Clavia Nord Electro Rack 2
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Clavia Nord Electro Rack 2

Nord Electro Rack 2, Sintetizzatore digitale Rack/Modulo sonoro from Clavia in the Nord Electro series.

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content in English
songboy 06/12/2011

Clavia Nord Electro Rack 2 : Recensione di songboy (content in English)

"Great things come in small packages"
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This is the rackmount version which means no keyboard, just the sound module. You can run the full 88 key gambit with any keyboard that has Octave switching or has 88 keys. The beauty of this beast and most other nord products is they offer Free alternatives to the built in presets. They can all be found on Nord's website. Factory settings give you two Rhodes, a whurly, a clavinet, and an awesome B3 emulations. You also get these effects: Tube type Overdrive, Rotary Speaker simulation (slow, fast, stop), Equalizer, Chorus (2 types), Flanger (2 types), Phaser (2 types), Tremolo, Auto Wah, regular Wah (2 types), Auto panning and Ring modulation.
The rack offers easy ways to adjust almost every parameter you need through the on board menus/buttons/knobs. It may look complicated, but it really is not, after you spend a little time with it. As for connections, you have USB (mainly for connecting to computer and transferring new sounds) midi in and out, pedal inputs for sustain, rotary speed and a control assignable pedal, and finally stereo (mono) output and headphones. Yes, this is editable through a Mac/PC and is necessary to swap sound sets. It has full polyphony which means you can hit every possible note and it won't "steal" or be "stolen" by another.

UTILIZATION

The sound and effect editing on this beast is extremely simple. It was built for live use and certainly proves that with the 8 user programmable memory slots and the dedicated organ section that has visual feedback for individual tone bars. I believe the configuration of this unit is quite simple. Mainly due to the fact that it only emulates "simple" instruments, simple compared to multi oscillator synths with all sorts of bells and whistles. This unit is simply an emulator for a few great instruments with some effect parameters and the organ controls. Setup is as simple as pluggin in the power, the audio cables (to a mixer or amp) and your favorite midi keyboard. The only time I needed the manual was to better understand swapping sound sets, and yes, it was very helpful and well written.

SOUNDS

The sounds are surprisingly good, and this is an older model. The only thing that suffers is the downloadable piano patches. They are not horrible by any means but they don't offer the realism that you get from the other instruments. Again, these are old sounds as they have released new instruments and sound libraries since. The expressiveness is spot on. I believe if you didn't see my M audio Midi Controller on stage, you would think I was playing the real versions of these instruments, at least in a live situation. The effects are very good as well. They all faithfully reproduce the tone and color you would expect from the real deals. I was disappointed that there was no delay, but what are you gonna do?. The rotary is especially sweet and really mimics a leslie very well. I also like the Chorus a lot too. The ring mod is kinda weak, but I have the Moog 102 as a comparison so...... What sounds do I like the best? All of them except the Acoustic Pianos. The B3 seems to get the most attention from the audience, but I personally love the Rhodes patches. They saved me (and my back) from luggin around my 88 key MK1.

OVERALL OPINION

What I like most about this unit is the fact that it faithfully reproduces the sound and glory of all these vintage, expensive and very heavy instruments in a small, rackmountable box. Until I have roadies that will do all my heavy lifting after a show, I will be relying on Nord products. The only thing I don't like about this unit is I cannot update to the newest sound Library. That is too be expected since the unit is getting on in years but I am also disappointed that they didn't release a Nord Electro Rack 3. I already have a keyboard I like and space is limited so I don't want to buy another keyboard. I got this unit for $750 and I am very happy with that price, especially because they seem to be selling for much more on ebay, which means I can upgrade down the road and maybe even make a little $ too. I give it a 9 out of 10 only because the acoustic pianos are kinda thin. I have used so many different software and hardware synths to reproduce these instruments that the list would be way to long. Ones to note would be Scarbee's Kontakt libraries (very good but can be cpu hungry), Native Instruments plugins, Korg Triton, and Yamaha Motif. I believe the Nord beats them all however. Yes, if I see another one at this price, I might just pick that one up too.