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Our Guide to the Nord Piano Library
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Our Guide to the Nord Piano Library

The Nord Piano Library is Nord's exclusive collection of expertly sampled pianos and electric pianos. In many ways it's what sets Nord apart from other manufacturers. It's full of beautiful, and stunningly characterful pianos and EPs to suit any style. The preset library of every Nord uses pianos from the library so you get an amazing selection of varied pianos and EPs included.

But it's important to know that new pianos are regularly added to the online Library, and that all of them are free to download. Since every Nord Keyboard is fully user-updateable this means you can update your keyboard as the latest pianos are released - and your investment in a Nord keyboard isn't out of date the moment you buy it. 

Pianos are available in multiple sample sizes so you can choose which models to load into your keyboard at any one time. Thanks to exclusive compression technology every piano sounds incredible yet uses relatively small file sizes - even compared to mega-size software libraries.

This guide will cover which Nord models are compatible, how sample sizes differ, a tutorial on how to load the pianos (it's easy!), and of course, a showcase of some of the sounds available.

Can my Nord load samples?

All of the Nord range of instruments can load samples. The only exceptions are the Organs and the Synths. Here is a list of all the instruments that can load samples. If your model is on here, then you can add new sounds to it.

Wave - Sample Instruments only

Wave 2 - Sample Instruments only

Piano - Pianos only

Piano 2 - Pianos and Samples Instruments

Piano 3 - Pianos and Samples Instruments

Piano 4 - Pianos and Samples Instruments

Electro 3 (all models) - Pianos only

Electro 4 (all models) - Pianos only

Electro 5 (all models) - Pianos and Samples Instruments

Electro 6 (all models) - Pianos and Samples Instruments

Stage Classic (all models) - Pianos only

Stage EX (all models) - Pianos only

Stage 2 (all models) - Pianos and Samples Instruments

Stage 2 EX (all models)  - Pianos and Samples Instruments

Stage 3 (all models) - Pianos and Samples Instruments

Grand - Pianos and Sample Instruments


Where do I get the Samples from?

The Sound Libraries page on Nord’s website is the place to go:

Here, you will see that it is divided into two separate Libraries:

Piano Library – this contains all Grand and Upright acoustic pianos, Electric Pianos, Digital Pianos, Clavinets, Harpsichords and Layered Pianos.

Sample Library – this contains everything that isn’t a Piano ! 

Once you have found the library you are after, you can choose a sound to download to your instrument.

Piano Samples and their different sizes

When you start looking at the Piano samples, especially the acoustic Grands and Uprights, you will notice that they come in four different sizes – S, M, L and XL

A common misconception is that there is a difference in recording quality between these different size files. Actually, there is no difference in quality, even between the S and XL sizes since the samples were all taken from the same pianos at the same time - the file size differences are due to other factors being incorporated into the samples:

Small (SML) is the version that uses the least amount of space in the piano memory, but still carries a big and powerful punch. This version does not contain any String Resonance samples at all. If a Sml piano is selected the String Resonance feature will be disabled.

Medium versions have pedal-down String Resonance samples in the important middle region of the range, but omit these in the lowest and the highest areas. This gives you a good ratio of functionality and size. 

Large versions have the pedal-down String Resonance samples all across the keyboard, providing you with the fullest of sounds, but also the largest size. 

Some pianos are available as XL versions which means that they are fully mapped across the keyboard which increases the file size.

Nord Piano Library Size Comparison Chart





Stereo Sampled

Velocity Mapped

String resonance for middle region of the range

String resonance for the entire range

Fully mapped keyboard

So how do I actually get my Piano sample onto my keyboard?

For a quick demonstration please check out our 60 second Speedy Tutorial on transferring a Piano Sample to a keyboard:

If you would like a more detailed description, then read on…

  1. Select your Piano sample of choice and download it to your computer

  2. Connect your Nord to your computer via USB and launch the Sound Manager software. If you don’t have Sound Manager, you can download it for free from here:

  1. Select the Piano partition of your keyboard by pressing the Piano tab on the main Sound Manager Screen.

  2. Press the Sound Down button on the Sound Manager toolbar and navigate to where you downloaded your Piano Sample to

  3. Select your new Piano, press Open and then press Download

  4. The Piano should now download onto your keyboard in the first available space in the keyboard’s Piano memory.

Tip: An alternative way to get a Piano onto your keyboard is to locate your downloaded Piano sample and simply drag and drop it onto the Sound Manager Piano partition window.

