MIDI clock is something that is used all the time. Now that bands are using samples, backing tracks and linking instruments up between the musicians and with light shows, it is important to have the clock function. Although it is important, you wouldn’t necessarily expect it to be on a keyboard like this. However, Nord has been making strides in connectivity between all their instruments so that they can be chained together and run seamlessly with MIDI controls. For this effect the Nord Stage 3 can be controlled by an external MIDI clock through its built in Master Clock. The Master Clock alone allows you to sync effects to the arpeggiator and LFO which is a strong feature. You can change the notes values of the delays and get everything to work in time, even when there is a change in tempo.
With Nord being hyper aware of the need for connectivity and their desire for the Nord Stage 3 to be a true master keyboard, the Nord Stage 3 has the ability to control any MIDI connected gear with the built in instruments in a seamless design. Everything works just as the Stage 3 is design once the MIDI devices are connected. The Extern allows setting to be saved in the advanced setups to sounds and configurations can be used in real time. This is very useful if not essential for live performances.
Nord Stage 3 88 Key Fully Weighted Digital Stage Piano Features:
- Two OLED displays that help with seamless transitions when changing programs/sounds, extended Split functionality with optional crossfade, and more.
- Awesome Piano section features the Nord Piano Library, 120 voice polyphony and creative Piano Filters with 2 gigs of memory.
- High Quality C2D Organ simulations B3 Tone wheel and Vintage Transistor Organs and Principal Pipe Organs with a Rotating speaker effect available for Piano, Organ and Synth tones.
- Includes Nord Lead A1 Synth Engine with a solid Sample Playback and advanced Oscillator functions
- New Filter Effect, morphable parameters, Delay effects and Reverb and Compressor for each slot
- Comes in 73, 76 or 88 key options
Once you have all your split points and customizations in place, it is such a beast. I like to control a midi board through this and have one board with the piano tones and another with the organ tones, usually use a midi board with drawbars for the organ tones. You don’t need to do that to make use of both tones at the same time, but it’s awesome that you can. While there are some pretty nice synth tones built in, I’m still a proponent for owning some sweet analog synthesizers.
The Nord Stage 3 is as professional and complete of a keyboard as they come. It really is packed with features, so while it’s easy to use, it take a little time to master.
- Piano tones are some of the best in the business
- Organ tones are super solid
- Synth tones have some great features
- Onboard oscillators take the synth tones to another level
- Keys feel amazing
- Some of the synth tones are not that great