First look: Nord Grand
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First look: Nord Grand

Last week we received our first demo unit of the new Nord Grand and it's fair to say we were genuinely blown away by the difference its Kawai Hammer Tracking keybed has made to the playing experience. The sheer physical control and dynamics that can be achieved through the combination of this keybed and the beautifully crafted Piano samples throughout the Nord Piano Library is nothing short of inspirational. We spoke with Nord to get some more background on its development ...

Why did Nord decide to build the Grand? 

The opportunity of using a triple sensor keybed with Hammer Tracking inspired us to do a new exclusive take on our Stage Piano range. The Nord Grand has a Kawai Responsive Hammer action that has been exclusively customised for Nord. 

And how does this differ from a non-hammer action keybed?

On this keybed the triple sensors track the movements on the hammers rather than the keys. In practice it means that the dynamics of each stroke translate to sound in a way that is very close to a real grand piano. A lot of work was put into the three keyboard response curves, and they are completely customized for this keybed. It makes a surprising difference to the dynamics and feel. 

Are the keys themselves wood or plastic? 

They're plastic to keep the weight down, with Ivory Touch surfaces. 

Not real Ivory though?!


Who is the main target customer? Stage/ home / studio? 

The pianist/keyboardist that want an exceptional piano playing experience and feel of an acoustic grand. The Grand has a new design but it is still a live focused instrument with an intuitive user interface and it is still portable! Of course it is perfect for the studio as well. The elegant retro look might attract new customers as well and some might put the Nord Grand in their living room but that is not the main target. 

Do you have any further background on the White Grand that has just been released? 

It is a large grand with a shimmering sound and a lot of character, built in the 70s. It's our largest XL version so far. You can hear it in action here:

We heard Hans Nordelius is personally involved in the sample creation process, is that true?

Yes, Hans is the supervisor during the sampling sessions and personally edits everything to create the final sample. This was the case with the White Grand too.

What stand options does the Grand have?

It doesn't ship with a stand, but is compatible with our Nord Keyboard Stand EX and our Wooden Keyboard Stand v2. 

[EDITOR: We think it looks fantastic on the Keyboard Stand EX)

Is it compatible with the new Nord Piano Monitors?

Yes. There are mounting points on the rear panel.

Otherwise is it the same as a Piano 4 sound engine wise?

The sound sections and control are otherwise identical to the Piano 4 with the exception of a new Panel Lock function, some new categorisation settings in the Sample Synth section, and the fact that the Grand has 2GB of memory for Nord Piano Library and ships with all the new Enhanced EPs installed.

A few demo Nord Grands arrived in May but the first main shipment will arrive at the end of June.

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