Nord Lead A1 in the press

Sound on Sound Review


Read the full review in the Sound on Sound June 2015 issue.

...the A1 lent itself to a serendipitous style of programming, and tweaking knobs here and there led to some unexpected and rather fine-sounding results’s a marriage between the simplified synth in the Stage series and the Nord Lead 4. If there’s a good side to this (and there is) it’s that its unusual structure encourages experimentation, leading to sounds that, while possible on previous Nords, were less likely to be discovered. What’s more, the underlying quality of the sound is undiminished. I might even venture that in some respects it’s better than ever; the more I played the A1, the more I realised that it’s a super little synthesiser...
…as I experimented with it, I found myself crafting a wide range of high quality patches on it, and I was soon discovering sounds that I had never obtained from a Nord Lead before…

Keys Magazine Reader Awards 2015


The Nord Lead A1 was voted "Best Hardware Synthesizer" by the readers of the German magazine KEYS!

Keys Magazin

TEC Award 2014


The Nord Lead A1 received the very prestigious TEC (Technical Excellence and Creativity) Award in the category 'Best Musical Instrument Hardware' 2014 at the NAMM Show 2015 in Anaheim, California. 

TEC Awards

Keyboard Magazine Review


Reviewed in the September Issue of Keyboard Magazine 2014.


Excellent Nord sound at a lower price. Increased polyphony (26-voice) with four-part multitimbral performances. More simultaneous multieffects including chorus and ensemble. “Like” button for comparing multiple sound edits. Tasty filter emulations. Oscillator configurations expand sonic potential quickly. High-quality construction.

...the A1, like its big sister the Lead 4, is an inspiration machine. The presets alone beg you to get lost in the music, and there’s enough sonic potential here to keep you discovering and creating new and exciting sounds for a long time to come.
As you design a sound and come to points where you like what you hear but still want to keep working, you can hit the Like button to save up to 50 temporary versions of the patch. You can then scroll through the Like buffer, choose your favorite(s), and save to an actual memory location. Programming any synth has the pitfall of overshooting themark and losing the sound you were after, and this is indeed a clever and sensible way around it.
Read the full review online

Ask Audio Magazine Review


Review published on AskAudioMag, August 2014


Wonderfully responsive Fatar keybed, a TON of oscillators to pick from for sound sources, everything is controlled with your hands - very little diving into menus, 4-part multi-timbral engine lets you leverage the power of the keyboard four times over.

This keyboard is as fun to play as it is to program, and although the heart of the A1 is a digital engine, it ‘feels’ anything but. This thing is an analog sounding monster.
Simply put, the A1 sounds enormous. It’s truly amazing how such a big sound comes out of such an unassuming chassis. I spent some time creating a huge pad sound only to come to the realization that as big as it was, I was only using 1/4 the power of the A1 because I was programming a single voice. I quickly flipped on the other three voices and had a sweeping pad that literally rocked the fillings out of my neighbor’s teeth.
Read the complete online version of the review at

Future Music Review


Verdict: 5/5 (Platinum Award)

Reviewed in Future Music July 2014 (issue 280).

The A1 is a solid synth that enables newbies and pros to get great sounds happening quickly. It's intuitive and fast to program and I have no complaints about its sound, which is typically Nord (ie bold and precise, yet warm and friendly).
Thankfully, the great Randomize and Mutate modes found on the Nord Lead 4 are also included and these are a stupidly simple way of coming up with new patches without having to turn any dials - a godsend if you're stuck for inspiration or feeling lazy!
The preset junkies out there will love that they can achieve complex sounds with little effort!
Read the online version of the review at MusicRadar!

MusicTech Magazine Review


Verdict: 9/10 (Editors Choice)

Reviewed in June 2014.


  • A Creative Joy
  • Will turn you into a programmer
  • Loads of great presets, but you're not relying on them as it's so easy to create your own sounds
  • A genuine surprise


A synth that came from nowhere and is creative, addictive, simple and a joy to use. This is like a ‘best of’ for people with valves as organs and wave-shapes as heartbeats. You can program a synth. This synth…
...overall it is simply one of the most creative synths I have come across because you get so much instant, easy, hands-on real-time and dramatic access to any sound.
The oscillator configurations are a genius way of changing the whole architecture at the twist of a dial and, used with the other controls and Morph feature, are simply inspiring. I will use the A1 with my DAW constantly in record mode so I can revisit whatever I capture to use as ideas for songs going forward.
As I stepped through each preset, preparing to describe them for you, I found myself doing something unusual: programming. And exploring I began pressing the hold key, triggering an arpeggiation and simply dialing dials. And this is where turns from your average preset-buster into what it should be used for: Creation!
It’s come from nowhere - a totally unexpected synth from Nord with one of the most ‘instant’ feature sets I’ve ever used. And while it’s smaller than the Lead 4 (in physical and sonic terms) I can’t help thinking that it’s simplicity, its creativity and its quality will win it many friends.
…the A1 stands on its own, and is my kind of synth, as you can probably tell. If you have an analogue heart, hold a note, dial some dials and after five minutes, you’ll be one over too…
Read the complete online version of the review at MusicTech!