LOAD IT UP
The big issue that most existing users of the previous Stage 2 encountered was that there wasn’t enough memory; this was true, with all the piano sound banks not able to be loaded at once due to their enormous size. Nord have dealt with this in the Stage 2 EX by upgrading the Piano memory to a massive 1GB, and bringing the synth memory up to 380MB. This is not without cause either as there are 5 grand pianos, 7 upright pianos and 11 electric pianos that all need somewhere to be housed. The synth section also gets new DX electric piano sounds and there are additional folk instrument, strings and voice samples in there too. What you now have in the EX is an even greater wealth of stunning sounds to choose from, with all the power and flexibility that many have come to expect already from the Stage 2.
PLENTY OF VARIETY
For those who are unfamiliar with the Stage 2 series of keyboards from Nord, here is a look at what you get. The Stage 2 EX 88 offers you 88-hammer action keys with a good weighted feel to them. This is very nice to play and is up there amongst some of the most popular keybeds available today. But it is not just about pianos, even though there is the extensive piano section with a huge array of sounds and effects. You get a synth section that draws heavily on Nord’s Lead series, offering analogue modelling, FM and wavetable synthesises. Easy access to the most common parameters makes editing and tweaking sounds on the fly a breeze. Further to that, the organ section offers you the sounds from the Nord Electro series, which are prized for their B3 Tone Wheel simulations and rotary organ sounds. Drawbar implementation is accessible on the top panel with the digital LED drawbars that allow you to jump from one pre-set to another without having to physically shift all the controllers.
In short, if you only wanted one keyboard for stage or studio, you would be hard pressed to go past the Nord Stage 2 EX 88. This should be on every keyboardist’s wish list and stands proud by itself, or with instruments. It’s big and heavy, but that is what comes from 88 fully weighted keys. There is also a 76 and 73-note version in smaller chassis and with lighter weight keys, but the Stage 2 EX 88 is the standout in the range.
For more details on the range of Nord products, head to elfa.com.au.