Understanding the six keybeds used in Nord instruments.
The standard synth-weighted keybed that you would find in any vintage synthesiser. This keybed is found on both the Nord Lead 4 and the Lead A1.
2. Semi-Weighted Waterfall (SW)
At first glance the waterfall keybed looks like the weighted keybed. However you will notice that the keys do not have a lip at the front edge like the weighted keys do – they have a flat front, hence the term ‘waterfall’. Also, the black keys slope away from you rather than having a flat plane. The waterfall keybed is semi weighted and is the same type of keybed you would find on the majority of the vintage electro mechanical instruments. This is a deliberate design feature to give you the feel of those original instruments when you play. They are more robust then a non weighted keybed but they won’t shred your knuckles when performing an organ gliss. The waterfall keybed features on the C2D as well as the Electro 6D 61 and 73 and the Stage 3 Compact.
The way a key triggers a sound also affects performance. On an organ, the sound is instantaneous the moment the key is pressed. But, on a piano, the sound is heard once the string has been struck and this occurs as the key reaches the bottom of it’s descent. In the Nord keyboards that incorporate both Organ and Piano sounds, the keys have sensors at the top and bottom of each key so that you get the correct response, depending on whether you are playing organ or piano.
3. Hammer Portable (HP)
The fourth keybed is unique to the Electro 6 HP and the Stage 3 76HP. It looks like a weighted keybed but it feels slightly different when played. This is because the weights are positioned at the top end of each key under the front panel, rather than in the traditional location under the key itself. This is partly to give the correct feel, where the key would come up and strike the tines from underneath, but it also means that the weights are slightly smaller to reduce the overall weight of the instrument, hence the name ‘portable’.
4. Hammer Action (HA)
The hammer action keybed is the fully weighted piano-key version and this features in the Stage 3 HA88.
5. Triple-Sensor Grand Hammer Action
The Piano 4 features the advanced triple sensor Hammer Action keybed aimed specifically at the piano player. This is a fully weighted 88 note keybed, but the addition of a third sensor on each key makes it a much more responsive and dynamic keybed to play. Ideally suited for accurately reproducing the feel and versatility of an acoustic piano.
6. Kawai Responsive Hammer Keybed with Ivory Touch
This advanced keybed is designed by Kawai, exclusively customised for Nord, and is unique to the Nord Grand. Like the Piano 4, it is a triple sensor keybed but here its sensors track the action of the hammers rather than the keys. This provides an incredibly dynamic, even more authenticate playing experience. The keys themselves also have an ivory feel to the touch.
We hope this article has been helpful! It goes without saying the very best way of choosing the keyboard to suit you is to visit a store and physically try one!
For more information on the Nord Keyboard range, please visit our Nord Product page