Nord Lead A1 Analog Modeling Synthesizer

49-key Analog Modeling Synthesizer, 4-part Multitimbral, with 24-note Polyphony, Multi-configurable Oscillator, 5-waveform LFO, 12/24dB Lowpass Filter, and 4 Arpeggiators
Nord Lead A1 Analog Modeling Synthesizer image 1
Nord Lead A1 Analog Modeling Synthesizer image 1
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Nord Lead A1 Analog Modeling Synthesizer
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Cutting-edge Performance Synthesis

The Nord Lead A1 analog modeling synthesizer will change your concept of synthesis. Whether you're onstage or in the studio, the Lead A1's innovative architecture lets you quickly amass a huge arsenal of stunning sounds that work perfectly across musical genres. Nord gave the A1 a fast, intuitive interface that lets you whip up awesome patches fast, and at the same time encourages experimentation. Blast out a run on the splittable 49-note Fatar keybed while sweeping the filter. Sounds and feels incredible, doesn't it? And with a curb weight of under 11 pounds, the Nord Lead A1 makes an ideal gigging synth.

Nord Lead A1 49-key Analog Modeling Synthesizer at a Glance:
  • The versatility to ace any gig or session
  • Designed for speedy patch creation and deployment
  • Analog modeling: Nord does it right
The versatility to ace any gig or session

Sweetwater keyboardists are impressed with the Nord Lead A1, and for good reason. Fat, snarling leads; sensuous evolving pads; bass that blows holes in walls - it's all here. And it's all easy to get to. Forge ripping leads with classic oscillator sync, revisit the '80s with chimey FM pianos, ring modulate with AM. Any sound you hear in your mind's ear is in play. Instantly. With 24-note polyphony, you can get elaborate with your chord voicings and layers. And speaking of layering, the Lead A1 is 4-part multitimbral, with its great-sounding effects (Ensemble, Chorus, Phaser, Flanger, Ring Modulator, and Drive) available independently on each section, so there's no end to the glorious mayhem you can create.

Designed for speedy patch creation and deployment

The Lead A1 is a fantastic synth value, sure; but it's not some "souped-down" version of Nord's flagship A4. This synthesizer represents a new direction for the Lead series - one in which your ability to whip up truly impressive patches quickly and intuitively is of paramount importance. Hot new features such as a unique, eight-configuration oscillator block and the new "Like" list make it faster and easier than ever to get the sound you're after during a show or studio session. Need inspiration? The A1 gives you four separate arpeggiators with a 4-octave range and Up/Down and Random modes. And of course, you can sync any or all of them to the Lead A1's master clock.

Analog modeling: Nord does it right

If you've ever heard keyboard whiz Derek Sherinian shred with Dream Theater, Billy Idol, or his own band Planet X, you know he's a tone meister of the highest order. Ask Mr. Sherinian what he loves about Nord keyboards, and he'll tell you it's the "organic analog warmth." Well, that and the tour-proof build quality, the ease of calling up sounds, and much more. With the Nord Lead A1, you get the warmth of analog with the road-tested reliability of a modern digital machine.

Nord Lead A1 49-key Analog Modeling Synthesizer Features:
  • 24-note polyphony, 4-part multitimbral
  • Keyboard split with two slots for upper and lower sections
  • Modulation wheel, Pitch Stick with no dead zone at zero crossing
  • Unique oscillator concept with eight configurations:
  • Pitch, Detune, Shape, Sync, AM, Noise, Sub Mix, FM
  • Traditional analog and digital waveforms
  • Unison mode and Extra Fat Unison mode adds girth to your sounds
  • LFO with five waveforms
  • Mod envelope; LFO as additional ModEnv
  • 12 and 24dB lowpass filters
  • Highpass and bandpass filters
  • Transistor and diode ladder filter simulations of Mini and TB-303
  • Effects: Ensemble, Chorus, Phaser, Flanger, Ring Modulator, Drive
  • Master Clock Sync of Arpeggiator, LFO, and Delay
  • Velocity and Mod Wheel Morph
  • USB MIDI integrates the Lead A1 with your DAW
  • Like Button lets you save what you've done into a temporary list and continue editing
  • Mutator lets you adjust elements by set percentages to easily create variations on a patch
  • 3 LED displays, 23 knobs, three encoders, and 20+ buttons for program and performance editing
  • Sustain and expression pedal inputs
  • Highly portable: weighs 10.7 pounds
  • Hand-crafted in Sweden
Deploy cutting-edge synthesis with the Nord Lead A1!

Tech Specs

Sound Engine Type(s) Modeling
Number of Keys 49
Type of Keys Synth-weighted
Other Controllers Pitch Stick, Mod Wheel
Polyphony 24 Notes
Number of Effects 6
Effects Types Ensemble, Chorus, Phaser, Flanger, Ring Modulator, Drive
Arpeggiator Yes
Audio Outputs 4 x 1/4"
USB 1 x Type B
Pedal Inputs 1 x Sustain, 1 x Expression
Power Supply Internal
Height 3.7"
Width 34"
Depth 10.7"
Weight 10.7 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number AMS-NORD-LEAD-A-1

Customer Reviews

Based on 5 reviews
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I've been with Nord since I heard the first Nord Lead at NAMM. So many companies relied upon effect to get their tone close while Nord nailed it dry! The newest line of Nord synths are as playable as ever and step boldly into new territories of sound and performance. Well done for over 20 years!!!
Music background: Programmer, producer, performer, wave mangler

A Synthesis Powerhouse

Yes, five stars ("WOW! Blown Away"). In a compact, lightweight form factor, an incredibly powerful synthesizer. Like the lit says, can probably cover any genre, but my things are classic/prog rock and synthpop, and I can't imagine a better virtual analog for those. Its two main strengths, IMO, are the sound (a solid analog emulation in every way, extremely flexible filters, and kickass effects) and the physical design. The left hand landing area puts everything you need within instant reach... program change, prog/perf modes, layering, pitch and mod, octaves, and poly/mono/legato modes. Like I said, main styles are classic/prog and synthpop, so I'll be doing a lot of Moog/Prophet/Jupiter, etc. emulations with the A1, and loving every minute of it. As always, the Sweetwater staff rocks, and... shipping candy! :-)
Music background: Rock keyboardist


Very few things would make this synth better. Everything is cool on this synth. It's got it's own vibe to be sure but it sounds great, is built great and plays really well too. The key bed is one of the few things that I think Nord could have improved on here. It is still a great key bed but just a little different than I hoped. It's always hard knowing what will be right for someone's set up but this synth has proven to be a must have for me. Worth the money!
Music background: Recording Artist, Producer, Synth Enthusiast

Nord Lead A1

The Nord Lead A1 is a very easy Synth to use and the sound creation is beautiful. The patches are very nice, But the real results are when you start programming the sounds you want. This is my first Nord keyboard and when comparing it with others in the same price range, The Lead A1 is one of the best VA Synths on the market. I highly recommend it! It's just fun and exciting to use. Great FX built in. And the sound manager is quick and easy to use and very helpful organizing the sounds that you have programed. Also there are more programs and performances on the Nord web site for free! I have now owned and used this fine instrument for about a year and have had no problems with the key bed or the electronics' Keep calm and Nord on.

Versatile, Intuitive, Useful Presets

The bad news--I have barely begun to explore the capabilities. The good news--the presets are so useful I haven't really needed to. This unit is flexible, versatile, easy to use and has a ton of great live tweaks that make it a top-tier unit right out of the box. Sonic engineers wanting to build never-before heard sounds, studio performers needing high production value, and six-night a week gigging musicians will all find what they need.
See also: Nord, Nord Synthesizers