Nord Lead A1R

Analog Modeling Synthesizer Module Module, 4-part Multitimbral, with 24-note Polyphony, Multi-configurable Oscillator, 5-waveform LFO, 12/24dB Lowpass Filter, and 4 Arpeggiators
Nord Lead A1R image 1
Nord Lead A1R image 1
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Put Cutting-edge Performance Synthesis in Your Rack

The Nord Lead A1 Rack analog modeling synthesizer module 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 your controller while sweeping the filter. Sounds incredible, doesn't it? Take the Nord Lead A1 Rack out for a spin, and you'll be a believer.

Nord Lead A1 Analog Modeling Synthesizer Module 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 gear, 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 module, you get the warmth of analog with the road-tested reliability of a modern digital machine.

Nord Lead A1 Rack Analog Modeling Synthesizer Module Features:
  • 24-note polyphony, 4-part multitimbral
  • 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
  • Ships with rack ears
  • Hand-crafted in Sweden
Deploy cutting-edge synthesis with the Nord Lead A1!

Tech Specs

Sound Engine Type(s) Modeling
Polyphony 24 Notes
Number of Effects 6
Effects Types Flanger, Phaser, Ring Modulation, Chorus, Ensemble, Drive
Arpeggiator Yes
Analog Outputs 4 x TS, 1 x TRS
USB 1 x Type B
Height 4.5"
Width 18.3"
Depth 6.6"
Weight 6.6 lbs.
Manufacturer Part Number AMS-NLEAD-A1-RACK

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
Write your review

Beast of a synth

Once again, my compliments to Andy and all at Sweetwater for service and quality. On to the Nord Lead A1R, this is one of the most versatile VA synth out there. Currently boasting 26 notes polyphony, and no loss when running in performance mode with 4 parts! That's it, you have 4 synths in one. The sound signature is typical Nord Lead, with a lot of presence even at high resonance values. A bit of filter drive brings back all the mighty power if needed. The machine is very capable of moving any subwoofer with deep bass sounds, yet it can produced sweet and warm pads, as well as edgy leads. The M ladder filter is a great addition, bringing even more character to a very convincing analog emulation. Sure, next to a sweeping Moog synth it might not sound so great, but good enough for most ears. It is also incredibly good on bell and digital sounds, stretching into Warp Records territory without effort. And the real beauty about this machine is that it is incredibly fast to program. You can start with a pad sound and end up with modular noodle sounds. There are no menus to dive into, all is at immediate hand, but its simplicity does not pose much limits at all. I am not missing the full ADSR at all, as much as many other functions that you would normally expect. In fact, I am getting more out of this box than I ever did with the Access Virus TI2 (great synth too) Have not found any bugs, plugged in and worked without crashing from day one. All master clock synch works extremely well and without glitch. There are a lot of good and free sounds available on Nord site, very generous. Shame they don't promote this product as well, most videos out there don't make any justice. Would recommend to anyone who needs a versatile machine with lots of polyphony. Really great sounds and fun to program!
Music background: Writer, hobbist

Hands-On Sonic Powerhouse!

The Nord Lead A1R is UNREAL! So much control - So many sonic avenues to travel. The 4 part multitimbral feature is one of my favorite allowing me to create layers on the fly. Creating unique pads is a breeze. A well-constructed machine as you would expect from Nord. This is definitely a good synth for beginners bc of the hands-on interface. Almost 1 function per knob, minimal switching of the 'Function' key for secondary operations. I waited several months after this came out to take the plunge - SO glad I did! If you're new to VA synthesis - this animal is for you. If you have been into synthesis for a long time, but have been using DAWs and want to have a more active and participatory experience, than this may just be for you as well!! The 'M' Filter is quickly becoming my favorite & the effects section is pretty loaded out. LOVE the RING MOD!!!! *ONLY wish that the menu screen was a little bigger* But either way, the possibilities are endless with this Nord!!! Excellent piece of equipment - GREAT Sweetwater financing deal & some of the best customer service I've experienced in years. Thank you Aaron and the rest of the Sweetwater team for the prompt replies and follow-ups. Also - received the A1R barely 2 days after I ordered it! Outstanding Sweetwater!!! Thank you for the candy also :D (Keep the banana taffy next time though :P)
Music background: Synthesizer Enthusiast, Sound Addict

YES, Great Stuff

I only gave it a 4 because I should have bought the keyboard version. This thing sounds great and is super EZ to use.
Music background: Keyboards, audio engineering
See also: Nord, Nord Synths / Modules