Clavia has released a piano styled very differently from their usual range. The Nord Grand is an elegantly designed premium instrument with a distinctive vintage feel and it’s kind of wonderful.
All the Nord products have had a certain style to them. They all follow the same sort of flat and straight form factor and have that distinctive red body with grey control panels. The Nord Grand brakes with all of that and offers a piano that looks like an instrument more than it looks like a synthesizer. It’s still red of course but it’s a red wood-stain with this wonderful grain coming through. The control panel is in black and angled up in a vintage electric piano style which then forces them to scoop the edges and embrace some curved lines. Slightly frustratingly all the marketing images show the Nord Grand in close-up whereas I’d quite like to appreciate it from afar as I think it strikes quite an impressive pose.
Clavia has designed the Nord Grand to be their most thrilling playing experience to date. The 88-note Kawai keybed has advanced triple sensors that capture the hammer movements with exceptional precision. The keys themselves have an “ivory touch” giving it an authentic acoustic piano feel.
The sounds come from 2GB of Nord Piano Library and offers 120 notes of polyphony and three dynamic curves and soft release. The Advanced String Resonance system reproduces the interplay between vibrating strings when playing with the pedal down and there’s even pedal noise with the included (thank you!) Nord Triple Pedal. There’s a dedicated piano filter section for acoustic and electric pianos bringing out the softness, mids or brilliance of acoustic and the punchy characteristics of the electrics.
But that’s not all. No Nord would be complete without a comprehensive synth/sampler section. There’s an extensive selection from the Nord Sample Library 3.0 which can all be edited, reworked or replaced via the Nord Sound Manager and Sample Editor.
There are 2 effects section plus separate EQ, delay and a compressor with overdrive.
The controls are all laid out on the angled front panel for instant and natural accessibility. A small OLED display gives information on loaded presets and parameter data. One completely necessary feature that we don’t see enough is the seamless transition between presets when changing programs while playing – every keyboard, piano or synth should do that. You can combine two sounds in either splits or layers although the keyboard can be split into 7 sections for MIDI controlling other sound sources.
It looks like a beautiful instrument and, apparently, is not as heavy as it looks. I am very much enjoying the style in the mode of the Korg SV-1 or the more recent Yamaha CP88. And of course, the beautifully flat top gives you somewhere to stand your beer.