Featuring the best of Clavia’s award-winning technologies! Organ, Piano and Synth - All in one package.
Use two sounds of each section simultaneously - that’s two Organ manuals, two Synths, and two Pianos. These can be combined in any split or layered configuration you need for your performance. Add to that an extensive effects section and you will be well prepared for your next gig.
The Stage EX’s user interface is designed from a basic concept: All vital functions are represented on the front panel - easy to access, and never further away than a press of a single button. After more than 20 years of experience in designing instruments to be used by professional musicians, we know how important it is to make the technology completely transparent for the user. With the Nord Stage EX you only need to focus on your performance, which means never having to struggle with the technology.
Our patented Pitch Stick and Modulation Wheel are included for maximum musical expression. A top-of-the-line weighted hammer-action keyboard makes you feel that the Stage’s sound is balancing at the tip of your fingers, completely under your control. Our efficient Morph Grouping technique is also included, allowing you to assign sound and effects parameters to one physical controller.
All together, the Nord Stage EX is a musical, reliable, efficient, and roadworthy companion that delivers results, and provides the means to express your passion for playing.
The Nord Stage EX come in three different models, 88, 76 and Compact. The 88 and 76 both feature weighted hammer-action keyboards while the Compact is equipped with a semi-weighted organ (waterfall profile) keyboard. Apart from the keyboard type and the number of accessories available, all three models share the same set of features. The Stage EX boasts an internal memory which is twice the size of the previous Classic Stage range. This allows you to bring even more pianos to each and every performance.
- Organ section with faithful emulations of 3 classic models.
- Piano section with 6 selectable categories.
- Synth section generating Subtractive, FM and Wavetable synthesis.
- External section making the Nord Stage EX serve as a master keyboard.
- Effects section adding comprehensive effects to your performance.
The organ section
The Organ Section offers three different organs. Of course, we included our famous B3 Organ model, giving you the most accurate and pleasing B3 next to the real thing. The B3 Organ offers many innovative solutions to mimic the typical B3 sound, such as:
- A true organ architecture, based on digital models of 91 tonewheels, thus always giving full polyphony and overtones with natural warmness.
- A complex digital model of the original chorus & vibrato scanner.
- Modeling of the individual random contact bounces for each partial.
- Emulation of the unique frequency characteristics of the built-in preamplifier, forming the “body” of the B3 sound.
- Simulation of the energy robbing on the tonewheels that results in the typical compressed B3 sound.
- Authentic tuning of the tone wheels according to the original B3 design.
- True B3 swell-pedal characteristics.
We also created carefully modeled emulations of two of the most famous transistor organs from the 1960s, the Vox Continental and the Farfisa Compact.
“Draw buttons” and LED bar graphs have replaced the original mechanical drawbars. This gives you the advantage of always having the correct drawbar settings after changing preset.
The Piano Section
The Piano Section is orginized in six categories: Grand Pianos, Upright Pianos, Electric Grand, Electric Pianos, Wurlitzer, and Clavinet/Harpsichords.
Our commitment to authenticity is manifest in these pianos’ subtle nuances throughout the whole dynamic range. The source instruments are recorded at multiple velocity levels, providing the most accurate and expressive pianos ever made for a digital keyboard. The key-releases were also sampled, creating the real sound of dampers returning when the keys are lifted.
A great addition - the String Resonance feature - was added as a free-of-charge OS update in 2009 exclusively for the Nord Stage EX. String Resonance is the phenomenon that occurs inside an acoustic piano or grand when strings, or parts of strings, resonate at their fundamental or harmonic frequencies when other strings are played.
When this functionality is turned on using the Nord Stage EX’s acoustic pianos, all notes you play will affect each other, to reproduce the wonderful acoustics that occurs inside an acoustic grand or upright piano.
The acoustic pianos are also recorded with sustain pedal down. When played with the sustain pedal, the Stage EX’s pianos recreate the string resonance produced by the undampened acoustic piano strings. This adds to the authenticity of the piano sounds by giving them natural body. The Clavinet has an equalizer of its own, which mimics the original D6 tone tabs, and also includes the four Clavinet pickup selections.
Pianos come in many varieties, and while for example a German grand sounds great, it might not be the sound you need at the moment. The piano section is very flexible, allowing the user to replace any piano with other sounds from the Nord Piano Library free of charge. Use the Nord Stage EX’s USB port and the Nord Sound Manager to swap sounds quickly from your Mac or PC.
The synth section
Don’t let the panel fool you; the Stage EX’s Synth Section is a wolf in sheep’s clothing – small, but with a big sound.
After more than 10 years of designing synthesizers, we accepted a new challenge - designing a powerful synth with a few controls that would equal the quick and easy manipulation of the Organ and Piano sections. After all, why should you have to be an expert programmer to create lively and nuanced synth patches?
