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Exclusive First Look: Nord Wave 2
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Exclusive First Look: Nord Wave 2

We take an exclusive first look at Nord's most powerful synthesizer ever.

Shortly before Christmas, we were invited to the Nord factory for a first look at an upcoming new product. In the centre of a snowy Stockholm the Nord factory looks as unprepossessing as ever, yet inside this unique manufacturing facility, and in the company of Hans Nordelius himself, we were introduced to a new Nord instrument.


The Nord range has been consistently updated over the past few years: Stage Series, Electro Series and Piano Series have all been upgraded. But now it’s the turn of the Synth category. And specifically - the return of the Wave.


The original Wave, introduced in 2007, was much lauded for being a powerful synthesizer but with the added ability to load samples. After being discontinued in 2013, it has passed into Nord folklore as one of the most desirable instruments they ever made.


Now the Wave 2 has finally arrived and takes the functionality of its predecessor to a whole new level. It’s the most versatile synthesizer ever made by Nord, and may be the perfect do-everything hardware synthesizer for the touring musician.


The first thing to say about the Wave 2 is that it features 4 Layers - each Layer is a full-blown synthesizer with independent effects. The Wave 2 is four independent synths in one.


Each layer can utilise any of the onboard Analogue, Wavetable, FM or Sample synth engines, allowing you to create a phenomenal variety of sounds. Waveforms are ordered in Categories with an astonishing number of variations.


It sounds fantastic - it incorporates the latest generation analogue modelling, superb filters, beautiful effects including a new Cathedral reverb and new modulation effects that can be inserted into the delay feedback. The Oscillator section now includes Dual and Triple Waveforms that help you create big powerful sounds very quickly.


Each Layer has its own Level Sliders with LEDs so you can quickly manipulate your mix in real-time. It's the first time Nord have offered this option and it works brilliantly!


The Wave 2 features a 61 note keybed instead of the 49 key size of the original Wave. This keybed can also be split into four zones - one for each layer. Oh, and yes - it has Aftertouch!


As with the original Wave, you have the ability to easily add new Samples, either from Nord’s extensive libraries (all for free) or you can create your own Samples and load them into the Wave 2 using the new, much more user-friendly, Sample Editor software. More info on this can be found here


The Wave 2 now includes an Arpeggiator (per layer) which is something the original Wave did not have. But this is not just an Arpegiator - it has new additional Gate and Pattern Generator functionality which provide dynamic rhythmic control of your sounds.


It has the most extensive implementation of Nord’s Morph functionality ever seen. The Mod Wheel, a Control Pedal, Velocity and now Aftertouch can all be used to change multiple parameters on the front panel, giving you incredible real-time manipulation control of your sounds. 


Plus you now also have the Impulse Morph feature, taken from the Lead 4 which allows you to jump instantaneously from one parameter setting to another. And, all of this is per Layer - you have four Layers per Program so this should give you an idea of how powerful the Morphing feature can be.


A great new feature is the ability to create a Group of any number of Layers. This allows you to simultaneously apply the same effects or sonic manipulation to multiple Layers.


In Conclusion


Like the original, the Wave 2 is an incredibly powerful modelling synth in its own right. But, factor in the ability to easily load samples and it becomes anything you want, even an extra piano if required. All the functionality control is right there at your fingertips so you can dive straight in and create any sounds you need.


The four Layer set-up effectively makes the Wave 2 four synthesizers in one - including four independent effects engines. And, as with all Nords, it is built for touring - an all-metal chassis but lightweight. Handmade and rigorously QC’d to ensure its reliability,


As always the best option is to try one out for yourself in a local store - they are due to arrive in the UK in March / April 2020.


Photos shown are of a prototype Wave 2 - all details may be subject to change before release!

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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.