Frequently Asked Questions

I don’t have enough room to load my new Piano sample?

There is a Pie Chart in the bottom left corner of the Sound Manager window and this always shows you how much space you have available before you download anything.  

If there is not enough space in your memory to fit the new Piano sample, then you would need to delete a Piano to make room. Deleting samples may sound drastic but it isn’t really.

Firstly, everything on your keyboard is always available to download again from the Nord Libraries so you can treat them as your back up.

Secondly, you could use Sound Manager’s Sound Up function to back up any sounds to your computer before you delete them. 

Thirdly, the Info button on Sound Manager’s tool bar shows you how many Programs use each sample so you can see which one/s you can delete that will have the least impact on your programs.

On top of this, you could use the Substitute button on Sound Manager’s tool bar and that will allow you to replace a current Piano with the sample you are downloading. Any Programs using the deleted Piano will now use the new Piano instead. 

Can I clear my Sample Library to make more room for Pianos?

No, you can’t. The memory on Nord keyboards is split into partitions. Clearing the Sample Library partition will not increase the Piano Library partition and vice versa.

Can I put Grand Pianos in the Upright Pianos section?

Sound Manager will only allow you to put Piano samples in their respective sections. You cannot mix them up. There is a very good reason for this – Nords have physical buttons on their front panels, clearly labeled. If you were able to put samples anywhere you wanted, then those labels would not be accurate and you could get into a right mess. Imagine trying to select an Electric Piano and getting a harpsichord instead!

Can I load any samples into my Nord?

Nord keyboards will only load samples in their proprietary Nord format. These files have the following suffixes:

.npno = Nord Piano

.nsmp = Nord Sample

The reason for this is that Nord use a lossless compression algorithm to make their file sizes smaller. This means you can still get loads of samples onto your keyboard, even though the memory does not appear very big when compared to other manufacturer’s products.  

Can I load my own samples into my Nord?

Yes. If you do have samples in .wav format then you can load these into your Nord via the Nord Sample Editor software. We will focus on this subject in a future Musicians Blog post. 

So remember, your Nord is ‘open-ended’. If you ever fancy trying some new sounds or are looking for some inspiration, then you always have the facility for downloading and installing them onto your keyboard – all for free.

Nord Piano Library - Audio Examples

Below is a cross section of the pianos found inside the Nord Piano Library. Have a listen to these demos before you load them onto your Nord.

Grand Pianos

White Grand

Italian Grand

Royal Grand 3D

Velvet Grand

Silver Grand

Bright Grand

Grand Imperial

Grand Lady D

Studio Grand 1     

Studio Grand 2

Concert Grand Close

Concert Grand Ambient

Upright Pianos

Amber Upright

Grand Upright

Mellow Upright

Bambino Upright

Baby Upright

Queen Upright    

Black Upright

HonkyTonk Upright

Saloon Upright

Romantic Upright

BlueSwede Upright

Rain Piano

Electric Pianos

Nefertiti EP

EP7 Tines Amped

EP6 Sparkletop Vintage '67

EP5 MK I Suitcase, Bright Tines

EP4 MK V, Ideal Close

EP3 MK II, Shadow Close

EP2 MK I Suitcase, Close Ideal

EP1 MK I, Low Deep


Wurlitzer 2 Amped

Electric Grands

Electric Grand Amped

Electric Grand CP80

Electric Grand Gerbstedt


Hohner Clavinet D6 (Clean)

Hohner Clavinet D6 (Auto-Wah)


French Harpsichord

Italian Harpsichord

Chris Maene Collection

Steinway No.1

Mozart Fortepiano

Broadwood Fortepiano

Digital Pianos

Digital Pianos

Layer Pianos

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