Our response to that challenge is the Nord Stage EX’s “power mini synth”. The Synth was created on a multi-oscillator concept involving up to 9 oscillators per voice in different algorithms, all controlled from one button and one knob:
- Classic Analog Synthesis with dual saw, hard sync, and pulse wave modulation.
- Three-operator FM Synthesis with 32 different modulation frequencies.
- Wavetable Synthesis with 77 waveforms.
With the Unison knob you can fatten your sound for lush pads, thick comps, and fiery leads. We’ve included a 12/24 dB LowPass Filter with resonance, an Amp envelope, a Modulation envelope, an LFO, and a two band equalizer. Three different Synth banks are provided – Synth, Pad, and Bass – for the creation and storage of your own patches, and each bank holds up to 100 sound programs.
The Extern Section
The Nord Stage EX wouldn’t be a master keyboard if it couldn’t control external devices with ease. The Extern Section is designed solely for this purpose, so that any MIDI-connected gear gets seamlessly integrated with the Stage EX’s built-in instruments. Zones, splits and layers are handled exactly as if the external equipment was a part of the Stage EX itself. All settings are saved together with a Program so advanced setups can be immediately recalled in real-time during a performance. You can even use the Extern Section to automatically transmit Bank Select and Program Change messages to your external units.
No sound is complete without the proper use of effects. In the Nord Stage EX we incorporated all the effects required to cover musicians’ needs. All of the three instrument sections - Organ, Piano and Synth - can individually be routed through the Stage EX’s built-in effect units.
Turning the effects on and off, and controlling the routing is easily done by a touch of dedicated buttons, readily accessible at the bottom of each effects unit.
Here you can choose from Tremolo, two Wahs, an Auto-Wah, and an AutoPan. Use the AutoWah with a Clavinet for raw funk licks, create a psychedelic vibe with an Electric Piano on AutoPan, or give a Wurlitzer some body using the Tremolo. There is also a Ring Modulator on board, an effect used by many experimental and electronic musicians.
The two Phasers, two Flangers, and two Choruses are modeled from the classic analog stomp boxes that define the sound of popular music. These swirling Phasers, metallic Flangers, and thick Choruses that are used by uncompromising professionals everywhere are crystal clear and faithfully simulated on the Nord Stage EX.
A delay unit has been included to create haunting echoes or slap back effects. The delay also supports a ping-pong mode, and the tempo is easily adjusted with the tap-tempo button. A recent update provides you with the option of two delay modes. The new Analog mode will change the pitch on any repeats if the delay time is changed for those classic "warped" sounds.
This effect section combines a three-band equalizer with a sophisticated amplifier and speaker cabinet modeler. Classic amplifiers and speakers, are a crucial part to make vintage Electric piano sounds come alive. We offer you the famous sounds of tube and solid state amplifiers with a Twin Reverb, a Jazz Chorus 120 and a Wurlitzer speaker cabinet model. When no Amp Model is selected, the unit provides a neutral three-band EQ and a crunchy overdrive.
There is also a Rotary Speaker emulation based on the Leslie 122, which not only brings an essential character to a live organ performance, but can also be used with any of the electric or acoustic piano sounds or the synthesizer.
Finally there is also a Compressor and a Reverb, which are placed at the end of the sound chain, helping to blend your sounds more naturally together. The Reverb unit has Hall, Stage and Room spaces to create different atmospheres for your sounds, while the Compressor helps you keep the overall mix tight and under control.
Nord Stage Classic revisions
The Nord Stage models have been subject to a few makeovers. The very first series of the Nord Stage 88 are now called Revision A, with a smooth red paint on the top panel.
Nord Stage Revision B that followed were augmented with brackets for the music stand and also introduced the textured paint on the panel and the chassis. Revision B units are also identified with the text revision B under the Nord Stage logo to the right on the panel.
Revision C were introduced in 2008, and have only one small, graphical change - the label Mono were added to the Clavinet Medium/Soft button to indicate the possibility to use the stereo pianos in mono. All revisions can be updated to, and use the same, latest operating system and the same piano sounds. The image to the left shows the colors of the panel of the classic Nord Stage revisions A, B and C.
The Stage EX series (up to OS version 4.x) share the same functionality as the classic models, and vice versa. The differences are the new color scheme on the panel, labels on the rim to indicate the location and functions of the rear panel connectors and the EX:s increased memory size.
New features in Nord Stage EX
The Stage EX stems directly from the Nord Stage, but have gone through a major hardware change and also received a cosmetic makeover. The new features in the Stage EX units are:
- Increased memory capacity for the piano samples. The EX units have twice the internal memory capacity compared to the former models, an increase from 128 to 256 MB.
- The front panel sports a new color scheme.
- The Stage EX 88 and Stage EX 76 models have text printed on the front panel upper rim to indicate the position and function of the rear panel jacks. (The NS Compact EX will not have these labels, there isn't room on the panel on this unit.)
The increased memory allows users to add more pianos from the Nord Piano Library, to bring an even greater selection of these sounds to each and every performance.