Clavia Nord Wave

Nord WaveIt’s big, it’s red and it’s mean. The Nord Wave synthesizer from Clavia, Sweden combines sampling technology with the powerful virtual analogue engine from their infamous Lead range to create a truly unique performance instrument. The dual patch system allows the user to merge sounds generated using analogue style waveforms, FM modulation, wavetable synthesis and sampled waveforms. Any 44.1 kHz 16/24 bit WAV file can be exported from the editor to the Nord Wave via USB and used as a sound source. A handy patch manager will also help you browse and manage the sounds you create. Most of the features common to Nord Lead synthesizers have been retained, but there are some key features missing and the design is not altogether perfect. The renowned Nord Lead 3 has a ring of LEDs around each knob on the nicely spaced console – indicating its position, 4 patch layers and a formidable arpeggiator. The Wave however has only two patch layers, a rather cramped console, no arp. and the effects section is global which limits sonic control. Apart from these few gripes the Wave does provide immense potential for both musical performance and sound design with it’s sampling capabilities.

If you’re looking for a keyboard with some hip sounds to practice your chops on, look elsewhere. Although Nord is one of the big names in performance keyboards, this is definitely a professional synthesizer for a synth savvy user. A noob could fumble around for months without scratching the surface. The high quality instrument samples and patch library are not enough to keep you busy before you start wanting to create your own unique sounds and patches as this is where the Nord Wave truly shines. Regardless of style or genre, the signature sound will easily cut through your bands mix. Its wide and diverse range makes it well suited in Indie, Metal, Reggae, Fusion, Hip-hop, Electro and even Psy-trance. If you’re already a Nord user you will easily find the magic at your fingertips.

Nord WaveWhichever way you look at it, the Nord Wave is a very powerful performance synthesizer. It has a myriad of different musical applications and offers really comfortable ‘playability’ above all else, as one would expect from a Nord. Synth purists may turn their noses up at the lack of some key features, but only because they haven’t fully explored the Wave as a sampling keyboard. The fact that it uses technology that other hardware synths do not is simply undeniable, and if the Nord sound is what you’ve been after chances are you’re willing to go the distance to get your head around the interface. Buying a synth of this level is more up to the personal taste of the user than purely its functionality. Either ‘the Nord way’ fits your style, or it doesn’t. Without extensive experience with Nord keyboards I found the Wave very inspiring indeed, whether I would use it in my music or not.


  • WAV editor
  • Dual layer patch system
  • No Load Time
  • Top-notch Samples
  • Effects Section
  • Virtual Analog Oscillators
  • FM Synthesis
  • Sampling
  • Wide selection of filters
  • Morphable Synthesis Parameters

Nord Wave


  • Lightweight yet robust ‘Nord’ quality design
  • Endless possibilities for sound creation
  • Powerful and versatile synthesis engine
  • Great sounding effects


  • No arpeggiator
  • No midi tempo sync
  • Cramped console
  • Global effects section
  • Rather disappointing patch library
  • No split keyboard function
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