After years of compromise, it seems like a great time to be in the market for a stage keyboard. I’m biased coming from a piano background, but I’ve always loved hammer-action instruments, even for playing sounds other than acoustic. Earlier this month, I noted that Yamaha’s MOX line offered hammer action in a 32.6-pound keyboard for US$1699.

Nord has a hammer action offering of their own: the new Nord Electro 3 HP. It sheds some keys, with a 73-key E-E range keybed, but also some pounds, weighing a very luggable 24.25 pounds. The “handmade,” Swedish-built instrument has some other nice features, too:

  • Nord piano/sample libraries, including licensed Melletron and Chamberlin sounds
  • Modeled organs, tonewheels, and transistors (C1, rotary speaker)
  • Four keyboard curves
  • New delay effect with tap tempo, rate, stereo ping-pong
  • Up to four live location settings

There’s also control pedal compatibility with Yamaha FC7, Roland EV-5/7, Korg EXP2/XVP10 and Fatar VP-25.

I have just one complaint in all of this. Nice as it is seeing these instruments with built-in – and increasingly nice – sounds, I would easily trade a computer piano instrument for the onboard samples. But that’s another story, and of course, I absolutely understand why gigging keyboardists might not want to worry about the added stress of operating a computer.

A representative of Nord tells us that the keyboard, shipping this month, will have an estimated street price of US$2599. (Like I said, the one complaint is, you’d better want to use the internal sounds.)

If you don’t care about hammer action, the Nord Stage 2 released earlier this year added the new organ engine and MIDI over USB (’bout time). More details on that product page of all the sampled/modeled sound engines.

Nord owners, we’d love to hear from you. And, boy that red sure is purty.

  • Random Chance

    Although I play all my sounds using a hammer action master keyboard, I'm still skeptical about playing organ (which I rarely do) sounds using such an interface. But as the Nord Electro does not even have real draw bars you can play (this has been my only real criticism of the original two models), it would not be fair to complain about the choice of keyboard because of the built-in organ sounds. 

  • nick

    Curious who does their keyboard mechanism (China or Italy). Unless we are talking about a big company like Yamaha, few medium sized players let alone smaller players can manufacture a keyboard mechanism (if that were true then we would surely see far more wonderful and innovative key actions).

  • synthetic

    Can't anyone make a no-compromise 88-key controller? 

  • Binary

    No one cares about this. Where is the Nord Modular 3 already?!!

  • David A. Powers

    I’m a professional keyboardist, and I assure you that no pro that I’ve ever met would want the hassle of hooking up a computer with their rig; besides the hassle of space, at least currently no computer setup I’ve ever seen can compete with dedicated hardware in terms of reliability and low latency.