From worship music videos, to regular Sunday stages,


The 'red keyboard' is unmistakable.


So, we shot a video talking about Nords- Why you see them everywhere, and why many churches use them, or want to go that route at some point down the road.


And, I guess we struck a nerve, because it only took a few hours for that video to skyrocket and eventually become our biggest video on the channel yet. Not only that, but I started to notice a clear distinction in the comments section.


Folks who were very pro-Nord sharing their thoughts, and those with almost a polar opposite take, opposed to the idea of using the red keyboard.



So I had to revisit this topic, and once and for all give my take on which side is right!

Just kidding- but I did find tons of great insight from both sides, and I think you will too, whether or not your church does use a Nord, or is considering it sometime in the future.




Marco 22/02/2024

I used to own a Stage 4 and loved it because of its piano samples and physical knobs (especially the cutoff).
The synthesizer was to experimental in my view. Used Omnisphere most of the time, giving me much more satisfaction for CCM. Organ is great.
I sold the piece 2,5 years ago because I had to renew my Macbook and was a little short on cash at that time. Was able to buy a new Macbook Pro and a Kawai MP7SE as a master controller for the price I got for my 4,5 year old red monster!
And here is the difference: the Kawai needs a little more tweaking to get a fresh living worship piano sound, but has a far better weighed keyboard (Nord uses the same Kawai keybed with a little tweak in their Grand and newest Piano and Stage editions) and most important… a good working MIDI implementation.
Because… hey… the Nord MIDI implemetation (in every model) is seriously not good and Clavia doesn’t seem to feel the need to enhance it and make it work properly.
The reason I bought a Kawai, and not a Nord Grand (that could have fit the bill as well at that time), was because of the triple sensor keybed that is now also part of the Piano 5 and Stage 5. For people not aware… a triple sensor keybed allows you to strike a note again without the need for the key to be fully lifted. Thus, it is a real enhancement towards a real and faster piano feel. Once played, it made me wonder how I could have lived without it all those years. I really seem to use it a lotin my more sensitive or faster playing.
The thing is… the Nord MIDI implementation only supports the dual sensor for external control!!! Which means that MIDI notes of external equipment (whether it is Keyscape for extra piano’s or just pads following the Nord) are missed when playing half key presses. The pianful thing is that I contacted Clavia support directly when testing the Nord Grand. An evasive answer at that time and no plans for correction. Now, 2,5 years later with huge marketing around the Piano5 and Stage 5…. still not solved. A more open answer from support however, because they had to dolve the issue to control the internal synth… but still no estimate on a firmware update towards correct behaviour on MIDI out.

To conclude: if you remain in the red box, go ahead and buy one. They sound great in a mix and are quite versatile.
Do you have the need to control external equipment and want to play really piano like? Go Japanese and skip the sexy red.

(now hoping I may still enter Sweden for the holiday…)

Larry Crabtree
Larry Crabtree 22/02/2024

I have not had the opportunity to play much on a Nord, however I think for me the keyboard is not a problem. I have played everything from a Steinway and Bladwin Grand to my Hammond SK1 and Korg Krone. I do like the lighter touch keys.

However in trying out a Nord, The large amount of knobs and sliders that control the sound are too much for an old man like me. Where I am playing live the KISS principle applies. The simpler the whole setup is the more comfortable I am and the better I play. I don’t have time to dial in sounds while I am playing and I used to not make Many changes in a song. However, lately since I got my Sunday Sounds and Looked at setting up stages in a song that I can move through with just one touch I have started playing with changing sounds within a song. I must admit though, I pretty much choose one or two sounds layered in each step and I am not comfortable yet with the heavy layering.

You see while I am very comfortable writing program code, learning the ins and outs of the software for me is a little harder. I am older and learning new ways takes time. As the Minister of Music for my church, I don’t have a lot of spare time to sit at my keyboard as I would like and try new things. So I know that Sunday Sounds is not being used to it’s fullest, however, it has helped me to improve my sound. If I have it I really don’t see the need for a Nord. I can connect Sunday Sounds (I use and iPad) to the Korg and have the layers of my Korg playing out through one channel and Sunday Sounds playing through another channel and get much more sound (and yes some sound changes within the song) with just a touch.

Dallas Stevens III
Dallas Stevens III 22/02/2024

which Kawai are you talking about C. ?

David C
David C 21/02/2024

I’m no Russell Fragar but I’ve played (amateur) keys for almost as long, for church and community theatre. The Nord Stage sounds, capabilities, and build quality appeal tremendously to me, but I can’t justify the price tag, especially when the keyboard is accessible to people willing to put coffee cups and drink bottles down on any flat surface. Sadly, I could say the same about an acoustic grand piano for most scenarios. In a pop-up church, I recommend a light digital piano, preferably with a mod wheel/pedal for Sunday Keys, and built-in speakers (e.g. Roland RD-88) for flexibility, along with a good case and stand.
A small dedicated church building might be used for weddings, funerals, choir rehearsals, and other scenarios where guest musicians would be very happy to use a Clavinova-style piano – something that doesn’t need to go through the desk to be useable for small gatherings or acoustic rehearsals. A Clavinova (or similar) could also be used by a worship team through the desk for its built-in piano sound and as a controller, perhaps alongside a dedicated MIDI controller for soft synths. David P’s Studiologic has the same Fatar action as several Nords – only the Nord Grand uses Kawai action, the same as the fabulous MP7SE.
And when your piano/keyboard isn’t being used, make sure it’s in a case or under a cover. That’s what my therapist says.

Keith 21/02/2024

Ive been a mainstage guy for a long time.Our church just purchased an 88 key Nord 4 (not my request or idea, btw). I’m playing it for the first time this coming Sunday. It seems quite expensive for what it does, but I’ll give it a whirl and see how it goes. I was perfectly fine using Mainstage with Keyscape, Omnisphere, Alicia’s Keys, Granduer, Massive and on and on and on. By the way, we also have an old Nord Stage 76 that was good for one sound, organ.



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