Our Top Ten Little Known Facts/Features/Tips for the Nord Stage 3 Series
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Our Top Ten Little Known Facts/Features/Tips for the Nord Stage 3 Series

There are loads of videos, reviews and demos of the Stage 3 out there. But we thought it would be fun to compile a list of some of the lesser-known features and a few fun facts!

So, in no particular order ...

1. Every Pitch Stick is hand-carved, by one man!

The Nord pitch stick is a very recognisable design feature. It's not just for looks, it features a minimal "dead zone" in the centre position compared to other designs, so that very subtle natural vibrato effects are possible. And incredibly, every single pitch stick on all Nord's have been hand-carved, by one man! That's over 100,000. And that man, now in his 80s, is Aaby Henriksson. Aaby, we salute you Sir!

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2. Every Nord Sits In A Sauna

All Nord keyboards, including the Stage 3, are built by hand in Stockholm and every individual model undergoes vigorous Quality Control procedures before being shipped. This includes a heat stress test (to emulate operation  under hot stage lights for example). Every single unit is placed in what we would describe as a Swedish Sauna and left running with a series of automatic test routines, with its DSP on full load, for a full 48 hours. 

This great Factory Tour video shows the keyboards being built and tested, including the sauna:

3. The Stage 3 Extern Section

This is a lesser known section of the Stage 3. The Stage 3 has a small, unassuming area on the front panel called the External section. 

By itself, it doesn’t do anything so does not seem very important. But, hook your Stage up to an external instrument or computer and it opens up a whole new world of possibilities. 

Here is our blog on the Extern Section with an accompanying video that demonstrates how to use it and just how useful that little guy can be to your live set up:

Check out our interview with Brit Floyd keyboard player Rob Stringer who uses the same function on his Stage 2 EX to control and play all of the keyboards in the massive Brit Floyd tour, filmed back in 2017:

4.  You Can Easily Create and Add Your Own Samples

The Stage 3 can load samples in from the Nord Piano and Sample Libraries, but, did you know that you can create and load your own samples into it too?

You may have old vintage keyboards that you want to play live but don’t want to gig. Or you would like to condense your keyboard rig down by consolidating all your sounds into one instrument. Or you might like to create loops to use as backing tracks and trigger live. 

Then check out our blog and tutorial videos on the new Nord Sample Editor 3 software to see how easy this is to do:

5. The Stage 3 soft case has a middle handle!!!

Why is this important? This is the handle you should be using when you are wheeling your Stage 3 (or any of the 88 weighted Nord keyboards) around in its lovely soft case. 

It provides you with much more maneuverability, especially getting through doorways and it ensures that the case is always upright on its wheels - if you use the top handle, the angle is too shallow and the underside of the case will drag along the floor and get damaged in no time.

6. You can route audio through the Stage 3. 

It has a 3.5mm Monitor stereo jack input on the back which is hardwired to Outputs 1&2 and the headphones. Ideal for practicing along with your iPhone/iPad music etc or for running backing tracks though it from a laptop. 

Or even run audio from Mainstage etc. If you need a simple audio set up, or you are strapped for inputs on your mixing desk, then this little socket can come in very useful.

7. The keybed used in the Stage 3 88 is the Fatar TP40M. 

These keybeds are further calibrated at the Nord factory to optimise performance and that info is stored within each instrument. As each keybed is going to be minutely different, this means that every Stage 3 has its own unique ‘fingerprint’ of how its keybed behaves, stored within its own particular memory to ensure an absolutely perfect response.

8. Why red?

The red colour goes back to the early Clavia years when their first product, the digital percussion plate was released. The first edition of the percussion plate was black and impossible to spot on stage. To make it stand out and be more visible Clavia decided to make it red and the red colour has been their trademark ever since. Why red specifically? Well it's as simple as being founder Hans Nordelius's favourite colour!

9. #NordShame 

Yes, it happens. Despite looking uber-cool in their red livery, sometimes artists don’t want you to know they are playing a Nord! Usually because the keyboard doesn’t fit in with the set designer’s ideas.

And this has its very own hashtag #NordShame. Check it out to see some very good, and some very bad attempts at disguising a Nord! Here are a couple of good examples!

Feel free to share your own pics with us if you ever spot a Nord in a cunning disguise!

10. There are three models, including a Compact!

And finally in this round-up, did you know there are actually three models in the Stage 3 Series? The 88-note Stage 3 88 tends to be the model seen on stage and TV, but there are also 76-note and Compact 73-note versions. All have the same functionality (except the Compact features physical drawbars), just with different keybed options - and therefore significant weight savings. The Stage 3 88 only weighs 19kg itself, but the Stage 3 HP76 - with its lighter weight Portable Hammer Action keybed -  weighs only 12.5kg, and the Stage 3 Compact with its Waterfall keybed (as used in the Electro Series) only 10kg. It even fits in a Nord case that can be used as a backpack!

These options are ideal if you are a synth or organ player as it means you can have all the functionality of the Stage 3 but with a keybed that is more suitable to your playing style.

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This new blog is presented by the team at Sound Technology Ltd, a leading distributor of musical instruments and pro audio equipment in the UK and ROI.