Possible to build a Nord killer?


Hi Tim

I occasionally use a Nord Stage 3 that is available to me at a rehearsal site. I was allowed to use it in a few performances. and there is no doubt, it has some great sounds on it. I personally think there are equal, if not better sounding piano VSTs (starting with Ivory, and upward). The organ is good, but nothing like what is available in VSTs. The many VST synths available give an unlimited sound source. As for keys, there are some really beautiful simulations out there. You didn’t say anything about Keyscape, but I assume you have at least heard it, and IMHO I think it rules over the Nord. I am quite happy with my VST setup, and found myself wishing I had it on stage instead of the Nord.

But, maybe I needed the familiarity, or I just needed you to program the Nord for me. :wink:


Full disclosure, Corky: I’m the guy in the band that plays every type of sound except a piano. I’m sure there are some great piano VSTs (and I know there are fantastic organs). I have all of the Kontakt pianos, but never need to use them. I program our Stage 3 because I have the most programming experience. I make the pianos sound like the individual songs that we play. By “keys” I meant the keybed. Nord’s keys (sounds) aren’t any better than some of the VSTis I use. In other words, point taken. I think our OP can kill a Nord with a computer! :slight_smile:


I used to own a Nord Electro 2 and thought the organ was outstanding- the best thing I had ever played until VB3. And our church got a Stage a few years back and even though I’ve never put them side by side I’m convinced to organ in it isn’t nearly as good as the Electro. And I personally never found the pianos to be more than “meh” compared to most VST options (though they’re pretty good for a self contained keyboard. It does have a great action. Overall though even though the whole world seems to be in love with the thing I always found the Stage to be a step backwards compared to the Electro, Lead, and other original Nord stuff.


I was gutted when they stopped development of the Nord G2 Engine. Seems like few people wanted a fully modular synth in a 1U rack!


I told Corky I would post next time I got a 50% off from Dell Financial Services refurbished laptops website.


The 50% off code is: E5440DEAL50

In the past the 40-50% off is site wide but this one is just for the Latitude E5440 which is built like a tank. An i7 8GB RAM with 320GB HDD and 14" 1366x768 display is $225 after this discount is applied.

EDIT: This deal expires tomorrow (Tuesday at 12pm EST) - Also remember that its an off lease laptop so the i7 will be whatever gen was current 2 or 3 years ago.


Thanks for the heads up Doug. I am checking into it now.



Offers like this come through regularly so unless you need a machine right now you can sit on this.


Just out of curiosity…

How would such a “nord killer” look like? I like the idea to have a stage-piano based on Cantabile. I’d not take the Nord Stage as model. More like Korg SV-1 or Crumar Seven.

I just make my mind about a possible front panel.
It would have (from left to right):

  • Potentiometer for Mastervolume
  • Encoder for Preset-Gain
  • 8 buttons in a row for selecting a preset + another button for a bank-switch
  • underneath that: 8 buttons in a row for selecting a sound + another button for a bank-switch
  • 2 encoders for FX1 + 2 switches (On/Off and select-FX)
  • 2 encoders for FX2 + 2 switches (On/Off and select-FX)
  • 3 encoders for EQ + switch for On/Off (pushing the encoder will adjust the frequency instead of gain)
  • 1 encoder for drive (or amp-simulation?)
  • 2 encoders for reverb + switch for On/Off
  • 2 encoders for delay + switch On/Off
  • 4 encoders free assignable

What do you think? Does this makes sense? Any ideas?

In Cantabile I think it would make most sense to have everything inside one song. A “preset” on the frontpanel would then be a state inside that song.
F.e. selecting preset 1 on the frontpanel would select state 1 in Cantabile. Now you use the buttons in the second row to activate the sounds you want to play. Press and hold the preset 1 button to save.


Hi Christian,

Are we brainstorming here? Assuming we are the one thing I think that would be really amazing would be a second screen dedicated to the plugin GUI of the knob you just adjusted. If it was FX1 and you assigned SDDR2 it would pop up on the screen and you would see as you adjusted the assigned knob such as Drive or Character.



Why not? :slight_smile: But don’t get me wrong: That shouldn’t be related to the workstation I do build at the moment.

Hm… if we are after a stage piano, I don’t think that we even need ONE screen :slight_smile:
If we would start to integrate that, it’ll become more a workstation than a stage piano.


OK - I got it. It’s a pretty cool idea to build a stage piano with the underlying power of Cantabile. That helps me understand the two rows of 8 buttons for banks and presets. I wasn’t familiar with the Korg SV-1 and Crumar 7 so I assumed they were more workstation like than the Nord Stage rather than less.

When I go to an open mic and hook up my laptop other keyboard players agree their ProTools, Cakewalk, Reaper etc. hosted instruments sound better than their keyboards but they don’t trust their computer skills to gig with Cantabile. Ironically one of them recently had me bring my keyboard and laptop because their Juno DS61 developed a low output issue.

Final brainstorm. Include an ethernet port that when connected to a router let’s you remote in and configure.


Good point!

I’m kind of motivated in building such a stage piano :slight_smile: I finished the PCB-design for this project today… so maybe I’ll build such thing :slight_smile:

Here is what I’ve done so far… that would be the frontpanel:

If you have any ideas, let me know.

The idea is, that all parameters are displayed in the small OLEDs so I don’t need any LED rings or so.


So… I decided to go for that build. I’ve added 4 free assignable faders.
I also already created the 3D-Modell… I’m excited… if it works like I hope :wink:

Today I ordered the parts for the computer… this will be a power horse. It’s an i7-8700k with 16GB RAM, 512GB M.2 SSD mounted on a mini-ITX mainboard…

I’ll keep you posted about this project.


This is exciting. Keep the posts coming. What did you use to create the “Stage_Buttons” front panel drawing?


I exported the PCB files as DXF from Eagle and imported that into illustrator.


And no drawbars, percussion switchs and chorus/vibrato?


No! I took the Crumar Seven as model. Though there is no space for such controllers. I’d like to keep the surface clean.
I think it will get clearer as soon as it’s done.


Not unreasonable to recommend owner of the Stage Piano pickup Crumar DCU9 drawbar kit.


Work in progress…



You’re making me jealous. Look impressive!